From 1776 to the end of World War II, the United States spent nineteen years at war with other nations. Since 1950, the total is twenty-two years and counting. On four occasions, U.S. Presidents elected as “peace candidates” have lead the nation into bloody overseas conflicts. Repeatedly, wars deemed necessary and prudent have been shown in retrospect to be avoidable—and ill-advised.
In Reasons to Kill, noted scholar Richard E. Rubenstein explores both the rhetoric that sells war to the public and the underlying cultural and social factors that make that sales pitch so effective. Specific chapters cover self-defense and evil enemies, humanitarian intervention and moral crusades, patriotism and anti-war movements, and peace processes and national honor. Princeton professor and UN Special Representative Richard Falk says,
"Better than anyone else, Rubenstein probes America’s past and present to question the rush to war post-9/11, and does so judiciously, in a highly readable style enriched by scholarly mastery."