December 6th, 2008
06:10 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama to nominate Shinseki as veterans affairs secretary

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Shinseki is a former Army chief of staff."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama will nominate retired Gen. Eric Shinseki to be secretary of Veterans Affairs, two Democratic sources told CNN Saturday.

For years, Shinseki has been the patron saint of Pentagon critics who say the former Army chief's sage advice was ignored in 2003, resulting in too few U.S. troops being sent to Iraq after the invasion.

Shinseki testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2003 that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers would be required" to pacify the country. The comment infuriated some Bush administration officials, and he retired just a few months later.

Shinseki has never spoken publicly about his testimony, which has often been cited by critics as evidence that then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ignored the advice of one of his key generals.

But as Army chief of staff, Shinseki was not in the chain of command, and played no direct role in drawing up the war plans.

Pentagon sources say that, in fact, Shinseki never advocated higher troop levels for Iraq, in part because it was not his job to do so. And sources say that just before the invasion, when asked by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Richard Myers if he agreed with the war plans, Shinseki voiced no objections.

Full story

(updated with additional information 7:25 p.m. ET)

Filed under: Obama transition
soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. tennisguypitt

    This is an excellent choice by President Obama!

    December 6, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  2. Veteran for change

    I am absolutely impressed by this choice. Brilliant!

    December 6, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  3. Bill

    Another Great American who understands the constitution. Thanks BO

    December 6, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  4. linda in AR

    As we remember the anniversary of "Pearl Harbor" on Dec. 7, it seems fitting that Obama will announce the appointment of Gen. Shinseki as Veteran's Affairs Secretary. I pray that the VA will now be able to truly serve all who have served.

    For my dad and my son and all who have served and will serve I await for the full funding of the VA that Obama has promised. That we have reached the end of the era of 'deny, delay and defend' the poor service that our Vets have been subject to.

    December 6, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. Crazy Cat Lady

    And the hits just keep on coming, folks! Pick after pick of competent, intelligent, principled people to help Obama govern.

    December 6, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  6. Wendy NC

    Another great choice! I admired this man for sticking up for himself when everyone else was bowing to Rummy and Wolfie. I'm so impressed with President-Elect Obama's good choices.

    December 6, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  7. HouseDiva


    If my memory serves me well; Shinseki was the man who testified that Cheney made the call for our fighter jets to stand down from shooting down the "plane" that hit the pentagon on 911.

    Shinseki is an honorable man in my book for speaking the truth no matter how much Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Rove, and the rest of the rethuglican gang didn't like it.

    December 6, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  8. Larry

    I think Gen. Shinseki will be a fine choice,I'm sure he will help all of us Veterans!!!! The question he answered was relevant to POST VICTORY Iraq,that really has nothing to do with the increase of troops needed during the war going on now,including the SURGE policy.


    December 6, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  9. FMB

    I was hoping that he was chose for a position in the Obama administration. Every individual that disagreed with Bush was ousted and called names.
    The major problem with being a Dem or a Rep,,, you aren't a "individual" with individual thoughts and opinions.

    For those who chose not to go along and were mistreated by the Bush admin are truly strong because the were strong enough to "disagree".

    Good Job Obama

    December 6, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  10. rob

    its actually smart to pick a general or a military person for veterans affairs when you think about it.

    December 6, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  11. Reality

    If only Bush and his administration would've listened to him 🙁 Sooo many things today would be different 🙁


    December 6, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  12. Cat

    Good move! My son a now former vet, in these wars, thought highly of him. A minority man in charge of a now mainly minority army. This man had the balls to stand up to Bush.

    December 6, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  13. 007

    Take that Navarette!

    December 6, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  14. BUSHED

    Great choice. To bad he was BUSHED like the rest of us.

    December 6, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  15. Ms Jenny

    One good decision after another. I'm so proud to have cast my vote for Obama!!!

    December 6, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  16. America the Beautiful

    On the Pearl Harbor Day? The thought of Japanese-American taking care of American vets will bring tears to many eyes. Absolutely brilliant pick!. West Point and Duke graduate. I wish the Bush Adm. had listened to Gen. Shinseki. This whole surge crab would not have been an issue. Thanks God. The man is vindicated. Congrats to both of you PE Obama and Gen. Shinseki.

    December 6, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  17. Former Hillary supporter, now admired Obama

    GREAT CHOICE!!! He warned Bush and Rumsfeld about the out of control in Iraq after the U.S took over in 2003, and guess what he got....losing his job for speaking the truth!!! This is an honorable man who really cares about our VETS.

    December 6, 2008 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  18. Mike

    Such a great choice. We've never had a president put together a team this impressive before, and the strong choices he's placed at positions like commerce secretary and the VA show how much emphasis he's placing on these offices that are often ignored.

    December 6, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  19. Perusing-Through


    The wisdom of the Obama-Biden transition team continues to impress. Obama not only picked a very smart man, but he help vindicate an honorable man for "telling it like it is". Halelujah!!!

    May GOD Bless the United States of America!
    May GOD Bless the Obama-Biden Leadership Team!

    December 6, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
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