Matthew Hoh: “I wish people would refute what I’m saying.”

(9 am. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

On October 29th 2009 the PBS News Hour had a discussion with Matthew Hoh the State Department Official who resigned over the Afghan War.

Ex-State Department Official Explains Exit Over Afghan War Strategy

A few of Matthews points made during their discussion and the video of same:

Matthew Hoh Former State Department Official  

I believe it’s only going to fuel the insurgency. It’s only going to reinforce claims by our enemies that we are an occupying power, because we are an occupying power.

JUDY WOODRUFF: After five months serving with the State Department in Afghanistan, Matthew Hoh became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest against American policies there.

In his September 10 letter of resignation, revealed this week in “The Washington Post,” the former Marine captain said: “I fail to see the value or worth in continued U.S. casualties or expenditure of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year-old civil war.”

Hoh’s resignation was greeted more in sorrow than in anger by the State Department. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke said — quote — “We took his letter very seriously because he was a good officer.”

Mr. Hoh joins us now:

MATTHEW HOH: I don’t believe al-Qaida will come back.

I believe that, since 2001, al-Qaida has evolved. They have turned into, as I like to say, an ideological cloud that exists on the Internet and recruits worldwide. They — if you look at the attacks al-Qaida has been successful with over the last seven, eight years, including attacks on 9/11, they weren’t conducted by Afghans or Pakistanis.

And a lot of the preparation and training, it took place in Western Europe or even here in the United States. So, I don’t think al-Qaida has any interest in ever tying itself again to a geographical or political boundary. I think they’re content to exist as they have evolved. And they are a threat, and they should be our priority. We need to defeat them.

But, again, 60,000 troops in Afghanistan does not defeat al-Qaida.

“The idea that we’re losing somebody’s son or somebody’s husband is dying to support a regime that’s profiting off of our aid money is criminal. It’s wrong.”

MATTHEW HOH: Sure. And I wish people would refute what I’m saying. I have seen that criticism, but I have not seen anyone tell me why it’s not a civil war.

I have not seen anyone tell me how stabilizing the Afghan government will defeat al-Qaida. I have not heard anyone tell me how keeping 60,000 troops, or 80,000, or 100,000 troops in Afghanistan will stabilize Pakistan. So, I haven’t heard the answers to those questions.

As for the criticisms about my age or that I was only there for five months, I was there for five months. I was in two parts of the country. I worked with as many local people as I could. And I listened as much as possible.

At that point, what I wrote — first off, what I wrote in my resignation letter, there’s not a novel or unique thought in that. Those are thoughts shared by military officers and State Department officers as well. My concern is not how are we fighting this war, but why are we fighting this war…>>>Rest of Transcript {and audio & video links} found here

Matthew Hoh’s Resignation Letter to the State Department

The Thin Gray Line: Afghanistan

The Thin Gray Line: The Education of Lt. Jake Kerr a U.S. Military outpost in Afganistan on the border with Pakistan.

October 29th 2009 0n NPR’s All Things Considered they also have a discussion with Matthew Hoh:

A Sudden Exit Driven By An ‘Irrational’ War

A former Marine captain who became the first foreign service official to publicly resign in protest over the war in Afghanistan says staying in the country is not in America’s interest.

“The losses of our soldiers do not merit anything that comes in line with our strategic interests or values,” Matthew Hoh, who signed on as a foreign service official in Afghanistan after fighting in Iraq, tells NPR’s Melissa Block.

Hoh resigned last month after spending five working months in Afghanistan. In his resignation letter, he said he had “lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purpose of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan.”…>>>Rest found here

You can listen with this link which brings up the NPR player.

Toll of War

At Dover, Obama feels toll of war

Hours after a personal encounter with the grim cost of war, President Barack Obama said Thursday the sight of 18 flag-covered cases holding the remains of Americans killed this week in Afghanistan can’t help but influence his thinking about sending more troops overseas.

“It was a sobering reminder of the extraordinary sacrifices that our young men and women in uniform are engaging in every single day, not only our troops but their families as well,” Obama said from the White House, reflecting briefly on his surprise middle-of-the-night trip to Dover Air Force Base to observe the return of the fallen Americans to the United States.

Speaking softly and somewhat haltingly, Obama said losses such as these are “something that I think about each and every day.”..>>>


    • dkmich on October 31, 2009 at 14:12

    If Obama doesn’t escalate, I will be amazed.  Assuming we have to be involved at all, Biden has the solution.  I thought the reason he picked Biden was because of his knowledge on the middle east.  Obama is a huge disappointment.  We keep throwing money and lives down a Haliburton rat hole.  

  1. As the WaPo reported in its article about Matthew Hoh on October 27,

    As the White House deliberates over whether to deploy more troops, Hoh said he decided to speak out publicly because “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.’ ”

    There is the money shot.  Matthew Hoh has issued a call-out.  Actively oppose this bizarre experiment our government is doing in Afghan; go to your congress critters, and pound on the table.

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