United States Air Force general
How to Secure Israel: Demilitarized land for peace is the key to a settlement (April 2008)Edit
- Full text of "How to Secure Israel: Demilitarized land for peace is the key to a settlement" (10 April 2008), by Merrill McPeak, Foreign Affairs Journal
- More than 30 years ago, ... I wrote, and Foreign Affairs published, an article now being circulated in the blogosphere as evidence of an alleged anti-Israel point of view. Some commentators reach farther, suggesting that since I have been an active supporter of Barack Obama's presidential bid he, too, is anti-Israel. Both these assertions fall flat after any objective reading of the historical record.
- 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.
- As for the article, much has changed in 32 years and much has not. The essential argument holds: no set of realistically achievable geographic borders produces safety for Israel. Rather, the security requirement is that any of the territory taken in the Six-Day War and given back as part of a peace settlement should be effectively demilitarized. Of course, the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt long ago in exactly this way, resulting in relative quiet along Israel's southern border and creating a fundamental shift in the regional balance of forces. This opportunity was not skillfully exploited, so the result has been a "cold peace." But it is nevertheless peace and has served the interests of both sides.
- Trump is unexpectedly increasing my enthusiasm for Hillary. What he is saying is not based on facts: it's based on immaturity, bad judgment and ignorance, and I think it's going to be hard for people in uniform who are thoughtful about this, to vote for him.
- As quoted in "What Does the Military Think of Donald Trump?" (15 June 2016), Time
- Encyclopedic article on Merrill McPeak on Wikipedia