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Monday, December 06, 2004

A question for General Eric Shinseki

This morning, I was fortunate enough to sit in a question and answer session with General Shinseki, former Army Chief of Staff from 1999-2003. Shinseki famously admitted America would need "several hundreds of thousands" of troops in Iraq and was eased out of his position for his truthfulness. The question I asked him regarded the mixing of the Armed Services and politics:

Jonathan Singer: In recent years, we have seen Generals Al Haig and Wes Clark run for their party's nominations with varying levels of success, and in 1996 there were rumors that General Colin Powell would run for President. Do you see politics in your future? And in general, what are your feelings on military men running for elective office?

General Eric Shinseki: I don't see politics in my future, so let's put that aside.

I'm not sure that we necessarily have the skills to be good politicians. It's a different world. Al Haig, Wes Clark, and Colin Powell all ran for their own personal reasons with varying degrees of success. John Glenn was more successful, Glenn coming from the Marine Corps.
As it was a Q&A session, I only got to ask one question. Further, although my notetaking skills are good, they are not perfect, so unlike my transcribed interviews (one of which should be published tomorrow morning), some liberties may have been taken. Nevertheless, this accurately reflects his answer in my estimation.

I'm off to hear him give his prepared speech now, however. If you happen to be in Claremont, the event is free (I believe) and open to the public. The location is the Rose Hills Theater in Pomona College's Smith Campus Center and it will begin at 8:00. I'll try to bring you the best parts upon my return.

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