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Studies on war casualty sensitivity were first carried out after the Vietnam War, when the trend of “counting bodies” first appeared in the media—a phenomenon that was later identified as a central factor in the waning of public support for the war. Enemies of democratic states know that military casualties are a weak spot when it comes to the crucial public opinion that grants legitimacy to war. In many cases they appeal directly to public opinion in the country that is fighting against them, articulating the price that continued fighting will entail.

Several elements have been identified as undermining the public willingness to accept military casualties, leading to a perception of war deaths as a social problem, at least from the standpoint of hawkish political ...

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