This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

Evan Thomas and ‘The War Lovers’

As the old adage goes, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

“The War Lovers” is a new book aimed at helping us avoid that fate, by revealing the parallels between the Spanish-American War and the U.S. invasion of Iraq — from red herrings to screaming headlines.

Evan Thomas, the author of “The War Lovers,” is a journalist and historian. He is also one of Jon Meacham’s colleagues at Newsweek. Need to Know’s Alison Stewart sat down with Thomas to learn more about how two wars, separated by a century, could have so much in common.



  • Tom

    I infer from Mr. Thomas’s thesis that we should have stayed out of WW2. The isolationists were right and FDR was a war lover.
    This is what passes for profundity on “Need to Know.”

  • @ Tom

    @ Tom:
    You should have watched Mr. Meacham’s essay on Churchill some weeks ago before you make a rash judgement.

  • Vic Cox

    Good questions from Alison Stewart and disappointing responses from Evan Thomas. It seems from the edited version of this interview that Mr. Thomas dismisses the attraction of warfare (particularly to males) as an inevitable part of “human nature.” Without having read “The War Lovers” I cannot be certain that this vague notion is advanced as his main reason for the wars and the people he examines, but I am forced to wonder how he accounts for war’s unattractiveness to the other half of humanity–women?
    The admission that his own war fever leading to the invasion of Iraq led him to “pooh-pooh” Newsweek reporters’ information that undercut Bush’s WMD rationale in 2003 also left me, as a long-time print journalist, to question, among many things, where Mr. Evans and any like-minded colleagues store their professional skepticism and sense of right or wrong? You’d think that with young Americans’ lives and the nation’s treasure, not to mention its moral authority, at stake he’d take his journalistic responsibilities more seriously. A little more humility and remorse would’ve been good to hear from him.
    However, as the recent, unfortunate Shirley Sharrod episode laid out so well, mainstream media reporters and editors who neglect their duty to find and check the facts of a story are a common and continuing problem. They end up demeaning themselves, their profession, and their victims when things go haywire, and we are all poorer for it.

  • Bernard Englander

    The core fallacy in the psychological structure of human beings is ethnocentricity. We form a mindset that conditions our pattern of thinking and then use our intelligence to justify that point of view. For example Muslims have a commitment to their moral judgment and we to ours. More current even is the threat by North Korea to use nuclear force should South Korea et al continue their war games. Does this then give the US “reason” to counter with our own nuclear force?? Hopefully our intelligence will be used rather than the military mindset that prevails in Washington.