“….That very frankly he confessed his treasons, implored your highness’ pardon and set forth a deep repentance: nothing in his life became him like the leaving it…..”
I write this diary early Friday morning with the full expectation that around 5 PM this afternoon, the WH will announce that Eric Shinseki has been fired (allowed to resign) as head of the VA.
Shinseki has to go. He has been in charge of the VA for 5 years, and the buck stops with him. He has been a weak, and ineffective manager. Though in fairness much of the blame lies with the White House. It was Obama’s job to provide the drive, the impetus, to fix the VA. He did nothing.
As a career military officer, Shinseki should know that he has to resign; indeed, he should have done so when the scandal first broke. But instead, he has allowed himself to become a political pinata, twisting in the wind as reporters attempt to interpret the significance of the latest insipid comments about his status from WH mouthpiece Jay Carney.
So general, do yourself proud. Go out the right way, on your own terms. And most of all, keep the faith with our veterans, many of whom you at one time commanded.
Announce a press conference for noon today, at the WW II Memorial. The media will cover it. Don’t answer any phone calls or pages from the White House. Until then, take a quiet stroll around Arlington. The long white rows of crosses and Stars of David, standing silent guard, will tell you that you’re doing the right thing. The voices that permeate that hallowed ground will speak to you, help you find the right words.
So, general, what should you then say?
It’s quite easy. There are three things to cover:
1. That you have delivered your resignation to the President, effective immediately.
2. That you sincerely apologize to veterans, and their families, for not having done a better job for them.
3. That you will devote your remaining years to doing everything possible to assist veterans in need.
You will find the right words; they will come to you. My only suggestion would be that you not speak more that 271 words. After all, as we all know, once can say a great deal in 272 words. And of course, take no questions.
And we may one day be able to say of you, general, that “nothing in your career became you like the leaving it.”