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Some conclusions

A few words of comment are appropriate here with respect to the remarkable impact in the case of Iraq of the factor of international legitimacy or UN consent in shaping people's attitudes on the justification of using military force. The phenomenon was general, if not universal, in the sense that the strength of this factor was felt across countries, on both sides of the Atlantic, and probably equally elsewhere. The fact that the presence or absence of a UN mandate was such an important consideration with respect to the acceptability of a war with Iraq in the summer of 2002, is the more remarkable since it was measured before the major international debates on this issue in the fall and winter of 2002-2003 took place, both within the United Nations and elsewhere and the issue was high on the public agenda. Apparently, even then people already felt increasingly that while war may be sometimes an acceptable and even necessary way of solving problems, it should not be decided upon by individual states, but should preferably be undertaken only with the support of one's allies (another outcome of many polls) and, rather, only in settings where the views brought forward may claim to be some representation of 'the international community'.

 
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