Paying the Human Costs of War: American Public Opinion and Casualties in Military Conflicts

Princeton University Press
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From the Korean War to the current conflict in Iraq, Paying the Human Costs of War examines the ways in which the American public decides whether to support the use of military force. Contrary to the conventional view, the authors demonstrate that the public does not respond reflexively and solely to the number of casualties in a conflict. Instead, the book argues that the public makes reasoned and reasonable cost-benefit calculations for their continued support of a war based on the justifications for it and the likelihood it will succeed, along with the costs that have been suffered in casualties. Of these factors, the book finds that the most important consideration for the public is the expectation of success. If the public believes that a mission will succeed, the public will support it even if the costs are high. When the public does not expect the mission to succeed, even small costs will cause the withdrawal of support.

Providing a wealth of new evidence about American attitudes toward military conflict, Paying the Human Costs of War offers insights into a controversial, timely, and ongoing national discussion.

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About the author

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.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Feb 9, 2009
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Pages
280
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ISBN
9781400830091
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / General
Political Science / International Relations / General
Political Science / Peace
Political Science / Political Freedom
Political Science / Political Process / General
Political Science / Political Process / Political Advocacy
Political Science / Security (National & International)
Technology & Engineering / Military Science
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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