The Casualty Gap The Causes and Consequences of American Wartime Inequalities

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-04-28
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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When Americans think about war casualties, they tend to see them simply as "Americans"--undifferentiated by race or class. One effect of this is that Americans tend to be very supportive of U.S. wars, especially since they equate military service with the quintessentially American ideals of equal opportunity and shared sacrifice. However, as Doug Kriner and Francis Chen show in The Casualty Gap , when presented with the incontrovertible fact that American ideals do not reflect reality, and that casualties come disproportionately from poor and disadvantaged communities, support for war drops markedly. An authoritative account of which Americans really bear the burden of combat, The Casualty Gap is the first book to comprehensively examine the divide from War Two to the Iraq war. They demonstrate conclusively that in every war, poorer Americans from remote counties have been overrepresented in casualty rates. Their conclusion is perhaps not surprising. But it demonstrates once and for all what many only suspected--that historically, the American military is not a shining beacon of equal opportunity, but merely replicates larger and enduring social divides. Kriner and Chen also focus on the broader ramifications of their findings. In particular, what does this state of affairs tell us about a core ideal of modern American democracy, equality of opportunity? What sort of impact does it have on civic and political engagement among the most impacted communities? And, if Americans do become more aware of the gap, will they continue to support U.S. wars at the same level they do now?

Author Biography

Doug Kriner is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boston University. He specializes in American politics, separation of powers, domestic politics and the use of force.

Francis Shen is Lecturer in Government at Harvard University.

Table of Contents

The Casualty Gapp. 3
The Politics of Casualtiesp. 7
Plan of the Bookp. 10
Inequality and U.S. Casualties from WWII to Iraqp. 14
Studying Casualties and Inequalityp. 16
Defining and Measuring the Casualty Gapp. 17
Geographic Variance in Local Casualty Ratesp. 18
Explaining the Casualty Gapp. 22
Income and Educationp. 22
Unemploymentp. 22
Racep. 23
Rural Farm Populationp. 24
Partisanshipp. 25
Geographic Region and Agep. 26
Assessing the Casualty Gap across Four Warsp. 26
The Individual-Level Casualty Gap and the Problem of Ecological Inferencep. 40
Examining Socioeconomic Variation within the Communityp. 43
Explaining the Casualty Gapp. 47
Technical Appendix to Chapter 2p. 48
Selection, Occupational Assignment, and the Emergence of the Casualty Gapp. 56
Selection in the Modern Warsp. 58
The War in Iraq and the AVFp. 63
Occupational Assignment within the Militaryp. 67
The Selection Mechanism Revisited: The Role of the Draftp. 73
Changes in the Draft and in the Casualty Gap over Timep. 74
The Draft Lottery and Its Ramifications for the Casualty Gapp. 76
The Absence of a Draft and the Iraq Casualty Gapp. 78
Casualty Gaps at the Individual Levelp. 80
Technical Appendix to Chapter 3p. 83
Do Casualty Gaps Matter?p. 92
The Casualty Gap and Public Support for Warp. 94
The Casualty Gap's Influence in 2009p. 100
Bringing the Casualty Gap into the Public Spherep. 103
Technical Appendix to Chapter 4p. 104
How Local Casualties Shape Politicsp. 109
Local Casualties and Political Behaviorp. 111
A New Theory of Local Casualty Influencep. 113
Personal Contact with Local Casualtiesp. 113
Elite Cuesp. 117
The Local Mediap. 120
Conclusionp. 123
Technical Appendix to Chapter 5p. 124
Political Ramifications of the Vietnam Casualty Gapp. 131
Casualties, Public Opinion, and the Vietnam Warp. 133
Local Casualty Rates and Support for the Vietnam Warp. 136
Casualtiesp. 136
Demographic Control Variablesp. 137
Results and Discussionp. 138
Should the United States Have Stayed Out of Vietnam?p. 138
Should the United States Withdraw from Vietnam?p. 143
The Electoral Consequences of Local Casualtiesp. 146
Modeling Vote Choicep. 147
Results and Discussionp. 148
The Casualty Gap and the Democratic Brake on Military Adventurismp. 153
Technical Appendix to Chapter 6p. 155
Political Ramifications of the Iraq Casualty Gapp. 161
Iraq, Casualties, and Public Opinionp. 163
Knowing a Casualty and Feeling Negatively Affected Personally by the Warp. 165
Supporr for Withdrawalp. 167
Iraq, Casualties, and Electoral Dynamicsp. 170
Varying Experience with Casualties and Electoral Choice in 2006p. 171
State and Local Casualty Rates and Change in Republican Vote Sharep. 172
State-Level Resultsp. 175
County-Level Resultsp. 178
Republican Incumbent Races at the County Levelp. 179
Conclusionp. 181
Technical Appendix to Chapter 7p. 183
The Casualty Gap and Civic Engagementp. 191
War and American Political and Civic Engagementp. 193
Theoretical Expectationsp. 195
The Immediate Effects of Vietnam on Political Participationp. 197
Resultsp. 198
The Lingering Effects of Vietnam on Civic Engagementp. 203
Resultsp. 204
Korea, World War II, and Patterns of Political Engagementp. 206
Resultsp. 207
Conclusionp. 211
Technical Appendix to Chapter 8p. 213
The Future of the Casualty Gapp. 226
Responding to the Casualty Gapp. 231
Facing up to the Casualty Gapp. 234
Notesp. 235
Referencesp. 277
Indexp. 295
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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