chapter  9
From Managing War to Making Peace
Pages 22

This book has focused on the process in which Americans are becoming more peaceful. I have divided the public into three parts: a dove constituency that rejects war out of principle, a middle group torn between sensitivity to war costs and war support, and a third cluster that provides consistent approval. The differences among these groups and with the media and government offi cials determine overall approval of or opposition to particular wars. Despite war management, these interactions reveal growing skepticism toward the use of armed force. Changes in the relationship between the public and war underscore a transformation in the social organization of war itself: mobilized war has been replaced by conditional war. A majority of the public may at times support conditional war, but the many questions and hesitations associated with war bring latent opposition to the surface when the boundary lines of acceptable conduct are crossed. Conditional war carries a tendency to become “like Vietnam” and thus provoke opposition. Iraq is a very good example of a war that has exceeded those boundaries.