Paying the Human Costs of War Christopher Gelpi Peter D. Feaver Jason Reifler Duke University & Triangle Institute for Sec...
Casualty Aversion as a Constraint on American Power <ul><li>Mueller (1973, 1994): support  for war drops with  log of casu...
Casualty Aversion: A Contingent Constraint? <ul><li>Casualty phobia myth persisted despite evidence to the contrary </li><...
Approval of Korean War  and Battle Deaths <ul><li>Key appears to be perceived success </li></ul><ul><li>Big drop in suppor...
Approval of Vietnam War and Battle Deaths <ul><li>Impact of casualties seems to depend on success </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-Te...
Presidential Approval and Casualties in Iraq
Measures for Analysis of Weekly Approval and Deaths in Iraq <ul><li>Presidential Approval -  Weekly data </li></ul><ul><ul...
Predicting Presidential Approval With Casualties In Iraq
Summary: Impact of Iraq War on Presidential Approval <ul><li>Impact of US Casualties:   </li></ul><ul><ul><li>During battl...
Comparing Sources of Casualty Tolerance in the Real World <ul><li>Aggregate Data show casualty tolerance varies </li></ul>...
A Model of Public Attitudes Toward Casualties In Iraq Tolerance For Casualties US Right to Attack US Will Succeed Educatio...
Four Clusters of Attitudes Toward the War in Iraq <ul><li>Vietnam Syndrome : Iraq war wrong, we are likely to lose </li></...
Logit Analysis of Tolerable Casualties In Iraq Variable Coefficient T - Statistic Right to Attack 0.98 (0.75)  Will Succee...
The Sources of Tolerance for Casualties in Iraq: Interactive Effects
The Demographic Sources of Casualty Tolerance in Iraq Explanatory Variable Change in  Explanatory Variable Δ  Probability ...
Reality Check: Our Survey & Election Outcome 2004 Our Survey Actual Vote Bush 51.84% 51% Kerry 48.16% 48%
Logit Analysis of Presidential Vote Choice: November 2004 Variable Coefficient T - Statistic Right to Attack 0.599 (3.03)*...
Iraq and Presidential Vote Choice 2004
The Demographic Sources of Presidential Vote Choice in 2004 Explanatory Variable Change in  Explanatory Variable Δ  Probab...
What Does It Mean to be Successful in Iraq?
How Will We Know We Are Succeeding In Iraq?
Likelihood of “Success” and Whether the War in Iraq was the “Right Thing” Right |  US Will Succeed Thing |  1  2  3  4 |  ...
A Model of Public Attitudes Toward “Success” and “The Right Thing” US Right to Attack US Will Succeed Support Preemptive f...
Two-Stage Least Squares Analysis Whether US Was Right to Attack Iraq Variable Coefficient T - Statistic US Will Succeed 0....
Two-Stage Least Squares Analysis Whether US Will Succeed Iraq Variable Coefficient T - Statistic US Right to Attack 0.451 ...
Conclusions <ul><li>Aggregate data show public willingness to bear costs of war has varied significantly over time </li></...
“ Do the right thing?” or “Just Win Baby?” <ul><li>Expectations of success is trumps for casualty tolerance and support fo...
The Structure of Public Attitudes Toward Iraq <ul><li>Attitudes toward “Success” and “Right Thing” structured along reason...
Supplemental Slides
Sources of Data <ul><li>Historical aggregate data on support for Korea, Vietnam, Somalia </li></ul><ul><li>Recent aggregat...
Experimental Support for the Impact of Primary Policy Objective <ul><li>Do you support “the United States taking military ...
Framing Effects and Support for a Hypothetical Invasion of Yemen Combat Global Terror 0.256 (2.40)* Promote Human Rights 0...
Experimental Support for the Impact of Domestic and Int’l Consensus <ul><li>Do you support “military action to defend the ...
Elite Consensus and Support for Hypothetical Use of Force in E. Timor Coefficient T-statistic All Elites Support Force 3.1...
Expected Success, Casualties, and Support for Hypothetical Use of Force Probability Respondent Strongly Approves of Using ...
Casualty Tolerance and Confidence in Success   1 vs. 2 1 vs. 3 1 vs. 4 JCS Confidence 0.184 (2.50)* 0.667 (8.28)** 0.719 (...
Approval of Vietnam War and Battle Deaths <ul><li>Impact of casualties seems to depend on success </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-Te...
Prais-Winsten Analysis of Battle Deaths and Support for the Vietnam War Variable Model 1 Model 2 Log of Battle Deaths -3.6...
Approval of Korean War  and Battle Deaths <ul><li>Key appears to be perceived success </li></ul><ul><li>Big drop in suppor...
Capturing Saddam and Perceptions of Success in Iraq <ul><li>MSNBC/WSJ Poll fielded our “success” question </li></ul><ul><l...
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Paying the Human Costs of War

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Discusses how public support of the war in Iraq has varied more with perceptions of the likelihood of strategic success than with the number of casualties.

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  • Paying the Human Costs of War

    1. 1. Paying the Human Costs of War Christopher Gelpi Peter D. Feaver Jason Reifler Duke University & Triangle Institute for Security Studies
    2. 2. Casualty Aversion as a Constraint on American Power <ul><li>Mueller (1973, 1994): support for war drops with log of casualties </li></ul><ul><li>Developed into conventional wisdom that public will not tolerate casualties </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Beirut 1983, Gulf War 1991, Somalia 1993 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Widespread assumption of “casualty phobia” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Kosovo 1999 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Caused Saddam to doubt US resolve in March 2003 </li></ul>
    3. 3. Casualty Aversion: A Contingent Constraint? <ul><li>Casualty phobia myth persisted despite evidence to the contrary </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Academic consensus on public cost/benefit approach to support for war </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Key Question: What causes variation in sensitivity to casualties? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jentleson: Policy Objective (PPO) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Larson: Domestic Elite Consensus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Kull: International Consensus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feaver & Gelpi: Likelihood of Success </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. Approval of Korean War and Battle Deaths <ul><li>Key appears to be perceived success </li></ul><ul><li>Big drop in support is Aug-Dec 1950 – losing to PRC </li></ul><ul><li>Slope is positive from Feb-Aug 1951 - US recovers </li></ul><ul><li>Slope is negative in 1952 - stalemate sets in </li></ul>
    5. 5. Approval of Vietnam War and Battle Deaths <ul><li>Impact of casualties seems to depend on success </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-Tet slope only significant because of drop Mar-May 1966 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Matches increase in those saying war is a “mistake” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Post-Tet slope triples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>majority of population now says war is a “mistake” </li></ul></ul>
    6. 6. Presidential Approval and Casualties in Iraq
    7. 7. Measures for Analysis of Weekly Approval and Deaths in Iraq <ul><li>Presidential Approval - Weekly data </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data from The Polling Report </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Casualties – Log of deaths in Iraq </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data from the US Military </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Minutes of Media coverage of Iraq </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Data from The Tyndall Report </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Growth in Dow Jones Industrial Index </li></ul><ul><li>Dummy variables: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Onset of Insurgency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Capture of Hussein </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Release of Kay Report </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Renewed Iraqi Sovereignty </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Predicting Presidential Approval With Casualties In Iraq
    9. 9. Summary: Impact of Iraq War on Presidential Approval <ul><li>Impact of US Casualties: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>During battlefield combat, approval went up with casualties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>During insurgency, approval went down with casualties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After sovereignty casualties have no effect on approval </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Turning points: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>End of May 2003 when “insurgency” became dominant media frame </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transfer of sovereignty to new government – an indicator of success? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Impact of Media Coverage </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rally effect before war & during major combat </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Coverage of democratic presidential candidates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Media frame: battlefield, insurgency, and sovereignty </li></ul></ul>
    10. 10. Comparing Sources of Casualty Tolerance in the Real World <ul><li>Aggregate Data show casualty tolerance varies </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What drives this variation? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Experimental research shows support for all four mechanisms </li></ul><ul><li>“ Success” seems an anecdotal fit, but… </li></ul><ul><li>Now we need to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare the relative importance of these mechanisms </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Show they influence attitudes in a real conflict </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. A Model of Public Attitudes Toward Casualties In Iraq Tolerance For Casualties US Right to Attack US Will Succeed Education Demographics (Age, Race, Gender) Party Identification
    12. 12. Four Clusters of Attitudes Toward the War in Iraq <ul><li>Vietnam Syndrome : Iraq war wrong, we are likely to lose </li></ul><ul><li>Bush Base : Iraq war right, we are likely to win </li></ul><ul><li>Noble Failure : Iraq war right, we are likely to lose </li></ul><ul><li>Pottery Barn : Iraq war wrong, we are likely to win </li></ul>
    13. 13. Logit Analysis of Tolerable Casualties In Iraq Variable Coefficient T - Statistic Right to Attack 0.98 (0.75) Will Succeed 0.642 (4.80)*** Right X Succeed 0.268 (4.09)*** Female -0.294 (2.48)** Minority -0.615 (3.68)*** Education 0.293 (4.65)*** Age 0.182 (3.17)*** Party ID -0.083 (2.26)** N 1006
    14. 14. The Sources of Tolerance for Casualties in Iraq: Interactive Effects
    15. 15. The Demographic Sources of Casualty Tolerance in Iraq Explanatory Variable Change in Explanatory Variable Δ Probability of Tolerating 1500 US Deaths Age 18-29 to 60+ Years Old +12% Gender Male to Female -6% Race White to Non-White -15% Level of Education No H.S. to College Degree +20% Party Identification Strong Rep. to Strong Dem. -11%
    16. 16. Reality Check: Our Survey & Election Outcome 2004 Our Survey Actual Vote Bush 51.84% 51% Kerry 48.16% 48%
    17. 17. Logit Analysis of Presidential Vote Choice: November 2004 Variable Coefficient T - Statistic Right to Attack 0.599 (3.03)*** Will Succeed 0.027 (0.14) Right X Succeed 0.417 (3.80)*** Female 0.291 (1.66)* Minority -0.216 (0.93) Education -0.102 (1.13) Age 0.089 (1.04) Party ID -0.793 (12.59)** N 1006
    18. 18. Iraq and Presidential Vote Choice 2004
    19. 19. The Demographic Sources of Presidential Vote Choice in 2004 Explanatory Variable Change in Explanatory Variable Δ Probability of Voting for Bush Age 18-29 to 60+ Years Old +6% Gender Male to Female -7% Race White to Non-White -5% Level of Education No H.S. to College Degree -6% Party Identification Strong Rep. to Strong Dem. -81%
    20. 20. What Does It Mean to be Successful in Iraq?
    21. 21. How Will We Know We Are Succeeding In Iraq?
    22. 22. Likelihood of “Success” and Whether the War in Iraq was the “Right Thing” Right | US Will Succeed Thing | 1 2 3 4 | Total -----------+--------------------------------------------+---------- 1 | 84 155 49 8 | 296 | 80.77 51.16 11.89 2.72 | 26.59 -----------+--------------------------------------------+---------- 2 | 12 68 91 15 | 186 | 11.54 22.44 22.09 5.10 | 16.71 -----------+--------------------------------------------+---------- 3 | 3 63 167 60 | 293 | 2.88 20.79 40.53 20.41 | 26.33 -----------+--------------------------------------------+---------- 4 | 5 17 105 211 | 338 | 4.81 5.61 25.49 71.77 | 30.37 -----------+--------------------------------------------+---------- Total | 104 303 412 294 | 1,113 | 100.00 100.00 100.00 100.00 | 100.00 Pearson chi2(9) = 631.8776 Pr = 0.000
    23. 23. A Model of Public Attitudes Toward “Success” and “The Right Thing” US Right to Attack US Will Succeed Support Preemptive force Believe Saddam links to WMD, terrorism Care about Int’l Consensus on force Confident in US & Iraqi Leaders US has plan to succeed Party ID, Demographics Education, Domestic elite consensus to stay in Iraq
    24. 24. Two-Stage Least Squares Analysis Whether US Was Right to Attack Iraq Variable Coefficient T - Statistic US Will Succeed 0.743 (10.34)** Iraq Had WMD 0.114 (3.34)** Link to Al-Qaeda 0.108 (3.60)** Link to War on Terror 0.158 (4.34)** Multilateralism -0.111 (3.02)** Bush Doctrine 0.127 (2.87)** Party ID -0.071 (4.50)** N 964
    25. 25. Two-Stage Least Squares Analysis Whether US Will Succeed Iraq Variable Coefficient T - Statistic US Right to Attack 0.451 (8.34)*** Confident in US Leaders 0.274 (5.12)*** US Plan to Win the War 0.046 (1.99)** Importance of Force 0.164 (3.64)*** US Elite Consensus 0.102 (2.44)** Party ID -0.001 (0.10) N 964
    26. 26. Conclusions <ul><li>Aggregate data show public willingness to bear costs of war has varied significantly over time </li></ul><ul><li>Experimental evidence supports all hypothesized influences on costs and benefits </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Jentleson, Larson, Kull, Feaver & Gelpi </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Data on attitudes toward Iraq war suggest that weighting of factors depends on the decision being made </li></ul>
    27. 27. “ Do the right thing?” or “Just Win Baby?” <ul><li>Expectations of success is trumps for casualty tolerance and support for ongoing mission </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Prospective judgment about future outcome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pottery Barn twice as likely as Noble Failure to support casualties </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rightness/wrongness is trumps for determining vote choice </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Retrospective judgment about wisdom of a leader’s decision </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Majority of Noble Failure support Bush but overwhelming majority of Pottery Barn support Kerry </li></ul></ul>
    28. 28. The Structure of Public Attitudes Toward Iraq <ul><li>Attitudes toward “Success” and “Right Thing” structured along reasonable dimensions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consistent with hypotheses in literature </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Attitudes are well organized, but are they immune to new information? </li></ul><ul><li>Attitudes cause one another, but stronger flow is “success” as a cause of “right thing” </li></ul>
    29. 29. Supplemental Slides
    30. 30. Sources of Data <ul><li>Historical aggregate data on support for Korea, Vietnam, Somalia </li></ul><ul><li>Recent aggregate Presidential Approval data during current in Iraq </li></ul><ul><li>Individual level data on attitudes toward current war in Iraq </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Series of surveys from October 2004 through October 2004 </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Flaw in literature: mostly aggregate data </li></ul>
    31. 31. Experimental Support for the Impact of Primary Policy Objective <ul><li>Do you support “the United States taking military action to replace the government of Yemen…” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If it were threatening the shipping of oil through the Persian Gulf? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>47% approve (FPR Mission) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If it were engaging in ethnic cleansing and forced slavery? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>61% approve (HI mission) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If it were providing terrorist bases to Al-Qaeda? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>71% approve (WT Mission) </li></ul></ul></ul>
    32. 32. Framing Effects and Support for a Hypothetical Invasion of Yemen Combat Global Terror 0.256 (2.40)* Promote Human Rights 0.176 (1.85) Prevent Hostile Superpower 0.154 (1.59) Human Rights x Frame 0.437 (2.82)** Terrorism x Frame 0.598 (3.47)** US Power x Frame 0.504 (3.31)** Human Rights Frame -0.944 (2.40)* Terrorism Frame -1.403 (3.70)** Expected Casualties -0.120 (1.92) Expected Success 0.773 (8.64)**
    33. 33. Experimental Support for the Impact of Domestic and Int’l Consensus <ul><li>Do you support “military action to defend the democratic government of East Timor against an insurrection …”? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If Congress, UN, and NATO endorse? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>74% approve </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If Congress opposes? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>48% approve </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If UN and NATO oppose? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>41% approve </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If Congress, UN, and NATO all oppose? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>24% approve </li></ul></ul></ul>
    34. 34. Elite Consensus and Support for Hypothetical Use of Force in E. Timor Coefficient T-statistic All Elites Support Force 3.165 (48.56)** Domestic Elites Oppose Force -0.414 (4.41)** Int’l Elites Oppose Force -0.551 (6.06)** Both Sets of Elites Oppose -1.105 (12.15)**
    35. 35. Expected Success, Casualties, and Support for Hypothetical Use of Force Probability Respondent Strongly Approves of Using Force Expect 50 Deaths Expect 500 Deaths Expect 5,000 Deaths JCS Extremely Confident .26 .20 .15 JCS Somewhat Confident .19 .13 .09 JCS Not Very Confident .12 .08 .05
    36. 36. Casualty Tolerance and Confidence in Success   1 vs. 2 1 vs. 3 1 vs. 4 JCS Confidence 0.184 (2.50)* 0.667 (8.28)** 0.719 (8.97)** Expected Deaths 0.109 (1.51) 0.490 (6.19)** 0.654 (8.28)** Casualty Tolerance -0.361 (7.41)** -0.619(10.77)** -0.933(15.19)** Ready for Force 0.138 (1.01) 0.537 (3.78)** 0.977 (7.04)** Party ID 0.120(2.75)** 0.281 (5.93)** 0.405 (8.53)** Age 0.000 (0.10) -0.002 (0.50) 0.006 (1.59) IR Knowledge 0.001 (0.02) 0.084 (1.03) -0.062 (0.76) Sex -0.134 (1.09) -0.233 (1.73) -0.093 (0.69) Constant 0.448 (0.94) -2.030 (3.83)** -3.182(5.97)** Observations 2973 2973 2973
    37. 37. Approval of Vietnam War and Battle Deaths <ul><li>Impact of casualties seems to depend on success </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-Tet slope only significant because of drop Mar-May 1966 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Matches increase in those saying war is a “mistake” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Post-Tet slope triples </li></ul><ul><ul><li>majority of population now says war is a “mistake” </li></ul></ul>
    38. 38. Prais-Winsten Analysis of Battle Deaths and Support for the Vietnam War Variable Model 1 Model 2 Log of Battle Deaths -3.667 (2.79)* -3.956 (5.74)** Log of Battle Deaths X Tet -8.270 (2.85)** Tet Offensive 77.486 (2.59)* Constant 76.541 (6.17)** 84.969 (14.62)** R-squared / N 0.71 / 24 0.92 / 24
    39. 39. Approval of Korean War and Battle Deaths <ul><li>Key appears to be perceived success </li></ul><ul><li>Big drop in support is Aug-Dec 1950 – losing to PRC </li></ul><ul><li>Slope is positive from Feb-Aug 1951 - US recovers </li></ul><ul><li>Slope is negative in 1952 - stalemate sets in </li></ul>
    40. 40. Capturing Saddam and Perceptions of Success in Iraq <ul><li>MSNBC/WSJ Poll fielded our “success” question </li></ul><ul><li>Got a “natural experiment” with the capture of Saddam </li></ul><ul><li>Bush received 8% boost in “very likely” to succeed </li></ul><ul><li>Casualty tolerance should rise if this perception persists </li></ul>

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