Most Think Military Force Should be Used to Pre-Empt AttacksMar 5th, 2013 | Category: Politics
It’s been ten years since the US became involved in the Iraq War, and the past decade has offered no shortage of new challenges and potential conflicts in countries like Libya and Syria that have raised the question of whether or not the US should be militarily involved elsewhere. When do Americans feel it’s appropriate for the US to use military force? MPO Research Group asked this question recently and found that only 16.8% of Americans think the US should only use military force if attacked—most respondents felt that other circumstances warranted force. 30.2% feel that the US should use force in case of attack or to pre-empt an attack, 13.6% think that being attacked or humanitarian reasons are cause for force and 24.3% think that any of those three reasons warrants military force. 15.2% aren’t sure or think something else.
There was little difference in opinion between the genders, though men are slightly more inclined to feel that any of the three reasons, reaction to an attack, pre-emption or humanitarian reasons, warrant military force—27.9% of men and 20.8% of women feel this way. More women than men are unsure (17.1% to 13.2%).
There were no significant trends across different age groups, though the very youngest respondents are the least likely to be influenced by humanitarian need—only 5.8% feel that attack or humanitarian reasons warrant force, and 11.6% say that attack, pre-emption or humanitarian need could require force. Respondents in their twenties are the least likely to think that military attack is the only reason for America to employ force.
Asian Americans are the most supportive of military force when there is a humanitarian reason for it: 45.6% say that when attacked or for humanitarian need are the only two reasons for American to use military force and 25% say that attack, pre-emption and humanitarian need are all reasons to use force. No Asian Americans feel that military attack it the only reason to employ force.
Among voters, Democrats are the most likely to see an attack as the only justification for use of military force (26.1% compared to 9.6% of Republicans and 14% of Independents). Republicans are most supportive of using force to pre-empt an attack (42.8% say this or in response to an attack are the only two reasons for the US to use military force compared to 30.1% of Independents and 23% of Democrats). One third of Independents (33.9%) say that attack, pre-emption or humanitarian need are all acceptable reasons for use of force. 18.4% of Democrats and 25.8% of Republicans feel this way.