Friday, May 30, 2014

Eric Shinseki resigns as Veterans Affairs secretary; Arkansas angles are political and, for vets, personal

Posted By on Fri, May 30, 2014 at 10:34 AM

click to enlarge ERIC SHINSEKI
Eric Shinseki resigned today as Veterans Affairs secretary and President Obama accepted the resignation with "regret." Was there really any other alternative? 

Was there value in jumping out early in the bipartisan group calling for the resignation? Was the temperate course to hold fire until the matter worked to its logical conclusion, as Sen. Mark Pryor did? Or was it politically damaging? Does everything have to be viewed through a political prism?

Shinseki's departure lances a political boil. But it doesn't fix the waiting list at VA hospitals, with an increasing caseload from years of war making and a budget chronically underfunded by a Congress that talks a good game on veterans but has failed repeatedly to deliver.

Shinseki apologized for VA problems before his meeting with Obama. The buck stops with him in the department, make no mistake. But can we also reflect for a tiny moment that Shinseki is believable when he expresses remorse? He lost part of a foot in combat in Vietnam. He went on to be a four-star general. Conservatives have long despised him for his truth-telling about insufficient troop commitments by George Bush in Iraq. The chicken hawks who are now waving his head around on a pole for political points aren't fit to carry his briefcase.

Here's the local angle yet to be explored. We have a huge VA system in Arkansas. We know Phoenix was a disaster. What will reviews show about service to veterans here. If I was an Arkansan in Congress, I'd be well on my way to having answers to those questions now.

UPDATE: Sen. Mark Pryor weighs in with a measured statement:

Secretary Shinseki is a decorated war hero, and there's no question he cares deeply about our veterans after 40 years wearing our nation's uniform. I respect his service to our country, and I respect his decision today to step down as VA Secretary in light of the disturbing treatment of veterans at facilities in Arizona and elsewhere. It’s clear there’s a lack of integrity within the VA system and we need to fix it immediately. We have a long road ahead, but I will deliver on my promise to get to the bottom of this for Arkansas veterans.

Tags: , ,


Speaking of Eric Shinseki, Mark Pryor

Comments (35)

Showing 1-35 of 35

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-35 of 35

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Arkansas Supreme Court denies rehearing in death penalty challenge, but delays mandate

    The Arkansas Supreme Court today refused to rehear the case denying Death Row inmates information about drugs used by the state in the lethal injection process.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Welspun layoffs: Another example of corporate welfare folly

    Layoffs at the Welspun pipe plant in Little Rock are a reminder of the folly of corporate welfare and the inability of Arkansas to separate itself from global economic forces. See the Fayetteville shale. And keep a watchful eye on that Sun Paper pulp mill proposed near Arkadelphia.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Hamburg bank manager gets 21 months for theft

    Melinda Gwin, 49, of Hamburg has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and ordered to repay $210,875 stolen from the First National Bank of Crossett. She was sentenced in El Dorado federal court, according to a Justice Department news release.
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Hate group sponsors gathering in advance of Fayetteville ordinance vote

    The Family Research Council, the Southern Poverty Law Center-labeled hate group led by Tony Perkins, is sponsoring a gathering of preachers Tuesday in Fayetteville (local cheerleader Jerry Cox is sending out the call) that seems likely to be intended to organize opposition to the Dec. 9 vote on repeal of Fayetteville's civil rights ordinance.
    • Dec 1, 2014
  • Friday open line, with an early line on Justin Harris news conference

    The open line and video roundup includes some ideas about new elements in the story about Rep. Justin Harri's controversial adoption in advance of his scheduled news conference.
    • Mar 6, 2015
  • UPDATE: Where's the love? Equality sign defaced

    Somebody defaced a sign opposing repeal of Fayetteville's civil rights ordinance with a spray painted pejorative term for a gay man. A group supporting the ordinance says it still believes Fayetteville is a fair city and that this will be an isolated incident. Churches are leading the campaign to repeal the ordinance, which provides civil rights protection to gay people
    • Dec 2, 2014

Most Shared

  • Tackling autism, child by child

    An Arkansas Children's Hospital doctor is testing a new drug that targets one of a host of ailments the highly individual disorder can cause.
  • Tom Cotton flat on his big night

    Sen. Tom Cotton's big Republican National Convention speech was nothing to write home about.
  • 1957 all over again

    Last week, the State Board of Education voted to ignore federal courts and allow school district transfers that will encourage segregation.
  • Death penalty lives

    Barely clinging to its flagging life, the death penalty got a merciful reprieve last month from the unlikeliest quarter, the Arkansas Supreme Court.
  • Drinking culture

    Here we go again. At the rate these campus sexual abuse sagas are making news, it's reasonable to ask what college administrators can possibly be thinking about.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Escaped killer captured


    • on July 23, 2016
  • Re: Tip: State closing Rehab hospital beds in Hot Springs

    • With patient safety concerns at an all-time high, it may be time to think about…

    • on July 23, 2016
  • Re: Open Line

    • Like pieces of a puzzle . . . or possibly an Illuminati move: toward what…

    • on July 23, 2016



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation