There have been a couple of less than glowing comments on President-elect Obama’s pick of General Shinseki to lead V.A.—generally from the “usual suspects”—but otherwise the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive.
One of the most substantial endorsements I have come across thus far comes from none other than IAVA, “Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America,” the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its mission is to improve the lives of this country’s newest generation of veterans and their families.
Here are parts of their statement:
IAVA Applauds Bold and Historic Choice
IAVA applauds President-elect Obama and the transition team for making this historic selection. General Shinseki has a record of courage and honesty, and is a bold choice to lead the VA into the future.
General Shinseki is widely-respected, honest and experienced. He is a man that has always put patriotism ahead of politics, and is held in high regard by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
As a wounded, decorated, combat veteran, and the first Asian American in US History to be a four-star general, General Shinseki, has the potential to be an effective and dedicated advocate for veterans of all generations.
This is a critical time for veterans. One in five veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing serious mental health injuries like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or depression. Wounded veterans are waiting months, sometimes years, to receive disability benefits. The struggling U.S. economy is hitting new veterans especially hard.
General Shinseki has a monumental task before him. To address these issues will require real leadership that encourages active VA outreach and transparency. We encourage General Shinseki to move quickly to add Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to key positions in his senior staff.
President-elect Obama made veterans’ issues a priority in his campaign, and Michelle Obama has called military families one of the issues she cares most about. We look forward to working closely with General Shinseki and the new Administration to ensure every veteran in this country gets the care and support they have earned.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.