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November 18, 2009

In Afghanistan foreign forces are not wanted

Reuel S. Amdur

Reuel S. AmdurHe is a bright 36-year-old American patriot and foreign service operative. 

He fought illustriously as a Marine Forces captain in Iraq, but Matthew Hoh has thrown up his hands and quit his post in Afghanistan, protesting against continued U.S. involvement in the “unwinnable war” in that country.  Yet, his rationale is more basic.

While finding the war a lost cause militarily, he questions “why and to what end” America is involved. 

Referring to the conflicts before and during the former Communist government supported by Soviet troops, his letter of resignation comments, “Like the Soviets, we continue to secure and bolster a failing state, while encouraging an ideology and system of government unknown and unwanted by its people.”

Hoh understands the conflict in Afghanistan as conflict within a territory lacking sufficient national feeling, with “tribes, valleys, clans, villages and families against one another.” 

On top of that is the additional conflict between “the urban, secular, educated and modern of Afghanistan against the rural, religious, illiterate and traditional.” 

Support for the national government is further eroded by

  • “Glaring corruption and unabashed graft;
  • A President whose confidants and chief advisers comprise drug lords and war crimes villains, who mock our own rule of law and counternarcotics efforts;
  • A system of provincial and district leaders constituted of local power brokers, opportunists and strongmen allied to the United States solely for and limited by, the value of our USAID and CERP contracts and whose own political and economic interests stand nothing to gain from any positive or genuine attempts at reconciliation; and
  • The recent election process dominated by fraud and discredited by low voter turnout, which has created an enormous victory for our enemy who now claims a popular boycott and will call into question worldwide our government’s military, economic and diplomatic support for an invalid and illegitimate Afghan government.”

He also argues that American involvement in Afghanistan is a destabilizing factor in Pakistan, a situation extremely threatening because it has the atomic bomb.  As for involvement in Afghanistan because it is a failed state infected with poverty, corruption, drug cartels, and criminality, he argues that on that basis more attention should be paid to Mexico.  Gringolandia menaced by Narcolandia. 

Hoh sees any final outcome in Afghanistan as taking “decades and generations” and “mortgaging our Nation’s economy” on the war. 

Above all, seeing the situation of the extremely parochial local peasantry, he judges that foreign forces are not wanted.

The United States and its allies went into Afghanistan because of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda and the attack of 9/11, but Hoh believes that they no longer rely on a territorial base and that an abandonment of Afghanistan will not result in al-Qaeda control of Afghanistan. 

So is Hoh’s agonized cry a tempest in a teapot?  Perhaps not. 

He is quoted by the Washington Post as saying, “I’m not some peacenik, pot smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love.”  He is among America’s “best and brightest,” and he was going to keep an appointment with Vice-President Joel Biden. 

U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has already lasted twice as long as its participation in World War II, with victory elusive at best and a Viet Nam-style defeat a distinct danger.  Hoh does mention Viet Nam in passing as a parallel to the current Afghan situation.

It is worth noting how America’s crackpot realism got it into this mess.  It supported the Taliban and al-Qaeda to drive the Communists and the Soviet forces out of Afghanistan.  Now it has Russia’s agreement to allow NATO to re-supply through Russian territory, to defeat the very forces it helped to introduce into the country.  What goes around comes around, so it seems. 

As for Canada, we have bought into this madness right from the start. 

Stephen Harper has charged those questioning any aspect of Canadian involvement as being cowards, wanting to “cut and run”. 

However, aware of the serious discomfort of the Canadian population with our participation in the war, he has agreed to “cut and run” in 2011. 

But be alert: he still talks about Canada having some role in Afghanistan.  Will this be military participation by some other name? We should not be surprised if it is. 

Reuel S. Amdur is a freelance writer based across the river from Ottawa.

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