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The War over Iraq: Selling War to the American Public

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How, in the absence of any link between Iraq and the events of September 11, 2001, was the Bush administration able to go to war against Iraq with widespread political support? Well before the terrorist attacks of September 11, the public was concerned about terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and Iraq. In the immediate months after the attacks, the public was supportive, at least hypothetically, of military action to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Nonetheless, the Bush administration concluded that such support would be difficult to sustain without an aggressive domestic mobilization campaign. This article examines the influence of four critical factors that enabled the administration to frame the case for war in Iraq: (1) executive-branch information and propaganda advantages, (2) executive cohesion, (3) oppositional fragmentation, and (4) the nature and history of the Iraqi regime.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2005

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