James Fallows writes that this appointment is karmic justice for the retired general. I had not planned to blog about this until I read Fallows’ account of Shineski’s behavior when things were going poorly in post-invasion Iraq.
To summarize, Shineski had publicly stated that he thought an occupying force should be large (on the order of several hundred thousand troops). He was publicly rebuked (some would say ridiculed) by the Bush Administration. We know now that he was right (generally speaking). After his retirement, he had every opportunity to have multiple “I told you so” moments. As Fallows notes:
Despite being unfairly treated, despite being 100% vindicated by subsequent events, Shinseki kept his grievances entirely to himself. Although my book contains accounts of Shinseki’s inside arguents with Rumsfeld et al, and his discussions with his own staff, zero of that information came from Shinseki.
I have a lot of respect for that type of character. Few things are easier or feel better than a public “I told you so moment”, especially when one can profit from it. I try very hard to refrain from these, but am not always successful. They happen professionally on occasion, but mostly my wife hears about them (no doubt to her chagrin). I don’t know much more than what you have just read about Shineski, but I wish him luck. Fallows’ readers have offered their opinions as well.
As an aside, Fallows Blind Into Baghdad (article, not the book) was the first Atlantic publication I ever read. Please excuse me now while I enjoy this moment of nerdy nostalgia.