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How the war might end

    Some leaders were democrats; some were dictators; and some were in between. According to Goemans, democrats tended to respond to the information delivered by the war and act accordingly; at the very worst, if they lost the war but their country still existed, they would get turned out of office and go on a book tour. Dictators, because they had total control of their domestic audience, could also end wars when they needed to. After the first Gulf War, Saddam Hussein was such a leader; he simply killed anyone who criticized him. The trouble, Goemans found, lay with the leaders who were neither democrats nor dictators: because they were repressive, they often met with bad ends, but because they were not repressive enough, they had to think about public opinion and whether it was turning on them.

    These leaders, Goemans found, would be tempted to “gamble for resurrection,” to continue prosecuting the war, often at greater and greater intensity, because anything short of victory could mean their own exile or death. >>>

    A bad army was ordered to do something stupid. >>>

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