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Winning the War of Words: Selling the War on Terror from Afghanistan to Iraq
Pagexi(12 of 153)
Preface THE MAIN RATIONALE behind this book is to explain how actors can and do exploit the public’s cognitive biases in order to sell risky foreign policies. This book is unique because it presents a contemporary explanation of how the policy elite used threat and loss framing to mobilize domestic support for war. The debate surrounding this issue is increasing as scholars such as Gelpi, Feaver, and Reifl er posit a more gains-oriented approach to presidential framing of war. Presidential framing sets the foreign policy tone for the American public. One would be hard pressed to argue that the president’s framing of foreign policy events has no effect on the American people. The main question is what type of framing and rhetoric are effective in persuading the American public to support risky foreign policy? To answer that question, this study explains the marketing strategy behind the war on terror and demonstrates how that strategy compelled public opinion toward supporting the spread of the war on terror from Afghanistan to Iraq. The evidence also presents a link between real-world events and theoretical explanations of the delicate relationship between foreign policy and public opinion. This investigation used qualitative methods to investigate how President George W. Bush’s initial framing of the September 11, 2001 attacks provided the platform for the creation of early public support for U.S. action in Iraq and established long-term public support for the war on terror. Presidential framing of the war on terror continued to show an enduring ability to infl uence public support. Even two years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, 52 percent of Americans believed that the United States should stay in Iraq until it stabilizes. This fi nding bypasses agenda-setting expla- nations, which prescribe issue salience among the public for only one year.