promoting the unwanted, redheaded stepchild that is individual liberty

Former Marine, diplomat resigns protesting Afghan war

In foreign policy, protest, war and peace on November 3, 2009 at 9:21 pm

As a statement of protest, a former Marine captain has resigned from his position as a diplomat in one of the Taliban’s strongholds in Afghanistan. Last week, Matthew Hoh made headlines when he announced his resignation from his position as a diplomat in Afghanistan.

Hoh explained that his resignation was based “not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”

In Hoh’s assessment, U.S. presence in Afghanistan is counterproductive.

“Occupying a location only provides justification and only lends credence to the goals of that organization,” Hoh said. “It only inspires young Muslim men to want to defend their culture against an occupying army, which is what we are.”

While one might to tempted to paint Hoh as just another anti-war advocate, nothing could be further from the truth. In his owns words, Hoh denounces the idea that he is “peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love.” Hoh, who also served in Iraq, described his time in the province of Zabul as “the second best job I’ve ever had.”

Speaking of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Hoh said:

“There are plenty of dudes who need to be killed. I was never more happy than when our Iraq team whacked a bunch of guys.”

Not exactly the words of the next Mother Teresa.

In an interview with Fareed Zakaria of Global Public Square, Hoh described the strong reaction to his resignation as “a bit overwhelming” and said he thought he would “get one or two days of attention.”

Hoh credited two communities as having convinced him to stay in the debate this past week. The first community being Afghan Americans and the second being active-duty military men and women.

Hoh said he’s received “many, many e-mails” from active-duty military persons saying:

“ ‘Matt, thanks for doing this, keep it up. We don’t know why we’re here. We’re not sure why we’re taking these causalities, we don’t know what it’s accomplishing.’ ”

Hoh’s September 10 resignation letter can be viewed here.

  1. Jessica,

    Well done for finding and publizing this letter. The writer is a brave and honorable man and is putting his convictions, right or wrong, in front of his job and livlihood. Again, brave and honorable and deserving of our deepest respect.

    No only the above, I agree with his frustration and consternation. We initially “went into Afghanistan” in relataliation for 9/11 and to destroy al-Qaeda. We only partially succeeded by greatly “disrupting” al-Qaeda. Finding and killing the “head of the snake” was a military failure, not a failure of policy. I have no idea why bin-Ladin remains free after all the efforts to find and kill him.

    But given that military failure to end al-Qaeda as a force of any influence, we have wandered for now 8 years in a strategic quagmire without a correlation of national objectives and military power to achieve those objectives. That is a civilian leadership failure at the highest level and both Bush and Obama share the blame now.


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