I thought this was a little stinkier pick at first than I do now after reading and thinking for a day. First let's establish some framework. Gen. Shinseki made the absolutely idiotic decision to take the black berets away from the Army Rangers and put them on everyone. That is an unforgivable move and makes him a douche. It was disrespectful to the Rangers and if he thought the whole Army needed berets then he should have given them the sand-colored ones he gave the Rangers. He also ought to note that berets are hot in Summer, cold in Winter and they don't keep the rain out of your eyes like the ever-popular leg (patrol) hat does. So he starts with one douche against him.
Next we have to discuss his statements prior to the invasion of Iraq about the number of troops required to secure the country after the initial hostilities.
SEN. LEVIN: General Shinseki, could you give us some idea as to the magnitude of the Army's force requirement for an occupation of Iraq following a successful completion of the war?
GEN. SHINSEKI: In specific numbers, I would have to rely on combatant commanders' exact requirements. But I think --
SEN. LEVIN: How about a range?
GEN. SHINSEKI: I would say that what's been mobilized to this point -- something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems. And so it takes a significant ground-force presence.
If you make several to mean 300,000 troops then he would seem to be saying we could not support such an occupation without deploying virtually all of our combat power. If you take several to be 200,000 then it seems to me he is damn near prescient. We ended up with 160 or 170 k during the Surge and had definitely witnessed plenty of ethnic tensions.
Shinseki is one of the Clinton era General officers and I think it is fair to say Clinton and his team at DoD basically considered the military an expensive tool they had to maintain, but really didn't want to use. If you employ military force you kill people and some of our guys as well. They reall don't like that and that showed in many missed opportunities to respond to provocations.
But that whole mentality ought to be perfect in the VA job, where your job is to advocate and care for thsoe who are done fighting and especially those who got hurt. If it was Shinseki for Sec Def, I would answer a hearty Hell No! But Shinseki for VA, well why not? Just take good care of my friends and we'll be fine.