I have no inside information, no express experience with the State Department, and at this point we only have a small piece of the puzzle regarding the elongated wait for a decision from the White House about troop strength and overall strategy in Afghanistan. Further, as my readers/followers know, I seldom cover/comment on evolving sub-stories, leaving these “distractions” to the political pundits. I’m no journalist -which you can probably tell by my writing style and all the syntactic mistakes I make- and I have no formal training in journalistic research.
What I do have is the experience of a wide-ranging life behind me. I studied Political Science and Constitutional Law in college. I’ve followed politics and social trends for decades, and I’ve been a proud, patriotic member of the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Army (currently awaiting NG orders to Afghanistan) over three decades. It is with that experience I bring you my first-ever writing in that I suggest, in my humble opinion, I smell a rat!
Informally, the word sneaked out last July that the new Obama Generals in Afghanistan were going to ask for 40,000 troops and that rumor was confirmed in August with a circulating formal request with the same number. But here we are nearing November and still no answer to that request. Further, if we piece together the words and actions of President Obama regarding the importance of the war in Afghanistan, we get a 3D image of confusion heading the war in opposite directions, meeting the enemy head-on in battle while at the same time, retreating.
In mid-February, a scant 30 days after taking office, President Obama sent an additional 17,000 combat troops to Afghanistan characterizing the buildup as an “interim step” to battling the resurging Taliban, Since then Mr. Obama has called for in “increased footprint” in Afghanistan with his March plan adding 4,000 more to the, again stated, “interim” build-up. Meanwhile we’ve heard rhetoric from the Democrat side against nation building even while one of the voiced criteria for supporting the Afghan war required knowledge of who was going to emerge as the Afghan leader. I thought the whole purpose of being over in the Afghan region was to find Osama Ben Laden. But apparently the Democrat controlled Congress and the Obama-led White House seems to be set on knowing what regime they will be working with before they decide what to do with this inconvenient war. It’s no wonder that I (and the general public) am a bit confused. But Mathew Hoh? Well, no, he apparently isn’t confused, I think.
From what I gather, Mr. Hoh is a former Marine officer who served as such in Iraq and became a diplomat serving in Afghanistan, voluntarily I might add. Then just days ago, after months of waiting (as we all have been) for an Executive policy on the direction in which the Afghanistan war is going to go, he resigns. But he doesn’t just resign; he decides to take the high road with his resignation, using it to promote a specific direction in the war.
Mr. Hoh wrote in his resignation letter, “I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan." He went on stating, "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.”
President Obama’s rhetoric from last December set the war in Iraq as the bad war and the war in Afghanistan as the good war. And, from the very beginning, the “good” war was aimed at finding Osama Bin Laden; have we forgotten 9/11? Has Mr. Hoh forgotten? Or is there more to it? Does he have the inside story as to what direction President Obama is going to take this war? Haven’t we been hearing about raids conducted against the Taliban with U.S. troops in concert with Afghanistan troops? And didn’t we hear a report about a week ago that the United Nations came to a consensus on wining the war in Afghanistan?
Mr. Hoh, again, a former volunteer active duty U.S. Marine, apparently suspects President Obama is going to escalate the amount of troops and Hoh wants nothing to do with it. But does he really suspect that strategy?
Hoh told reporters he wants you and me to know stabilizing the Afghanistan government does not equal defeating al Qaeda (Taliban?). He spoke of un-kept promises; that American families can no longer be reassured their dead ones were dying for a higher purpose. And, as if a former Marine officer would have to say this, he stated, “I’m not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love.” I have to wonder if he read my article, “Why Obama Cannot Make Timely Decisions,” [ http://tiny.cc/kVRoS ] in which I make the case that President Obama is a follower and supporter of Reinhold Niebuhr, a kind of beatnik, love-and-let-love, hippiefied moral relativist philosopher who believes love can solve all of society’s problems. Is this a coincidence?
Mr. Hoh wants us out of Afghanistan because he says the Afghan people want us out. Really? Do we care?, aren’t we there to oust the Taliban and find Osama Bin Laden?
With all the underhanded strategies and dangerous games we are experiencing here at home on the political front, I cannot help but think the worst: publicly Mr. Obama is being portrayed as a supporter of the Afghanistan war, but what about privately? Could Mr. Hoh’s admonitions be an opening for a surprise announcement of reversing our public desire to find Osama Bin Laden? And why are the Democrats expressing their need to know what regime will be in charge in Afghanistan once we begin to leave? Does this need mean we are nation building and not still focused on removing the Taliban and finding Bin Laden?
Obviously there is a lot of politics going on with this peace effort, but I have not forgotten the reason for being in that region with troops in harms way. And I am hoping our President will find his moral compass and allow the Generals to fight the good war. I’m hoping so much, that I am requesting to be a part of that finality. If we leave Afghanistan without Ben Laden the world of radical Islam will celebrate a victory. Thus, if we look forward to a peaceful world, we must stay the course, with force and moral direction.
This is my plea to President Obama.