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The support of the American public is widely held to be a critical prerequisite for undertaking military action abroad. This monograph examines American public opinion about the use of military force in support of the global war on terrorism (GWOT). Its purpose is to describe public attitudes toward wars and other large military operations over the last decade, to delineate the sources of support and opposition for each war or operation, to identify the principal fault lines in support, and to illuminate the factors that are consistent predictors of support for and opposition to military operations. Although the focus is on public opinion toward U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other GWOT-related theaters of action, the authors also examine public opinion on a number of military operations conducted before the attacks of September 11, 2001, including the final stages of the U.S. military intervention in Somalia and the U.S. interventions in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Army and conducted by the RAND Arroyo Center.

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