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Is Afghanistan Doomed to Failure

November 1, 2009

Afghanistan_war

Can we be sure we’re on the right course in a nation where we are viewed as unwanted imperialists as opposed to liberators? How should Obama deal with America’s military reality in Afghanistan?Is there any course of action that could ensure the defeat of Al-Qaida forces in that part of the world? Is the United States stuck in an endless quagmire that will cost valued blood and treasure for years to come?

The Questions of Matthew Hoh merit some answers. His concerns about the region should not go unaddressed.

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.

The rest of the story can be read here.

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