Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Resignation Letter of Foreign Service Officer Matthew Hoh...

is must reading.

According to WaPO, this is what they tried to do to stop his protest resignation against continued U.S. operations in Afghanistan:

The reaction to Hoh's letter was immediate. Senior U.S. officials, concerned that they would lose an outstanding officer and perhaps gain a prominent critic, appealed to him to stay.

U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry brought him to Kabul and offered him a job on his senior embassy staff. Hoh declined. From there, he was flown home for a face-to-face meeting with Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan... While he did not share Hoh's view that the war "wasn't worth the fight," Holbrooke said, "I agreed with much of his analysis." He asked Hoh to join his team in Washington, saying that "if he really wanted to affect policy and help reduce the cost of the war on lives and treasure," why not be "inside the building, rather than outside, where you can get a lot of attention but you won't have the same political impact?"

Hoh accepted the argument and the job, but changed his mind a week later. "I recognize the career implications, but it wasn't the right thing to do," he said in an interview Friday, two days after his resignation became final.



  1. Matthew Hoh may be a person who was driven by his conscience, but he is not a Foreign Service Officer. He signed on for a limited, non-career, one-year appointment, which was to last until September 28. He submitted his letter of resignation a few weeks before that. He was signed on as a political officer in a Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan in Zabul. His role as a PRT political officer was to monitor and report on political and economic developments in his province. He may have been the 'Senior Civilian Official" but he was likely the only civilian official there.

    Whatever Hoh's views on Afghanistan, his 'resignation' was simply a hastening of the end of his one-year contract. He was not vested into a career at the Department of State, nor had he served in a variety of diplomatic posts. The Washington Post mentions his own admissions of his struggles with PTSD and drinking, both are issues that would cause State's Diplomatic Security Service to suspend a career FSO's security clearance and definitely preclude service in a high-threat location such as Afghanistan or one of the dozens of embassies and consulates located in dangerous places.

    An analogy would be a journalist from Newsweek being commissioned as a Army Major and put in charge of Psychological Operations - the military does not do that anymore, and perhaps State needs to take more care in mentoring and screening 'mustangs.'

  2. Way to drag out his skeletons in a manner to discredit him. Typical modus operandi.....tear apart the messenger. Maybe you'd have a few if you'd spent any time over there as he has.

    The fact of the matter is, he's been there, and seen it, and you likely haven't.....unless you've been to one of those dog and pony shows all the congressmen get when they "go to see firsthand" what's happening over there.

    Nice spin...."anonymous".......