Obama to Name Eric Shinseki as Secretary of Veterans Affairs
By Julianna Goldman
Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- President-elect Barack Obama will name former Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki to head the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tomorrow at a news conference in Chicago, according to two Democratic aides who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Shortly before the 2003 U.S. invasion to oust dictator Iraqi Saddam Hussein, Shinseki told Congress it would take several hundred thousand troops to stabilize postwar Iraq.
Critics of the Bush administration say Shinseki was punished for that statement -- an assessment roundly rejected at the time by then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his then-deputy Paul Wolfowitz -- by having his tenure as chief of staff cut short.
Rumsfeld named Shinseki’s replacement more than a year before the general was set to leave the Pentagon. Rumsfeld himself later resigned his post, his reputation damaged by the failure of U.S. planning for the invasion’s aftermath and the subsequent violence.
Retired General Shinseki will join Obama at a press conference scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. Chicago time to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Cabinet secretaries are subject to Senate confirmation once they are formally nominated after Obama takes office on Jan. 20.
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Last Updated: December 6, 2008 18:29 EST