Paying the Human Costs of War: American Public Opinion and Casualties in Military Conflicts
From the Korean War to the conflict in Iraq, this book examines the
ways in which the American public decides whether to support the
use of military force. Contrary to the conventional view, it
demonstrates that the public does not respond reflexively and
solely to the number of casualties in a conflict.
Gelpi and Feaver, and Reifler have produced a most fascinating volume on the human costs of waging war. They set out to understand under what conditions Americans would support their leaders' decision to use military force... Well researched and thoughtfully written. Choice Policy makers would be wise to heed the authors' findings regarding how to gain public trust and support when contemplating the future use of military power in achieving national objectives. For the citizenry, however, a warning also emerges: national leaders may attempt to keep a sinking policy ship afloat by remaining publically optimistic even when nothing can be done to save it. -- Walter E. Kretchik Military History [T]he book is straightforward, well organized and a pleasure to read. -- Thomas C. Shaw American Review of Politics One measure of a book's quality is whether it generates questions for future research, and this one certainly fits the bill. -- Jennifer L. Merolla Perspectives on Politics [T]his is a well-thought-out, well-organized and well-written book. In particular, the concluding summaries at the end of each chapter provide excellent reviews and syntheses of the arguments. The authors have posed many questions that should open new horizons for scholars and policy makers. -- Cigdem Pakel Atahan Journal of American Studies of Turkey
Christopher Gelpi is professor of political science at Duke University. He is the author of "The Power of Legitimacy" (Princeton). Peter D. Feaver is the Alexander F. Hehmeyer Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at Duke University. From 2005 to 2007, he served as a special advisor on the National Security Council. Feaver and Gelpi are the coauthors of "Choosing Your Battles" (Princeton). Jason Reifler is assistant professor of political science at Georgia State University.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS viii LIST OF TABLES ix ACKNOWLEDGMENTS xiii CHAPTER ONE: Theories of American Attitudes toward Warfare 1 CHAPTER TWO: America's Tolerance for Casualties, 1950-2006 23 CHAPTER THREE: Measuring Individual Attitudes toward Military Conflict 67 CHAPTER FOUR: Experimental Evidence on Attitudes toward Military Conflict 98 CHAPTER FIVE: Individual Attitudes toward the Iraq War, 2003-2004 125 CHAPTER SIX: Iraq the Vote: War and the Presidential Election of 2004 167 CHAPTER SEVEN: The Sources and Meaning of Success in Iraq 188 CHAPTER EIGHT: Conclusion 236 BIBLIOGRAPHY 265 INDEX 283
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