Chapter

Introduction: America at War

in In Time of War

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226043586
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226043463 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226043463.003.0001
Introduction: America at War

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In early 2006, with the initial successes in Iraq a distant memory, public opinion seemed to have turned against the war. Republicans continued to support President George W. Bush's foreign policy, but the nation as a whole did not. Although support for the war had remained fairly stable since the beginning of 2004, not since March 2004 had a majority of Americans agreed that the United States “did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq.” Bush's public reaction to this grim news was to belittle the polls. Much of our understanding of opinion during wartime has proceeded from the notion that times of war are unique moments in political history. This book rejects such thinking and instead argues that public opinion about war is shaped by the same attitudes and orientations that shape domestic politics. To support its claim, the book considers the United States' experience during six wars: World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, and the Iraq War.

Keywords: wars; public opinion; foreign policy; politics; United States; World War II; Persian Gulf War; Korean War; Vietnam War; Iraq

Chapter.  3932 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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