Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

The Irony of Shinseki

Rumsfeld himself threw out "3 weeks” as a possible time frame. There was no factual consideration of how many troops were needed, how long it would last, and how much it would cost. …Costs that would invariably have included veterans health after the war. Ten years on, and multiple tours per soldier, those costs have skyrocketed. Now, it’s Shinseki who will go down for inadequate VA healthcare. From the Times ...

"But the president’s new strategy, with its explicit acknowledgment that not enough troops had been sent to Iraq to establish control, was a vindication for General Shinseki, who as Army chief of staff publicly told Congress as much just before the war began in 2003.

First vilified, then marginalized by the Bush administration after those comments, General Shinseki retired and faded away, even as lawmakers, pundits and politicians increasingly cited his prescience.

“We never had enough troops to begin with,” SenatorLindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said just before the president’s televised address. “A month or two ago we found out the Army is broken, and they agreed that General Shinseki was right.”"

To be clear, being right a decade ago doesn't obviate his responsibility for his current charge of improving the conditions and quality and efficiency of veterans health care. But an irony indeed.