Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Good German

--Thanks from a Grateful Nation,
h/t to reader Underground Carpenter

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

, 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?

Labels: , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

as an uneducated, young american drunkard, i saw the resignation of hoh as a sign that even young/brain-washed dudes around my age are starting to get this gut feeling that something is very wrong. although not fully informed or wise, a "split within" is occurring to even the most dedicated and frightened. if we're afraid our enemies are going to wipe us off the map with nukes from pakistan, then it would seem our "how", that is, keeping a large force in an unstable afghanistan while we try to figure out a way to get pakistan in our pocket, is the "humane" way to go. but even if you buy this idea of the enemy and the solution, you can't help to imagine the ultimate continuance of this policy. you would need to dominate and control people down to the smallest organizations. A handful of relatively average men with a couple million bucks managed to unleash a paranoia not seen since the extremes of the cold war.

But the good news is that we've figured out a lot of the "hows". We've set up systems and checks and huge investigative forces to help keep everything "kosher" and on the right path. Soon we'll start keeping tabs on anyone who says anything "anti-american" or that might corrupt young minds with "unproductive negativity". getting low on cash? turn in a misguided friend for a few grand. you'll be helping yourself and keeping the world at peace.

i really like science fiction.

Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 1:52:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Captain Matthew Hoh's actual letter of resignation:


I fidn rather pithy and to the point. As far as your argument on lack of rank 'rank vs knowledge', in my experience can be misleading. In Jan of '68' General Westmorland and his 'ass kissers' were fat dumb and happy. The General of the 25th Inf. Div. had the balls to tell Westmorland that the multi regiment size battles along the Cambodia were a ruse for an all out Tet '68' attack on Westy's MACV doorstep.

So complacent was MACV that artillary fields of fire we never even imagined to protect the capital city until 4 weeks before the Tet '68' Bowl kickoff.

In 1982, Capt Stewart A. Harrington, who served in the capacity of A district intelligence advisor in Hau Nghia provence 2/71 to 8/72 wrote one of the classic's of the nature of counter insurgent war in his provence intitled 'Silence Was a weapon'. I've had my hardcover edition for many years now. It's has been out of print for over 25 years, but I've noticed it's republished in paperback since the 9/11 hangover. Every bit of that book jibed with my experience in that AO before, during and after TET.

So do I believe a combat experienced Marine Captain Hoh can look any State Department official the eye and tell him to 'piss off' on their WOT. It's not for nothing the State Department offered him another cushy job at State inorder to shut him up. He told them all to 'piss off'. Bravo Captain Hoh!

As far as re/building mosques with US taxpayers dollars in Irq/Afg who cares about seperation of church and state 10,000 miles away as long as there a chance it might promote something positive.

"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." Captain Hoh.

I don't know about you Jim, but I was plenty happy to 'waste' an enemy that #1: was trying to 'waste' me, my buddies, or anyone else that did not go along with program. War is killing, just or unjust. History will sort it out.

Sunday, November 1, 2009 at 3:49:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BTW: Captain Matthew Hoh was on PBS's Fareed Zakariah show GPS yesrerday. It's worth a watch if only to show the man's mettle, as well as his grasp of AFK/PAK situation.

Monday, November 2, 2009 at 9:28:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

When did COIN become war? Same for Terrorism? Calling it war does not make it so.
Remember there is a spectrum of conflict and RVN went beyond insurgency and transitioned to conventional war and tactics.
War is about nation states and not groups of ass holes.
Fuck it -kill everybody and call it gods will.

Monday, November 2, 2009 at 12:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

ya'll both make some good points.

myself, were i ever to go to war again, i would want to surround myself with e6's and above.

maybe even through in a couple o2's and 3's to handle the paperwork and shit.

i have told folks that there have been times when i have killed me some motherfuckers and felt better afterward. mostly, that was me shit talking to get myself a reaction out of them, or, trying to reconcile my own soul with some of the things that i've done.

if capt. hoh really does feel that his best job ever is killing motherfuckers, then i would hesitate to find him jobs within the state department.

i hear eric prince is hiring still....

Monday, November 2, 2009 at 3:17:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Fuck it -kill everybody and call it gods will."


Monday, November 2, 2009 at 4:53:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Ghost Dansing said...

hmmm.... perhaps we need a new perspective on all of this.....

Monday, November 2, 2009 at 6:32:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

have i lost my mind? am i a liberal ass sucker? have i had too many beers? i;m wondering if these guys were such assholes after all. we've been buying foreign government influence for decades, how would we feel if these guys could buy and sell us? isn't that what our "own" are doing to us now? so these fuckers did what they could do. why? and i'm not talking about the sheiks holding hands with bush or getting bowed in front of by obama. some crazy 23 year old implanted a bomb up his ass and blew himself up when he was "turning himself in" to a saudi prince. why? what's really going on here? someone set me straight. i'm beggin ya!


Monday, November 2, 2009 at 9:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When did COIN become war? Same for Terrorism? Calling it war does not make it so.
Remember there is a spectrum of conflict and RVN went beyond insurgency and transitioned to conventional war and tactics.
War is about nation states and not groups of ass holes." Jim

I've talked a number of AFK vets and they swear they were fighting a war. How did it transition from COIN to war, ask Dick Cheney. Pres.Obama, Mr. Nobel Peace Prize winner is hedgeing his bets on AFK rather than make a stand either way on the courage of his convictions. So we have the middle road, read failure.

As far as the war being about Nation States, remember it was the Taliban (a bunch of assholes) who took over Afghanistan after the three year Afghan civil war. They did impose 8th century order. I suspect 95% of Afghan people are loath to see them return. But as you well know the villagers are hedging their bets as well. At present NATO troop levels failure is only a matter of time, because we can't protect the villagers and they know it.

Sounds all too familiar,No? The Vietnam war failed because: #1: we couldn't protect the villagers. #2: Like Afghanistan, Vietnam had been subject to a number of invasions. Chinese hung around for 1000 years. The French were fighting the Vietnamese in the 19th century. Then came the WWII Japanese invasion. A couple of years later the French again. Then we show up on station in the 60's. Installing our boy 'Diem', who we murdered in '63'. Replacing him with a Catholic in a 90% Buddhist country. That's like installing a Morman as president of Afghanistan.

COIN is becoming war. Karazi, even though a Pashtun is following down the same rocky road. Is Afghanistan a nation state, or a confederation of tribes that hate meddlers, and who only unite to repel invaders? Yup, read Afghan history. Pakistan is close to being another failed state, with nukes. And there's no goddamn way we're going to fight a half assed nation state of 163 million.

Hidden under this pile of shit is our staunchest friend, another fractured nation state; who we supply weapons, training, money to kill 'terrorists'.
What is Obama doing about this? Nothing because everybody refuses to call it by it's rightful name, a shameful, criminal apartheid. Who's actions are at the very core of Islamic anger. It's not for nothing that OBL refers to us as 'Crusaders'. The crusades failed, Spain the French fell under the influence of the sword and Islam until the French defeated them at the battle of Poiters. Frankaphobes take note....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 10:51:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Dear G.D.,

Thank you for this perspectival shift.

Though I love the tune and what it promises, seeing the vid in this context was more than a little creepy. . .

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 1:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous JuniorAG said...

"War is about nation states"
Ah, Ranger, as long as the violence is sacred nation state on blessed nation state it's hunki-dori.The root of the problem is that we worship the nation state and swallow the lies it feeds us. The state needs it's power taken down by several notches, and let's abolish that useless state department for starters.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at 11:24:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And why, Range, doesn't the electorate wake up?? Most of 'em are stupid and brainwashed.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 12:40:00 AM GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home