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I recently corresponded with Peter Feaver, Duke University Professor of Political Science <http://www.duke.edu/~pfeaver/> and Triangle Institute for Security Studies, Project on the Gap between the Military and Civilian Society 1999 study co-author. He further commented on the study and authorized me to release his comments. Comment attribution and quotation belongs to Feaver and another study author, Christopher Gelpi, Duke University Associate Professor of Political Science <http://www.duke.edu/~gelpi/> Below are the comments. Please note that the remark, "I am not sure we would fully agree with the way the unnamed Bush administration source used that finding.", is a response to the Nicholas Lehmann New Yorker quote. Best wishes, Nathaniel Source: Peter Feaver and Christopher Gelpi, e-mail note to Nathaniel Hurd, 14 October 2002 [begin] I am not sure we would fully agree with the way the unnamed Bush administration source used that finding. That figure represents the "mean" response to our question, which surely represents an upper-bound estimate. We used means and mean-based estimators in our initial analyses (one version of which was published in the Wash Post in Oct/Nov 1999), but since then have switched to median and median-based estimators which better capture public attitudes on casualty sensitivity. When one uses median-based estimators, the figures drop dramatically, into the several thousands. That said, our analysis certainly supports the larger points: * the public is not casualty-phobic, knee-jerk opposed to any casualties and eager to cut and run at the first sight of blood. The public is better described as "defeat phobic" rather than "casualty phobic." If the casualties are necessary to produce a clear victory, the public will accept them. * public attitudes towards casualties fit a rational calculus. They would prefer to win with fewer casualties, so any poll that asks about casualties will see a drop off in support. But even with warnings of high casualties, there is still a very large reservoir of support for military action -- especially against perceived threats like Hussein -- and a capable Administration can readily mobilize that support. * In any case, the military seem more casualty averse than the general public. This may be because the military is more doubtful about political leadership or more convinced that the public is truly casualty phobic. It is not simply because the military are the ones who are going to die (i.e. mere self-interested self-preservation). Would the public turn on the Iraqi mission if U.S. casualties climbed into the tens of thousands? They might, especially if the casualties were framed as evidence the US was botching the mission, making stupid mistakes, etc. If the Bush administration was as inept in framing the mission as was the Clinton administration in Somalia, then that number could be catastrophic for public support. But if the Bush Administration was able to frame those casualties as proof that Hussein was a menace and needed to be eliminated, then public support could be maintained. [end] Nathaniel Hurd 90 7th Ave. Apt. #6 Brooklyn, NY 11217 Tel. (M): 917-407-3389 Tel. (H): 718-857-7639 Fax: 718-504-4224 _________________________________________________________________ Unlimited Internet access -- and 2 months free! Try MSN. http://resourcecenter.msn.com/access/plans/2monthsfree.asp _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk