Time to End the War

in Afghanistan

by: Scott Horton

See on Amazon



Time to End the War

in Afghanistan

by: Scott Horton

See on Amazon

About Scott

Scott Horton is director of The Libertarian Institute, editorial director of, host of Antiwar Radio for Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from He’s conducted more than 5,000 interviews since 2003. He lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, investigative reporter Larisa Alexandrovna Horton.

To listen to Antiwar Radio, tune in to KPFK 90.7 FM, Pacifica, in the Los Angeles area at 8:30 am Pacific time Sundays, subscribe to the podcast feed of the shows at Scott’s website, on iTunes or on Stitcher.

“In Fool’s Errand, Scott Horton masterfully explains the tragedy of America’s longest war and makes the case for immediate withdrawal. I highly recommend this excellent book on America’s futile and self-defeating occupation of Afghanistan.”

Daniel Ellsberg

Pentagon Papers whistleblower and author of Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers

“Scott Horton’s Fool’s Errand is a deeply insightful and well-informed book on America’s longest war, explaining why it remains as unwinnable as it ever was. It appears at an important moment as the Trump administration is once again reinforcing failure.”

Patrick Cockburn

Middle East correspondent for the Independent, author of The Age of Jihad: Islamic State and the Great War for the Middle East

Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan by Scott Horton is a spectacularly researched and sourced book, and it provides a refreshingly rational analysis of America’s Afghan quagmire. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know the truth of this nation’s longest war.”

Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis

U.S. Army (ret.) senior fellow at Defense Priorities

“The real story of the disastrous U.S. war on Afghanistan must be written so that future generations may understand the folly of Washington’s warmongers. Scott Horton’s Afghan war history is an important contribution to this vital effort.”

Ron Paul, M.D.

former U.S. congressman and author of Swords Into Plowshares: A Life in Wartime and a Future of Peace and Prosperity

“An incisive, informative analysis of the Afghan fiasco and how we got there, scrubbed clean of propaganda and disinformation. Horton captures the situation very well indeed. I much enjoyed reading it.”

Eric S. Margolis

author of War at the Top of the World: The Struggle for Afghanistan, Kashmir and Tibet and American Raj: Liberation or Domination? Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World

“Scott Horton has a far better record on Afghanistan than the Pentagon or the White House. He has been pointing out the follies of U.S. intervention there since it started half a generation ago. Fool’s Errand vividly exposes the pratfalls, atrocities, lies and incorrigibility of our never-ending Afghan crusade.”

James Bovard

columnist at USA Today and author of Attention Deficit Democracy

“Scott Horton’s Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan is a brilliant achievement and a great read. I recommended it to the faculty at the Army Command and General Staff College to be part of the course work. It’s that important.”

Col. Douglas Macgregor

U.S. Army (ret.), author of Warrior’s Rage: The Great Tank Battle of 73 Easting

“Scott Horton’s Fool’s Errand is really a great book, the best one I know on this convoluted (and irritating) topic.”

Noam Chomsky

author of Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance

“Scott Horton’s Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan is a definitive, authoritative and exceptionally well-resourced accounting of America’s disastrous war in Afghanistan since 2001. Scott’s book deserves not just to be read, but to be kept on your shelf, because as with David Halberstam’s The Best and Brightest or Neil Sheehan’s A Bright Shining Lie, I expect Horton’s book to not just explain and interpret a current American war, but to explain and interpret the all too predictable future American wars, and the unavoidable waste and suffering that will accompany them.”

Capt. Matthew Hoh

USMC (ret.), former senior State Department official, Zabul Province, Afghanistan, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy

It's Time to End the War in Afghanistan

Fool’s Errand is a hidden history of America’s forgotten war, laid bare in damning detail. Scott Horton masterfully retells the story of America’s failed intervention, exposes how Obama’s troop surge did not bring Afghanistan any closer to peace, and warns that the conflict could go on in perpetuity — unless America ends the war. As Trump threatens to send more troops to Afghanistan, Horton shows why the answer to a brutal civil war is not more war, which makes Fool’s Errand a scintillating and sorely needed chronicle of the longest war in American history.”

Anand Gopal

journalist and author of No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes

Fool’s Errand, Scott Horton’s well-researched, fine-grained chronicle of the U.S. debacle in Afghanistan, reveals how foreign policy elites seized the post-9/11 opportunity to pursue their neocon agenda, ultimately drawing the United States into the quicksand trap of endless war envisioned by Osama bin Laden. What is now the perpetual-motion U.S. war machine has been maintained since 2001 by the entrenched bureaucracy of three successive administrations under easily manipulable presidents. This deep state engine has proven to be devoid of any mechanism of self-correction, fueled as it is by a lethal alloy of opportunism, vanity, and short-term political expediency. Anyone wondering how Afghanistan became the United States’ longest war will find the disturbing answer in this important and timely book.”

Laurie Calhoun

research fellow at the Independent Institute and author of We Kill Because We Can: From Soldiering to Assassination in the Drone Age

“Unlike some liberals who go wobbly when confronted with U.S. military intervention done in the name of ‘human rights,’ the principled libertarian Scott Horton consistently opposes U.S. aggression abroad. Read his Fool’s Errand to find out why the U.S. never should have invaded Afghanistan and should get out now.”

Reese Erlich

foreign correspondent and author of Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect

“In Fool’s Errand, Scott Horton informs us of just how non-masterful has been the U.S. approach to Afghanistan — policy-wise, strategically, and even tactically. Two presidents and several Congresses have failed, the Pentagon has failed, and the military has failed. Moreover, there is nothing we can do about it except withdraw, cut our losses, and put a brave a face on it as possible. Horton tells us that President Trump, having indicated as much himself in his campaign, should do just that, get out. Having watched this debacle from very close-by for four years and for twelve more in academia, I totally agree with Mr. Horton, but he has done a much better job than I could of telling every single American citizen precisely why.”

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

U.S. Army (ret.) visiting professor of government and public policy at the College of William and Mary and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell

“America’s longest war — in Afghanistan — has until now been among America’s least documented. Horton brings together far more than 16 years of conflict, drawing in sources from well-before most Americans even heard of Osama bin Laden to show how the Afghan quagmire’s roots are deep. The title tells it all, however: this war cannot be won, and ‘victory’ will be in the form of escape. Meticulously researched and footnoted, Fool’s Errand is required reading.”

Peter Van Buren

retired foreign service officer and author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the War for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper’s War: A Novel of WWII Japan

“A lot of people think of the war in Iraq as the bad war, but Afghanistan as the good and justifiable war. That convenient view does not survive Scott Horton’s careful and incisive demolition.”

Thomas E. Woods Jr.

author of Nullification: How to Resist Federal Tyranny in the 21st Century and Rollback: Repealing Big Government Before the Coming Fiscal Collapse

Want more Libertarian Foreign Policy? Easy.

“Scott Horton has written a superb, encyclopedic history and policy analysis of the U.S. Global War on Terror. This should be essential reading for all Americans involved with foreign and national security policy, especially ‘mere’ citizens in what is supposed to be a democracy. Mr. Horton’s book provides the information we must have to understand Clausewitz’s words that ‘war is never an isolated act’ and that we as decision-makers must ‘know the nature’ of a conflict, especially to end it when that is called for. This includes knowing how successive administrations have distorted the law in presenting lawlessness as legitimate, and subverting the country from within, which Mr. Horton explains. It is plain to see after sixteen years of aggressive war that our alleged experts are anything but in understanding real strategic thought, which, in Clausewitz’s view, called for a nation to seek peace as the strategic objective, not perpetual war as U.S. policy is today. Mr. Horton’s book fills that strategic void for citizen and ‘expert.’”

Maj. Todd Pierce

U.S. Army Judge Advocate General (ret.)

“Scott Horton’s Fool’s Errand is an elegantly written, scrupulously researched and timely history of the American war in Afghanistan. Horton casts a critical eye over some of the Beltway’s most cherished myths, and successfully challenges what too often goes unchallenged in Washington. Horton calls into question the morality and efficacy of counterinsurgency doctrine and nation-building and warns of the possible consequences of staying in Afghanistan forever. Horton’s arguments will be cheered by principled anti-interventionists on both the Right and the Left — and if there is any justice in the world (an increasingly dubious proposition) his arguments will resonate with the current crop of policymakers charged with overseeing what is now, tragically, America’s longest war. Here’s to hoping Fool’s Errand gains a wide, influential readership.”

James Carden

contributing writer at The Nation and the executive editor for the American Committee for East-West Accord

“Scott Horton’s new book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan has a title that tells you where it is going, but to think that is all it is about would be to sell short a comprehensive work that takes the reader on a long journey starting in the 1980s. Indeed, if there were a university course on what went wrong with Afghanistan, starting with Ronald Reagan’s Holy Warriors and continuing with George W. Bush’s ouster of the Taliban leading to 15 years of feckless nation building, this book could well serve as the textbook. Horton provides insights into key decision-making along the way as he meticulously documents the dreadful series of misadventures that have brought us to the latest surge, which will fail just like all the others. The book is highly recommended both for readers who already know a lot about Afghanistan as well as for those who want to learn the basics about America’s longest war.”

Philip Giraldi

former CIA and DIA officer, executive director of the Council for the National Interest

“Outstanding! Highly readable and fascinating summary of the longest war in U.S. history, and why it never worked. Well researched and organized, Fool’s Errand should be mandatory reading for every military officer serving today and be placed in President Trump’s hands immediately. Trump’s pre-election instincts on this ugly, corrupting and unnecessary war were certainly correct. Scott Horton’s well-documented timeline of waste, illogical strategies, and neoconservative fantasy in Afghanistan all show why Trump’s gut feelings, and those of most Americans for the past decade, have been dead-on. Using careful, fair-minded, and patriotic prose, the author exposes the Afghanistan experience as a high-tech, networked Vietnam. Fool’s Errand is the true story of the direct, undeniable result of a newer generation of ‘smart’ bureaucrats, in and out of uniform, their shockingly bad advice and their astonishing willingness to repeatedly lie to sitting presidents. Whether you want to wake up, stay woke, or just be remembered as the President who made America great again, this book is a must read!”

Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski

U.S. Air Force (ret.) and founding member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity

“Scott Horton’s Fool’s Errand makes a well-researched and compelling case that American policies in Afghanistan were ill conceived from the outset and doomed to fail. Chronicling one unsuccessful American initiative after another in a seemingly endless war, Horton argues that our continued military efforts now yield little more than revenge-minded blowback. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, and no one can imagine realistically that one will appear. It will no doubt be a bitter pill to acknowledge that the Beltway fantasy of a united, democratic, pluralist and feminist Afghanistan will never be achieved, but it is one we will have to swallow eventually. Since the cost of pursuing unrealistic goals is exorbitant in blood and treasure, the sooner our failure is faced up to, the better.”

Scott McConnell

founding editor of The American Conservative magazine

“Scott Horton is the first to pull together all the strands of the story of America’s longest war in one book. He tells it straight, with an unblinking eye for all the lies that have accompanied each twist and turn of the war. Read it if you dare to know the full truth about this sordid exercise in American imperial power.”

Gareth Porter

historian and journalist, author of Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam and Manufactured Crisis: The Truth Behind the Iran Nuclear Scare

“Scott Horton’s book on the U.S. war in Afghanistan — its origins, its failures, its ongoing travesties — is an indispensable guide to the latest conflict taking place in the ‘graveyard of empires.’ Horton provides useful detail on the self-defeating campaign against al Qaeda and the tragicomic pursuit of Osama bin Laden, the malign impact the war has had on U.S. civil liberties and conduct of international relations, and the destruction of a proud but poor country. He navigates expertly between the micro level of tribal politics and the macro level of geopolitics, providing compact analysis of counter-insurgency doctrine, drone warfare, and the backdraft of the war’s consequences on the United States. An important contribution to analyses of the forever war.”

John Feffer

director, Foreign Policy in Focus, Institute for Policy Studies and author of North Korea/South Korea: U.S. Policy at a Time of Crisis and Crusade 2.0: The West’s Resurgent War on Islam

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“Why is the United States still fighting in Afghanistan?  In this timely new book, Scott Horton explains why America’s longest war is strategically misguided and why getting out would make the United States safer and advance America’s braoder national interests.  Even readers who do not share Horton’s libertarian world-view are likely to find themselves nodding in agreement: the war in Afghanistan has indeed become a ‘fool’s errand.’”

Stephen M. Walt

professor of international affairs, Harvard University, co-author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy

“Scott Horton has been a scrupulous critic of American militarism since 2001. His full-length case study of the ‘good war’ in Afghanistan is a chronicle of warnings unheeded, lessons not learned, and the relentless pursuit of a policy whose futility was always apparent. Every detail of this story is backed by an impressive depth of documentation, and the final verdict spares neither the ambition of generals nor the cowardice of presidents.”

David Bromwich

professor of literature, Yale University, editor of Edmund Burke’s selected writings On Empire, Liberty, and Reform and author of Hazlitt: The Mind of a Critic

“Scott Horton has tapped an incredible number of sources and insights from his thousands of expert interviews. He presents an original, compelling, and ultimately damning indictment of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.”

Grant F. Smith

director of the Institute for Research: Middle East Policy and author of Big Israel: How Israel’s Lobby Moves America

“Scott Horton has written an impassioned plea against the insanity of the endless, hopeless war on terror. He shows that the war in Afghanistan was and is unnecessary, and links its bipartisan prosecution and the use of torture to the American rulers’ dream of world hegemony. While written as a popular history, the book is copiously documented. It skewers the hype about the dangers of radical Islam and terrorism. This book is needed now more than ever!”

Jeffrey S. Kaye

author of Cover-up at Guantánamo: The NCIS Investigation into the “Suicides” of Mohammed Al Hanashi and Abdul Rahman Al Amri

“Scott Horton’s Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan is a remarkable book. Backed up by massive and meticulous research, and informed by compelling analysis, Horton marshals a devastating case against America’s longest war. If this book ever becomes required reading in international relations courses and military academies, a great deal of harm in the future might be avoided.”

David T. Beito

professor of history, University of Alabama, co-author of Black Maverick: T. R. M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power


Anthony Gregory

author of The Power of Habeas Corpus in America

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