ABC's Stephanopoulos Failed to Correct Al Gore on Gen. Shinseki Myth

On yesterday's This Week (Sun. June 4, 2006), host George Stephanopoulos failed to correct guest Al Gore when he falsely claimed that Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army's former Chief of Staff, was "cashiered" by the Bush administration in 2003 for testifying that "something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers" would be required for an occupation of Iraq. The truth, as documented at several sites, including factcheck.org, is that Gen. Shinseki had announced his retirement nearly a year before his testimony. Gen. Shinseki had fully served his four-year term, and according to CNN, no Army chief of staff has served longer than four years since World War II.

Al Gore is the latest among a growing list of Democrats to voice this myth surrounding Gen. Shinseki.

Sen. John Kerry popularized the myth in an October 8, 2004, debate with President Bush, when he said, "They [the Bush administration] retired General Shineski for telling him that" (for telling President Bush that more troops were needed in Iraq).

Rep. John Murtha said on the November 20, 2005, episode of Meet the Press, "Tim, Tim, come on. They fired Shinseki when he said they needed 200,000 troops."
... On December 1, 2006, Murtha repeated the myth to NPR host Melissa Block.
... Rep. Murtha implied the same on the March 19, 2006, episode of Meet the Press, when he said, "Well, the Pentagon doesn’t support it publicly [Murtha's view on the war], obviously, because of what happened to General Shinseki."

Al Franken implied the Shinseki myth in his 2005 tome, (ironically entitled) The Truth (pages 231 and 236).

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TRANSCRIPT (from video here):

GORE (responding to a question about Iraq): The environment has been set where truth is a career decision for this administration. When Gen. Shinseki told the truth about what was needed [in troop levels] before the war in preparing for it, he was cashiered prematurely.

George Stephanopoulos did not correct Gore on this falsehood.

HT: Larry Elder, KABC, the Sage from South Central.

Dave Pierre
Dave Pierre is a contributing writer to NewsBusters and the creator of TheMediaReport.com.