Accession Number:

ADA478483

Title:

A Nation at War: Combat Casualties and Public Support

Descriptive Note:

Research paper

Corporate Author:

ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:

2008-03-19

Pagination or Media Count:

41.0

Abstract:

The will of the American people throughout history to sustain support for the nations leaders and their endeavors to further U.S. interests through military means has ebbed and flowed to both extremes. September 11, 2001, left the world in shock as it helplessly observed the events of that historical day take the hearts and minds of the American people to a height of patriotism never before seen in this country. However, many now wonder whether public support for the Global War on Terrorism can be sustained in the face of rising casualties among the men and women of the U.S. armed forces. This Strategic Research Project briefly reviews U.S. leaders role in gaining support for military action, examines Eric V. Larsons research on the impact of casualties in war on public opinion, and applies Larsons hypothesis regarding the 1991 Gulf War to the second Gulf War Operation Iraqi Freedom. Specifically, the author uses data from the second Gulf War to test Larsons theory that support for U.S. military operations and the willingness to tolerate casualties are more accurately based on the four variables of perceived benefits, prospects for success or progress, costs, and consensus support or its absence from political leaders. The evaluation supports Larsons theory. All of Larsons proposed variables have in some way shaped the path of the second Gulf War. The author concludes with observations on Larsons theories and the role of U.S. leaders in sustaining support for the nations military operations, especially potential wars.

Subject Categories:

  • Psychology
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE