The language of American political discourse: Aristotle's rhetorical appeals as manifested in Bush's and Obama's speeches on the war on terror
Keywords:Aristotle, critical discourse analysis, persuasion, political discourse, rhetoric
This article employs critical discourse analysis to analyze the representation of the “war on terror” in the political speeches of Presidents George Bush and Barack Obama in the decade following 9/11; it examines Aristotle's approach into the study of the language of persuasion through his three main rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos, and logos, identifying several strands of the war on terror discourse and analyzing the way they influence the persuasiveness of the speeches and therefore the ability to generate public debate. The findings show substantial similarities in representation patterns among the two presidents' discourses and end up to the conclusion that the language of the war on terror is not simply a neutral or objective reflection of policy debates of terrorism and counterterrorism; rather, it is a carefully and deliberately constructed public discourse designed to make the war on terror look reasonable and morally justified.
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