Monday, March 26, 2007

If You Prepare for War, That's What You are Likely to Get

Anthony Arnove:
Eugene Debs wrote in a letter to the New York Sun in 1915, "If... the United States were to prove in good faith that it is opposed to the barbarism and butchery of war by issuing a proclamation of peace, and itself setting the example of disarmament to the nations of the world, its preparedness would be, not only in accordance with its vaunted ideals, but a thousandfold greater guarantee to the respect of its neighbors and to its own security and peace than if it were loaded down with all the implements of death and destruction on earth."

Howard Zinn:
Debs was talking about "preparedness" because the war in Europe had begun and, although the United States was not yet in the war, people were beginning to talk about preparedness for war. The American military is building up, and Debs sees this coming. He argues that the best thing we can do is to declare our belief in peace and to stop preparedness for war. You prepare for war, and then the momentum is created for going to war. We have seen that repeatedly.

Quoted from Terrorism and War, and interview with Howard Zinn.

Also see Sunk Costs, a concept in Behavioural Economics. In Sum: If you pay for it, you wanna know it isn't going to waste, even if what you use it for is irrational and doesn't benefit you.

1 comment:

TomCat said...

Interesting take, RJ. I found it quite surprising in my study of history that when Woodrew Wilson was running for re-election on the slogan "He kept is out of the war," he was simultaneously overseeing the biggest military build-up in US history.