No doubt by now, you’ve probably heard of the Fort Hood murder rampage by Major Nidal Malik Hasan. This past Tuesday, the funeral for the thirteen fallen soldiers was held; in attendance along with President Obama was Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. The Times does a nice profile of the challenges Shinseki faces since he’s been sworn into office:
“For months, Mr. Shinseki has been crisscrossing the country as President Obama’s pinstriped evangelist for veterans’ care, raising concerns about a coming tide of post-traumatic stress cases, traumatic brain injuries and other physical and psychological scars of battle… The problems are daunting. Nearly 8 million of the 23.4 million veterans are enrolled in the veterans system, which administers compensation for disabled veterans and runs the nation’s largest health care system … But amid the plaudits, some advocates wonder how well a general can run a bureaucracy filled with unionized civil servants. He can hire and fire at will only a few dozen of the department’s 298,000 employees. And some friends worry whether Mr. Shinseki, famously plainspoken and earnest, can survive in sharp-elbowed Washington.”
After reading the daunting challenges, who the hell would want this job? I give a lot of credit to Shinseki to taking on the challenges of trying to transform this unwieldy government agency; it’s a true testament that Shinseki has risen to every call of duty.