The Hound has been watching retread Clintonistas being appointed to cabinet posts in the Obama administration with a jaundiced eye. After all, if you wanted a third Clinton administration, we should have elected Hillary, right? But, finally, the president-elect tabs a winner in retired Gen. Eric Shinseki to be the new secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. It's a good pick.
And, at the same time it is vindication for the former Army chief of staff. It was Shinseki, the 38-year Army career man, a decorated and wounded veteran of the Vietnam War, who warned that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to secure and keep the peace once Iraq was defeated. That warning caused him to be swift-kicked by such warriors Vice President Dick Cheney, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Secretary of Defense, Illinois' own Don Rumsfeld.
Neither of those three went to West Point, nor did they ever have boots on the ground in any infantry capacity. Shinseki also cautioned to "beware a 12-division strategy for a 10-division army." For such forthrightness, Shinseki was not reappointed by the Bush administration to a second tour as Army chief of staff and forced into retirement. As we all saw, those happy warriors in the Bush administration had to eat crow and put more troops into Iraq in what now is known as The Surge.
Now, Shinseki has to go into the VA and straighten out another mess leftover from the Bush administration --- providing benefits and medical care to veterans, and especially the nation's newest veterans coming home from the Iraq War. At a time when budget constraints are even greater.
The Hound would expect the new secretary to be easily confirmed by the Senate and probably will be in Lake County to tour the soon-to-be-ready Lovell medical center in North Chicago, the first sharing of VA and Navy facilities. He will be heartily welcomed.