More troops bring out worst in Afghans?

A young foreign service officer, formerly posted in Afghanistan, has resigned to protest the war in Afghanistan. As he puts it, he’s no “peacenik, pot-smoking hippie who wants everyone to be in love.” Matthew Hoh is a former Marine with combat experience in Iraq.

But he has now decided, based on his experience, that many Afghans are fighting U.S. troops just because we’re there, because of a deep-seated, centuries-old hatred of invaders, no matter who they are or what their intentions are. It’s the most compelling argument for switching to a counter-terrorism strategy that I’ve seen. (Unlike  a counter-insurgency strategy, which would needs thousands more troops to fight the Taliban and pacify much of Afghanistan, counter-terrorism would use fewer troops to go after al-Qaida.)

Korengal and other areas, he said, taught him “how localized the insurgency was. I didn’t realize that a group in this valley here has no connection with an insurgent group two kilometers away.” Hundreds, maybe thousands, of groups across Afghanistan, he decided, had few ideological ties to the Taliban but took its money to fight the foreign intruders and maintain their own local power bases.
“That’s really what kind of shook me,” he said. “I thought it was more nationalistic. But it’s localism. I would call it valley-ism.”

Hoh isn’t the only expert who has come to the conclusion that putting tens of thousands more troops in Afghanistan would be counterproductive. President Obama has heard from plenty of deep-think types who know Afghanistan well who’ve said just that.

But, for some reason, I find Hoh’s argument especially compelling, perhaps because he struggled with coming to that conclusion. His letter of resignation has already caused ripples throughout the administration.

Obama ought to give the young man an audience in the Oval Office.

30 comments Add your comment

Common Sense

October 27th, 2009
7:58 am

Evil will always fight good when it shows up. The only question is whether or not to show up and how long to stay.

Donovan

October 27th, 2009
8:23 am

Thanks, once again for your brilliant insight of the war, Comrade Tucker. You and your kind wanted Papa Bush to march to Baghdad and take out Saddam when he had all the thousands of troops in place during Gulf I. When he didn’t, you all called for his head. When George Jr. went into Iraq to do the same job, you all said he did not have enough force to be successful and called for his head, also. Now you all say it is more prudent to use less force to be successful against the same kind of Islamic evil in another nearby Islamic country. These are the ravings of a lunatic mind and the thought process of a liberal controlled government that tries to prosecute a war. The White House has Obama, the Senate has Reid, the House has Pelosi, and the AJC has Tucker. God help us!

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
8:43 am

Common Sense

October 27th, 2009
7:58 am

Evil fighting good or evil fighting evil? We have no business there. UBL shuld have been killed or captured years ago. I question if they’re not afraid it would awaken the sleeper cells worldwide.

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
8:45 am

Donovan

October 27th, 2009
8:23 am

The societal structure in Iraq is much different than Afghanistan. Cynthia didn’t take a stand. She just suggested Obama shuld listen to what the young man has to say.

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
8:49 am

Hats off to this young man for having the courage and conviction to put his money where his mouth is. He makes a compelling argument and it further explains why Obama is “dithering.” Is Cheney trying to influence a future jury pool?

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
8:55 am

Donovan

October 27th, 2009
8:23 am

God has already helped us get rid of the instigators of these tragedies. Now if He’ll only see they are convicted of war crimes and imprisoned.

DoD Identifies Marine Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four Marines who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

The following Marines died Oct. 26 while supporting combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

Cpl. Gregory M.W. Fleury, 23, of Anchorage, Alaska.

Capt. Eric A. Jones, 29, of Westchester, N.Y.

Capt. David S. Mitchell, 30, of Loveland, Ohio.

Capt. Kyle R. Van De Giesen, 29, of North Attleboro, Mass.

Fleury, Jones and Van De Giesen were assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Mitchell was assigned to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, Marine Aircraft Group 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force, based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

For additional background information on these Marines, news media representatives may contact the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Public Affairs Office at (858) 577-6000.

2 cents worth

October 27th, 2009
9:22 am

TnGelding . . . what in the heck do you do for a living . . are you paid to post multiple postings on every topic that CT writes? Get a life for goodness sake!!!
For every “expert” who says we should get out of Afganistan . . you can fine one who says we should stay. . . . . so what’s the point!!!!

Common Sense

October 27th, 2009
9:44 am

To TnGelding:

“Evil fighting evil”? The “Taliban” is probably worse than the Nazi’s if the truth be known. The only argument is “how” to do it. If someone could invent a magic button that would kill every Taliban on the earth today would you push it? I would.

If you can’t tell the difference in that one then you and I had best part company.

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
9:54 am

2 cents worth

October 27th, 2009
9:22 am

Don’t accuse Obama of dithering.

Common Sense

October 27th, 2009
9:44 am

My point was it was “evil” going in there in the first place, knowing innocent women and children would die. The Afghans not associated with the Taliban or al Qaeda see it that way. They feel they have been invaded….again.

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
9:56 am

2 cents worth

October 27th, 2009
9:22 am

I’m retired with a chronic intestinal disorder. Don’t even feel like doing this most of the time. Just trying to keep the mind active. Just skip it if you find it boring or repetitive.

pat

October 27th, 2009
9:57 am

Perhaps his insight can be helpful in strategy, but I get the “lets just give up” tone. This is idiotic. We need to make strategic and correct decisions to win the war. The worse possible scenario is playing out now, a perpetual filibuster. If we do nothing, nothing will happen. We need to fix this now. These decisions don’t take months, they take hours. There’s lots of folks with lots of knowledge. Develop a plan and implement.

These terrorists have attacked us many times and killed many people. If allowed to continue they’ll will do so again. That is the only certainty.

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
10:02 am

From the AJC/AP:

“While I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests, I also promise you this — and this is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan: I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm’s way,” Obama said Monday during a visit to Naval Air Station Jacksonville. “I won’t risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary.”

(Then they must be coming home?)

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
10:06 am

pat

October 27th, 2009
9:57 am

But we’re only 6 months into the latest “strategy.” And according to Cheney one he and Bush recommended. It’s not like nothing is happening. See yesterday’s headlines where another 14 of our bravest were sacrificed to the war gods.

Common Sense

October 27th, 2009
10:10 am

To TnGelding:

Then according to you our part in WWII was “evil” because even though we were going to “save” people we knew that innocent women and children would die.

Here’s my bottom line – my logic may surprise you:

1) We should be in Afghanistan (along with massive NATO forces) for as long as it takes ……….
2) We should be killing Taliban and Al Quaida every chance and by any means we have ……..
3) We should provide all the additional troops necessary to do that ………..
4) The American people (as a whole) have no desire to support such a long-term commitment …….
5) Our “milktoast” politicians (as a whole) have no stomach for it ………..
6) Therefore, knowing #4 & #5 ahead of time, we should never have gone in the first place (i.e., Vietnam) and should get out now …………
7) Just lob a cruise missle in now and then to kill as many “combatants” as we can ………..

Oh, perfidious nation ………………………

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
10:28 am

Common Sense

October 27th, 2009
10:10 am

You’re comparing apples with orange juice. Just participating in WWII wasn’t evil, but evil acts did occur. Germany declared war on us first, by the way.

More pressure should have been put on the Taliban to cooperate after 09/11. Bush gave them 26 days! Up until that time he had been working with them to irradicate the poppy fields.

I can’t argue with your logic, since we are already there. It’s a tough decision, one I’ll defer to the CinC. But should he really be deciding? I kind of like what Newt said about removing that title from the president’s job description.

Chris Broe

October 27th, 2009
10:38 am

What is the mission of US troops in Afghanistan?

Fox News has faithfully pointed out today that Obama has played 3X the golf games that W had played when he was president. Osama bin laden could be playing as much golf as Obama. Fox News lets the listener decide about this nefarious link. It’s not just a spell-alike thing, you know. Obama and Osama are like two peas in a pod.

The two sleeping pilots were blogging, or tweeting. They were distracted. Time does fly when you’re texting. Fox News reported that Osama Bin Laden could have hijacked the plane while the pilots were trolling up a chatroom.

Osama could be anywhere. Fox news is searching for him on golf courses in case he joins forces with OJ as he searches in vain for his wife’s killer.

We’ve got to git bin laden.

Shananeeeeee Fananeeeeeeee

October 27th, 2009
11:14 am

Obammy is diddling on the troop decision. He is playing golf, attending fundraisers, and going on Leno and Letterman to campaign. He is trying to get the Olympics for his corrupt Chicago cronies and trying to change the College Football BCS Sysyem. He lies. I am still waiting for his CSPAN televised meetings about healthcare with him around a big table with doctors and insurance companies like he promised. I am still waiting for his promise of a $3,000 tax credit to existing buisnessess for each additional full time employee hired. I am waiting for this transparency of his not secret meetings. Their are many seniors waiting for his promise to end income tax for those making less than $50,000 a year. He broke his promise on the 5 day grace period between biils so the people could look and comment on them at the White House website. I think I am going to be waiting a long time, I won’t hold my breath. Change in 2010 and 2012, Change we are looking forward to.

jconservative

October 27th, 2009
11:59 am

We have been in Afghanistan for 8+ years and have nothing to show for it.

Chris Broe

October 27th, 2009
12:00 pm

Fox News thinks Golf is the key to Obama’s presidency? What kind of bunker mentality is that?

Common Sense

October 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

To TnGelding:

1) I was merely responding to your original statement:

“My point was it was “evil” going in there in the first place, knowing innocent women and children would die.”

If that is the your “criteria”, we can never be involved in ANY war because innocents always die.

2) Germany may not have “declared” war on us first but they had been sinking our merchant ships.

In any case, declaring war is just a formality on who gets the paperwork done first. A police officer doesn’t have to let the bad guy shoot first (although some liberal Americans would prefer that).

3) The American people no longer have the guts for a sustained war of any kind. They have become collective wimps. Our forefathers would be ashamed.

4) Thanks to the knuckleheads of America, Obama is the commander in chief whether we like it or not. The “title” has nothing to do with his competence ……… which militarily is probably not up to that of an infantry private. Hopefully, he will listen to and accept good advice.

One final thought: The Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Vietnam debacle said their biggest regret is that they did not resign “en masse” over the inane policies of that war.

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
12:11 pm

Common Sense

October 27th, 2009
12:06 pm

Yeah, I’m sure that was easy for him to say after he was sitting back drawing that fat pension and living the good life. But that’s the kind of action we need from our leaders. At some point you have to refuse to participate in the madness.

Thanks for the dialogue.

NetBanker

October 27th, 2009
12:35 pm

3) The American people no longer have the guts for a sustained war of any kind. They have become collective wimps. Our forefathers would be ashamed.

8 years of war isn’t a sustained war?! That’s longer than either World War as well as the Civil War…and Korean War. Besides we’ve had the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty going on for quite a while. (I”m joking about the last two).

How about trying to imagine being on the receiving end to understand why we can’t win with our current tactic? For the common Afghan the U.S. roared into their country dropping bombs and attacking terrorists who most of the citizens had nothing to do with. All they know is that troops have showed up uninvited in THEIR territory and are remaining there. The military has acknowledged that you can’t really declare war on a tactic (i.e. terrorism) since it knows no boundaries. Our continued presence in Afghanistan in it’s current fashion is simply reinforcing the locals resistance and forcing them to join forces with groups they normally wouldn’t becase those groups are supplying them with weapons they need to resist the occupation.

clyde

October 27th, 2009
1:15 pm

One guy quits so we all quit?When did that become the norm?

jconservative

October 27th, 2009
2:40 pm

clyde October 27th, 2009 1:15 pm
“One guy quits so we all quit?When did that become the norm?”

Not sure I follow you. What do you mean by quit? Does Bush signing the treaty to get out of Iraq by a date certain constitute “quit”?

Does Eisenhower signing the treaty to end the conflict in Korea constitute quit? Nixon re Viet Nam?

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
3:15 pm

Well, with these latest 8 deaths today I’m for suspending operations and hunkering down until a decision is made about the future of the war. It’s obvious what they’re doing now isn’t worth the cost. But if al Qaeda has been driven from the area, why stay? We can have an involvement without having troops on the ground.

clyde

October 27th, 2009
6:23 pm

jconservative.@ 2:40,

Sorry to be late.

Matthew Hoh resigned in Afghanistan.Ms. Tucker seems to want to use this non-earth shaking event to just maybe cease there.

Thusly:One guy quits, we all quit?When did that become the norm?

Eric von Stromheim

October 27th, 2009
8:42 pm

I just don’t understand why people are being so rude to our cindy. She is so right and I agree with everything that she has said.

Afghans are important. If we have to fight to protect afghans, then so be it. What else can we use to cover up with when taking a nap?

You people should be ashamed of yourselves for dissing our cyth. Afghans are very important to bedroom attire.

Shame on you people.

TnGelding

October 27th, 2009
9:13 pm

“AP IMPACT: Troops already outnumber Taliban 12-1″

BRUSSELS – There are already more than 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan working with 200,000 Afghan security forces and police. It adds up to a 12-1 numerical advantage over Taliban rebels, but it hasn’t led to anything close to victory.

“The U.S. and its allies already have ample numbers and firepower to annihilate the Taliban, if only the Taliban would cooperate by standing still and allowing us to bomb them to smithereens,” said Andrew Bacevich, a professor of international relations and history at Boston University, and one-time platoon leader in Vietnam.

“It’s impossible to regain the initiative by introducing more foreign forces, which will only breed more resentment and more recruits for the enemy,” he said. “The Soviets tried the exact same thing in Afghanistan in the 1980s with disastrous results.”

h t t p : / / n e w s . y a h o o . c o m /s/ap/20091027/ap_on_re_eu/eu_nato_taliban_strength

(Remove the blanks)

David from WI

October 28th, 2009
6:50 am

Well the far left and their members in the govt surely know what they are talking about bringing out the worst in people.

Time to call em ‘racists’
Call em ‘cowards’
Have a beer?

Wake up Cynthia the far left are part of our social stagnation. A BIG PART.

You are really blind and dilusional as are many many others that think the far left are capable of solving ANY problem they just make things worse.

You getting frustrated on why the ’solutions’ just don’t ever seem to work out? Blame other people some more. Keep doing what the left are good at.

Helpless and so very very sad.

I do so feel for all those you and the far left have tried to help for so long. So much false hope.. so much shattered lives wondering why things don’t get better. They are putting their faith in people who are well meaning fools.
God help us all.

Chester Felds

October 30th, 2009
7:03 pm

Why doesn’t barreck obama have the sense to put Cindi on his staff? She has the knowledge and knows how to write, cut and paste. We could win the war against Fox!