I was once talking to a fellow who told me with supreme confidence that slaveholders always treated their slaves well, much better than employers treat their employees. A slave was a two thousand dollar investment. It would be foolish for the slave owner to damage their own property so, of course, they never did.
When logic is sound but leads to a false conclusion it must be based on false assumptions. Surely one of the false assumptions here, a common one that leads to many false conclusions, is that people always act logically and in their own best interests. But there is another false assumption here that I have recently come to understand from talking to my brother, who is researching American slavery and the Civil War for a book he is writing. That false assumption is that the goal of preserving and protecting their financial investment was never overruled by a higher priority. Slaveholders lived in constant fear of being murdered in their beds in a slave revolt. This fear led to them savagely beat, cripple and execute their slaves, hoping to instill enough fear into the slave population to prevent resistance. A fear of being killed caused people to willingly destroy their own valuable property.
After 9/11 many Americans, reacting to a fear of being killed by terrorists, advocated and supported policies and actions as inhumane and ultimately as harmful to their own best interests as a slaveholder beating his own slave to death.
I imagine that 30 or 40 years in the future there will be people who deny that the United States ever invaded and occupied a sovereign country that posed no danger to us. "They could not have done that," they will say. "That would have put them in greater danger of being attacked by terrorist. I refuse to believe that the people of the United States did such illogical, immoral things -- acts so at odds with all the nobel principles of democracy and self-determination that they have always stood for."