Robert Novak

Gen. Eric Shinseki, the Army's retiring chief of staff, is sending friends and associates a chapter from the memoirs of a famous predecessor to justify his public disagreement with Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld over how many occupation troops will be needed in Iraq.

Shinseki dispatched Chapter 31 of the late Gen. Matthew Ridgway's memoirs [buy book]. Explaining disagreement over spending levels with Defense Secretary Charles Wilson during the Eisenhower administration, Ridgway wrote: " . . . the professional soldier should never pull his punches, should never let himself for one moment be dissuaded from stating the honest estimates his own military experience and judgment tell him will be needed to do the job required of him."

Civilian Pentagon officials privately said Shinseki should move up his June retirement date after his Senate testimony predicting "hundreds of thousands" of U.S. troops will be necessary to occupy Iraq. Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz publicly rejected Shinseki's forecast. In 1955, Ridgway hastened his retirement by several months after budget disputes with Wilson.


With National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice bowing out of consideration as an opponent of Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in California next year, prominent Republicans in the state are eyeing another potential minority female candidate: Rosario Marin, treasurer of the United States.

Marin, 44, came to Los Angeles from Mexico with her parents at age 14, speaking no English. She served for seven years in Republican Gov. Pete Wilson's administration and was elected councilwoman and mayor of Huntington Park (which has a 99 percent Hispanic population). President Bush named her U.S. treasurer in 2001.

California Republican strategists question the viability of several congressmen mentioned as possible challengers of Boxer. They see Marin, though unknown statewide, cutting into Latino supporters vital to the Democratic base.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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