The First Afghanistan Resignation

By
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 8:32 am

A powerful story from The Washington Post: a leading State Department foreign-service officer official in Afghanistan’s Zabul province has resigned in protest of the war, writing that he has “lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan.” Matthew Hoh’s departure was considered so damaging — probably more politically damaging than substantively damaging — that both U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and even Special Representative Richard Holbrooke offered him jobs to keep him on board, offering him the chance to incorporate his critiques into policymaking. Instead, Hoh, who commanded a Marine company in Iraq, said he couldn’t do it, and offered this critique, as described by The Post:

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.

The concern about the U.S. presence fueling the insurgency — not for what the U.S. does, but merely for the fact of its existence — was raised by Defense Secretary Robert Gates in January, but it has not yet seemed to penetrate most discourse about the war. Gates himself backed away from the critique in September, saying that Gen. Stanley McChrystal convinced him that the U.S. military could mitigate the danger by actively providing for the Afghan people’s well-being. And indeed, McChrystal has tacitly paid respect to the critique, saying in his much-derided London address that jobs programs could do much to deprive the Taliban of foot soldiers who fight because their lack of economic alternatives accelerate their antipathy to the U.S. presence. That approach won the support yesterday of Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in his uneasy embrace of a modified version of McChrystal’s counterinsurgency strategy. But if Hoh is right, then it’s simply too late for that strategy, as the mere presence of the U.S. military will have reached the “tipping point” that Gates warned about in January.

Holbrooke tolT the Post that he shares some of Hoh’s analysis, if not his conclusions. According to the paper, Hoh will meet with Tony Blinken, Vice President Biden’s national security adviser, later this week. And don’t be surprised if Kerry calls him to testify at some point, either.

This post has been updated for clarity.

Follow Spencer Ackerman on Twitter


Comments

12 Comments

Tweets that mention The First Afghanistan Resignation « The Washington Independent -- Topsy.com
Pingback posted October 27, 2009 @ 9:26 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by WashIndependent, TMC Member Feed. TMC Member Feed said: Wash. Independent: The First Afghanistan Resignation: A powerful story from The Washington Po.. http://bit.ly/DPwj0 [...]


Matthew Yglesias » Is the US Military Presence Driving the Afghan Insurgency?
Pingback posted October 27, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

[...] Ackerman on the key issue raised by Matthew Hoh: The concern about the U.S. presence fueling the insurgency — not for what the U.S. does, but [...]


The Matthew Hoh Situation « Around The Sphere
Pingback posted October 27, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

[...] Spencer Ackerman in Washington Independent: A powerful story from The Washington Post: the State Department’s leading foreign-service officer in Afghanistan’s Zabul province has resigned in protest of the war, writing that he has “lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan.” Matthew Hoh’s departure was considered so damaging — probably more politically damaging than substantively damaging — that both U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and even Special Representative Richard Holbrooke offered him jobs to keep him on board, offering him the chance to incorporate his critiques into policymaking. Instead, Hoh, who commanded a Marine company in Iraq, said he couldn’t do it, and offered this critique, as described by The Post: [...]


Is the US Military Presence Driving the Afghan Insurgency? | Matthew Yglesias
Pingback posted October 27, 2009 @ 1:31 pm

[...] Ackerman on the key issue raised by Matthew Hoh: The concern about the U.S. presence fueling the insurgency — not for what the U.S. does, but [...]


Don’t Call Matthew Hoh a Foreign Service Officer | GSA Schedule Services
Pingback posted October 27, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

[...] concern, but still. Interests of accuracy and all that. I mistakenly referred to Hoh as an FSO in my post this morning, and I apologize for it. Filed under: Government Spending Leave a comment [...]


Don’t Call Matthew Hoh a Foreign Service Officer « Yuvablog
Pingback posted October 27, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

[...] concern, but still. Interests of accuracy and all that. I mistakenly referred to Hoh as an FSO in my post this morning, and I apologize for [...]


Matthew Hoh resigns over Afghanistan | Political Byline
Pingback posted October 27, 2009 @ 4:52 pm

[...] Round up for ALL sides of the Political fence: The Washington Independent, The Moderate Voice, Top of the Ticket, Abu Muqawama, Matthew Yglesias, JustOneMinute, New York [...]


uberVU - social comments
Trackback posted October 27, 2009 @ 5:58 pm

Social comments and analytics for this post…

This post was mentioned on Twitter by TMCMemberFeed: Wash. Independent: The First Afghanistan Resignation: A powerful story from The Washington Po.. http://bit.ly/DPwj0...


Sometimes Only the Good Resign « Just Above Sunset
Pingback posted October 28, 2009 @ 2:49 am

[...] And see Spencer Ackerman: [...]


Matthew Hoh resigns to stir debate on Afghanistan. Mission accomplished. | csmonitor.com
Pingback posted October 28, 2009 @ 11:48 am

[...] who writes about national security for the Washington Independent, says Hoh’s argument deserves serious consideration. The concern about the U.S. presence fueling the insurgency — not for what [...]


Karl Eikenberry
Pingback posted October 30, 2009 @ 8:10 am

[...] The First Afghanistan Resignation The Washington Independent » National Security – PeopleRank: 3 – October 27, 2009 … Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and even Special Representative Richard Holbrooke offered him jobs to keep him on board, offering him the chance to incorporate his critiques into policymaking. Instead, Hoh, who commanded a Marine company in Iraq, said he… Cited people : Robert Gates  Matthew Hoh  Stanley McChrystal  Tony Blinken  2 other articles » + vote [...]


christian louboutin shoes
Comment posted June 8, 2010 @ 2:18 pm

thanks for your shareing

Fashion legancy– we sell famous brand christian louboutin

100% Authentic, 50% discount cheap christian louboutin shoes.

christian louboutin shoes authentic hot sell online, welcome for retail and wholesale christian louboutin,
christian shoes, louboutin shoesorders.

24 hours/day customer service online, louboutin paypal accepted.

Hi, I like to lose weight!
thanks for your shareing
Recently so many people who want to lose weight choose this style shoes– mbt shoes!

we call it massaqi shoes, it is special design have lose weight function.

come to our website, and choose cheap mbt shoes online, 65% discount mbt shoes Cheap MBT Shoes sale online.

welcome for retail and wholesale mbt shoes orders.


RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.