A war that has killed over a million Iraqis was a 'humanitarian intervention', the US army is a force for liberation, and the main threat to world peace is posed by Islam. Those are the arguments of a host of liberal commentators, ranging from Christopher Hitchens to Kanan Makiya, Michael Ignatieff, Paul Berman, and Bernard-Henri Levy. In this critical intervention, Richard Seymour unearths the history of liberal justifications for empire, showing how savage policies of conquest - including genocide and slavery - have been retailed as charitable missions. From the Cold War to the War on Terror, Seymour argues that the colonial tropes of 'civilization' and 'progress' still shape liberal pro-war discourse. and still conceal the same bloody realities.