About the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan — not merely the proposal to surge more troops into the quagmire but the occupation itself — he says: “I want people in Iowa, people in Arkansas, people in Arizona, to call their congressman and say, ‘Listen, I don’t think this is right.'”
Who is this radical peacenik who fails to recognize the necessity of the mission in Afghanistan, let alone the role that it plays in the broader “war on terror”?
His name is Matthew Hoh.
What’s his story? Oh, you know, the usual: Former Marine Corps captain with combat experience in Iraq, where he received citations for “uncommon bravery”; uniformed officer serving at the Pentagon; top recruit to the State Department; senior U.S. civilian official in Afghanistan’s Zabul province, where he has confronted the challenges posed by the Taliban firsthand.
In a four-page letter to the State Department’s head of personnel, Hoh wrote: “I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”
The occupation, Hoh says, is fueling the insurgency.
In other words, the continued U.S. presence is making things worse rather than better in Afghanistan.
That’s not a radical conclusion. It parallels statements made by veteran Central Intelligence Agency analysts, diplomats and soldiers in Robert Greenwald’s powerful documentary, “Rethink Afghanistan.”
As such, the decorated Marine says, the point of the continued occupation is called into question.
In his letter, Hoh noted that the families of soldiers who perish in combat “must be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, love vanished, and promised dreams unkept.”
Unfortunately, he concluded, “I have lost confidence such assurances can be made any more.”
Statements like that one made Hoh’s September 10 letter one of the most potent statements about a mission that has long been misinterpreted by generals and misunderstood by official Washington.
Making his objections known as President Obama is weighing calls for a dramatic expansion of the U.S. military force in Afghanistan, Hoh’s letter is a blockbuster.