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Decision Makers' Use of False Analogies Causing Miscalculation and War
Unformatted Document Text:  Horan 24 redefined the interests of the U.S. in the state and the strategy to accomplish these goals distorting the interests of the country. Justification Analogies Both informational and justification analogies lead to optimistic and pessimistic offensive miscalculation. A leader uses a justification analogy to justify, solidify and reinforce policies (Figure 6, 45). Decision makers do not use these analogies to decide whether or not to engage in war but to validate their position. These analogies, solely used for explanatory purposes, ignore any intricacies between the situations even more than informational analogies. While in both optimistic and pessimistic offensive miscalculation justification analogies serve only to explain policies to the public, they also validate the approach of the decision maker to the situation. Whether or not they serve “as rationales, they still matter because they affect public perceptions; otherwise, policy advocates would not bother using them.” 42 These analogies perpetuate miscalculation through supporting the policies of the leader and the views of the public. In optimistic offensive miscalculation, justification analogies help decision makers and the public to understand the situation by using a past success as the base analog (Figure 8, 46). When confronted with a new situation, leaders and people resort to previous experiences for explanation. The analogies do not affect the chosen policies but explain why the decision maker is using them through referring to the past event. By solidifying the choice and providing evidence of its correctness, the analogies justify and reinforce rather than inform. It is hard to determine whether analogies are serving this purpose for the leader as well or they are being invoked solely to justify policy to the public. Decision makers use references to past successes 42 Desch, Michael C. “The Myth of Abandonment: The Use and Abuse of the Holocaust Analogy.” Security Studies 15, No. 1. January-March 2006.109.

Authors: Horan, Elizabeth.
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Horan 24
redefined the interests of the U.S. in the state and the strategy to accomplish these goals
distorting the interests of the country.
Justification Analogies
Both informational and justification analogies lead to optimistic and pessimistic offensive
miscalculation. A leader uses a justification analogy to justify, solidify and reinforce policies
(Figure 6, 45). Decision makers do not use these analogies to decide whether or not to engage in
war but to validate their position. These analogies, solely used for explanatory purposes, ignore
any intricacies between the situations even more than informational analogies. While in both
optimistic and pessimistic offensive miscalculation justification analogies serve only to explain
policies to the public, they also validate the approach of the decision maker to the situation.
Whether or not they serve “as rationales, they still matter because they affect public perceptions;
otherwise, policy advocates would not bother using them.”
These analogies perpetuate
miscalculation through supporting the policies of the leader and the views of the public.
In optimistic offensive miscalculation, justification analogies help decision makers and the
public to understand the situation by using a past success as the base analog (Figure 8, 46).
When confronted with a new situation, leaders and people resort to previous experiences for
explanation. The analogies do not affect the chosen policies but explain why the decision maker
is using them through referring to the past event. By solidifying the choice and providing
evidence of its correctness, the analogies justify and reinforce rather than inform. It is hard to
determine whether analogies are serving this purpose for the leader as well or they are being
invoked solely to justify policy to the public. Decision makers use references to past successes
42
Desch, Michael C. “The Myth of Abandonment: The Use and Abuse of the Holocaust Analogy.” Security Studies
15, No. 1. January-March 2006.109.


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