WASHINGTON (CNN) - Widening rifts over America's war in Afghanistan were laid bare Tuesday with the revelation that a State Department official recently resigned in protest over what he termed a "cavalier, politically expedient and Pollyannaish misadventure."
Foreign Service Officer Matthew Hoh, a 36-year-old former Marine Corps captain, submitted his resignation letter on September 10.
Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration's special representative in both Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, made a personal plea for Hoh to change his mind. Hoh refused.
His resignation took effect September 28.
"I do not believe any military force has ever been tasked with such a complex, opaque and Sisyphean mission as the U.S. military has received in Afghanistan," Hoh wrote.
"Our forces, devoted and faithful, have been committed to a conflict in an indefinite and unplanned manner. ... We are mortgaging our nation's economy on a war which, even with increased commitment, will remain a draw for years to come."
News of Hoh's resignation came as the administration continues to deliberate whether to change course in an eight-year conflict once dubbed a "war of necessity" by President Barack Obama.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander, has reportedly submitted a request for as many as 40,000 additional troops.
McChrystal's request is being weighed against the backdrop of suddenly spiraling U.S. military fatalities. Two roadside bombs killed eight soldiers on Tuesday, two military officials told CNN. Their deaths meant a total of 24 Americans - most of them military - had been killed over 48 hours.
There have been 58 American military fatalities so far in October, making it the deadliest month for U.S. armed forces since the Afghanistan war began in October 2001.
"I find specious the reasons we ask for bloodshed and sacrifice from our young men and women in Afghanistan," Hoh wrote. "If honest, our stated strategy of securing Afghanistan to prevent al Qaeda resurgence or regrouping would require us to additionally invade and occupy western Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, etc."
Hoh, who had been serving as a top political officer in Afghanistan's southern Zabul province, argued that the American presence in the war-torn Islamic republic "has only increased destabilization and insurgency in Pakistan, where we rightly fear a toppled or weakened Pakistani government may lose control of its nuclear weapons."
He also drew parallels between the war in Afghanistan and U.S. involvement in Vietnam four decades ago.
American support for "an invalid and illegitimate Afghan government ... reminds me horribly of our involvement in South Vietnam; an unpopular and corrupt government we backed at the expense of our nation's own internal peace, against an insurgency whose nationalism we arrogantly and ignorantly mistook as a rival to our own Cold War ideology."
State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said the administration respected Hoh's decision.
"We take his opinions very seriously," Kelly said. "Senior officials on the ground in Afghanistan and here in Washington have talked to him, have heard him out. We respect ... his right to dissent."
Hoh's resignation from a special one-year appointment appears, at least so far, to be an anomaly. No career Foreign Service officers have resigned from the State Department over Afghanistan policy, according to Kelly.
Hoh concluded his resignation letter by stating that he could not promise the families of U.S. soldiers killed in action that the war was worthy of their sacrifice.
"The dead return only in bodily form to be received by families who must be reassured their dead have sacrificed for a purpose worthy of futures lost, love vanished, and promised dreams unkept," he wrote.
"I have lost confidence such assurances can anymore be made. As such, I submit my resignation."
–CNN's Elise Labott, Dugald McConnell, and Brian Todd contributed to this story.