Matthew Hoh, the senior U.S. civilian in Afghanistan's Zabul province, resigned in protest because he believes the American effort there is simply fueling the insurgency, the Washington Post reported
Tuesday. Hoh, a former Marine Corps captain who also served in Iraq, wrote a four-page letter
to the State Department's head of personnel in September, and his resignation became official last week.
"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," he wrote in the letter. "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."
Hoh's letter caused a stir in the Obama administration, and he was hastened to meetings with senior U.S. officials in Kabul and Washington. They praised his record of service and begged him to stay, offering him new positions in both locations. Hoh initially accepted the Washington job, but changed his mind a week later.
Hoh said that his act of protest and decision to speak out were painful, even "nauseating" at times, but he was strongly motivated by the friends he had lost on the battlefield and the mental anguish he has experienced since returning home. "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,' " he explained, adding that he "is not some peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love."
Hoh will meet with Joe Biden's foreign policy adviser this week, and will advise a reduction in troops. He said he feels the U.S. "has an obligation for it not to be a bloodbath," but that Afghans are resistant to what they see as a military occupation.