Former Marine Resigns Over Afghan War

27 10 2009

Commander in chief

We have the first official to resign in protest over how Obama is conducting the Afghan war! He is a foreign service officer and former Marine captain.

Meanwhile, Obama continues to dilly dally, still insisting he won’t rush his decision about whether to send more troops to Afghanistan, where 14 Americans died in the deadliest day for U.S. forces in more than four years. Today’s deaths also make October the deadliest month for our soldiers in Afghanistan.



Foreign Service officer and former Marine captain says he no longer knows why his nation is fighting
By Karen DeYoung – October 27, 2009

When Matthew Hoh joined the Foreign Service early this year, he was exactly the kind of smart civil-military hybrid the administration was looking for to help expand its development efforts in Afghanistan.

A former Marine Corps captain with combat experience in Iraq, Hoh had also served in uniform at the Pentagon, and as a civilian in Iraq and at the State Department. By July, he was the senior U.S. civilian in Zabul province, a Taliban hotbed.

But last month, in a move that has sent ripples all the way to the White House, Hoh, 36, became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe simply fueled the insurgency.

“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel. “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 reaction to Hoh’s letter was immediate. Senior U.S. officials, concerned that they would lose an outstanding officer and perhaps gain a prominent critic, appealed to him to stay.

U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry brought him to Kabul and offered him a job on his senior embassy staff. Hoh declined. From there, he was flown home for a face-to-face meeting with Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We took his letter very seriously, because he was a good officer,” Holbrooke said in an interview. “We all thought that given how serious his letter was, how much commitment there was, and his prior track record, we should pay close attention to him.”

While he did not share Hoh’s view that the war “wasn’t worth the fight,” Holbrooke said, “I agreed with much of his analysis.” He asked Hoh to join his team in Washington, saying that “if he really wanted to affect policy and help reduce the cost of the war on lives and treasure,” why not be “inside the building, rather than outside, where you can get a lot of attention but you won’t have the same political impact?”

Hoh accepted the argument and the job, but changed his mind a week later. “I recognize the career implications, but it wasn’t the right thing to do,” he said in an interview Friday, two days after his resignation became final.

I’m not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love,” Hoh said. Although he said his time in Zabul was the “second-best job I’ve ever had,” his dominant experience is from the Marines, where many of his closest friends still serve.

“There are plenty of dudes who need to be killed,” he said of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. “I was never more happy than when our Iraq team whacked a bunch of guys.”

But many Afghans, he wrote in his resignation letter, are fighting the United States largely because its troops are there — a growing military presence in villages and valleys where outsiders, including other Afghans, are not welcome and where the corrupt, U.S.-backed national government is rejected. While the Taliban is a malign presence, and Pakistan-based al-Qaeda needs to be confronted, he said, the United States is asking its troops to die in Afghanistan for what is essentially a far-off civil war.

To read the rest of the article, go HERE.



6 responses

27 10 2009

I’m not sure how to read this one yet. I’d like to know a little more about this guy. I’m getting that his motive is that the war is unwinnable- and a defeatist trait is not something I like to see in my fellow Marines. However, if he in fact believes this, and does so because he doesn’t think our service members will get the support necessary from politicians, than I support his position. If he thinks we’re not capable of winning under any circumstance, I would question his endurance.

This statement: “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” – alone- is ambiguous; probably due as much to what isn’t reported as to what is. That’s why I’d need to know more.

27 10 2009


I had the very same mis-givings when I read this. To my untrained eyes, his comment seems to be a political statement, but it’s confusing.

Maybe he should just come out and say what a lot of people are thinking… “Obama needs to get off the stick and make a damn decision about troop levels, and he needs to stop blaming Bush for his own behaviour.”

Everything else with this president is “hurry-up-gotta-go-get-it-done-now, go go go… except when it comes to our military”. This worries the hell out of me!


28 10 2009
Mick Dunn

Not a matter of winning and loosing! It’s all about OCCUPYING THEIR PATCH!!! Nothing to do with Islam…nothing to do with them wanting to attack America!

For centuries people have been trying to mess with these guys…the whole thing has become a game to them. A game they have never actually been beaten at!!

27 10 2009

Me too. My son will be graduating high school in June. He has no idea what he wants to do with his life, but he’s pretty sure he’s not up for college- at least not right away. We’ve talked about the service, and he’s thinking that’s his best move at this point. —-hmmmmm—- Under better? circumstances, I’d totally agree. Even now I know it’s what he needs. And even though there’s two wars in progress, as long as he went Marines, I’d be okay knowing he’d be a part of the worlds finest fighting force, trained well, and serving his country as I did. But under Obama? Our Marines don’t put themselves in unwinnable positions, but Barry might, and that worries me.

28 10 2009
28 10 2009
US Diplomat Resigns in Protest over Afghan War « Suzie-Q's Truth and Justice Blog

[…] Former Marine Resigns Over Afghan War […]

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