Last Friday, Eric Shinseki took the fall at Veterans Affairs. His resignation was driven mainly by reports of substandard medical facilities. But substandard medical care for veterans is hardly new (or news): the VA has never been funded adequately by a penny-pinching government that prefers to ladle money to defense contractors for more weapons while withholding much needed medical care from wounded veterans.
This is not the first time Eric Shinseki has taken the fall for his bosses in Washington. For those of you who still believe there is a difference between Obama and the Bush administration, just look at the same punching bag they used up then discarded shamelessly.
General Eric Shinseki was ignominiously forced into retirement from his position as Army Chief of Staff when he wisely advised the Bush administration that hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed for the post war occupation of Iraq. Neo con war hawks like Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz refused to hear the truth, instead pushing a much lower number of occupation forces, a number that had nothing to do with reality on the ground in Iraq but everything to do with Washington Beltway agendas. Indeed, it was all part of the lie that the Iraq War was all about WMD and that it would be “cheap” and “easy” to prosecute. It went right along with the other key lie that Iraq oil would pay for the cost of the war.
Shinseki was right while Bush and his thugs were wrong and that lie caused the subsequent deaths of many US troops and countless Iraqi civilians during the years of civil turmoil that followed. We paid the final price for not heeding Shinseki when the Iraqi Shiite government threw us out.
Bush was generally loyal to the thugs he hired in his administration but Obama, who hired Shinseki to run the VA, has now abandoned him, just like he abandoned Elizabeth Warren, another person of integrity.
Naturally, vindictive Republicans in Congress have never forgiven Shinseki for telling the truth about Iraq and now the spineless Democrats, after hiring Shinseki to run the VA, have tossed him under the bus to cover their own sins of omission in failing to fully fund the VA.
Shinseki’s two dismissals highlight the cost to honorable men and women when they attempt to serve the American people with integrity. Just like Bush, Obama tossed aside a good man for the sake of political expediency. And we call this a government of the people, by the people, for the people?
“Shinseki publicly clashed with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during the planning of the war in Iraq over how many troops the United States would need to keep in Iraq for the postwar occupation of that country. As Army Chief of Staff, General Shinseki testified to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘something in the order of several hundred thousand soldiers’ would probably be required for postwar Iraq. This was an estimate far higher than the figure being proposed by Secretary Rumsfeld in his invasion plan, and it was rejected in strong language by both Rumsfeld and his Deputy Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, who was another chief planner of the invasion and occupation. From then on, Shinseki’s influence on the Joint Chiefs of Staff reportedly waned. Critics of the Bush Administration alleged that Shinseki was forced into early retirement as Army Chief of Staff because of his comments on troop levels.”