"Clearly, catering to all things military is big business. Scientists, engineers and physicists have discovered that applying their talents to weapon research can win them grants, sophisticated laboratory facilities and intellectual prestige. Armament industries, militaries, police forces, manufacturers, engineers, hunting organizations and gun lobbies have significant stakes in the task of inventing more effective technologies for warmongering. They also have an interest in developing new and increasingly violent games that allow people to engage imaginatively in scenarios of terror, maiming and murder.

"It is too easy to shrug off the impact of militarization. Engagement with the armed forces is often dismissed as nothing more or less than a matter of choice. In other words, we are told that we can choose not to accept a job in the army, conduct ballistics research, buy a gun for domestic protection or play violent games.

"It's just not that simple. The military-industrial-entertainment complex is immensely powerful. War and peace are no longer highly differentiated zones in British and American societies. War has entered, uninvited, into our homes and taken up residence. Domestic spaces as well as outer space (satellite surveillance and missile defence systems) have been militarized. War remnants are present in our everyday lives: global positioning systems that guide our cars, the design of SUVs, the popularity of fitness boot camps and the cut and pattern of fashionable clothing. We can't open our mouths without talking about war. There are wars on terror, women, drugs, obesity. While I was writing this introduction, the New York Times reported that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has declared a 'war on mute swans'.

"That is perhaps just semantics, but, more worryingly, military ideologies and practices are integral to political debate and to international relations. The mother of all fundamentalisms is the belief that a powerful military presence will promote our security. This claim needs careful and rigorous assessment. I believe that knowing the history, science and ethics of weaponry can help us better assess governmental claims to be fighting 'good' wars. In the twentieth century, hundreds of millions of lives were destroyed in war, yet instead of creating a safer world government, militaries and scientists have developed increasingly sophisticated weaponry to kill and maim more efficiently. And, chillingly, this is being done in the name of humanity."