Sunday, August 20, 2017
Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

The Scott Horton Show

8/16/17 Andrew Bacevich on Trump’s eventual Afghanistan decision

Andrew Bacevich, author of “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History” joins Scott to discuss his article for The American Conservative “Yes Congress, Afghanistan is Your Vietnam.” Bacevich explains that the division between Trump’s advisors on how to proceed in Afghanistan has created a stalemate in the Oval Office. It’s noteworthy, Bacevich says, that there hasn’t been a comprehensive report from the Trump administration outlining the United States’s foreign policy mission. On the one hand it seems like Trump has handed the reigns over to the military in certain conflicts and has been controlling in others, which has created disarray Bacevich says. Bacevich contrasts Donald Trump with his predecessors George W. Bush and Barack Obama who, by comparison, are intellectual stalwarts. Bacevich says the one possible benefit of Trump’s erraticism is that he has, so far, rejected U.S. foreign policy of the past 25 years. But while Trump may have noninterventionist tendencies, his lack of a coherent, principled plan means that he often veers off course into violent conflicts all the same.

Andrew Bacevich is a Professor Emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University. He is the author of a number of books including “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History” and is a regular contributor at The American Conservative and

Don’t forget to check out Scott’s new book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan.

Discussed on the show:

  • “Thousands More Troops Needed To Break Afghanistan ‘Stalemate,’ General Warns” (NPR)
  • Erik Prince
  • “Bannon & Kushner Want to Outsource Afghanistan to Mercenaries,” by Mark Perry (The American Conservative)
  • James Mattis
  • H.R. McMaster
  • “The Knives Are Out for Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster” (Foreign Policy)
  • “I agree with Pres. Obama on Afghanistan. We should have a speedy withdrawal. Why should we keep wasting our money — rebuild the U.S.!” (Donald Trump, via Twitter)
  • John Bolton

Quote of the show: “In comparison to Trump, George W. Bush looks like Bismark.” —Andrew Bacevich

8/16/17 Phil Giraldi on the DNC: Was it a hack or a leak?

Executive director of the Council for the National Interest and former CIA officer Phil Giraldi returns to the show to discuss his latest article for The American Conservative, “Hack or Leak: Who Really Stole the DNC Files?” While there isn’t conclusive evidence for any of the potential explanations for how the information got from the DNC computer to WikiLeaks, Giraldi explains that no one seems to be particularly interested in investigating who was responsible. Did the Russians hack the DNC? Giraldi believes that the U.S. has no chain of evidence leading them to the conclusion that Russia is responsible. However, Giraldi cautions that, even if the information was leaked rather than hacked, it wouldn’t remove Russia as a suspect. What about the Seth Rich theory? Giraldi believes Rich is at the top of a short list of potential leakers, but that there’s still plenty of unscrutinized evidence. Giraldi then discusses the upcoming Ron Paul Institute’s Peace and Prosperity Conference where he will be speaking on September 9th. Finally, Giraldi touches on his article for The Unz Review, “Israel’s Chorus Sings Again” about U.S.-Israeli relations and the outrage against Rex Tillerson and H.R. McMaster’s relatively cool approach to Israel.

Phil Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest a former CIA case officer and Army intelligence officer. He has been a contributing editor at The American Conservative for nine years and writes regularly for

Oh, and buy Scott’s new book, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan!

Discussed on the show:

  • “The FBI Never Asked For Access To Hacked Computer Servers” (BuzzFeed News)
  • “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” (Office of the Director of National Intelligence)
  • “U.S. Spy Report Blames Putin for Hacks, But Doesn’t Back It Up” (The Daily Beast)
  • “WikiLeaks: CIA hacking group ‘UMBRAGE’ stockpiled techniques from other hackers” (USA Today)
  • Iron Felix
  • “12/13/16 Craig Murray: DNC, Podesta emails leaked by Americans, not hacked by Russia” (The Scott Horton Show)
  • Mossad
  • Stuxnet
  • “Leaked Seymour Hersh Audio: FBI File Proves Seth Rich Was Wikileaks Source” (YouTube)
  • “‘Lack of hope’ drives Palestinians to carry out terrorist attacks, State Department says” (

8/8/17 Ramzy Baroud on the Palestinian response to the Jerusalem Attack

Editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud returns to the show to discuss his latest articles, “The Story Behind the Jerusalem Attack: How Trump and Netanyahu Pushed Palestinians into a Corner” and “Power to the People: Why Palestinian Victory in Jerusalem is a Pivotal Moment.” Scott and Baroud begin by discussing the history of the ’67 War, its basis in false propaganda, and how the deliberate plan put in place 50 year ago remains today. Baroud then explains the context of the clash in east Jerusalem, where Israel has used the al-Aqsa clash with Palestinians as an opportunity to permanently control Haram Sharif. According to Baroud if Israel fully controls Haram Sharif then there’s nothing left to fight for in Jerusalem for the Palestinians. Baroud details how this is just the latest act of aggression in Israel’s steady creep into east Jerusalem and how, through continual pressure and coercion, Arabs have now become a minority in east Jerusalem. Finally, Baroud explains why a two-state solution would be an impossible endeavor and how effectively the Israelis have manipulated the language of the occupation to flip the victim narrative on its head.

Ramzy Baroud is a US-Arab journalist and is the editor-in-chief of the Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of“My Father Was A Freedom Fighter: The Untold Story of Gaza.” His latest digital project is “Palestine in Motion,” intended to give a holistic understanding of the lives of Palestinians as told in their own words. Follow Ramzy on Twitter @RamzyBaroud and read his work at

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8/8/17 William Astore on how Trump is right to be skeptical about Afghanistan

William J. Astore returns to the show to discuss his latest article for “On Afghanistan, Trump Is Right To Be Skeptical.” Astore discusses Trump’s apparent cognitive dissonance: he’s happy to bomb the Middle East indiscriminately, but is skeptical of escalating troops in Afghanistan and speculates that it’s Trump’s impatience, which is frequently a danger, which may be a saving grace in Afghanistan. Astore thinks Trump might have a nose for a losing approach, and that the last thing Trump wants is to be associated with what he believes is a losing effort in Afghanistan. But Trump, like Obama, faces increasing pressure from his generals. Scott and Astore discuss how the lack of an anti-war movement both in politics and in society generally have incentivized Barack Obama and Donald Trump to fold to the national security state and prolong the wars. Finally, Astore is particulary worried that the latest propaganda that Russia and Iran are backing the Taliban could lead to something far more serious.

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He is a contributing writer at and Read all of his work at his website

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8/8/17 Trita Parsi on Trump’s motivation to end the Iran Deal

Trita Parsi, the president of the National Iranian American Council, returns to the show to discuss Donald Trump’s motivation to spurn the Iran deal. Parsi explains that the Iran Deal is in danger because of an inexplicable desire on Donald Trump’s part to destroy the deal, dating back to his campaign. Parsi speculates that, in addition to Trump’s opposition to Barack Obama, his hatred of the Iran Deal is the result of his seemingly new infatuation with the Saudi Arabians who have been vehemently opposed to the Iran Deal from its inception. Trump’s plan appears to be to make Iran’s life as difficult as possible such that Iran will ultimately break the deal. Making things worse, even some of the so-called adults in Trump’s administration believe that a limited conflict against Iran in Syria and elsewhere would convince Iran to back down. Parsi explains why history shows that a U.S. conflict with Iran is highly unlikely to achieve its goals. Finally, while Iran and the United States appear to have common cause in the Middle East, the ultimate question and tension between the two is who will be the dominant power in the Middle East? Parsi explains that the desire to be hegemon will ultimately prove to be the stumbling block.

Trita Parsi is the president of the National Iranian American Council and the author of “Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran and the Triumph of Diplomacy.” Parsi is the recipient of the 2010 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order. Follow him on Twitter @tparsi.

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8/8/17 Muhammad Sahimi on Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on the local Shiite population

Professor of chemical engineering at USC Muhammad Sahimi returns to the show to discuss the latest Saudi crackdown on the local Shia population. Sahimi explains how Wahhabi clerics have ratcheted up tensions and violence against Saudi Shiites who face continual oppression from the Saudi government. Saudi hostility toward Shia in the region often receives attention, but now it’s time to pay more attention to how they treat their own people, Sahimi says, which includes mass torture and execution of dissidents. Sahimi explains that the reason we don’t hear about Saudi atrocities in the United States is because the Saudis are protected by the establishment in the United States and believes that the Saudis are exploiting its alliance with the U.S. and its fear of Iran to lobby the U.S. to fight Shias in the Middle East.

Muhammad Sahimi is the NIOC Chair in petroleum engineering at the University of Southern California and a contributor at and the Huffington Post.

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8/7/17 Daniel McAdams on how the Russia sanctions will be used against Americans

Director of the Ron Paul Institute Daniel McAdams returns to the show to discuss his latest article, “Russia Sanctions and the Coming Crackdown on Americans“. McAdams details the phony justification for the sanctions, how hardcore neocons are leading the Russia hysteria, and why it poses a serious threat to our first amendment rights. Scott and McAdams discuss whether Trump is totally and completely lost or whether he has one or two good instincts and if they will be revealed when he finally makes a decision on Afghanistan. McAdams explains why the neocons are flourishing under Trump and how both sides of the Trump administration divide (the nationalists and the neocons) are both pro-war in different ways. Finally, Scott asks about Venezuela and wonders which is to blame: the inherent problems of socialism or American intervention.

Daniel McAdams is the executive director of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity and the cohost of the Ron Paul Liberty Report. Follow him on Twitter @DanielLMcAdams and read all of his work over at

Discussed on the show

7/27/17 Josh Ruebner on latest anti-BDS bill

Josh Ruebner, director of the U.S. campaign for Palestinian Rights, and author of “Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace” joins the show to discuss his latest article “New U.S. bill would punish settlement boycotters.” Ruebner explains how the act would criminalize U.S. corporations and individuals for supporting or furthering the impact of a boycott against Israel. Despite obvious major free speech restrictions the bill has support from both Democrats and Republicans, many of whom are already backing off their commitment to the bill. What’s really disturbing about the bill according to Ruebner is that companies could be criminalized even if their business decisions had the effect, but not intent, of furthering a boycott on Israel. Beyond that, if the bill became law, Attorney General Jeff Sessions would have the power to throw someone in jail ostensibly for their political beliefs. Ruebner explains how the bill has already created blowback against AIPAC and Israel: Constituents are pressing members of Congress on this issue for the first time and the progressive wing of the Democratic party is feeling more emboldened to speak out in support of the Palestinians, making it clear that the base of democratic voters no longer on board with Israeli policy of the past. Finally, Ruebner discusses the necessary conditions for a political solution between Israel and Palestine and how the BDS movement has successfully convinced companies to divest from Israel.

Josh Ruebner is the director of the U.S. campaign for Palestinian Rights. He is the author of “Shattered Hopes: Obama’s Failure to Broker Israeli-Palestinian Peace” and the upcoming book “Israel: Democracy or Apartheid State?“. Follow Josh on Twitter @joshruebner.

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07/27/17 Conn Hallinan on the Persian Gulf Crisis

Foreign Policy in Focus columnist Conn Hallinan returns to the show to discuss his latest article for Foreign Policy in Focus, “The Tortured Politics Behind the Persian Gulf Crisis.” Hallinan details the reasons for the rising tensions between Qatar and their former friends in the Gulf over. According to Hallinan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are angry about Qatar’s largely independent foreign policy, which Qatar has used to develop relationships with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. For Saudi Arabia, who’s leading the blockade of Qatar, this is just one of a series of really inept steps that the Saudis have taken, which are destabilizing the country. Donald Trump has been generally supportive of the blockade in spite of the fact that the largest U.S. base in the middle east is in Qatar. All of this makes U.S.-Iranian relations that much more tense. Scott wonders what would happen if the United States broke the Iran Deal, and whether or not a war with Iran might be on the horizon. Scott teases his upcoming book on the never-ending war in Afghanistan. and Hallinan explains why the conflict between India and Pakistan is the most frightening stare down in the world today. Finally the two discuss the rising tide of populism in the United States and Europe.

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7/27/17 West Virginia House Rep Pat McGeehan on his “Defend the Guard” bill

West Virginia House of Delegates representative Pat McGeehan joins Scott to discuss shis “Defend the Guard” bill. McGeehan discusses his attempts to defang the empire from the bottom up by passing a bill refusing to allow their state guard services to be nationalized and used in unconstitutional wars. McGeehan’s bill stated that no West Virginian guard unit could be deployed overseas without an expressed declaration of war from the U.S. Congress. He then relays a story about how adjutant general of the West Virginia national guard addressed him about the bill after receiving a call from the Pentagon, which threatened to move the West Virginia national guard onto the BRAC List or relocate them to other states. The bill didn’t pass, but the movement seems like it’s catching momentum.

McGeehan also describes his history in the military, explaining how the number of innocents slaughtered in Afghanistan changed his views on U.S. foreign policy. Those experiences changed McGeehan from a George W. Bush guy to a Ron Paul guy.

Pat McGeehan is a two-term representative in the West Virginia House of Delegates and a graduate of the U.S. air force academy. He is the author of “Stoicism and the Statehouse.” Follow him on Twitter @McGeehan4WV.

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Read Scott Horton's new book Fool's Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan