AP Fact Check: Gen. Shinseki 'Forced Into Retirement' by Bush Administration

A December 7, 2008, wire article by the Associated Press' David Espo claims, "[Former Army chief of staff Gen. Eric] Shinseki was forced into retirement by the Bush administration after he said the original invasion plan for Iraq did not include enough troops." (President-elect Obama recently announced Gen. Shinseki would head the Veterans Affairs Department.)

The truth? No such thing happened. FactCheck.org, among other sources, debunked this myth over four years ago.

On Feb. 25, 2003, Gen. Shinseki told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would be needed for an occupation of Iraq. On June 11, 2003, Gen Shinseki retired. A favorite tale by Democrats during the 2004 presidential campaign was that Gen. Shinseki was "forced out" by the Bush administration because Shineski's views were at odds with Donald Rumsfeld's.

However, Gen. Shinseki's retirement had already been announced in the media nearly a year before his Senate testimony. As FactCheck.org notes, the Washington Times published news of Gen. Shinseki's retirement on April 19, 2002:

He (Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld) and Army Secretary Thomas White have settled on Gen. John M. Keane, Army deputy chief of staff, to succeed the current chief, Gen. Eric Shinseki. Gen. Shinseki does not retire for more than a year. Sources offer differing reasons for the early selection.

In other words, nobody was "forced out" of anywhere. The AP should most certainly issue a correction on this.

Military Associated Press David Espo