It’s an article of faith among the left — promoted during John Kerry’s failed presidential campaign — that General Eric Shinseki, formerly Army Chief of Staff and now VA Secretary, was fired for testifying to Congress that several hundred thousand troops would be needed to stabilize Iraq. If only President Bush had listened to General Shinseki, they cluck, Iraq might never have become such a mess.
Of course, the story is false. General Shinseki retired when his term as Chief of Staff ended on schedule. Also, Shinseki was wrong; the Surge stabilized Iraq with 160 thousand troops, far less than any reasonable interpretation of “several hundred thousand.” Nevertheless, Shinseki had a point. . .
President Obama has now done, again, what President Bush was accused of but never did: fire a general for criticizing US strategy. That makes three: David McKiernan (who was fired after making larger troop requests than Obama was prepared to grant, but perhaps not because of it), Stanley McChrystal (who was fired for criticizing the administration in Rolling Stone, and also for giving a bleak assessment of the war effort to NATO), and now Peter Fuller, for his well-deserved criticism of Hamid Karzai’s government.
Remember when “listen to the generals” was briefly the rallying cry of the left? That was just for generals saying things the left wants to hear.