"Our support for the [the Afghan] government ... reminds me horribly of our involvement with South Vietnam: an unpopular and corrupt government we backed at the expense of our nation's own internal peace," Hoh wrote.
The U.S. government's ongoing strategy to reform Afghanistan to stop an al-Qaeda resurgence would "require us to additionally invade and occupy western Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan [and] Yemen.
"Our presence in Afghanistan has only increased destabilization and insurgency in Pakistan," Hoh wrote in his letter of resignation.
Hastings also criticizes the speech Obama delivered at West Point in December 2009 to escalate the war.
Obama's message, Hastings writes, was that he was "going to triple the scope of the war, an unprecedented escalation that will create an almost entirely new conflict.
"The loophole for an indefinite stay is kept wide open."
The real Petraeus scandal
Last month, news reports revealed that David Petraeus, McChrystal's successor, had an affair with Paula Broadwell, who recently published a glowing biography of Petraeus: "All In: The Education of General Petraeus."
Petraeus resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Nov. 9, just after the sex sandal broke.
Hastings said Petraeus' questionable military policies are vastly more important than his Broadwell affair -- another point overlooked by most of the mainstream media.
When Petraeus, who also commanded U.S. forces in Iraq, took charge in Afghanistan, Hastings writes, "He turned to a network of warlords, drug runners and thieves known as the Afghan government to implement his strategy."
Claiming progress, Petraeus stepped up the level of violence in Afghanistan, ordering more attacks by Special Forces teams and more armed strikes from tanks, airplanes and helicopters.
"Rather then decreasing the threat of terrorism, our large-scale troop interventions spawned an unprecedented level of suicide bombers," Hastings writes.
"The Operators" also raises questions about the long-term stability of the Afghan military. Hastings points out just 20 percent of its recruits can read, a quarter of all recruits desert "on a regular basis," child rape is endemic in the military and up to 60 percent of troops regularly smoke hash.
Hastings praises Vice President Joe Biden, who has become increasingly critical of the Afghanistan war.
Meanwhile, Obama seems to ignore many critics of the war, including Richard Holbrooke, an ambassador and foreign-policy adviser to several presidents. Between January 2009 and December 2010, Holbrooke served as a "special envoy" to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"Obama's failure to embrace and listen to Holbrooke represented a larger failure to get control of the war in Afghanistan," Hastings argues.
The "media-military-industrial complex" has gained too much control today.
"Trash Sarah Palin all you want," Hastings writes, "but tread carefully when writing about the sacred cows like McChrystal and Petraeus. You're supposed to keep the myths going."
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.