How should we analyze the dialogue over war and peace in the United States? If, as many studies hold, an important part of the debate is about justifying and rebutting justifications of martial policies, how do those attempts work in terms of argument types and strategies? Furthermore, what are those strategies, and how do they function to mobilize support for either side? Extant research on the details involved in such questions is surprisingly scant. To rectify this, the present work analyzes the dialogue and typologizes the arguments used by proponents and opponents by organizing them into categories. I deploy a discursive institutionalist methodology, combining new research on the arguments used by proponents of war with previous work on opposition to wars. The study provides a new understanding of the constituent arguments, norms, and typologies of recent political discussions concerning war and peace in the United States. In so doing, this article offers a new explanation of the dynamics of the debate as well as a thorough rendering of the positions participants take when supporting and opposing the use of armed force.
World Affairs, World Affairs, pp.Vol. 180, Issue 2