The reductio ad absurdum, as dialecticians of all stripes will tell you, is a simple and elegant way to disprove a false proposition. Assume the proposition is true, then begin deriving conclusions from it; if one of them is obviously absurd, then the original proposition must be false.
I have spent the past forty-five years investigating the origins of wars, and time and again my research has led back to this concept. Nations often go to war based on seemingly logical (and popular)...
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David Kaiser is the author of American Tragedy: Kennedy, Johnson, and the Origins of the Vietnam War, and, most recently, The Road to Dallas: The Assassination of John F. Kennedy. He blogs at historyunfolding.com. He has been a professor at the Naval War College since 1990. The views expressed here are his own.