McPeak Responds To His Critics

Gen. Merrill A. "Tony" McPeak (ret.), a foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama, has responded to his critics.

In 1976, then Col. McPeak published an essay in Foreign Affairs entitled "Israel: Borders and Security," where he argued that it was "territorial return which constitutes Israel's chief bargaining" power, and that Israel ought to cede much of the territory it won in the 1967 war in exchange for Arab world concessions.

The American Spectator's Robert Goldberg wrote that the article was in keeping with McPeak's general " anti-Israel and anti-Jewish" outlook, which included a history of comments blaming the pro-Israel vote in "New York" and "Miami" for tilting US policy away from common sense in the region.

In an brief response just posted on Foreign Affairs's website, McPeak flatly denies that either he or Obama is "anti-Israel."

I am a long-time admirer (and think myself a friend) of Israel. In the early 1970s, I played a key role in getting advanced weaponry released to the Israeli Air Force-- capabilities it later put to active use. During that period, I made many official visits to Israel and established close relationships there. These contacts turned out to be useful during Operation Desert Storm, when, as chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force, I worked with my Israeli counterparts to help defend Israel from Iraqi Scud missile attacks.

I was a vocal opponent of the George W. Bush Administration's decision to invade Iraq, a strategic blunder made worse by slapdash execution. As we have seen, this star-crossed action took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan, breathed new life into a moribund al Qaeda, and enhanced Iranian influence in this critical region-- all outcomes which damaged both the United States and our ally Israel.

It is my view and hope that Israel will have our continued support. I wish it every success. Of course, what Israel regards as success is up to it to decide. But for friends like me, "success" means a secure Israel at peace with neighbors who recognize and respect its existence. Even so, we should maintain our special relationship and help Israel keep its qualitative military edge.