Economic Science, Sunk Costs, and the Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Afghanistan

Source: Independent Institute
by Lawrence J McQuillan

“After nearly 20 years, U.S. troops exited Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan on July 2 as part of a near-complete withdrawal of U.S. forces …. Reactions to the withdrawals have been mixed, but a U.S. Marine Corps pilot who was stationed at Bagram in 2012–2013 expressed a common perspective, telling Public Radio International’s The World, ‘[I’m] very disappointed. I think we need to stick with it. I think we need to honor the sacrifices that many of us have made going there and especially those that shed blood there.’ The pilot’s argument, however, reflects the ‘sunk cost fallacy,’ which results in suboptimal decisions. It has been used by U.S. government officials throughout history to justify foreign interventions regardless of any present national security interests.” (07/16/21)