[Ed. – But he doesn’t have any self-respect.]
I do not think that General Eric Shinseki should fall on a literal sword, but he already is overdue for the metaphorical one. There is recent precedent: In the Czech Republic, theentire government stepped down over a relatively picayune corruption scandal in which politicians bought off potential opponents with government jobs; in Turkey, senior ministers resigned after a similar scandal, though the prime minister resisted calls for his resignation; the prime minister of Luxembourg, Europe’s longest-serving leader, announced his resignation when it was revealed that his spy agencies were misbehaving; the governor of Tokyostepped down over a dodgy loan from a hospital operator; etc. These are premiers and heads of parliamentary governments and senior leaders; what’s an obscure cabinet secretary by comparison?
The emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius once observed that if a man knew for certain that he would die the next day, or the day after that, he would care very much about which day it was to be, the difference being so slight, only if were among the most abject and degraded of souls. General Shinseki has nothing in front of him but degradation; a less abject man would already have resigned in acknowledgement of his own failure to meet his responsibilities and as a gesture of atonement to the nation he failed. Clinging to his position at this point can be a source of nothing other than shame. He is on his way out — why not leave with some honor?
I wrote in passing yesterday that if President Obama or the people of this country had any self-respect, he’d resign over the scandal of the Veterans Affairs hospitals….