Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wire: Senior US Official in Afghanistan Resigns Over Lack of Clear Strategy

Off the Wire

Off the Wire:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27, 2009 -- Newswire services this morning reported that a key U.S. official in Afghanistan has resigned in protest over U.S. policy in region, as the Obama administration continues to slowly mull over its strategy there.

Matthew Hoh, 36, a senior foreign service officer, wrote a four-page letter to Ambassador Nancy Powell, director general of the foreign service at the State Department, to express his "doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy," as first reported by the Washington Post today.
"To put simply, I fail to see the value or the worth in the continued U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year-old civil war," the former Marine wrote in the emotional letter.

Hoh spent six years in Iraq, where he served as a Marine Corps captain and then as a civilian for the Department of Defense.
Hoh told the Washington Post he decided to speak out publicly because "I want people in Iowa, people in Arkansas, people in Arizona, to call their congressman and say, 'Listen, I don't think this is right.'"

The U.S. ambassador in Afghanistan, Karl W. Eikenberry, and Richard Holbrooke, the special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, apparently tried to talk Hoh out of resigning. The latter even offered him a job but Hoh declined, according to the Post.

Hoh's resignation comes as a blow to the Obama administration, which has yet to decide whether it will send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, as the lead commander on the ground, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has requested.

Speaking at a Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, President Barack Obama made an incredible statement while defending criticism of his slow decision on Afghanistan.

"I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm's way," the president told servicemen and women. "I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary. And, if it is necessary, we will back you up to the hilt. Because you deserve the strategy, the clear mission, the defined goals and the equipment and support you need to get the job done."

Obama did not speak to the needs of the troops currently fighting in Afghanistan.

(Report from newswire sources.)

Source: U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

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