President-elect Barack Obama's Choice Of Retired General Eric K. Shinseki To Be Secretary Of Veterans Affairs

In choosing retired General Eric Shinseki to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs, President-elect Obama has made another impressive choice for his Cabinet.  He is a straight shooter and a truth talker.   

General Shinseki has tremendous character and honesty, deep experience and a clear vision.  Throughout a stellar career, especially in his time as the Army's Chief of Staff, his words and deeds reflected an overwhelming care about soldiers and all of our military service members. 

It was a sad moment when the Bush Administration forced General Shinseki into retirement because he had the temerity to point out that the invasion of Iraq would be more difficult than they said it would be.  He was right, and we would be in a much better position today if they had listened. 

I'm tremendously encouraged that after eight years of mistakes and afterthought treatment by an administration whose attention was elsewhere, veterans will have a powerful and knowledgeable advocate at the top with the skill and vision to improve and modernize the veterans health care system. 

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(Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is the co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus.)

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