[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/08/obama.shinseki/art.shinseki.gi.jpg caption="Retired Gen. Eric Shinseki was selected by President-Elect Barack Obama to be his Secretary of Veterans Affairs."]Editor's Note: The nomination of retired Army Chief Gen. Eric Shinseki to be secretary of veterans affairs is widely seen as an appointment with a message, since Shinseki ran afoul of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. But CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent Jamie McIntyre has the inside story of how Shinseki's reputation as a "truth-teller" has been burnished beyond what the facts support.
CNN Senior Pentagon Correspondent
In fairness to Gen. Eric Shinseki, he's never said "I told you so."
But many others have elevated his now-famous February 2003 testimony to the level of Scripture.
Shinseki was right, they say, when he told the Senate Armed Services Committee a month before the invasion that something on the order "several hundred thousand troops" would be necessary to keep order in a post-invasion Iraq.
At the time, that observation drew loud scoffs from then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and from his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, who dismissed the prediction as "wildly off the mark."
Still, Shinseki wasn't advocating 300,000 troops be dispatched into Iraq. In fact, he said specifically that the forces mobilized in the region to that point were probably enough, and he made it clear he would have defer to the combatant commander, Gen. Tommy Franks.
"I would have to rely on combatant commanders' exact requirements," he said.
But pressed by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Michigan, to make an off-the-cuff guesstimate, Shinseki said "it would take a significant ground force."
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