chapter  3
Managing Information
Pages 24

This chapter examines two public concerns with conditional war. The first is minimizing U.S. casualties: the United States may go to war but soldiers cannot die in significant numbers. A second public concern with conditional war is the reduction of perceived noncombatant casualties on the other side. A key element of conditional war is that the public has become less willing to support military force when there is a significant prospect of casualties. Washington can retain the option of using military force even though casualties could be a consequence. Washington recognizes the potential impact of civilian casualties on public attitudes toward war and anticipates the counterarguments offered by critics. The rules regarding the prevention of civilian casualties have changed and, imperfectly, the U.S. public and a global audience judge military performance by the new rules, rules that are all too frequently broken.