Matthew Hoh, a former Marine and diplomat from the State Department, who resigned in protest in 2009 over the Afghanistan War, joins the “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast this week. Some of his insightful commentary can be found at MatthewHoh.com.
During the interview, Hoh talks about how the United States government is dropping a bomb every 12 minutes. He discusses the military industrial-complex under President Donald Trump, as well as under President Barack Obama. He addresses the ongoing war in Yemen.
Later in the show, Hoh describes what it is like for someone to endure post traumatic stress disorder and outlines the scope of the issue for military veterans, especially those with moral injuries. He also comments on news that NSA whistleblower Reality Winner accepted a plea deal.
To listen to the interview, click on the above player or go here.
“It’s a number that’s not fathomable for most people to understand what that means,” Hoh says of the numbers reflecting how much the war machine under President Donald Trump has escalated. “Some of it is circumstances. The first year of Trump’s first full year in office was also when the campaigns against the Islamic State really came into full force.”
Major battles took place in Iraq and eastern Syria, large battles in Mosul and Raqqa that the military believed required a lot of bombs.
“Those cities are completely devastated. People are going to be buried forever under the rubble. It’s sickening. It’s absolutely sickening what has occurred in terms of the destruction that has been wrought,” Hoh adds. “But it’s also true that Trump has let the military do whatever they want.”
There are U.S. military operations ongoing in 76 different countries.
However, as Hoh emphasizes, “Trump’s only been in office a year.” The military that is killing all these people every 12 minutes “didn’t just appear.”
“A lot of times people think about not just the military but say [Immigrant and Customs Enforcement] or any of these other organizations, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, or whoever,” as if they’re orcs from “Lord of the Rings” that Saruman continues make out of cauldrons. That is not what is happening.
“All of these men and women, pilots who are basically immolating people every 12 minutes, many of them joined up over the last ten to twenty years,” Hoh suggests. “It takes two or three years to make a pilot in the Air Force, Navy, or the Marine Corps. Or two years to make an Army attack helicopter pilot. So these men and women all joined under Obama, or under Bush, or under Clinton.”
“Where is any type of conscience in the military? Where is any type of degree of moral law, moral authority, moral awareness? Just today the news is that the Pentagon says they’re willing to house 20,000 migrant children on military bases in Texas and Arkansas.”
“It’s not so much Trump,” Hoh additionally argues. “This is a military that wants to kill, looks to kill, is happy to kill because it believes it’s serving its own interests.” The officers leading the military also see themselves as modern day centurions. They are the men responsible for defending this empire and will do it without question and without thought.
“We do have some members of Congress who have stood up against what is happening in Yemen,” Hoh mentions. “And what is occurring in Yemen is completely backed by the United States. It would not be possible—this massacre of tens of thousands of people, the potential starvation of a couple million people, a million-plus people with cholera that we’ve seen in decades basically. It would not be possible without the support of the United States military.”
It is not only our fighter planes and our bombs that we supply, Hoh adds, but it is also our mid-air refueling of Saudi jets.
Hoh points out that “smart bombs,” which Democrats said the U.S. needed to provide to Saudi Arabia, are particularly useful in targeting critical infrastructure, like hospitals, bridges, ports, and warehouses.
According to Hoh, CODEPINK held a briefing on endless war, which a bunch of progressive House members attended. They were asked as they left to pledge not to accept money from defense corporations. Only two accepted the pledge.
In the House of Representatives, the Divest From the War Machine campaign spearheaded by CODEPINK currently has the backing of Representative Barbara Lee, Representative Bonnie Watson, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Representative Jan Schakowsky, Representative Keith Ellison, Representative Maxine Waters, Representative Pramila Jaypal, Representative Raul Grijalva, Representative Ro Khanna, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and Representative Yvette Clarke.
Hoh first emphasizes how absent coverage of Reality Winner’s case has been from the news media. He thanks our show and Shadowproof for spending time covering the prosecution against her.
He lauds Winner for disclosing the NSA report and going up against the U.S. government, even though she had to know there was an insider threat program that could be brought to bear upon her. She also had to know from briefings how this would make her a target.
As Hoh notes, whistleblowers like Thomas Drake, Edward Snowden, or Chelsea Manning are referred to in insider threat training documents as if they are terrorists.
It is important to understand the anger that goes against her. Government officials think, “How dare she question people? How dare she stand up to us? How dare she question us?”
“The full weight of the intelligence community, the military comes down on her,” Hoh adds.
“Reality Winner is the only person to show real evidence of foreign tampering in the election, and she is in jail. But no one else is. Because she talked about it. She had the audacity to speak against these people,” who see themselves as guardians of the republic. They think they are on a moral level higher than the rest of us, Hoh concludes.
Hoh acknowledges for many decades occupied territories of Palestine were a testing ground for U.S. weapons. The Israelis conducted operations regularly, and that was exciting to the military and the CIA.
“A lot of it’s racial,” Hoh asserts. “They’re white, the Israelis are white. I mean, it’s that simple.”
He continues, “The amount of racism that goes into our wars is underestimated. One thing I saw over and over again—same as with Vietnam, same as with Korea, same as with fighting the Japanese—the racism that occurs. It’s not overt. It’s not outspoken.
“You’re not going to hear, around the planning session or around the map, a group of American officers (in lower ranks you’ll hear it)—But among the officers you won’t. You won’t hear them say these brown-skinned so-and-sos. But the attitude is there. How can these people with their flip flops and their pajamas in their caves take us on? So I think a lot of it is racial.”
For more, listen to the full episode here.
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