After reading "Former Marine quits State post over Afghan war," (article, Oct. 28), I am disappointed he was once a Marine. It appears Matthew Hoh is in a place in his life where his personal opinions and analysis of the war differ from those surrounding him and, as a result, he has once again quit his post.
While his tenure in the Marine Corps gave him a peek at counterinsurgency, he has demonstrated that he is far from a subject matter expert. Hoh strikes me as a former "trained combat engineer" turned "political officer" who would like to use his experience in the Marine Corps to further his career in the political arena. What Hoh has failed to recognize is that his experiences are limited to the villages, towns and cities of the provinces he visited during a particular time.
After multiple tours in Iraq, I am now deployed to Helmand province, Afghanistan. This is my second tour as an infantry company commander, where we live among the people. The children, regardless of age, have never attended a single class in school. Much the same, the adults are illiterate. Marijuana and poppy are cash crops that bring in up to eight times more revenue for their families than wheat and corn.
Do the people want us here? For security, yes. To take away their most lucrative crop, no. Of coarse the Taliban’s primary source of income is derived from heroin. There are multiple reasons, in addition to denying the insurgency the means to finance their operations, to maintain forces in Afghanistan. We are their last hope in taking the next step into modern civilization.
The only thing Hoh has learned about counterinsurgency is that it is much more difficult to influence change than to quit your post and complain.
Capt. Matt MartinHelmand province, Afghanistan