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Why War? – The Cultural Logic of Iraq, the Gulf War, and Suez - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Why War?: The Cultural Logic of Iraq, the Gulf War, and Suez

Philip Smith


Why do nations choose to fight certain wars and not others? How do we bring ourselves to believe that the sacrifice of our troops is acceptable? For most, the answers to these questions are tied to struggles for power or resources and the machinations of particular interest groups. This book argues that this realist answer to the age-old “why war?” question is insufficient. Instead, it suggests that every war has its roots in the ways we tell and interpret stories. This book decodes the cultural logic of the narratives that justify military action. Each nation makes use of binary codes—good an ... More

Keywords: war stories, cultural logic, binary codes, mundane, tragedy, romance, apocalypse, Iraq, United States, Britain

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780226763880
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226763910.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Philip Smith, author