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EP PODCASTSXML

January 25, 2013

On Magical War

Useful EnemiesSecure in the ignorance of our traditions we treat war as if it were a game, as if we should try to win when we play. Oorah! But if we think like a human being war assumes a great deal more complexity, indeed, a necessary ambiguity. Dr. David Keen challenges conventional wisdom in a great book, Useful Enemies: When Waging Wars Is More Important Than Winning Them (Yale University Press, 2012). Unless and until we recognize the realities that David describes we'll continue to be our own worst enemy. Total runtime forty two minutes. Audē Sapēre.

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Comments


That was an interesting conversation. I was expecting more discussion of the military-industrial complex, and the way that a state of permanent war (whether on Communism or "terror") serves the armaments industry and their allies in the vast intelligence services.

It seems, on the surface, paradoxical that the interventions pursued by western countries as part of the war on terror create more people willing to become terrorists (one only has to think of the vastly increased amount of terrorists in Iraq after the American intervention). But again, the explanation for this paradox lies in the needs of the arms industries for constant profit, and in the need of the Pentagon to justify its lion's share of the national budget. Ismael Hossein-Zadeh, a professor of economics at the University of Iowa, has made this argument quite convincingly in his book The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism.

[Thanks, Mike, for your helpful comment. g.]

Re: It seems, on the surface, paradoxical that the interventions pursued by western countries as part of the war on terror create more people willing to become terrorists.

It doesn't seem paradoxical to me; on the contrary, I'd expect it. After all, people don't like being invaded. We stupidly thought we'd be received with hugs and kisses after destroying their country and manifesting unparalleled barbarism.

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