Matthew Hoh resigns to stir debate on Afghanistan. Mission accomplished.
It was the resignation heard around the world – or at least the blogosphere.
Security and political analysts are abuzz about Matthew Hoh, the former Marine captain and Foreign Service officer who quit his post in Afghanistan after concluding that US efforts there were actually inflaming the insurgency, not putting it down.
Leveraging his credibility as a respected veteran and diplomat, Mr. Hoh went public with his decision in an effort to fan debate about the question that wouldn’t stop nagging him as he studied the insurgency and tried (without much success) to build up local leaders in a remote part of eastern Zabul Province: What the heck are we doing in Afghanistan?
And fan debate he did. Some bloggers have lauded his decision as wise and bold; others say it doesn’t deserve such outsized attention.
Spencer Ackerman, 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 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, …