Matthew Hoh, a highly regarded U.S. foreign service officer, who also served as a Marine captain in Iraq, has resigned over what he sees as a hopeless situation in Afghanistan. In his resignation letter, Hoh said he had "lost understanding" of why the U.S. is fighting, and that the presence of foreign soldiers just fuels the insurgency. Should policymakers pay attention to the thoughts of one midlevel official?
The U.S. should follow Hoh's example and leave: Clearly, Matthew Hoh didn’t resign for ideological reasons—he’s just a smart guy who understands the real situation in Afghanistan, says Glenn Greenwald in Salon. As Hoh notes, we soon will have been in Afghanistan as long as the Soviets were. Now that the presence of U.S. troops "exacerbates the very problem we are allegedly attempting to address—terrorism"—by "increasing anti-American anger," it's time to go.
"Former Marine captain resigns in protest"
Mathew Hoh can quit. America can't: "Matthew Hoh is obviously more than entitled to his opinion," says Boston Herald editor Jules Crittenden in his personal blog. But leave the rejoicing over his despair to "lefty bloggers and anti-war politicians." The rest of us can't afford to give in, any more than we could in Iraq. As we learned after leaving Vietnam, "abandoning Afghanistan may cause more problems than it solves."
We just need a new game plan: "Of course our presence fuels the insurgency," says Matthew Yglesias in Think Progress. Mistrust is a given when a foreign army roams through someone else's country. Simply killing "everyone who wants us to leave" won't work—the key to victory is showing the people of Afghanistan a compelling vision of what their country could look like after American soldiers leave.
"Is the US presence driving the Afghan insurgency?"