Obama to nominate critic of Rumsfeld as head of Veterans Affairs

US president-elect Barack Obama will announce Sunday the nomination of retired army general Eric Shinseki — who warned Donald Rumsfeld that a large force was needed to invade Iraq — as head of the Department of Veteran Affairs.

The president-elect is to make the announcement on NBC television, which released an advance transcript of an interview scheduled to air on Sunday.

If confirmed by Congress Shinseki, 66, would be the first Asian-American to head the VA, the second largest US government agency after the department of defense itself and fiercely criticized in many quarters for failing to properly help Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

“I’m going to be making announcement … about the head of our Veterans Administration, General Eric Shinseki,” Obama told NBC.

“I think that General Shinseki is exactly the right person who is going to be able to make sure that we honor our troops when they come home,” Obama said.

Hawaii-born Shinseki, who is of Japanese descent, was the first Asian-American to be a four-star general and the first to head one of the branches of the US military. He was appointed army chief of staff by then-president Bill Clinton in 1999.


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