Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Afghanistan Resignation Letter

Apart from Afghanistan being a war crime and
a never ending bloodbath....

(not that the USA has any problem with that)

... the fact that so many other Nations are partaking
is nothing less than a catastrophe.

By U.S. Foreign Service Officer Matthew P. Hoh, Senior Civilian
Representative, Afghanistan

Washington Post
October 27, 2009 (letter dated Sept. 10)

Dear Ambassador Powell,

It is with great regret and disappointment I submit my resignation
from my appointment as a Political Officer in the Foreign Service and
my post as the Senior Civilian Representative for the US Government in
Zabul Province. I have served six of the previous ten years in
service to our country overseas, to include deployment as a U.S.
Marine office and Department of Defense civilian in the Euphrates and
Tigris River Valleys of Iraq in 2004-2005 and 2006-2007. I did not
enter into this position lightly or with any undue expectations nor
did I believe my assignment would be without sacrifice, hardship or
difficulty. However, in the course of my five months of service in
Afghanistan, in both Regional Commands East and South, I have lost
understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the
United States. presence in Afghanistan. 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. To put simply: I fail to see the value or the worth
in continued U.S. casualties or expenditures of resources in support
of the Afghan government in what is, truly, a 35-year old civil war.

This fall will mark the eighth year of U.S. combat, governance, and
development operations within Afghanistan. Next fall, the United
States. occupation will equal in length the Soviet Union.s own
physical involvement in Afghanistan. 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.

If the history of Afghanistan is one great stage play, the United
States is no more than a supporting actor, among several previously,
in a tragedy that not only pits tribes, valleys, clans, villages, and
families against one another, but, from at least the end of King Zahir
Shah.s reign, 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. The Pashtun insurgency, which is
composed of multiple, seemingly infinite, local groups, 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 and operations 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. In both RC East and South, I have observed
that the bulk of the insurgency fights not for the white banner of the
Taliban, but rather against the presence of foreign soldiers and taxes
imposed by an unrepresentative government in Kabul.

The United States military presence in Afghanistan greatly contributes
to the legitimacy and strategic message of the Pashtun insurgency. In
a like manner our backing of the Afghan government in its current form
continues to distance the government from the people. The Afghan
government.s failings, particularly when weighed against the sacrifice
of American lives and dollars, appear legion and metastatic:

* Glaring corruption and unabashed graft;

* A President whose confidants and chief advisors 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 for 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.

Our support for this kind of government, coupled with a
misunderstanding of the insurgency.s true nature, reminds me horribly
of our involvement with South Vietnam; an unpopular and corrupt
government we backed at the expense of our Nation.s own internal
peace, against an insurgency whose nationalism we arrogantly and
ignorantly mistook as a rival to our own Cold War ideology.

I find specious the reasons we ask for bloodshed and sacrifice from
our young men and women in Afghanistan. If honest, our stated
strategy of securing Afghanistan to prevent al-Qaeda resurgence or
regrouping would require us to additionally invade and occupy western
Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc. Our presence in Afghanistan has
only increased destabilization and insurgency in Pakistan where we
rightly fear a toppled or weakened Pakistani government may lose
control of its nuclear weapons. However, again, to follow the logic
of our stated goals we should garrison Pakistan, not Afghanistan.
More so, the September 11th attacks, as well as the Madrid and London
bombings, were primarily planned and organized in Western Europe; a
point that highlights the threat is not one tied to traditional
geographic or political boundaries. Finally, if our concern is for a
failed state crippled by corruption and poverty and under assault from
criminal and drug lords, then if we bear our military and financial
contributions to Afghanistan, we must reevaluate and increase our
commitment to and involvement in Mexico.

Eight years into war, no nation has ever known a more dedicated, well
trained, experienced and disciplined military as the U.S. Armed
Forces. I do not believe any military force has ever been tasked with
such a complex, opaque, and Sisyphean mission as the U.S. military has
received in Afghanistan. The tactical proficiency and performance of
our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines is unmatched and
unquestioned. However, this is not the European or Pacific theaters
of World War II, but rather is a war for which our leaders, uniformed,
civilian and elected, have inadequately prepared and resourced our men
and women. Our forces, devoted and faithful, have been committed to
conflict in an indefinite and unplanned manner that has become a
cavalier, politically expedient, and Pollyannaish misadventure.
Similarly, the United States has a dedicated and talented cadre of
civilians, both U.S. government employees and contractors, who believe
in and sacrifice for their mission, but they have been ineffectually
trained and led with guidance and intent shaped more by the political
climate in Washington, D.C., than in Afghan cities, villages,
mountains, and valleys.

.We are spending ourselves into oblivion. a very talented and
intelligent commander, one of America.s best, briefs every visitor,
staff delegation, and senior officer. We are mortgaging our Nation.s
economy on a war, which, even with increased commitment, will remain a
draw for years to come. Success and victory, whatever they may be,
will be realized not in years, after billions more spent, but in
decades and generations. The United States does not enjoy a national
treasury for such success and victory.

I realize the emotion and tone of my letter and ask that you excuse
any ill temper. I trust you understand the nature of this war and the
sacrifices made by so many thousands of families who have been
separated from loved ones deployed in defense of our Nation and whose
homes bear the fractures, upheavals, and scars of multiple and
compounded deployments. Thousands of our men and women have returned
home with physical and mental wounds, some that will never heal or
will only worsen with time. The dead return only in bodily form to be
received by families who must be reassured their dead have sacrificed
for a purpose worthy of futures lost, loved vanished, and promised
dreams unkept. I have lost confidence such assurances can anymore be
made. As such, I submit my resignation.


Matthew P. Hoh
Senior Civilian Representative
Zabul Province, Afghanistan


Matthew Hoh is an American former Marine Corps captain and former foreign service official who served in Afghanistan, until resigning in October 2009 over the continued waging of war by the United States in Afghanistan.[1][2]

Hoh, a graduate of Tufts University undergraduate school and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, started his career as a U.S. Marine, serving in the Iraq War, and resigning his commission as a Captain. Leaving the Marines in 2004 to become a civilian contractor in Iraq, at one point he employed as many as five thousand Iraqi people, being responsible for distributing tens of millions of dollars to reconstruction projects. While much of the reconstruction effort was seen as a failure, his efforts were commended by the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.[3] Hoh returned to the Marines in 2006, serving in Iraq and receiving commendations before again returning home in 2007.

He then became a limited, non-career appointment as a contract employee of the Department of State, serving in Zabul Province of Afghanistan.[4] Hoh resigned in a four page letter questioning why the war was being fought and "to what end".[1] He asserted that the US presence is simply fueling the resistance movement there, providing a convenient villain for the 35 year old cottage industry of warfare.

Related topics

* Craig Murray, British diplomat dismissed from his post in Uzbekistan in 2004 after criticising the complicity of his government with the extraction of intelligence via torture

Craig John Murray[1] (born 17 October 1958[2][3]) is a British political activist, former ambassador to Uzbekistan and current Rector of the University of Dundee.

While at the embassy in Tashkent, he accused the Karimov administration of human rights abuses, a step which, he argued, was against the wishes of the British government and the reason for his removal. Murray complained to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in November 2002, January or early February 2003, and in June 2004 that intelligence linking the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to al-Qaeda, suspected of being gained through torture, was unreliable, immoral, and illegal[4]. He described this as "selling our souls for dross"[5].

Murray was subsequently removed from his ambassadorial post on October 14, 2004.

Murray was born in West Runton, Norfolk and grew up in neighbouring Sheringham. He was educated at Sheringham Primary and then at the Paston School in North Walsham, Norfolk,[6] an all-boys grammar school where he had an undistinguished record and claims to have barely gained admission to study Modern History at the University of Dundee. Whilst at university he attended few lectures, instead reading voraciously to teach himself and graduated in 1982 with an MA (Hons) 1st Class.During this period, he was a member of the Liberal Party.

Having already been on the Students' Representative Council, Murray became President of Dundee University Students' Association, elected to this sabbatical office twice (1982-1983 and 1983-1984), an occurrence so unusual that the university court (the highest body) changed the rules to stop him running a third time. He was reserve member of the team that won University Challenge in 1983[7]. He spent seven years in total at the university, compared to a normal four for a Scottish first degree[8].

He joined HM Diplomatic Service through the 1984 Civil Service Open Competition. Until 2002, he had a number of overseas postings with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to Africa and to Europe. In London, he was appointed to the FCO's Southern European Department, as Cyprus desk officer, and later became head of the Maritime Section. He also led the Foreign Office team in the Embargo Surveillance Centre between 1990-91, responsible for analysing intelligence on Iraqi attempts to evade sanctions[9].

Murray separated from his first wife, Fiona, with whom he has two children,[10] after starting a relationship with Nadira Alieva, an Uzbek woman who he met while she was working as a belly dancer in a Tashkent night club. She followed him when he left Uzbekistan[11] and they were married on May 6, 2009.[12] He has since had a son, Cameron, with his second wife, born in 2009.


In 2002, Murray was appointed British ambassador to Uzbekistan at the relatively young age of 43. He was dismissed from that post in October 2004.[2] In July 2004, he told The Guardian that "there is no point in having cocktail-party relationships with a fascist regime," and that "you don't have to be a pompous old fart to be an ambassador."[10]

In October 2002, Murray made a speech at a human rights conference hosted by Freedom House in Tashkent, in which he asserted that "Uzbekistan is not a functioning democracy" and that the boiling to death of two members of Hizb ut-Tahrir "is not an isolated incident."[14] Later, Secretary-General of the United Nations Kofi Annan confronted Uzbek President Islom Karimov with Murray's claims.[10]

Murray was summoned to the FCO in London and, on March 8, 2003, was reprimanded for writing, in a letter to his employers, in response to a speech by President of the United States George W. Bush, "when it comes to the Karimov regime, systematic torture and rape appear to be treated as peccadilloes, not to affect the relationship and to be downplayed in the international fora ... I hope that once the present crisis is over we will make plain to the U.S., at senior level, our serious concern over their policy in Uzbekistan."[15]
[edit] Discipline charges

In July 2003, some of the embassy staff were sacked while Murray was away on holiday. They were reinstated after he expressed his outrage to the FCO. Later, during another holiday, he was recalled to London for disciplinary reasons. On August 21, 2003, he was confronted with 18 charges including "hiring dolly birds [pretty young women] for above the usual rate" for the visa department, though he claims that the department had an all-male staff, and granting UK visas in exchange for sex. He was told that discussing the charges would be a violation of the 1989 Official Secrets Act. The FCO encouraged him to resign.[10]

He collapsed during a medical check in Tashkent on September 2, 2003 and was airlifted to St Thomas' Hospital in London. After an FCO internal inquiry conducted by Tony Crombie, Head of the FCO's Overseas Territories Department, all but two of the charges (being drunk at work and misusing the embassy's Range Rover) were dropped. The charges were leaked to the press in October 2003[16]. Immediately upon his return to work in November 2003, he suffered a near-fatal pulmonary embolism and was again flown back to London for medical treatment. In January 2004, the FCO, after a four-month investigation exonerated him of all 18 charges, but reprimanded him for speaking about the charges.
[edit] Removal from post

Murray was removed from his post in October 2004, shortly after a leaked report in the Financial Times quoted him as claiming that MI6 used intelligence provided by Uzbek authorities through torture[17]. The FCO denied there was any direct connection and stated that Murray had been removed for "operational" reasons. It claimed that he had lost the confidence of senior officials and colleagues. The following day, in an interview on the Today Programme, the BBC's flagship political radio show, Murray countered that he was a "victim of conscience," and in this and other interviews was critical of the FCO[18]. A few days later he was charged with "gross misconduct" by the FCO[19]. Having negotiated a settlement whereby he was paid six years' salary payment in compensation, Murray agreed to resign from the FCO in February 2005.
[edit] Subsequent career

Murray has continued his opposition to the War on Terror since leaving HM Diplomatic Service. He sums up his current occupation: "Being a dissident is quite fun."[8] He has stood on two occasions for election to Parliament.

In November 2005, he took part in the Axis for Peace Conference in Brussels[20].

In December 2005, he published a number of confidential memos on his website, which outlined his condemnation of intelligence procured under torture, and the UK government's ambivalence to this. The British government subsequently claimed copyright over the documents and demanded they be removed[21].

Murray's book Murder in Samarkand . A British Ambassador's Controversial Defiance of Tyranny in the War on Terror[22] outlining his controversial period as an ambassador was finally published in 2006, but only after several battles. Before its publication, many potential readers were contacted through Internet posts and e-mail listings to raise interest and by creating a body of public opinion, to guard against the publisher being 'bullied' out of printing the book by government pressure. These communications also mentioned how supporting government documents which were originally planned for inclusion had been forcibly removed because of 'copyright' worries. This, despite Murray's claims that many had received a formal release and thus should have been within the public domain. Their forced removal, Murray has stated is the government "trying to claw back the very limited gains in Freedom of Information in the UK",[23] especially attempts to close websites on which the supporting documents were posted instead. Though many attempts to do this have proved successful, media interest has also meant that the documents frequently re-surface on mirror sites.[24] This book is to be filmed by Michael Winterbottom with a script by David Hare.

A character based on him appears in the 2006 UK.US television co-production The State Within, in which the former British ambassador to the fictional country of Tyrgyzstan, a hard-drinking womaniser, is embroiled in a plot to stop human rights abuses amid escalating threats of war.

On February 16, 2007 he was elected to the position of Rector of the University of Dundee, his alma mater. The other nominee was former British Lion and Scotland rugby captain Andy Nicol.[25] Murray opposes cuts to University departments and services which were proposed in a document drafted by a working group chaired by the outgoing Dean of the School of Engineering, Professor Michael Davies. The election saw an increase in turnout of 50% from the previous election, with Murray winning by 632 votes to 582. Coincidentally, Murray was in the same class at his secondary school as actor Stephen Fry, who also held the title of Dundee's rector[26]

In July 2007, he was elected an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Lancaster School of Law. His life features in a show by Alieva, The Ambassador's Bellydancer, initially presented at the Arcola Theatre in Hackney, later moving to London's West End.[27][28] She invited him to perform in it, but he declined, citing lack of acting ability.[28]

Murray is Executive Chairman of Atholl Energy Ltd[29] and Chairman of Westminster Development Ltd, a gold mining company, both operating in Accra, Ghana.[30]
[edit] Political career

Murray stood for election to the House of Commons on two occasions, in Blackburn, Lancashire and Norwich North, Norfolk. In both, he was an independent candidate.

In the May 2005 general election, he stood against his former boss Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who has long been the MP for Blackburn. He polled 2,082 votes (5.0%), coming in fifth place out of seven candidates.[2]

Following the United Kingdom Parliamentary expenses scandal, Murray stood for election in the July 2009 Norwich North by-election under slogan "Put an honest man into Parliament"[31]. He polled 953 votes (2.77%) putting him in sixth place out of twelve candidates.
[edit] Awards

In recognition of his campaigning work on torture and human rights he was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence in January 2006[32].

In November 2006, he was awarded the Premio Alta Qualità della Città di Bologna[33].
[edit] Legal pressure

During an interview with Alex Jones on 21 August 2006, regarding torture and the 2006 transatlantic aircraft plot, Murray claimed that false intelligence on al-Qaeda plots was obtained through torture done by CIA proxies, and that the intelligence gained is used as a propaganda tool[34].

The threat of legal action against Murray by the Treasury Solicitor for the unauthorised publication of official documents on his website resulted in a large number of people mirroring the documents on their own websites and releasing them via peer to peer networks[35][36]. The Treasury Solicitor's letter stated that if the documents were not removed by 10 July 2006, which they were not, then a claim would be issued in the High Court for an injunction requiring the documents to be removed[37].

In September 2007, Murray expressed views on the character of Alisher Usmanov, Russia's 18th richest man[38], following Usmanov's investment in Arsenal Football Club[39] but the post[40] had to be removed from his web site following an intervention from Usmanov's lawyers, Schillings, who threatened his webhost. Despite Murray's repeated assertions that he was happy to defend his statements in court, Schillings declined to sue Murray but concentrated on stamping out the story by threatening hosting companies who had no interest in defending the case. Under further pressure from Usmanov's lawyers, the hosting company Fasthosts, decided to permanently close the server for the web site on 20 September 2007, an action that also had the effect of deleting several other related and non-related political blogs. A campaign by bloggers against Usmanov's legal pressure ensued, and Murray's website has since returned.

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posted by u2r2h at 11:02 PM


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