Saturday, December 6, 2008

Obama to Name Shinseki Secretary of Veterans Affairs

President-elect Barack Obama plans to name retired Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, former Army chief of staff, as his secretary of Veterans Affairs, elevating a military veteran well known for clashing with his civilian bosses in the Bush administration. Mr. Shinseki is well known for having predicted that a much larger U.S. force would be needed in Iraq even as his civilian bosses argued that he was wrong. In 2003, he testified to Congress that it might require several hundred thousand U.S. troops to control Iraq after the initial military invasion.

"He was right," Mr. Obama said in an interview scheduled to air Sunday with NBC's "Meet the Press." Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said at the time that his assessment was grossly exaggerated, and within months, Mr. Shinseki was forced out of his job. In June 2003, he retired after 38 years in the Army. But his prediction turned out to be prophetic, as President George W. Bush sent in a surge of forces in early 2007. The official announcement is set for Sunday in Chicago, when Mr. Obama also plans to mark the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
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