It is hard to understand how General Shinseki, as Secretary of the VA, could have let this VA crisis expand under his watch. Yes, the crisis started before 2008, but under his watch it has continued to explode and there was plenty of notice to an attentive leader. His job was to fix it. He didn’t do his job. He should go. He should also make this easy for President Obama and not make him fire him, he should simply resign.
Of course it is with some sadness that we watch a great soldier leave a job under these circumstances. How did it happen? The only thing I can think of, and I am trying to give it a better interpretation than that he can’t do the job or that he doesn’t care – since I do believe he really cares about the military – is that he is out of touch with 99.9% of vets, the vets without lots of Stars and Stripes. That happens with Generals. Generals hang out with Generals and don’t often know many who don’t have stars or stripes on their uniforms. If you don’t know them, you can’t begin to know their problems and if you don’t know the problems, you can’t fix them.
Second, I suspect adding to this is that Generals get great attention and deference from everyone. No one would ever make a General wait for anything, anytime. Once a General, always a General. Of course he has not always been a General (and he has served our country with great distinction and sacrifice) but he has been a General long enough so that he may have forgotten and may think everyone gets the service and attention he does. When you get first class service long enough in every aspect of your life, it is easy to forget what most go through.
Let that be a lesson to everyone else.
And that everyone includes me. I am going to make sure that I open my eyes, and see what the young people are doing at my work place….and if they help, or need career guidance, I am going to make sure I am available.