In his own words, Matthew Hoh said, "but the truth is that the majority" [of insurgents] are residents with "loyalties to their families, villages, valleys and to their financial supporters." Hoh's doubts increased with Afghanistan's Aug. 20 presidential election, marked by low turnout and widespread fraud. He concluded, he said in his resignation letter, that the war "has violently and savagely pitted the urban, secular, educated and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious, illiterate and traditional. It is this latter group that composes and supports the Pashtun insurgency." With "multiple, seemingly infinite, local groups," he wrote, the insurgency "is fed by what is perceived by the Pashtun people as a continued and sustained assault, going back centuries, on Pashtun land, culture, traditions and religion by internal and external enemies. The U.S. and NATO presence in Pashtun valleys and villages, as well as Afghan army and police units that are led and composed of non-Pashtun soldiers and police, provide an occupation force against which the insurgency is justified." American families, he said at the end of the letter, "must be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, love vanished, and promised dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can be made any more."
You can now add my name to the list of Americans who have profound respect and admiration for the courage and dedication shown by Matthew Hoh in calling attention to the intractable issues involved in sustaining an armed conflict in Afghanistan. If it is patriotism that you want, look no further than this man who unselfishly proclaims that "I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan." Hear, Hear, Matthew! May you live long and prosper! Thank you for saying what needed to be said with a credible, precise and wise voice.