Political Solidarity Model and the Iraq War

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  Using the Political Solidarity Model to Understand the Psychological Origins of the 2003 Iraq War :

Using the Political Solidarity Model to Understand the Psychological Origins of the 2003 Iraq War Timothy Campbell Pittsburg State University Pittsburg, Kansas

Political Solidarity Model:

Political Solidarity Model The political solidarity model (PSM) was proposed by social psychologists Emina Subašic, Katherine J. Reynolds, and John C. Turner. This model was developed to explain the dynamics of social change and political power (Subašic, Reynolds, & Turner 2008).

What is the Political Solidarity Model?:

What is the Political Solidarity Model? Three components of PSM: Authority, Minority, and Majority. Authority versus Minority - Minority: fighting for social change or more political power - Authority: fighting to keep the status quo - Majority: the general public According to Subašic et al (2008) will determine the nature of political solidarity. Political solidarity is when the majority lends support to the group (authority/minority) the majority sees best fits their own interests/beliefs.

Slide 4:

Authority Majority Minority Figure 1: The Political Solidarity Model (based on Subašic, Reynolds, & Turner 2008) Authority and minority struggle with each other for power and to keep power. The majority serves to promote solidarity with either the authority or the minority, hence inhibiting solidarity for the other group.

Slide 5:

President Bush & Cabinet Groupthink lead to authority’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003. The Majority (The Public) Congress Pressures to conform to the political solidarity between the authority and majority. Persuasion appeals by authority lead to the creation of political solidarity between authority and the public in favor of invading Iraq. Congress authorizes military force against Iraq Figure 2: Political Solidarity Model and origins of 2003 Iraq War

Groupthink:

Groupthink Aronson (2007) describes groupthink as the process in which a group is so intent on maintaining cohesiveness that they lose their ability to make effective decisions. Janis (1972) lists eight “symptoms” of groupthink.

Relevant Correlations of Groupthink to Authority Decision Making :

Relevant Correlations of Groupthink to Authority Decision Making Illusions of Invulnerability - “[Paul] Wolfowitz . . . reasons for getting rid of Saddam were: It was necessary and it would be relatively easy” (Woodward, 2004, pg 21). Mindguards - According to Allen and Broder (2004), the President liked to keep a small set of advisors around him, who brought in little outside help, and “muffled” dissenting opinion.

Relevant Correlations of Groupthink to Authority Decision Making :

Relevant Correlations of Groupthink to Authority Decision Making Belief in Morality - “ The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people. They've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause and a great strategic goal.” President G.W. Bush to United Nations, September 12, 2002 (retrieved from: http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/)

Relevant Correlations of Groupthink to Authority Decision Making :

Relevant Correlations of Groupthink to Authority Decision Making Stereotyped views of Outgroup - In sum, the Bush administration saw Saddam Hussein as an outlaw dictator comparable to Hitler and Stalin, a bloodthirsty supporter of terrorism (linked to Al-Qaeda), wants to attack America or aid those attacking America (e.g. Al-Qaeda), and he posses weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) (Woodward, 2004). - Iraq is a part of “axis of evil” (Woodward, 2004, pg 87)

Persuasion:

Persuasion Persuasion is a process of getting someone else to adopt your attitudes, opinions, beliefs, plans, etc (Reber, Allen, and Reber, 2009). Elaboration Likelihood Model of Persuasion - R.E. Petty and J.T. Cacioppo (1981) argued that there are two routes of persuasion: central and peripheral. In terms of persuasion, the peripheral route relies on emotion and cognitive heuristics and is most often used (Petty & Cacioppo, 1981).

Persuasion :

Persuasion President Bush had to persuade the majority that Saddam Hussein posed a threat to United States security and possessed WMDs. The authority’s course of persuasion relied on the majority’s heightened sense of patriotism, and fear of another attack on the United States after the September 11 th attacks.

Conformity & Congress:

Conformity & Congress Conformity is the tendency to allow one’s own opinion, attitudes, perceptions or actions to be affected by prevailing attitudes, perceptions, or ideas (Reber, Allen, and Reber, 2009). The cost of non-conformity to political solidarity between the authority and majority were too high. - Election of 2002

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