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Trachtenberg cites this passage from the article: Reiter and Stam say "for better or worse, democratic foreign policy is driven by public desires." This is nothing new, it is the entire basis for Thomas Bailey's classic _A Diplomatic History of the American_.(10th edition was published in 1980). My own reading of Bailey is that his argument while on its largest merits is similar, is also more nuanced than Reiter and Stam--it all comes to profound influence over time as opposed a direct outgrowth of public opinion. Throughout Bailey's lengthy text, it becomes clear that the influence is more in the nature of tectonic, often slow, process rather than the direct cause and effect sorts of models Americans tend to enamored of. The recent work of William M. Hammond on public opinion in Vietnam supports the Bailey view (if I read Bailey correctly). I find it fascinating that the older more nuanced view of Bailey is in opposition to a newer more recent approach that seems, dare I say it, more reductionist. This statement by Trachtenberg (by way of Kimball) also rang true: "to make unpleasant choices and then take the blame. What Americans wanted to hear in 1940 (and in subsequent crises) was not what they knew was the truth, but what they wished were the truth. In a sense, they wanted to be lied to." It reminded me of a press conference by former (and convicted) Governor of Louisiana Edwin Edwards when confronted with incontrovertible proof (on TV no less) that he had lied to the people of Louisiana. "The People of Louisiana expect me to lie to them." Like, David Kaiser at the Naval War College, I seem to be coming down in the category of those more persuaded by Trachtenberg's arguments. Ed Miller's recent _Bankrupting the Enemy_ has provided more than enough evidence of a concerted policy of pressure that ultimately proved counterproductive if the goal was really war avoidance with Japan. I often cite FDR saying this on December 6, 1941: "we might be at war with Japan although no one [knows]." He expected an attack somewhere on the other side of the international dateline based on the latest intelligence, probably against the Philippines. He was right. Let me be clear, I am not in the Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory camp either. I tend to believe the policy was to avoid war with Japan as long as possible to let mobilization and production to continue to gear up as long as possible. As to the debate about the public, policy, presidents, and the sweetness and light of democracy, although I am not as extreme in my skepticism, the exceptionalist position being assailed certainly had it coming. John T. Kuehn, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Military History Department of Military History U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, KS  William M. Hammond, "The Tet Offensive and the News Media," _Army History Magazine No. 70 (Winter 2009), 6-19. Highly recommended, the article is really about public opinion polls vis-à-vis the war.  This example is anecdotal, the author of this post remembers watching the TV coverage, however, the essential veracity can be confirmed in the Associated Press, 16 March 1987.  Edward S. Miller, Bankrupting the Enemy: The U.S. Financial Siege of Japan Before Pearl Harbor (Naval Institute Press, 2007).  John T. Kuehn and D.M. Giangreco, _Eyewitness Pacific Theater_ (Sterling Press: 2008), 21.