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Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

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4.69  ·  Rating details ·  230 ratings  ·  46 reviews
“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
Kindle Edition, 318 pages
Published August 27th 2017 by The Libertarian Institute (first published August 16th 2017)
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Anne
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Important for all Americans. Read and be reminded of what a ridiculous quagmire the War in Afghanistan has been from the start. Campaign for withdrawal.
Kym Robinson
Jan 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fool’s Errand: Time to end the war in Afghanistan by Scott Horton.



Scott Horton has spent much of the past two odd decades giving a voice to the most ardent anti-war activists and minds. He has never denied a guest to talk because of ideology, race, religion or region instead he has provided thousands of hours of histories for present and future generations to digest and consider. As remarkable and diligent that this is, it tragically is not enough to stop the futility of human mass violence.
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Christopher Hudson Jr.
The US war in Afghanistan continues to be one of America’s longest military conflicts. Scott Horton describes it best as being “both the least supported and least opposed war in our history.” Fool’s Errand convincingly makes the case that decades of US foreign policy holds (at least some) responsibility for the awful terrorist attacks on 9/11, that invading and waging war on Afghanistan and the Taliban was unnecessary to bring those responsible for atrocity to justice, that the continued US ...more
Terrence Daugherty
Do you want to know why 9/11 happened? Do you want to know why the military budget grows year after year despite such unnecessary growth? Do you want to know why Middle Easterners actually hate us? Then look no further than "Fool's Errand."

We should all feel indebted to the work of Scott Horton in the research it must have taken to write this book. Even if you're not a fan of the rhetoric, you can at least appreciate the plethora of quotes and citations. Horton left no rock unturned, nor did he
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Sean
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Absolutely incredible. To know everything about the US-Afghan War and why we need to leave NOW, read Horton.
Marshall
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Must-read material for those looking to understand the nature of America's war in Afghanistan.
Alicia Fox
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This is the most painfully eye-opening, well researched work (zillions of end notes) I've ever read related to our involvement in Afghanistan. The Taliban was not harboring bin Laden, and offered to hand him over to U.S. authorities after 9/11. The U.S. easily could have captured bin Laden, even without help from the Taliban, by the end of 2001. The continued resistance to the American military in Afghanistan has little or nothing to do with the Taliban, but is a reaction to the U.S. presence ...more
Shane Hawk
Truly unbelievable. Horton packs so many (well cited) facts into his anti-war nonfiction it makes one’s head spin. It is not a nonfiction book written like a flowery novel, but his arrangement, perspicuous prose, content, and insight all make for a page turner. While I continued to read and was flabbergasted I’d text my friend who served four tours in the Middle East to corroborate the details. He confirmed everything and it sent my thoughts spiraling. I believe Horton knew he painted a ...more
Christian Anderson
This is maybe the most disturbing book I've ever read. Ignorance is bliss and I've been woefully ignorant about the war in Afghanistan over the past 17 years. I don't love a lot of how American is seen by people in other countries but this is the first time that I have truly felt ashamed for my country. What a disaster. Using Star Wars as an analogy, America in this instance is the empire and I don't feel that's even hyperbole. I would invite everyone to read this.
Rob Squires
This is, hands down, the most informed and fair-minded book on the Global War on Terror (GWOT) that I've read. It covers much more than the on-going war in Afghanistan, although it does focus on that. Read it...and then hope and pray that US leaders, both civilian and military, take it to heart.
Michael
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to understand the US involvement in Afghanistan from A-Z, this is your book. Scott Horton ruthlessly critiques our involvement in the country from day 1. Did you know that the Taliban offered to give up Bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda members prior to the US invasion? Or that the warlords that the US allies with against the Taliban have a tendency to rape young boys? Scott thoroughly documents these and all of the other lies and sacred cows the establishment tells us about Afghanistan.
Andrei Hognogi
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
This book delivers exactly what you want from a book with a title like this: a comprehensive account of the mindset and "political drama" that caused, and was caused by, the war in Afghanistan. Without getting way to emotionally heavy, you can't read this and not be heartbroken for what's happening.

This is a must-read if you want to understand what's happening with the terrorism craze.
Dana
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Writing in clear straightforward language Horton presents a compelling case against the war in Afghanistan but also informs us as to why every administration since George W. Bush up to and including Trump has prolonged it with no end in sight.
Rocky White
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I can't imagine a better book for learning about the War in Afghanistan. In addition to that, it tells about the U.S. role in the Middle East for the last four or five decades and the best analysis on why 9/11 happened. Great book.
Rhuff
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Scott Horton has created a small but explosive masterpiece, packed with more bare-bones fact and incisive analysis in its slim spine than in the competing tons of mainstream gobbledegook. Horton strips away the pretenses of three administrations in disinforming (lying) their way into Mideast quagmires. Afghanistan is America's longest and most expensive war running, set to endure for the following generation, simply to keep the military-industrial-contractor system employed. In that next ...more
Mike Flores
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s hard to know exactly, but one thing is clear: there’s no “win” condition in Afghanistan. Fool’s Errand excels at breaking down the different factions, and the deep history between them. It’s hard to conceive of an Afghanistan where Pashtun, Uzbek, Tajik, Taliban, the warlords, and whoever else all get along. It is clear that every American intervention has only served to make things worse in the long run. This is because military power is violence, and making a play on the chessboard means ...more
Colin Bell
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. Conclusive and eye opening account of the American war in Afghanistan. Horton is unparalleled in terms of clear thinking analysis of foreign policy. His podcasts are excellent, and this book while less filled with righteous fury than his audio content, is just as informative and ultimately devastating.

You must read this. It doesn't matter if you're not an anarchist libertarian like Horton, and while this book was written to appeal to some conservative sympathies (he tries to
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Stephen
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing recap of the longest and most pointless war in American history. To quote The Princess Bride, the US has fallen victim to one of the classic blunders! Never get involved in a land war in Asia. Less than 20 years after the US intentionally and successfully lured the Soviet Union into "its Vietnam" in Afghanistan by arming and funding mujahideen insurgents, the Bush administration apparently forgot the lesson and decided to try to turn the Graveyard of Empires into Cleveland, Ohio. It ...more
Msouth
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Frankly, most of the time, I hated reading this. But we, as Americans, need to know what the government has done in our name. Expect to be horrified. The truth here is ugly. But it's a truth that you need to hear. (This also applies to non-Americans, I think--unfortunately, a lot of what is done by our government spills out to the rest of the world with devastating effects, and they often convince or bully other governments to go along with them.) Despite the fact that it was really difficult at ...more
Andrew
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having not read a single book about Afghanistan, but being a big longtime fan of Antiwar radio - I bought this.

It starts off great. I really enjoyed the re-hash of how stupid, pointless and cruel the War in Afghanistan has been. My piss boiled throughout the torture section. Also, seeing the names of the folks spelled out (instead of just verbalized on Antiwar radio) was nice.

But it's far from a perfect book. The footnotes are insane. Every page is littered with URLs at the bottom and
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Doug
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The dominance of five-star reviews tells how good this book by the encyclopedic Scott Horton is. I don't take the time to write many reviews but this book cuts through the clutter and spin and politics to provide the unsavory reality of American involvement in Afghanistan, from the missed opportunities to have Osama Bin Laden handed over to us by the Taliban to the devastating toll on the Afghan citizenry to the overwhelming consensus, even among the 'deep state,' that this is an unwinnable war, ...more
Tim Rozmajzl
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Smashes any notion that our interventions in the Middle East were anything but destructive and murderous failures. Scrupulously researched, Scott hammers home the idea that nation-building, culture-moulding are exercises in futility -- and end up making matters far worse. I'm reminded of the age old socialist response, when presented with the horrible record of socialism, that "we haven't done socialism right. But the *next* time, things will be different." Scott also exposes the disturbing ...more
Stefan Shirley
4.5 stars -- I'm thoroughly impressed as to the amount of work that had to go into making this book. The numerous interviews, research of papers, and just the vast knowledge Scott Horton has on the subject matter is impressive. I took a long break from reading this due to the rabbit hole I found myself going in to while reading it. When I came back to it in late 2019, I was ready to better understand the content. This book is an important read for anyone who thinks we just need to drop a bomb ...more
Matthew
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Simply put, the best book I have read detailing America’s war in Afghanistan since 2001.

Extremely well documented, and, unlike so many other commentators, pundits and writers about the war, Horton actually thinks about the war, in all its elements, and offers honest criticism based upon the evidence and reality of the war, rather than just blindly, loyally and naively repeating what he’s been told about the war or offering up hopeful and positive perspectives that are contradicted by events,
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Anna
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent. Even for a military/political history dummy like me, I was able to follow along and felt like I knew that what I was reading was right on the money. With what seemed like an average of 10 citations per page, Scott Horton made a complicated issue into a story that made sense. With important tangents interwoven into this recent history, Scott made a complicated issue tangible and illustrated just how awful America’s Longest War truly is.
Ryan Lackey
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Whenever people raise Afghanistan as the “good war” vs Iraq, I’d tend to answer “better than completely bad is still not necessarily good”. Afghanistan involvement after the initial anti-AQ activities of q4 2001 was also bad.

This book does a great job of presenting the case that Afghanistan was always a bad thing to get involved with, but more importantly, that escalating and prolonging it is also counter to US interests (and common sense).
Andy Steinberg
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Scott Horton's contribution to the American conscience is one of the most important books I've ever read. He thoroughly tears apart any argument for the United States' military machine and all its excuses for war. The number of citations, and sources for those citations, make it nearly impossible to argue against.

If you want the story that the mainstream media and US government won't tell you, read this.
Breanna Zimmer
Mar 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Must read

This is a very thorough look at the US CIA and military involvement in Afghanistan. While it is incredibly frustrating to read about the amount of negligence and power hungry choices made by various administrations, it's important to know and realize we need to get out of Afghanistan.
Lee
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for an intelligent analysis of the longest war in American history, this is the book for you. Scott Horton's knowledge and insight on the subject are second to none, and yet he is able to convey information in a way that is accessible to the layman. A must-read for anyone interested in U.S. foreign policy.
Brook Bailey-armey
Horton breaks down every misguided or misleading decision made that has kept us in Afghanistan for almost 20 years. This book took me a long time to ready because it is factually dense, and very thoroughly cited.
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