Happy talk, keep talkin' happy talk,
Talk about things you'd like to do.
You got to have a dream,
If you don't have a dream
How you gonna have a dream come true?
--Happy Talk, South Pacific
Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me;
Other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me,
What a long, strange trip it's been
--Truckin', Grateful Dead
[This wonderful road sign outside of Las Vegas was snapped by faithful reader Underground Carpenter. It strikes us all a little funny that the veterans of the GWOT only rate a highway "segment", but we guess everything's in short supply these days. Salut.]
The recent resignation of Foreign Service officer and former Marine Matthew Hoh shows the invalidity and misapplication of Counterinsurgency policy in the U.S.'s approach to warfare in the Phony War on Terror (PWOT©).
When Matthew Hoh joined the Foreign Service early this year, he was exactly the kind of smart civil-military hybrid the administration was looking for to help expand its development efforts in Afghanistan.
A former Marine Corps captain with combat experience in Iraq, Hoh had also served in uniform at the Pentagon, and as a civilian in Iraq and at the State Department. By July, he was the senior U.S. civilian in Zabul province, a Taliban hotbed (U.S. Official resigns Over Afghan War).
If a former Captain is the senior U.S. State Department civilian at province level, then we are hurting. Former Captains lack the experience level to be anything other than Captains; they should not be tapped as senior U.S. officials. It is doubtful that a Lieutenant Colonel (05) would be sophisticated enough to fulfill this function.
Said Hoh in a bizarre interview statement, sounding every bit a character from The Forgiven:
"There are plenty of dudes who need to be killed," he said of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. "I was never more happy than when our Iraq team whacked a bunch of guys."A senior State department official heartily endorsing killing is not a way forward. When State Department officials think and talk like Marine Captains, we are on shaky ground. Department of State and Department of defense are supposed to be separate agencies. When killing is happy talk, that person should not be at State. One must wonder if this gung-ho attitude has become de riguer at DoS.
"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department's head of personnel. "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."
Why has nobody resigned because the war has become a criminal endeavor? Mr. Hoh accepts the premise that the war is justified; he is merely questioning the why's and wherefore's. But like everyone else, he clearly accepts the "how" of the war. The entire debate is about how versus why.
"Why" should precede the acceptance or obtaining of strategic or tactical objectives. the how's and why's will never tally up because the war is neither just nor proportional, nor does it address the security concerns of America. Fighting in Afghanistan's insurgent civil war is not justifiable for the U.S. in any rational discussion.
"At one point," Hoh said, "I employed up to 5,000 Iraqis" handing out tens of millions of dollars in cash to construct roads and mosques. His program was one of the few later praised as a success by the U.S. special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction.
This is a point beyond rationalization. We the American people pay taxes to buy services administered by government. We pay taxes to perpetuate our lives and value systems. One of these is the separation of church and state. Yet here we have Mr. Hoh stating that our hard-earned tax dollars are being spent to contruct -- mosques?
How strange and bizarre is that? We are fighting phony wars supposedly fighting Islamic extremism, which is propogated in islamic mosques by extremist Imams, so what do we do? Build more mosques, which help perpetuate the cycle and violates the concept of separation of church and state which our democracy holds so sacrosanct.
Why does the U.S. electorate accept this insanity?