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Obama’s military adviser: Loves 100 year wars, hates democracy.

March 22nd, 2008 · No Comments · Politics

Retired Airforce General Tony Peak is a co-chair of Obama’s campaign and also one of the candidate’s military advisers. A week into the Iraq War, he gave an interview to The Oregonian offering some thoughts on Iraq.

I actually find nearly everything he said to be spot-on as he criticizes our failure to get Saudi Arabia and Turkey involved, our “maladroit” preparation and the decision to go after Iraq (”a regional problem”) instead of North Korea (”a problem of global military significance”). All of those are 100% legitimate positions - especially coming as they did mere days into the Iraq War,

Near the end of the interview, however, he goes all McCainy:

Is Iraq the last country we confront in the Middle East?

Who wants to volunteer to get cross-ways with us? We’ll be there a century, hopefully. If it works right.

We’ll stay in Iraq for 100 years, hopefully. That’s significantly stronger than McCain’s “willingness to stay in Iraq for 100 years” if necessary. What is it with these respected military veterans and their belief that sometimes it takes decades to stabilize and support nations we’ve had military interaction with?

McPeak goes on to add:

I’ll tell you one thing we should not hope for (is) a democratic Iraq. When I hear the president talking about democracy, the last thing we should want is an election in Iraq. We’re not very popular. So I don’t think we’ll see any open elections in Iraq for a long time.

Hopefully over time they can be brought along like Japan and Germany — Japan and Germany were relatively easy, I think, and South Korea.

He’s actually quite right, but I can see the opposition having a field day characterizing him as “anti-democracy” and in favor of longterm military rule.

So, for the Obama camp, this is a mix of good and bad.

The good:

McPeak appears to be an excellent military adviser. He’s precise, experienced, largely non-partisan (he worked on Dole’s 1996 campaign) and seems to have a grasp of the Middle East that exceeds the current administration’s by orders of magnitude. Having him on board is a hefty positive in Obama’s favor (at least in terms of foreign policy).

The bad:

Going after McCain for the “100 year” comment was always sleazy, as Obama has routinely mischaracterized McCain as wanting a 100 year war rather than recognizing what McCain ACTUALLY said, which was that he’d be willing to stay for 100 years if necessary to establish and keep the peace in Iraq. Now, it’s sleazy AND hypocritical.

Unless this is another case of someone closely tied to Obama in an advisory role that he neither listens to nor agrees with. Which, I suppose, would be a scandal unto itself.


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