Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Uncommon Bravery

I very much recommend this article on Matthew Hoh, a Marine and Foreign Service Officer who recently resigned because:

“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.”

Read more about him, as well as a copy of his resignation letter, here.

Update: Glenn Greenwald takes a closer look at the resignation letter.


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  1. tx2vadem

    I watched some of Charlie Rose’s interviews the other week when he devoted the week to Afghanistan. All this just left me thankful that I don’t need to make these decisions. I don’t know what we should be doing. I don’t think we can leave though. Wouldn’t that just lead an even more radicalized and now clearly anti-American Taliban back into power?

  2. MB

    As opposed to what, beating Afghanistan into liking the US?

  3. tx2vadem

    This is why it is a complex issue. I know we are not going to beat the Pashtuns into loving us. At the same time, without us, it seems like the Taliban would again take hold of most of the country. And then does that offer them a greater opportunity to destabilize Pakistan or export terror?

    I know the people there are not thrilled with us being there, but they certainly won’t be thrilled with the Taliban back either.

  4. MB

    The Taliban isn’t a threat to the US that is worth the blood being shed for it. There are a lot of places where the government in power isn’t what anyone of decency wants (Burma, Zimbabwe . . . hell, Saudi Arabia). We don’t engage in endless war over it.

    Pakistan is far more important (and has a much further reach) than Afghanistan. And so long as the US is bogged down in Afghanistan, it will be compromised in how it can deal with Pakistan.

  5. while I don’t want our forces in Afghanistan, there doesn’t seem to be a politically savvy exit strategy. I think the problem in most of the Middle East is more about economics than religious fundamentalism. If there was a way to provide economic stability to the middle and lower class then the Taliban would not be able to recruit very well. not sure other than poppy, what other industries could survive there.

    also, I would think for a fraction of the cost we are spending now, we could fund madrases which teach Islam in a peaceful manner. It may not be popular in the US to pay for religious schools but it is a critical tool for recruitment by the Taliban.

  6. CG

    If we start a war with another predominantly Muslim country we can put Afghanistan on the back burner like the last administration did, where I believe, all these same decisions would have had to be addressed by Bush & Cheney that are still with us today that were put off for 8 years.

    ahem, snarkity snark

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