Fall posting

Hi everyone. I hope you are all keeping well and healthy.

As many of you know, I was busy these last few months with interviews and commentary on the events in Afghanistan and the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I am grateful to all of you for your support and friendship, particularly these past few months.

Before I post some writings and interviews, I want to say I am on twitter at @matthewphoh if anyone would like to follow me.

First, I want to link to an interview I did with Kenneth Rosen at War, USA on veterans suicides. As many of you know, I have spoken and written a great deal on veterans suicides, and their connection to moral injury and war, but in this interview I go a bit farther in my explanation and discussion:

https://kennethrrosen.substack.com/p/q-and-a-with-matthew-hoh

I also had this essay with Newsweek prior to the Taliban take over:

https://www.newsweek.com/cruel-unjust-peace-afghanistan-opinion-1614318

Next is an essay I wrote for the Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News and Observer, and Durham Herald Sun on my reflections 20 years after 9/11:

https://www.newsobserver.com/opinion/article254132878.html

I was very pleased to be able to share those thoughts with my state newspapers regarding that fateful anniversary, just as I was to share my thoughts with WCNC in Charlotte and CBS 17 in Raleigh:

https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/politics/flashpoint/nc-veteran-911-20th-anniversary/275-c3d5fe9d-0666-4a97-8c5a-3c000ed89c15

I’ve done a large number of national and international interviews over the last three months, here are some examples:

Democracy Now, Aug 18, 2021:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Scb8nlPeQ&list=LL&index=59

Clip from my interview with Krystal Ball and Kyle Kulinski:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vOtB46ncyU&list=LL&index=52

The full interview with Krystal and Kyle is here:

https://krystalkyleandfriends.substack.com/p/episode-35-audio-with-matthew-hoh

With Mehdi Hasan on MSNBC, please note I am a guest along with Azmat Khan who has been one of the best journalists on the wars over the last decade:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NoaV9v_TXAQ

On the podcast Conflicts of Interest with Kyle Anzalone. Here I share a bunch of stories about my interactions with members of Congress, particularly during 2009-2012, and how so many of them, both Democratic and Republican, willingly chose to go along with the war either due to personal political benefit, willful ignorance, political cowardice, etc. I have another interview scheduled with Kyle to discuss the journalists and media who did the same:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s2qTErBJG5s

Here is my part from a 9/11 remembrance event I took part in:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fq5ANuaQZUw

Finally, an interview I did with Orly Benaroch Light on many of the myths of the Afghan War:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p27co5f7TO8

I will end this with an article from Mintpress to which I contributed multiple parts, but especially the headline:

Again, thank you for your support and friendship.

Summer reading

Hi friends!

Sorry I have not posted in quite some time. To make up for it here are links to some essays and podcasts.

I hope everyone is well and healthy. Please be safe and I hope you all are enjoying your summer.

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/4/15/will_biden_end_the_us_forever

7/2/21 Matthew Hoh on Veteran Suicides, Afghanistan and America’s Failed War on Terrorism

Was it Just? America and Her Suicidal Combat Veterans

“While there are undoubtedly many causes for veteran and service-member suicide, within the sub-group of combat veterans, we see clearly elevated rates of suicide. The primary reason behind those deaths to suicide may be the guilt, shame, and regret that come home with us after the war. The obstacle, and thus the very thing that will keep these veteran suicides continuing, is the unwillingness of American politicians, generals, bureaucrats, the media, and, yes, the population as a whole, to honestly ask and answer why so many combat veterans kill themselves.”

Mike Gravel and An Ongoing Road to Courage

“This journey towards courage continued until I finally had the strength to confront my own moral and intellectual dishonesty. In many ways it was a breakdown, a collapse of my mind and spirit due to the weight of mendacity, yet it was also a rebirth. To find such courage I needed examples and Mike Gravel was one of them.”

https://www.cnn.com/2021/05/17/opinions/afghanistan-withdrawal-critics-get-wrong-hoh/index.html

“Much of the argument against withdrawal ignores how truly counterproductive the war in Afghanistan has been. Consider just two facts: In the years prior to the US invasion in 2001, Afghanistan and Pakistan were home to four international terror groups. Now, the Pentagon testifies that the number of such terror groups has grown to 20 or more.

“Second, when the US first invaded Afghanistan, al Qaeda counted around 400 total members worldwide. Al Qaeda has since spawned branches and offshoots – including the Islamic State – in dozens of countries, with total memberships in the tens of thousands, and have, at times, controlled entire cities in multiple countries.

Robotic Killing Machines and Our Future: Chris Pratt, Aliens and Drones


“On my TV, I watched Chris Pratt heroically battle aliens 30 years in the future. However, such a war would be fought almost entirely by robots. The idea of robots fighting aliens is no longer a purely speculative one, as the robots do exist. Autonomous robots that utilize artificial intelligence, machine learning, computerized fire control systems, and amazingly sensitive sensors are machines that do not seem to miss and never hesitate to pull the trigger. It is clear the aliens Chris Pratt fights in the future would not stand a chance against today’s robots. That is Hollywood, though. The question for us, outside of the movie theater and away from our TVs, is what chance we as human beings stand?”

Democracy Now! Interview and Press Statement

I was on Democracy Now! earlier this week. Also, a press statement on President Biden’s proposal to pull US forces from Afghanistan by September 11, 2021.

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/4/14/joe_biden_afghanistan_withdrawal_deadline

Press statement on Afghanistan. Thank you Institute for Public Accuracy.

MATTHEW HOH, matthew_hoh@riseup.net
Hoh is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a member of the Eisenhower Media Initiative. He is a 100 percent disabled Marine combat veteran, and, in 2009, he resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the Afghan War by the Obama administration. He was featured on an accuracy.org news release last month: “Biden Rejection of Afghan Agreement Means the ‘Taliban Will Resume Killing Americans.’
“Comparisons of Afghanistan to Iraq in 2014, play on the specious fear that a U.S. exit from Afghanistan will result in a comeback of Islamic militant forces, are disingenuous, and ignore the reality of what actually happened in Iraq after 2011.
“The success of the Islamic State in Iraq in 2014 was not due to the absence of U.S. forces in Iraq, but rather was due to the brutal sectarianism of the Iraqi government against the Sunni minority, and, critically, the the direct and indirect support of the Islamic State in Syria by the United States and its allies. The U.S. believed it could control the Islamic State, and other jihadist groups in Syria, in order to overthrow the Assad government. The U.S. also believed the Islamic State would not cross the literal line in the sand that divides Syria and Iraq, the country that most of the Islamic State leadership came from. The Obama administration decided it could control the Islamic State for its purposes, which resulted in another example of catastrophic blowback in U.S. military and foreign policy.
“Further, the idea Kabul will resemble Saigon in 1975 is again specious fear mongering. The Taliban, of course, want power, but they are not suicidal. They understand a violent takeover of Kabul, akin to the Islamic State takeover of Mosul or al Qaeda’s takeover of Aleppo, will result in Kabul being completely devastated by foreign air forces, just as occurred in Afghanistan in 2001, and in multiple cities in Iraq and Syria from 2014-2017, including Mosul and Aleppo. That is an outcome the Taliban are aware of and cannot want.
“Additionally, the Taliban cannot win in Afghanistan without the support of the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis want a client state in Afghanistan, but they also do not want the instability and chaos of Afghanistan to continue, particularly if a Taliban takeover of Kabul results in renewed resumption of a U.S.-led escalation of the war similar to 2001.
“The Pakistanis have an incentive to see stability and a power sharing agreement occur in Afghanistan, especially if their ally is given a prominent role. This outcome necessitates the need for negotiations and a peace process, and cannot occur if the Taliban are only given the option of victory or defeat.
“This is the first formal peace process in Afghanistan in over 30 years in a war whose violence goes back to 1978, prior to the Soviet invasion. This peace process is dependent upon foreign forces leaving Afghanistan. Regardless of whether the 3500 acknowledged U.S. troops leave Afghanistan, the U.S. military will still be present in the form of thousands of special operations and CIA personnel in and around Afghanistan, through dozens of squadrons of manned attack aircraft and drones stationed on land bases and on aircraft carriers in the region, and by hundreds of cruise missiles on ships and submarines.
“A peace process is what the Afghan people need and deserve after so many decades of cruel and unimaginable suffering, much of which has been perpetrated and sustained by foreign forces and intentions. Violence has proven to be counterproductive and horrifically destructive, a peace process is the only chance for Afghanistan, its neighbors and the world.”

Rush Limbaugh, Settlers in Palestine and Butterflies in Okinawa

I uploaded a podcast titled Rush Limbaugh, Settlers in Palestine and Butterflies in Okinawa. This episode is about succeeding and failing in compassion, especially in the context of our political lives, actions and beliefs.

Below are the links to the podcast for Apple, Spotify and the Isn’t it Pretty to Think So? webpage.

Additionally, I have included the Youtube video of my testimony to the Cold War Truth Commission on Afghanistan as a living legacy of the Cold War. The audio of that is also uploaded as a podcast.

I appreciate any feedback and thank you for taking the time to listen. Please share as you find fit.

Take care of one another and get your Covid shot!

Rush Limbaugh, Settlers in Palestine and Butterflies in Okinawa:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/rush-limbaugh-settlers-in-palestine-butterflies-in/id1546521565?i=1000513989537

https://matthewhoh.libsyn.com/rush-limbaugh-settlers-in-palestine-and-butterflies-in-okinawa

Cold War Truth Commission: Afghanistan as a Living Legacy of the Cold War

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/afghanistan-as-a-living-legacy-of-the-cold-war/id1546521565?i=1000513989538

https://matthewhoh.libsyn.com/afghanistan-as-a-living-legacy-of-the-cold-war

Coming home, being even more distant…and not having sex

I uploaded another podcast. This one, Coming home, being even more distant…and not having sex, deals with the issues combat veterans and their partners experience with intimacy and sexual relationships. As with my other recordings, while I focus on combat veterans, much of what I say can be applied to others. I hope this may be of benefit to individuals and couples that may be struggling.Here’s the website. Apple and Spotify links are available below as well. Please share.

https://matthewhoh.libsyn.com/coming-home-being-even-more-distantand-not-having-sex

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/coming-home-being-even-more-distant-and-not-having-sex/id1546521565?i=1000508539814

Don’t Say Thank You For Your Service

Hey all,

I got a lot of nice feedback on the podcast I posted last month, so here’s another one.

This is a “paper” I submitted for a class final. Ignore the first few sentences however and it functions like a 50 minute podcast.

I hope this is of help to people who have loved ones struggling with moral injury, shame, guilt or perpetration induced traumatic stress, or themselves are suffering from such.

Please reach out to me anytime if I can be of any help.

https://matthewhoh.libsyn.com/listening-to-moral-injury?fbclid=IwAR0MpEjNE9H3Z3SCd8KsdCwLbwrgktX0m8bKyWLnOS4WrFRqDAHunCPChCM

I also put it up on Apple, Spotify and a few other places if that is easier for you to listen to.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/isnt-it-pretty-to-think-so/id1546521565?i=1000504159383

The Buddha, Kipling and Heartbreak

As some of you know, I began a Master of Divinity program this year via Naropa University. Naropa is a Buddhist school and my program has an emphasis on Buddhist Studies and Contemplative Care. For one of my classes, I created a podcast.

Titled “The Buddha, Kipling and Heartbreak”, this podcast explains how Buddhism, in particular meditation and mindfulness, can help us cope with the loss of a pet. More broadly the teachings explained in this podcast can help with losses of all kinds in our lives. Please give it a listen and let me know what you think. I think this podcast and its theme/content is very much in line with the purposes I had in mind when I started this blog more than 7 years ago.

I hope this is of benefit to some people and please excuse the rough nature of the podcast. Below the link to the podcast you can find the original Kipling poem that inspired the podcast.

Peace and love,

Matt

https://matthewhoh.libsyn.com/the-buddha-kipling-and-heartbreak

The Power of the Dog

THERE is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet’s unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find – it’s your own affair, –
But … you’ve given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!),
When the spirit that answered your every mood
Is gone – wherever it goes – for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear!

We’ve sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent,
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we’ve kept ’em, the more do we grieve;
For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long –
So why in – Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

Some recent writings and videos:

I hope everyone is keeping healthy and safe during this pandemic. It has been quite a while since I updated this site, so here are some writings and videos from the past several months. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Media Availability

Is Big Media Echoing Accusations to Demonize Russia and Continue Afghan War?

June 29, 2020

The New York Times on Friday published a piece titled: “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says.”

The following analysts are scrutinizing this story:

MATTHEW HOH, matthew_hoh at riseup.net
Hoh resigned in protest from his State Department position in Afghanistan in 2009 over the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama administration; he also served in Iraq with the Marines.

He said today: “This is not the first time Russia has been accused of trying to harm U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. In 2017 and 2018 accusations were that Russia was supplying weapons to the Taliban were loudly repeated by the U.S. press, however, when put on record about such accusations, senior U.S., Afghan and NATO officials admitted there was no evidence to back such claims. In fact, the only confirmation of Russian involvement militarily in Afghanistan was the provision of 10,000 weapons to the Afghan government in 2016 by the Russians.

“This is more a story of the abdication of journalistic standards and critical practice than it really is about the war in Afghanistan. That nearly all corporate-owned media in the U.S. are simply repeating the claims of anonymous officials, claims that are made without any evidence, just demonstrates U.S. corporate media has become a public relations tool of the U.S. government. After corporate media’s willingness to repeat the baseless and unfounded claims, lies really, made by the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump in justifying U.S. war in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and now throughout Africa, it is no surprise they would go along, willingly and enthusiastically, with anonymous statements made without evidence, once again, in order to justify war in the Muslim world, to increase tensions with Russia, and to stoke Pentagon and military industry budgets. It should be noted nearly all the experts quoted in print or appearing on television/radio to speak about these claims are retired generals who are on the boards of military companies or residents of think tanks that receive funding from the U.S. government and/or the military industry.

“This has always been the nature of U.S. war in its imperial form, with false accusations supported by an excited media to create the domestic political support for war, or continued war. This is true of U.S. wars in Vietnam, Central America, the Spanish American War, the acquisition of Hawaii, the Mexican American War, U.S. support for the British Opium Wars, and, for hundreds of years, wars of genocide against the Indigenous people of this land.

“Of course, these dangerous accusations come at a time when peace efforts have reached a point in Afghanistan not seen since the early 1990s. Such an attempt to stop efforts to end a war with a continued value to the U.S. military industry, and elements within the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, should be expected.”

Hoh, a senior fellow with the Center for International Policy, who is also a 100 percent disabled veteran, has written extensively about U.S. wars for the last decade and has conducted hundreds of media interviews. See an appearance on CSPAN last year discussing the war in Afghanistan. His pieces include “Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War,” “And the Armies That Remained Suffer’d: Veterans, Moral Injury and Suicide” and “Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies.”

SCOTT HORTON, via ed at scotthorton.org, @scotthortonshow
Horton is author of the book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan and editorial director of Antiwar.com. He said of the recent reports: “The NYTWSJ and Washington Post stories all rely only on anonymous officials’ claims. These sources did not even describe the nature of the supposed intelligence to the reporters, much less prove their case. The journalists who wrote the articles have all cited each other as ‘confirming’ their stories on Twitter, when they all are still only repeating the same hearsay. (In a later follow-up, the Times added a few details, but still no reason to believe.)

“The timing is of course very suspicious due to impending negotiations with the Taliban and current negotiations with Russia, on U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and nuclear arms.

“After the intelligence agencies lied directly to the American people about Iraq’s unconventional weapons, Libya’s impending genocide, Syria’s ‘moderate rebel’ terrorists and especially the late-Russiagate hoax, every claim they make should be considered an outright lie until proven otherwise.

“Russia has supported U.S. efforts in Afghanistan since 2001. If they are now trying to give our government an excuse to stay bogged down in that no-win quagmire, then what does that say about our current occupation there in the first place?

“In 2017, the army admitted that there was no evidence for claims by officials to the media, such as CNN, that Russia was supplying weapons to the Taliban. War veteran journalists at Task and Purpose handily debunked those claims as well.

“There is no reason at all to believe the current accusations are any more credible.”

Others critics cited examples of U.S. policy killing or targeting Russians in Syria and in Afghanistan.

The Lasting Effects of War: A conversation with author Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai and Veterans For Peace

Hi friends. I am really excited to moderate this book reading and discussion, on behalf of Veterans For Peace, with Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai about her latest novel The Mountains Sing. Please join us Wednesday, May 6 at 4pm EST. Participants can purchase the book at a reduced rate.

You can sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScSnHBcXExzp7yekScdUlvMcSalHaSbpzhRlES9twFbJKdxIA/viewform

My review of The Mountains Sing was published by CounterPunch.

From the VFP webpage:

Please join award winning author Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai as she discusses her latest book, The Mountains Sing, a novel about multiple generations of a family living through the decades of war in Vietnam. Hosted by Veterans For Peace, this conversation, to include a reading from The Mountains Sing, will allow attendees to join with Que Mai to discuss the lasting effects of war on all participants. Moderated by Veterans For Peace advisory board member, Matthew Hoh, this will be both a timely and timeless conversation about war, borders, history, nationalities and the urgent need for a renewed dedication towards peace, reconciliation and internationalism.

Wednesday, May 6th
3pm (CDT)/ 4pm (EDT)
Sign up here for call in details

Born into the Viet Nam War in 1973, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai grew up witnessing the war’s devastation and its aftermath. She worked as a street vendor and rice farmer before winning a scholarship to attend university in Australia. Upon returning to Vietnam, she helped to foster Vietnam’s sustainable development via her positions with international organizations including UN agencies. The author of eleven books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction in Vietnamese and English, Quế Mai has won the Poetry of the Year 2010 Award from the Hanoi Writers Association, the Capital’s Literature & Arts Award, First Prize – the Poetry Competition About 1,000 Years Hanoi… Quế Mai’s main research area is the long lasting impact of wars. She has worked extensively with veterans and war victims. She voluntarily translated Vietnamese and American veterans’ writings, published them and facilitated literary exchanges the purpose of healing, reconciliation and peace. For more information, visit http://www.nguyenphanquemai.com

Matthew Hoh is a member of the advisory boards of Expose Facts, Veterans For Peace and World Beyond War. In 2009 he resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the Afghan War by the Obama Administration. He previously had been in Iraq with a State Department team and with the U.S. Marines. He is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy. His review of The Mountains Sing was published by CounterPunch.

Link for purchase:

The Mountains Sing can be purchased as a hard cover book, an e-book or an audiobook. For purchase links, please visit Algonquin BooksFor a limited time the author is offering the book at a 20% discount to all VFP members.  Please use code VFP20 at checkout.

An overview of the book:

Set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War, The Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

The Mountains Sing has been praised as “an absorbing, stirring novel” by The New York Times, “luminous” by NPR, “the missing narrative of the American War in Vietnam” by The Star Tribune, and “a window, a view into what we have done and continue to do to so many all over the world” by CounterPunch.

The Mountains Sing had also received strong endorsements from veterans of the Vietnam War. According to Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of Matterhorn, What It’s Like to Go to War, “Reading this novel, I was moved by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s beautiful, even poetic, depictions of enduring courage. I came away with a deeper understanding of the war in which I fought.” According to Larry Heinemann, author of Paco’s Story, winner of the National Book Award, “The Mountains Sing is a beautiful story of the simple challenge of keeping a family together and the courage of perseverance. It is told with the sureness of a master storyteller with a poet’s spirit. A large and complicated story, marvelous to read.”

Quế Mai is excited and honored to join Matthew Hoh in a conversation about her book. She will be reading from The Mountains Sing and answer the audience questions.