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Book Cover
Author Schuessler, John M., 1977- author

Title Deceit on the road to war : presidents, politics and American democracy / John M. Schuessler
Published Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2015
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Description 1 online resource
Series Cornell studies in security affairs
Cornell studies in security affairs.
Contents Deception in democracies -- Shifting blame to the Axis : FDR's undeclared war -- Shifting blame to the communists : LBJ and the Vietnam War -- Overselling the Iraq War
Summary In Deceit on the Road to War, John M. Schuessler examines how U.S. presidents have deceived the American public about fundamental decisions of war and peace. Deception has been deliberate, he suggests, as presidents have sought to shift blame for war onto others in some cases and oversell its benefits in others. Such deceit is a natural outgrowth of the democratic process, in Schuessler's view, because elected leaders have powerful incentives to maximize domestic support for war and retain considerable ability to manipulate domestic audiences. They can exploit information and propaganda advantages to frame issues in misleading ways, cherry-pick supporting evidence, suppress damaging revelations, and otherwise skew the public debate to their benefit. These tactics are particularly effective before the outbreak of war, when the information gap between leaders and the public is greatest. When resorting to deception, leaders take a calculated risk that the outcome of war will be favorable, expecting the public to adopt a forgiving attitude after victory is secured. The three cases featured in the book - Franklin Roosevelt and World War II, Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War, and George W. Bush and the Iraq War - test these claims. Schuessler concludes that democracies are not as constrained in their ability to go to war as we might believe and that deception cannot be ruled out in all cases as contrary to the national interst. -- from dust jacket
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes ebrary purchase 20160622 nsh UPB
Subject Deception -- Political aspects -- United States -- History.
Iraq War, 2003-2011 -- Deception -- United States.
Political leadership -- United States -- History.
Politics and war -- United States -- History.
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Deception -- United States.
World War, 1939-1945 -- Deception -- United States.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 1501701622 (electronic bk.)
9781501701627 (electronic bk.)