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

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.

Media Availability for US-Taliban Peace Deal

For my media friends:

Does Saturday’s U.S.-Taliban Deal Mean Peace for Afghanistan? — Interviews Available

MATTHEW HOH, matthew_hoh@riseup.net
Hoh resigned his position as a State Department political officer in Afghanistan in 2009 in protest of the Obama administration’s escalation of the war. Prior to being in Afghanistan, Hoh was a U.S. Marine Corps officer and was in the war in Iraq twice, once with the Marines and once on a State Department team. Since 2010, Hoh has been a senior fellow with the Center for International Policy.

He said today: “The first part of a peace deal for Afghanistan, set to be signed Saturday between the U.S. government and the Afghan Taliban in Doha, Qatar, has a host of uncertainties attached to it, both in terms of the details of the agreement and what the deal between the U.S. and the Taliban means for the Afghan people. What is not uncertain is the immense suffering the Afghan people have endured and that this is a peace process that could have begun years ago.

“Afghanistan has been at war for more than 40 years. For all 40 years, the war in Afghanistan has been funded, supported and participated in by outside nations — in all but seven of those years the U.S. has been involved as one of those outside powers, including supporting Afghan Islamist militants in the year prior to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and for four years after the Soviet Union exited. The suffering of the Afghan people has resulted from a myriad of causes, yet seemingly only those who are either on the payroll of the U.S. government or whose legacy is tied to the U.S. role in Afghanistan will not offer that the largest reason for the suffering of the Afghan people and the continued devastation of Afghanistan has been U.S. war and political policy.

“The war in Afghanistan has been a mirror for the United States for the last 40 years — the dysfunction of the U.S. political system, America’s failed war on drugs, the prioritization of war over all else, and the blowback from ignorant and arrogant decision-making is revealed through the war in Afghanistan as a fundamentally American story. By no means has the U.S. endured the costs that Afghanistan and its people have endured, yet it should be lost on no one that Afghanistan is as much an American story as it is anything else.”

Some of Hoh’s recent writings relevant to the war in Afghanistan include: “Time for Peace in Afghanistan and an End to the Lies,” “And the Armies That Remained Suffer’d: Veterans, Moral Injury and Suicide,” “Authorizations for Madness; The Effects and Consequences of Congress’ Endless Permissions for War” and “The Killing of General Soleimani: Hail Mars! Hail Pluto!

In the past year, Hoh has been interviewed a number of times regarding the war in Afghanistan, including on C-SPAN and “Democracy Now.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020(202) 421-6858; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

February 28, 2020

Institute for Public Accuracy
980 National Press Building, Washington, D.C. 20045
(202) 347-0020 * accuracy.org * ipa@accuracy.org
@accuracy * ipaccuracy

Worth the Price? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War

A short documentary, Worth the Price? Joe Biden and the Launch of the Iraq War, was released this morning. Produced by Mark Weisbrot and narrated by Danny Glover, this 19 minute film includes a variety of voices on the launching of the Iraq War, I am grateful to be one of those voices.

https://www.worththeprice.org/

Mark was interviewed on Democracy Now today about the film.

If you agree with the film, I would appreciate it if you could share Worth the Price? with your networks as you see fit. Many believe Hillary Clinton did not win the democratic nomination in 2008 and did not win the general election in 2016 due to her support of the Iraq War. Like Clinton, Biden should be held accountable for his continued advocacy for war, and if enough major candidates are held responsible, maybe more candidates will favor peace over war.

If you would like to support the work I do, please visit my Patreon page.

 

Speaking with Our Enemies

I hope 2020 is going well for everyone. Thank you so much to those supporting me on Patreon. Your assistance is invaluable, I can’t emphasize that enough. Thank you.

This year has begun for so many around the world the same way as the last one did, and the one before that, and the one before that, etc. Tens of millions of people are, from sub-Saharan Africa to Pakistan, living lives consumed and controlled by violence, suffering and homelessness. Medical care, food and clean water are near non-existent for many this winter as they live as refugees in tent camps or struggle to survive in their own cities and villages. The cause of this is war. I don’t use the plural of wars as the root cause of this mass suffering, a suffering unknown on the planet over such a stretch of geography and populations since the Second World War, is US foreign policy.

This suffering floods home. While it is true the US does not endure the missile strikes, the drone attacks, the commando raids, the starvation blockades or the roadside bombs that have ruined so much life abroad, we are a nation that is as captive to this war as the people directly consumed by it. The violence that exists in our actions overseas is mirrored here at home. There are multiples of examples for this and such examples are not coincidence: we are the planet’s largest arms seller and we have more guns here in the US than people; we supply weapons to over 70% of the world’s dictatorships and autocracies, and, at home, anyone who wants a weapon, no matter how sick or depraved they may be, may have one; we have more than 800 foreign military bases, combined the rest of the world has about 15, while here in the US we have the world’s largest prison system ~ 25% of the world’s prisoners with 5% of the world’s population…the examples are seemingly inexhaustible. So it is very true, as Veterans For Peace says, we cannot have peace at home, until we have peace abroad, and vice versa.

As I write this, I am waiting to speak, via Skype, with 500 university students across Iran. Over the last two months, as the US and Iran have dangerously come close to a catastrophic war, I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to appear on Iranian television a number of times. I have also had the opportunity to speak with US and European audiences as well, either by attending events virtually via Skype or Zoom, or by appearing on television, internet and radio programs. I will link several of these interviews below.

It is not a hidden fact the vast majority of public discussion on US foreign policy and war is dominated by a belief in violence, an ahistorical understanding of the world and the US’ role in it, and by a controlling interest of money and industry. However, there is nothing we can do other than fight against a system that continues to prolong, renew and create suffering unlike any the world has seen in three quarters of a century. We also cannot restrict our conversations to our own selves, we must reach out to those we are told are our enemy and that is why I am so happy to have the time and ability to be able to appear on Iranian television and virtually attend conferences so I may speak to Iranians and others we are told to not just hate, but to see killed. For these reasons your support of me and my work is so very important and it is why I am so grateful.

Please let me know if there are things you think I should be doing more of or better, and please, if you are so inclined, pass along this note to others and encourage them to support me in my work via Patreon. Thank you again.

Peace,

Matt

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/03/the-killing-of-general-soleimani-hail-mars-hail-pluto/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjdDLztrJkc&fbclid=IwAR0Gg4Sq10Sp5CAohQZUpLwwqlwFxpCQhGoau6C5IH6rp7FXn7DDP6lC7So

https://scotthorton.org/interviews/1-10-20-matthew-hoh-on-whos-really-responsible-for-american-casualties-in-iraq/?fbclid=IwAR3u90-SdkYThYS7zBv1oMZfvxOpUZlyNcV_NMhdawBQybnTbRxx_iOX1w4

https://www.actvism.org/en/politics/afghanistan-papers-matthew-hoh/?fbclid=IwAR1YryzfRK6mPGPJGWjZ-vbMgDYy_ez7zLB2Fpzj4kznKGxC98DTtfwRD0c