Useful Enemies: When Waging Wars is More Important than Winning Them
by David Keen. Yale University Press, 2012 Review by Christopher J. Coyne
"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives." - So begins U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler's 1935 pamphlet War is a Racket. Butler, who had participated in many military interventions, came to realize that war allowed elites to gain while less powerful citizens and foreigners bore the conflict's financial, physical, and emotional costs. Citizens, policymakers, pundits, and scholars have yet to internalize Butler's warning. Hence the importance of David Keen's Useful Enemies.