RUSH: We've got veterans dying because they're not getting adequate medical care. Do you remember this name Shinseki, this guy that's running the VA. Eric Shinseki, do you remember why he's famous? Do you remember why he's even at the VA? Shinseki was one of the first uniformed military people to trash Bush and the Iraq war for the Democrats back in the second term of George W. Bush. And I'll never forget, John Kerry, who, you may not know, served in Vietnam, was running around quoting Eric Shinseki day in and day out.
I'm gonna have one of my researchers look into it. I'm gonna find out exactly when it was that Shinseki first popped up as a uniformed -- this is key now, active duty uniformed critic. He was one of the first and he became an instant hero of the left and the media. So they put him over at the VA, and just like everybody else in this administration, they can't run diddly-squat. But you tell these people that our troops are raping women and terrorizing children in Iraq, and they'll believe it just like that, and they'll make a move to put 'em on trial just like that. You put 'em in charge of actually doing something for people and they fail miserably. But you put 'em in charge of caring and saying how much they care, and they excel at it.
RUSH: Eric Shinseki. His notoriety began even before the Iraq war began. Eric Shinseki was a uniformed Democrat, actively opposed to Iraq before it started. John Kerry loved him, the John Kerry that served in Vietnam, constantly quoting him. One of the things that Shinseki said, he was the Army chief of staff at the time. I mean, this isn't an insignificant position. General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, told Senator Kerry he was going to need several hundred thousand troops -- this is in response to a question of the committee -- several hundred thousand troops.
General Shinseki said there was no way to win the Iraq war. No way to go in there. No way to occupy unless we sent several hundred thousand troops. And then John Kerry said they retired General Shinseki for telling him that. The president hasn't listened. This was in a debate on October 8th, 2004. This was Kerry talking to the American people in a debate. So Shinseki's been a hero of these people for a long time. If you think you've heard the name, that's why. Army chief of staff opposed Iraq, said it wouldn't work, it's impossible. Bush wasn't adequately prepared, no way. Kerry loved it. Now the guy's running the VA into the ground, patients are dying.
New York Times praised Shinseki back in 2009. A second act for General Shinseki. They love this guy. You have to understand, folks, this is classic. The guy's not qualified to run anything except in his own mind and the in minds of these leftists 'cause he cares. He made his bones, he came out, he humiliated Bush, he thought. He criticized Bush. He was anti-war, anti-Iraq. And he was the one that allowed all the Democrats to -- let me reset this picture here for just a second because the vote authorizing use of force in Iraq was a two-phased vote.
The Democrats misread the public mood, and when the original vote authorizing President Bush to use force in Iraq was taken, a lot of Democrats voted against it. And then they learned that the vast majority of the American people were for it and they demanded a second vote. Bush acquiesced, okay, if you want to vote again, go ahead. He had the Republicans in Congress, go ahead and let 'em vote again. So the Democrats could all go on record as supporting the use-of-force authorization in Iraq.
Now, another thing that you may not remember. This didn't happen overnight. Bush spent 18 months building up his case, making his case, traveling all over the country and making speeches, going to the UN and, you know, General Powell, the weapons of mass destruction. But my point is -- I'm not trying to relive the WMD thing. The point is Bush didn't say on a Friday we're going to war on Monday and do it. It was a year and a half. The president made his case.
The American people overwhelmingly supported him in the first vote to authorize use of force. I mean, the president even withheld action until Congress had voted. He gave them an opportunity to be part of it, and the first vote, a whole slew of Democrats voted "no." And the outrage directed at them from the American people was such that they demanded a second vote. Hillary, John Kerry, all of them ultimately in the second vote voted to go to war in Iraq. That's why everything that they did after that is hypocritical and phony baloney, plastic banana, good-time rock 'n' roll because they voted for it.
They wanted to act like they never did. They then spent six years saying Bush lied. Well, we went back and found out that Bill Clinton in 1998, in the midst of the Lewinsky scandal, used almost the same statistics and the same reasons. It was uncanny, the words that Bill Clinton used seeking support from Congress to use force in Iraq in '98 that Bush used in 2002, 2003, really was uncanny. And when Clinton wanted the authorization to use force in 1998, every Democrat voted for it without thinking about it, granted, Democrat president, Democrat Congress, you got it.
Here comes Bush, four, five years later, same arguments, folks, do not doubt me, same arguments, Democrats want no part of it, 'cause they politicize everything. Then they see that the American people are all for it, they demand a second vote. And after the second vote, General Shinseki pops up and says, well, this doesn't have a prayer. You can't do this without hundreds and hundreds of thousands of troops, we're not ready, this isn't gonna work, and that's all it took.
Shinseki gave the Democrats the cover to run away from their "yes" votes on the use of force in Iraq and allowed them to pretend those "yes" votes never happened. And so over the next six years, the Democrats and the media did everything they could to destroy Bush, to secure defeat in Iraq so they could hang that around Bush's neck. You remember the Daily News stories of the body counts, all the stories of terrorism committed by American troops.
The now deceased Pennsylvania Congressman had an airport named after him. John Murtha. Some of the stuff that they were saying about our troops, folks, was unconscionable. And it was all political. But the guy that really paved the way for all these Democrats, particularly in the Senate, to run away from their authorization to use force votes was Eric Shinseki, uniformed, Army chief of staff, ripping into Bush gave 'em all cover. Because here's a military guy, expert, he's Army chief of staff. So he was paid back by being named VA -- here's the New York Times story in 2009.
"Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the retired Army chief of staff who presciently predicted that stabilizing Iraq would take more troops than had been committed to the invasion, pledged Wednesday to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs to better fulfill the nation’s promises to those who have served in uniform." As Obama's nominee -- Obama hadn't even been immaculated yet. This is before the inauguration, January 2009. This is two days, in fact, January 14, two days before I went public and said, "I hope he fails." Just to give you some timeline.
"As President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee to head the second-largest bureaucracy in the government, behind the Pentagon, General Shinseki said that if confirmed he would streamline the disability claims system, use new information technologies to improve the delivery of benefits and services, and focus on unemployed and homeless veterans. ... When he retired in June 2003 after 38 years as a soldier, General Shinseki was the highest-ranking Asian-American in United States military history." That speaks for itself, too.
So that's the guy they sent over there to run the VA that's made an absolute mess of it, as big a mess of the VA as Obama has made of Obamacare. It's such a tragedy. It is a genuine tragedy that these people are in leadership positions. They just don't have the qualifications. And, I'm sorry, folks, but caring just isn't a qualification, not by itself.
RUSH: October 8th, 2004, St. Louis, Washington University. It's the second debate between President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry, the haughty Senator John Kerry, who at one time in his life served in Vietnam. They're talking about the Iraq war. Remember, Kerry was part of the cabal that asked for a second vote. After first voting "no" on the use of force, they all wanted to vote "yes" to get on the right side of public opinion. And then Shinseki came out and said, "You can't do this without multiple hundreds of thousands of troops." And, by the way, he was not right. I mean, the surge, the maximum number of troops we had in Iraq's 170,000, and Shinseki said we needed at least twice that. But we pulled it off with the surge, and we eventually got out of there victoriously.
What's happened since is another story, but the Iraq war -- see, the problem is too many people think we lost it. The media has got everybody convinced we lost the Iraq war, that we were humiliated, Bush didn't know what he was doing, because there weren't any weapons of mass destruction. So it was all lost. It was just a humiliating experience for the US and another reason why we shouldn't use our military very much. See, the left loves military failure, particularly when they're not in the White House, because it just gives 'em another bit of ammo to advocate for not using the military, except for Meals on Wheels type thing, social experimentation, this kind of thing. But military failure, "Oh, yeah, man. See that? We have no business being in Iraq."
Now, if the hashtag doesn't work to get the girls back you wait, these same people are gonna say we should send maybe some armed drones in there instead of just camera-equipped drones. But I just want to play for you, 2004, St. Louis, presidential debate, here's John Kerry, who just a year earlier had voted for the Iraq war.
KERRY: We didn't have enough forces. General Shinseki, the Army chief of staff, told 'em he was gonna need several hundred thousand and guess what? They retired General Shinseki for telling him that. This president hasn't listened.
RUSH: Now, my point in playing this is Shinseki has been a hero to the left since 2003. He got the VA gig because of it. Kerry was one of his big champions, loved him, loved him, uniformed military Army chief of staff ripping into Bush. That's all the cover they needed. I got sick and tired of hearing the name Shinseki here, Shinseki there. He was the only person according to the media or the Democrat Party that had any military credibility. Rumsfeld didn't have any, General Myers didn't have any, nobody active duty prosecuting the war had any credibility. Shinseki had all the credibility. And now look at the VA under these people. It's an embarrassment. It's worse than an embarrassment. It's a disaster.
RUSH: Now, one other thing with John Kerry. He claimed that George Bush fired Eric Shinseki for his disagreement statements on Iraq. Not true. Shinseki's retirement was announced in April of 2002, long before he testified about the Iraq war. His retirement was announced easily a year and a half before he said anything about Iraq. So Kerry just made that up.
RUSH: Okay. Shinseki has fired somebody at the VA. They got a scapegoat. Have his name right in front of me but he's gone. Shinseki stays, predictably so.