March 5th, 2010 5:33 pm | by JAMES PITKIN News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, CLEAN UP

One Year Later, an Oregon Military Analyst Still Questions Obama's Afghan Surge

Merrill McPeak

A retired Air Force general who served as a military adviser to Barack Obama's 2008 campaign says the president made the wrong choice doubling down on Afghanistan.

Merrill McPeak, who's now living in Lake Oswego, helped plan the first Gulf War as a member of President George H.W. Bush's Joint Chiefs of Staff. He tells WW he would have advised Obama against his decision last year to send 30,000 additional troops.

McPeak says it was the right decision at the wrong time.

"The problem is, the time to be right about that was four or five years ago, before we diverted our attention to Iraq," McPeak says. "We are making an increased commitment too late, after the issue is essentially out of our control."

McPeak's Afghanistan fears have been echoed by other Oregonians who supported Obama's campaign, including U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.). And McPeak is no stranger to controversy.

During the 2008 campaign, right-wing websites dredged up past comments McPeak made that were interpreted as anti-Israeli — eliciting mea culpas from McPeak.

WW first profiled McPeak in 2007 as one of several Oregonians who had found a way to benefit — however indirectly — from the Iraq War. In McPeak's case, he parlayed the conflict into national notoriety as a military analyst.

McPeak's analysis now: Obama is right on Iraq, but he erred in his Afghanistan surge strategy.

"I think he's on the right track in Iraq, having announced a draw-down — and he's executing a draw-down right now," McPeak says. "(But) the commitment to up the ante (in Afghanistan) over the next couple of years is difficult for me to believe is a good idea."

Check out what other early Obama backers think of his first year as president in our cover story from earlier this year.
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