Now, let me just start by saying, there may be other reasons to keep fighting. This diary is not meant to imply that we should immediately withdraw, simply that the past deaths of our soldiers should not be the reason for staying.
The Sunk Cost Fallacy is something everyone falls pray to. It is the notion that we should factor in costs of past purchases as a determinant in decisions moving forward. This is a fallacy. I'll explain.
Let's say you want to open a cookie store. You buy a $1,000 piece of equipment. Then you assess the market and see that you can make $500 in revenue from selling cookies, and it will cost you $400 in materials to make those cookies. Should you open the store?
The answer is yes, because you will make $100 in profit. But what about the $1,000 piece of equipment? Doesn't that mean you'll actually spend $1,400 total to make that $500?
NO. You'll make a profit. Why? Because you already spent the $1,000. It's gone. There's nothing you can do about it. So when you evaluate your economic costs moving forward, you should only consider revenue and costs moving forward. Not something that's gone. That $1,000 is a sunk cost.
I'll give you another example. You buy a $200 plane ticket that's non-refundable. The day of your trip, you're totally sick and if you go, it will only make you worse. You really should stay home and get better. Should you go? Your instinct says, yes, I paid $200. But that money is gone. So in reality, you should do what's best for you moving forward. That $200 is a sunk cost.
Now, I hope this doesn't sound offensive. But the dead troops are in some ways a sunk cost. The best thing for the United States to do is to evaluate what are its best options moving forward. And the dead soldiers shouldn't factor into that decision. If it does, that may very well lead to more dead soldiers. It's sort of a more cold, rational way of saying, "How do you ask the last man to die for a mistake?"
But if you meet a Repub or undecided who says we have to stick it out and the reason they give is so that these troops won't die in vain, this is one way to approach that. And remind them that it was cited over and over again throughout the Vietnam War...funny we're seeing that again.