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Scott Horton, opinion editor at Antiwar.com, just published Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, and we discuss!Horton hosts the Scott Horton podcast as well as Antiwar Radio on KPFK, Los Angeles, and is managing editor of the Libertarian Institute.
Horton's new book offers a fresh look at America's 16-year occupation of Afghanistan, and a central point is that the fighting continues because the occupation continues. About the only thing that unites Afghans is their opposition to invaders of the "Graveyard of Empires".
Relying on a wide range of sources, including hundreds of his own interviews, Horton offers a critical review of the US invasion and the conflict since 2001. Since the original basis for the invasion was to kill or capture Osama bin Laden and his cohorts, the rationale was expanded to include a poorly defined range of tribal fighters and militants under the "Taliban" umbrella. At present, there is no clear mission, no metric for "victory" and no plan to end the war.
While Horton generally accepts the official narrative of 9/11, he strongly objects to its use to justify major military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, framed around his criticism of the American empire.
He slams Obama's "surge" in Afghanistan, declaring it a failure. In the book and in our conversation, Horton holds some hope that Trump could blame Afghanistan on Bush and Obama, and bail out. But his speech in August where he approved modest increases in troop levels indicates that he sees more political risk in leaving than in staying.
As PBC notes, Americans show little investment in or concern about this ongoing military grind in the "whatever" war. One senator recently predicted that the US will remain in Afghanistan for another 10 years, but Horton's book makes a strong case for the US to exit, yesterday.