Monday, May 11, 2009

War-whoopers' magical thinking

It's hardly an original insight, but I think I've come up with a useful term to describe the way neocons and other war addicts invariably come up with another war, or at least a stern military threat, as the answer to whatever real or imagined international problem presents itself. It's fascinating but dispiriting to see not just the eagerness with which some prescribe war, but the naive faith they have that war is the best way to solve human problems.

In this week's column for, I call that "magical thinking." I know the definition isn't a precise fit. The term is more commonly used to denote confusing correlation with causation or believing in unseen forces. But just as a term, the way the war-whoopers are so eager to put their faith in war when experience suggests it more often has unexpectedly negative impacts (beyond the obvious of people killed and things destroyed. Almost literally, they act as if war were magic, capable of resolving all problems and almost never coming back to bite you. Sad.

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