WASHINGTON (AFP) - Protesters opposed to President Barack Obamas planned troop surge for Afghanistan on Wednesday urged top aides Hillary Clinton and Michael Mullen to reconsider making an epic mistake. As the US Secretary of State and the top US uniformed military officer, joined by Defence Secretary of State Robert Gates, came before lawmakers, demonstrators from the Code Pink anti-war group peacefully challenged them. Hillary You know better member Medea Benjamin, who wore a fuchsia sash emblazoned with Surge: Big Mistake on the front and No Afghan War on the back, called as Hillary entered the Senate Armed Services Committee room. Demonstrators held up signs showing a portrait of Obama next to the warning hopeless escalation - a play on his audacity of hope 2008 White House campaign slogan - and said strife-torn Afghanistan and the cash-strapped US superpower would both be better off with more jobs. Mike Thats a peaceful name one of Benjamins two fellow protesters called out, briefly catching Mullens eye. We cant afford this escalation or this war. You do realise this is a misadventure, Benjamin called out to Mullen. The Afghans dont need more troops, they need more economic development, jobs, she added, warning of an endless cycle of violence if Obama proceeds with plans to send 30,000 more US troops to the strife-torn country. As the hearing began, Gates worried that only Hillarys microphone worked and joked that perhaps she should be the only witness, prompting Benjamin to call out: Yes Civilian surge The committees chairman, Democratic Senator Carl Levin, and its top Republican, Senator John McCain, each guardedly welcomed Obamas new plan but expressed deep concerns that reflected a broader split in the US Congress. Levin reiterated his longstanding concern that the gravest problem in Afghanistan is a shortage of Afghan troops and questioned whether Obamas strategy would remedy the problem or only worsen the situation. Troop increases should be judged by whether they advance that mission, said Levin, one of his partys leaders on military affairs. McCain renewed his strong objection to Obamas target date of July 2011 for beginning a US withdrawal, warning it would make it less likely that Afghans would throw their lot in with US forces. Yes, this war will one day end. But it should end when we have achieved our goals. Success is the real exit strategy, said McCain.