We are very proud to announce the creation of the RootsAction Peacemaking Program and to introduce its first Coordinator, Matthew Hoh.
You can support his work here.
"I have tried war," says Matt. "I've tried it at all levels and from all perspectives. I’m not sure how many people have had such varied degrees of involvement in war as I have."
Matthew Hoh continues:
"As a young Marine officer I spent years in Asia, working with fellow military officers in Indonesia, Philippines, and Thailand, learning about their decades long insurgencies and civil wars; conflicts that are enduring and pointless.
"I've worked on war in Washington, DC; serving as the Marine Corps’ White House Liaison Officer for the first year of the Iraq War and then, a couple of years later, writing reports from my desk at the State Department that went to the President, Vice President and Secretary of State informing them how 'well' the war in Iraq was going. It’s hard not to be involved with the money of war and I had experience with that too, at one point I managed 'rapid acquisition projects' overseeing the purchasing of hundreds of millions of dollars of equipment that may not have helped American troops, but certainly helped American corporations.
"In Iraq, as a Marine officer, I led 152 young men in a foreign country where we did not speak the language, understand the culture, or know its history, all the while executing the tasks of an unjust and immoral occupation. No matter how well intentioned we may have been as individuals, I learned firsthand that the actions of an occupier will always bring suffering and create violence.
"Twice, once in Iraq and once in Afghanistan, I served as a civilian government administrator. I advised Afghan and Iraqi politicians, worked alongside American generals and ambassadors, met representatives of the insurgency and doled out tens of millions of dollars in American dollars to build infrastructure and bribe public sentiment. Again, regardless of the intention, and regardless whether I carried a rifle or a bag of cash, the result was the same, always more suffering and more violence.
"In 2009, unable to continue to justify to myself the futility and the immorality of our wars, I resigned my position with the State Department. Since then I have been working to educate the public about the wars and to promote peace. I have post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, moral injury and substance use disorder, and these sometimes get in the way, but I have an obligation to share what I know personally, that war is not only unjust but ineffective and counterproductive, and so I continue with my efforts for peace.
"This is why I am very happy to share with you that I will be coordinating the RootsAction Peacemaking Program.
"As Americans head to the polls in a couple of months the two major parties share at least one thing in common: both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are unabashed militarists, seeing no shame or dysfunction in America’s wars overseas, and seemingly promising to escalate current wars or begin new ones.
"There are few organizations that adhere to progressive principles as RootsAction does and, as the coordinator of the RootsAction Peacemaking Program, I will ensure voices witnessing to the wastes and crimes of war and to the need for peace and justice will be recognized, heard and effective.
"Please consider supporting the RootsAction Peacemaking Program by donating to the RootsAction Education Fund so that we may continue to raise voices of peace and justice."
-- The RootsAction Education Fund team