The Scott Horton Show

10/13/17 Robert Freeman reviews Ken Burns’s Vietnam War

Robert Freeman joins Scott to discuss his article “Why the US Lost the Vietnam War.” Freeman outlines the history of U.S. intervention in Vietnam dating back to the end of World War 2, details the political context in the United States immediately preceding and during the Vietnam War, and explains why Ken Burns’s Vietnam War is historical fiction.

Robert Freeman writes about economics and education. He is the author of The Best One-Hour History series which includes World War I, The Vietnam War, The Cold War, and other titles.

Discussed on the show:

7/27/17 Gareth Porter on Barack Obama's policy of arming jihadists in Syria

Gareth Porter returns to the show to discuss his latest articles for the American Conservative, “How America Armed Terrorists in Syria” and “How CIA and Allies Trapped Obama in the Syrian Arms Debacle.” Scott and Gareth discuss how U.S. national security policy since Obama took office has been largely been, either directly or indirectly, in support of al-Qaeda and that unlike George W. Bush, who empowered al-Qaeda accidentally, Barack Obama did it with full understanding of the likely consequences of his policies. Gareth then explains how U.S. policy in the Middle East, and in Syria particularly, changed with the outbreak of the Arab Spring, which the U.S. saw as an opportunity to foment revolution with the goal of regime change. According to Gareth, Obama’s advisors failed to warn him that arming Assad’s enemies in Syria would increase the role of Hezbollah and Iran, and ultimately backfire—just another example of how the U.S. foreign policy machine is always able to rationalize their views, no matter how ill-fated, in order to advance their supposed interests. Gareth also explains why the Iran Deal pressured Obama into opposing Iran everywhere else in order to placate Saudi Arabia and many of his advisors, including David Petraeus. Finally, Scott and Gareth touch on the considerable role Israel and the U.S.’s Sunni allies in the region play in determining U.S. policy.
Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on the national security state and author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare. Follow him on Twitter @GarethPorter.
Discussed on the show:

5/22/17 Ray McGovern talks USS Liberty and Middle East Foreign Policy

Co-Founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern is on the show to discuss his new article Not Remembering the USS Liberty and the new book by Philip Nelson, “Remembering the Liberty”. Scott and Ray discuss the audio of the ship to aircraft communications between the attacking aircraft and their commander, the story of the Israeli attack on the Liberty, and the incredible story of how the attack was ultimately ended, and how the captain of the USS Liberty received a Medal of Honor.

Also discussed is the 2013 chemical weapons attack in Syria and Obama’s response, and a great story of how Ray gave Joe Lieberman a lesson in constitutional law.

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10/13/17 Robert Freeman reviews Ken Burns's Vietnam War

Robert Freeman joins Scott to discuss his article “Why the US Lost the Vietnam War.” Freeman outlines the history of U.S. intervention in Vietnam dating back to the end of World War 2, details the political context in the United States immediately preceding and during the Vietnam War, and explains why Ken Burns’s Vietnam War is historical fiction.
Robert Freeman writes about economics and education. He is the author of The Best One-Hour History series which includes World War I, The Vietnam War, The Cold War, and other titles.
Discussed on the show:

06/28/17 Mark Perry on Jared Kushner’s Middle East Mess

Mark Perry returns to the show to discuss his latest article in the American Conservative, detailing how Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has the president’s ear in the Middle East and how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have been attempting to clean up Kushner’s mess in the Gulf States. Perry also discusses why war with Iran has some supporters in the White House, but many in the Pentagon and military have grown wary of constant intervention in the Middle East—not to mention that regime change in Tehran would be all but impossible. And the never-ending war in Afghanistan: While Trump is skeptical about adding troops in Afghanistan, it looks likely that the U.S. will send 4,000 more troops to Afghanistan to continue fighting a war that’s already been lost.

Perry is the author of Talking to Terrorists: Why America Must Engage with its Enemies and The Most Dangerous Man in America: The Making of Douglas MacArthurHis next book, The Pentagon’s Wars will be released in October. Mark Perry is on Twitter @MarkPerryDC.

Discussed on the show:

11/23/16 Philip Weiss on Trump and the Israel Lobby

Philip Weiss, founder of Mondoweiss.net, discusses how Trump’s election has driven a political wedge between the Democrats and Republicans who previously showed equal devotion to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu; and how the fear of anti-Semitism creates a reason for the Jewish State’s continued existence.

7/27/17 Elijah Magnier on the U.S. abusing the Sykes-Picot Agreement in Syria

Veteran war correspondent Elijah Magnier joins Scott to discuss his recent article, “First ‘Islamic State’ and then the US breaches Sykes-Picot with one objective: the Partition of Syria and Iraq.” Magnier explains how the U.S. is aiming to partition Syria and Iraq by placing permanent bases in northeast Syria and why, despite a potential ally in the Syrian and Iraqi Kurds, the U.S. is unlikely to be able to cut off Bashar al-Assad from the rest of Mesopotamia for long. Magnier says that America’s policy towards an independent Kurdish state has changed as the Kurds have come to represent an expedient ally in both Iraq and Syria. But an independent Kurdish state will, even with American support, have massive problems, which Magnier details. With Iraq in disarray, particularly in the majority Sunni areas, the longstanding Sykes-Picot agreement may be on its last legs. With the fight for Raqqa against ISIS nearing its conclusion, the question of what comes next looms.

Mangier also explains the origins of al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch, Jabhat al-Nusra, its close ties to ISIS, and its growing tension with the other jihadist groups in the country. Thanks to a constant stream of support from the international community, including funding and weapons from the United States, al-Aqaeda will be difficult to eradicate. The eventual battle for Idlib could be as brutal the battle for Mosul. Like Mosul, Idlib is full of citizens, and currently controlled by al-Qaeda. Finally, Magnier describes how the Americans have tried to control al Qaeda in Syria, which started as a small and has steadily grown with direct and indirect U.S. support and explains why you can’t just pull the plug from al-Qaeda and expect al-Qaeda to go away.

Elijah Magnier is the chief international correspondent at Al Rai and a political and terrorism/counterterrorism analyst. Find all his work at elijahjm.wordpress.com and follow him on Twitter @ejmalrai.

Discussed on the 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 TomDispatch.com.

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 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 TomDispatch.com.
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

6/23/17 Ray McGovern on the latest Trump-Russia hoax in the Washington Post

Ray McGovern, former chief of the CIA’s Soviet analysts division, explains why he is far from impressed by CIA/Washington Post‘s latest claims about the Trump-Russia election interference/collusion story.

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