Counterterrorism and the Dark Side of American Public Opinion
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
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About the Authors
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The origins of this project go back seven years. We were beginning a new collaboration that sought to apply experimental survey research techniques to examine how Americans form policy attitudes in the contemporary era, especially on issues relating to rising economic inequality and social policies that might redistribute the benefits...
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The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon carried out by al-Qaeda operatives on September 11, 2001, were shattering events. They fueled widespread anger, a desire for revenge, and a new sense of threat and vulnerability among most Americans. Powerful and deep-seated responses coincided with unprecedented...
1. From Rights Revolution to War on Terror
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How will future historians view the counterterrorism policies of the post-9/11 era? Situating the post 9/11 era in historical perspective is a valuable way to begin addressing the question. As we argue in this chapter, such a step provides perspective on the similarities and differences between contemporary counterterrorism and...
2. The Puzzle of Counterterrorism Policy Attitudes
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How has the American public responded to new laws and policies of the post-9/11 era? In the previous chapter, we situated the rise of counterterrorism policies first under the administration of President Bush and in their later continuation following the election of a Democratic Congress and Democratic President Barack Obama...
3. A Critical Era?
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In the midst of the 2007–2008 presidential election campaign, accumulating reports of the Bush administration’s war on terror and policies fueled significant legal and constitutional controversies. Combined with the declining popularity of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a rethinking and reformulation of counterterrorism policies very much...
4. Threat Priming and National Identity Targets
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Laws and public policies dole out punishment and distribute rewards. When people see government as punishing groups they dislike or do not trust, they may feel good about government action. If a policy rewards a group that citizens see in a positive light, that policy will also tend to be viewed favorably. But when laws and policies...
5. Who Is “Us”?
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Who are the principal insiders and outsiders in the contemporary era? Or to use an earlier formulation provided by Robert Reich (1990), “who is ‘us’?” When Reich posed this question, his idea was that the interests of workers and consumers alike were undergoing a rapid transformation at the hands of globalization. No longer...
6. Policy Feedback?
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One of the most intriguing, if controversial, claims about policy attitudes is that they are shaped by policies themselves. That policies work in this way to feed back into the process of opinion formation is one interpretation of why policies, once adopted, often become difficult to dislodge. This dynamic is encapsulated by the expression...
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It is now more than a decade since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 that shocked America and set the U.S. government on a policy course that departed profoundly and unexpectedly from the liberal drift of recent decades. By most conventional measures, the war on terror is more or less over. Al-Qaeda terrorist networks around the world have been...
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Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2013