Matthew Hoh has impeccable establishment credentials. From 2004 to 2007 he served first as a Defense Department civilian on a reconstruction team and then as a Marine company commander in Iraq. In 2009 he was the State Department’s senior representative in Afghanistan’s Zabul province and political officer in Nangarhar province, areas of fierce fighting against the Taliban insurgency. But in September 2009 he resigned his post to protest the war.
“I had to. I couldn’t stand the BS of it anymore,” Hoh says. “Military officers and soldiers, people at the embassy—even at very senior levels—many privately said I did the right thing. Many said they would too, but couldn’t, for financial and career reasons.”
Now Hoh is director of the Afghanistan Study Group, which recently produced a report on a course of action to end the war. Over a period of months in 2010 investigative journalist Barbara Koeppel interviewed Hoh for The Nation to learn why this smart, skilled official, with a “calling” to serve his country and a high-level career ahead of him, took one giant step—out.
Read more The Nation: Matthew Hoh’s Afghanistan: An Insider Talks