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The rhetoric for war

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Title:
The rhetoric for war an analysis of President Bush's rhetorical strategies for uniting American public opinion
Creator:
Naylor, Janice G
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Language:
English
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vii, 156 leaves (some folded) : ; 29 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
1990-1991 ( fast )
Persian Gulf War, 1991 -- Public opinion ( lcsh )
Iraq-Kuwait Crisis, 1990-1991 -- Public opinion ( lcsh )
Political and social views ( fast )
Public opinion ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Master of Arts, Department of Communication
Statement of Responsibility:
by Janice G. Naylor.

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
26032812 ( OCLC )
ocm26032812
Classification:
LD1190.L48 1991m .N38 ( lcc )

Full Text
THE RHETORIC FOR WAR:
AN ANALYSIS OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S RHETORICAL
STRATEGIES FOR UNITING AMERICAN PUBLIC OPINION.
by
Janice G. Naylor
B.S., University of Tennessee, 1983
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Department of Communication
1991
-V
i
i -S


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Janice G. Naylor
has been approved for the
Department of
Communication
by
Date


Naylor, Janice G. (M.A., Communication)
The Rhetoric for War: An analysis of President Bush's
rhetorical strategies for uniting American public
opinion
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Donald D. Morley
"The liberation of Kuwait has begun." On January 16,
1991, with these words, Bush Administration spokesperson
Marlin Fitzwater announced the war with Irag had begun.
A war sanctioned by the United Nations, sustained by an
international coalition, and supported by an overwhelming
majority of Americans. What circumstances occurred
between August 2, 1991, and January 15, 1991, to shape
and maintain this unprecedented show of global and
national solidarity? The proposed thesis will examine
George Bush's presidential crisis rhetoric to determine
his communicative strategies for uniting American public
support to commit US forces to battle. Specifically,
this thesis will identify Bush's argument appeals and
analyze the structure and development of his logic.
A primary objective of this thesis was to determine and
classify the argument premises President Bush used to
garner American public support for introducing troops to
the Persian Gulf. A second goal was to determine if
Bush's crisis rhetoric was consistent with generic


criticisms of previous presidential war rhetoric
(Campbell and Jamieson, Deeds Done in Words. 1990).
Bush's use of central themes to justify and sanction US
involvement follows traditional patterns of argument.
Results from the analysis indicated Bush used seven
different themes to unite American public opinion: 1)
Violation of international law, 2) Requested assistance
from an ally, 3) Vital economic interests, 4) Protection
of American citizens, 5) Preservation and defense of
American principles, 6) Maintenance of world stability,
and 7) Removal of a brutal dictator. Examination of the
stylistic components of the seven themes revealed a shift
in language from concrete, technical terminology, to more
elaborative or visual rhetoric. Secondly, historical
evaluation of Bush's crisis rhetoric demonstrates that it
was consistent with the deliberative strategies employed
by past presidents.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
IV


CONTENTS
Acknowledgements............................vii
CHAPTER
1. INTRODUCTION ................................ 1
Literature Review .......................... 3
Methodology.................................15
2. HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK ....................... 23
3. NEO-ARISTOTELIAN APPROACH .................. 28
The Artifact................................43
Language and Style..........................57
Impact on Audience..........................78
4. GENERIC CRITICISM .......................... 81
5. CONCLUSION...................................92
APPENDIX
A. Transcripts from News Conferences..........97
BIBLIOGRAPHY......................................152
v


TABLES
Table
3.1. Thematic Breakdown of Comments ............... 46
3.2. Contingency Table ............................ 62
vi


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to express my most sincere thanks to those
individuals without whose academic counsel, and emotional
support, this thesis would not have been possible.
First, Dr. Morley, for his efforts in guiding and
directing this project and paving the way for its
completion. Second, Dr. Shockley-Zalabak whose course,
as well as her enthusiasm, provided the inspiration for
this project. Thirdly, Dr. Sanny, for contributing all
of his notes, as well as his thoughts regarding
Aristotelian criticism. Fourthly, and in a class by
themselves, my fellow graduate students who were always
there with words of encouragement and support. Because
of them, this effort was not only completed, but enjoyed.
vii


CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
On August 2, 1991, Iraqi tanks and troops invaded the
small neighboring country of Kuwait. Saddam Hussein
claimed the territory as part of Iraq according to an
historical injustice imposed by British colonists.
Almost until the very eve of the incursion, the United
States felt Saddam Hussein was merely bluffing or would
only display a circumscribed amount of force. However,
when the invasion was discovered the reaction from the
White House was swift and decisive. Five months after
the aggression a multinational coalition, led by the
United States, initiated hostilities with Iraq soldiers,
forcing Iraq to unconditionally withdraw from Kuwait.
Whatever his failings in domestic policy, George Bush has
been credited with demonstrating superb leadership in the
international arena in uniting not only disparate nations
but the diverse American populace. David Mack, Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern and South
Asian Affairs states
We can all have considerable pride that it was the
leadership of the United States, and particularly
the presidential leadership of the very highest
order, which was instrumental in constructing a
really unprecedented coalition of nations that
united together to establish certain principles


which we hope will become the principles of the new
world order. (Mack, 1991, p. 503)
How did President Bush prepare America for a war they did
not initially support? What particular symbols and
themes did Bush employ to influence public opinion? Did
Bush emulate previous patterns of presidential crisis
rhetoric? The answer to these questions can partially be
explained by examining the rhetorical strategies
exercised by President Bush to unite the American
population and sustain public opinion.
2


Literature Review; Presidential Crisis Rhetoric
Speech is the great medium through which human
cooperation is brought about. It is the means by
which the diverse activities of men are coordinated
and correlated with each other for the attainment of
common and reciprocal ends. Men do not speak simply
to relieve their feelings or to air their views, but
to awaken a response in their fellows and to
influence their attitudes and acts. (Graber, 1976,
p. 6)
Historically, rhetoric has been defined as "the faculty
of observing in any given case the available means of
persuasion" (Rhetoric and Poetics of Aristotle. 1954, p.
54). Therefore, the study of rhetoric is concerned with
the construction of persuasive arguments, the effective
arrangement of these arguments, and convincing delivery
of these arguments (Windt, 1987, p. xvi). Windt suggests
persuasion is the underlying thread found in all
political rhetoric. He further explains that political
rhetoric contains two important traits: (1) the realm of
probability versus issues about which we can be certain;
and (2) public persuasion which requires a knowledge of
the audience (p. xvi).
Central to the persuasive nature of political rhetoric
is the concept of power. Windt (1987) states the
President has three available resources for power: (1)
3


legislative power afforded by the office of the
President, (2) legal power granted by the Constitution,
and (3) public opinion (p. xxi). Legislative power is
confined to the president's political abilities to
marshall majorities for different bills. Legal power
focuses on the president's responsibilities as chief
executive and chief administrative officer of the union.
Mastery in organizing public opinion concentrates on
persuasion as it affects the ability of a President to
exercise the powers of the office. Each of the three
areas influence the other. However, the focus of this
analysis centers on legal power and public opinion.
Specifically, the assumption of the role of Commander in
Chief in times of war or crisis will be examined.
Inherent in this investigation is the justification of
the assumption of this role and the marshalling of public
opinion in support of subsequent action.
Throughout history, many presidents have exercised
their war powers to introduce US troops into hostile
areas or to request from Congress a declaration of war.
Central to all of these instances is the rhetoric
associated with the justification of actions. Benjamin
4


(1991) writes that war messages are significant
rhetorical events" (p. 73). The president must adopt the
performative role and produce discourse to motivate the
audience, unite the public, and move Congress to approve
the desired legislation. Campbell and Jamieson (1990),
state that all presidential war messages have the
legitimization of actions as the central persuasive
purpose. Further, they contend that all presidential war
rhetoric possesses five fundamental aspects:
1)thoughtful consideration, 2) narratives from which
argumentative claims are drawn, 3) unanimity of purpose,
4) assumption of Commander in Chief Powers, and 5)
strategic misrepresentation. Each of these
characteristics serve to help presidents recast the
events surrounding conflicts in terms that legitimize
their actions. Scholars concerned with the office of the
president agree he is responsible for the defense of the
nation. However, divisions in opinion occur involving
the line between appropriate actions to defend the nation
and offensive use of military capabilities. Military
doctrine preaches that military force used in an
offensive manner is merely an extension of political
goals. The constitutional provision giving Congress the
5


power to declare war implies a process through which that
body authorizes the president to assume the office of
Commander in Chief. The president justifies the
assumption of this office using five rhetorical premises.
The first characteristic of presidential crisis
rhetoric centers around the resolution to introduce
combat troops. Authors of the Constitution hoped the
decision to intervene militarily would not be arrived at
quickly or emotionally. It is critical to the success of
the rhetoric for the audience to perceive the decision to
intervene to be the process of thoughtful and deliberate
consideration. Additionally, the judgment should be
approached rationally and without emotion. In 1917,
Woodrow Wilson pointed to his reluctance to involve
America in World War I:
It is a distressing and oppressive duty, Gentlemen
of the Congress, which I have performed in thus
addressing you... It is a fearful thing to lead this
great peaceful people into war, into the most
terrible and disastrous of all wars, civilizations
itself seeming to be in the balance. (Campbell &
Jamieson, 1990, p. 107)
The second aspect of presidential war rhetoric concerns
the use of narratives from which an argument emerges.
6


Inherent in this development is the President's need to
dramatize and simplify the causes of war. Similarly,
Celeste Condit (1985) argues that contemporary epideictic
discourse can fulfill a "definition/understanding"
function in a situation where events may be confusing.
Bush must define the Persian Gulf crisis in terms which
help clarify and consolidate the audience's values and
beliefs. He must submit that a threat endangers the
nation or its core values, emanates from an identifiable
enemy, and necessitates an immediate response. For
example, in 1917, Wilson claimed that the Imperial German
government had "put aside all restraints of law or of
humanity" and argued that its "submarine warfare against
commerce is a warfare against mankind." (Campbell &
Jamieson, 1990, p. 109)
Once the argument has been developed, the president
must exhort the public to unanimity of purpose. This is
the third attribute of presidential crisis rhetoric. The
nation must stand together and repulse the threat with
all available resources. On November 3, 1969, facing
divided public opinion, Nixon said: "Let us be united for
peace. Let us also be united against defeat."
7


Announcing the Cambodian "incursion" on April 30, 1970,
he concluded:
I ask for your support for our brave men fighting
tonight halfway around the world-not for territory-
not for glory-but so that their younger brothers and
their sons and your sons can have a chance to grow
up in a world of peace and freedom and justice.
(Campbell & Jamieson, 1990, p. Ill)
After carefully designing the rationale for
intervention, and urging the public to unite, the
president then can declare that now is the appropriate
time to assume the powers of the Commander in Chief.
This assumption of executive war powers is the fourth
attribute common to all presidential war rhetoric:
Presidential crisis rhetoric is necessary to create
public and congressional support for military action.
In order to gain approval, presidents must present
detailed information to establish they have carefully
gathered the requisite information to make a rational
decision. From the arguments, the president implies that
now is the time to invoke his powers. Although there
have only been five instances where war was declared
(1812, 1846, 1898, 1917, 1941), many presidents have used
other rationales for sending troops into hostilities. In
1860 the U.S. Court of Appeals extended presidential
8


powers by including the "right to defend the nation."
Since that time many presidents have used this precedent
as the basis for exercising their executive powers.
Eisenhower, in 1958, justified sending troops into
Lebanon, "to protect American lives and by their presence
there to encourage the Lebanese government in defense of
Lebanese sovereignty and integrity." In 1975, Ford sent
troops to rescue the Mayaguez, and in 1983, Reagan
invaded Grenada to protect American lives.
The final commonality among presidential war rhetoric
focus on strategic misrepresentation of certain facts to
stifle dissent and unify the nation for immediate action.
Campbell and Jamieson (1990) explain: "Because the
president assumes extraordinary, even near-dictatorial,
powers in assuming the office of commander in chief, and
because war rhetoric seeks unanimity of conviction and
action, temptations to misrepresent are heightened" (p.
119). The president is the only person who has access to
diplomatic and intelligence information that allows him
to make decisions concerning the welfare of the nation.
A look at history reveals purposeful misrepresentation in
order to consolidate dissimilar views. President James
9


Polk provoked a war with Mexico in order to acquire the
land he desired. He deliberately misrepresented events
so as to paint the Mexicans as the aggressors. In
further attempts to suppress dissent, he adamantly pushed
the passage of a declaration of war against Mexico
through Congress. Later, as facts were exposed, Congress
censured Polk's action in a statement that called the war
"unnecessary and unconstitutionally begun by the
President of the United States." (Campbell & Jamieson,
1990, p. 120).
As recently as 1964, President Johnson deliberately
distorted the details associated with the Gulf of Tonkin
incident. What was a complex international incident,
involving repeated provocations of the North Vietnamese,
became a simple case of repeated aggression against the
United States. In light of the recency of the Persian
Gulf crisis, more specific information concerning
accuracy in representation cannot be gleaned at this
time.
In contrast to Campbell and Jamieson's suggestion of
five distinct common themes in all presidential crisis
10


rhetoric, Dow (1989) proposes that presidential crisis
rhetoric is influenced by differing exigencies. She
examined two types of crisis rhetoric using speeches by
Ronald Reagan: (1) those which fulfill a need for
communal understanding identified by an epideictic
strategy, and (2) those which strive for policy approval
which are distinguished by a deliberative strategy. Dow
contends that crisis rhetoric is influenced by the
exigence or situation that calls it forth. This exigence
is created by the events, the needs of the audience, and
the purposes of the rhetor (Miller, 1984, p. 157). These
three determinants vary significantly in different types
of crisis situations.
Dow argues that rhetoric which "responds to critical
events is characterized by epideictic strategies that
function to allow the audience to reach a communal
understanding of the events which have occurred" (p.
296). Dow submits Reagan's management of the downing of
the KAL jetliner crisis used an epideictic strategy to
assign meaning to the situation in an effort to reduce
the sense of confusion for the audience. She compares
this crisis to that of a eulogy. Reagan needed "1)
11


dissociate the nation from responsibility for the crisis,
2) place the event within a value-laden context of
similar situations, and 3) urge perseverance in present
policy rather than changes in policy" (p. 297).
Dow contrasts Reagan's discourse as a result of the KAL
crisis with his rhetorical response to exigency created
by the crisis in Grenada. She cites a shift in the
nation's stance from declared to undeclared hostilities
as the catalyst for the focus on deliberative responses
to crisis situations. "Because of the desire to avoid
declared war, the power of the President to wage
undeclared war in the name of 'international crisis' has
expanded" (p. 302). Therefore, an prominent function of
crisis rhetoric is to gain public and Congressional
approval for presidential action.
In contrast to Dow's work, Windt (1983) argues that
presidential rhetoric is crisis-creating. In his essay
concerning speeches on international crises, Windt
contends that presidents use their presidential ethos to
create "crisis" situations. He presents three defining
characteristics of the crisis speeches: "l)the
12


president's assertion of possession of "New Facts" about
a situation that define it as a crisis, 2) a melodramatic
comparison between the pure motives of the United States
and the evil motives of the enemy, and 3) shifting of the
issue from a practical, political context to a moral,
ethical context" (p. 126). Each of these three areas are
included in the five features highlighted by Campbell and
Jamieson.
Benjamin, Campbell and Jamieson, Condit, Dow, and Windt
have vividly illustrated the historic patterns of past
presidential war rhetoric. Given the unique
complications and alignments of the Persian Gulf
conflict, a closer analysis of Bush's communicative
strategies will serve to broaden this perspective and add
further depth to our understanding of presidential war
rhetoric. Specifically, this work will explore the link
between presidential persuasive power and rhetorical
action. Neustadt (1961), in his writings regarding
presidential power, proposed that studies spotlighting
the Presidency should no longer focus solely on the
formal or institutional nature of the office because,
"Presidential power, is the power to persuade" (p. 10).
13


Consequently, power and persuasion are inextricably bound
together in determining the effectiveness of the modern
presidency. Consolidation of public opinion, especially
in a democratic society, is a fundamental power upon
which all other powers rest (Windt, 1987).
More recently, Ceaser, Thurow, Tulis and Bessette
(1981) highlight the transformation of the role of the
president in purpose and execution from a constitutional,
administrative office to an executive, rhetorical office.
This underscores the importance of rhetoric as a
presidential tool and suggests a second rationale for an
examination of Bush's war rhetoric. Given that the
nature of the office has evolved, what current patterns
of crisis rhetoric have emerged? How might these
emergent patterns be applied to achieve the rhetor's
purpose? Hence, it follows that a closer analysis of
Bush's strategies used in gaining public support is
warranted.
14


Methodology
A large majority of presidential rhetorical studies
concentrate on a single speech or event. However, with
the Persian Gulf crisis it is important to examine the
progression of Bush's premises over a period of time.
Prior to August 2, 1990, Bush referred to Irag two times.
During the period from August 2, 1990 to January 15,
1991, Bush referred to the Iraqi invasion in almost every
single address, whether it be a news conference or a
presentation to a particular group. To choose one event
and study it in isolation of other speeches, without
considering the rapid changes in corresponding global
events, would not provide a comprehensive picture of the
development of Bush's arguments or the course of public
sentiment. Conversely, to investigate every reference
to Iraq during this time period would probably not yield
significantly more insight. Therefore, this
investigation will focus on a representative subset of
Bush's crisis rhetoric.
Presidential crisis rhetoric manifests itself in many
different rhetorical situations. President Bush spoke to
a variety of diverse audiences from August 1990 to
15


January 1991. However, all of the rhetorical situations
can be classified into four main categories of address.
The first category, remarks and exchanges with reporters,
includes all of Bush's responses to questions in informal
and impromptu settings. For example, as Bush left the
White House to board Air Force One, reporters would shout
questions and Bush would answer in one or two brief
sentences. Ceremonial addresses constitute the second
category. These were presentations to special groups
such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, fundraising events
for Republican candidates, or a ceremonial speech upon
arrival at Helsinki. A third category is prepared
addresses to a limited audience that focused on the
Persian Gulf crisis. Bush's two messages to Congress,
the address to the United Nations General Assembly, and
the two nationally televised speeches to the American
public conform to this grouping. News conferences are
the final category. There were fourteen news conferences
during this six-month period followed by question and
answer sessions with reporters. Each month had an
average of three conferences.
16


The rhetorical acts to be examined fall in the last two
categories of prepared addresses and news conferences. I
will use all fourteen conferences, as well as succeeding
question and answer sessions, as the basis of the data
analysis. This approach will cover any variations in
dialogue and provide a relatively extensive picture of
President Bush's reactions to changing events and a
closer look at his more impromptu replies. To obtain a
more complete picture, I will also look at the two
addresses to the nation that took place during this time
period. These speeches were primarily engineered to
unite Congress and the American public. I will not
examine the speeches given solely to Congress or the
address to the United Nations, because these
presentations were not readily available to the entire
nation. This will provide sixteen total speeches for
analysis. Each artifact is taken from actual
transcripts found in Presidential Documents. Thirdly,
the possible impact on the audience will be estimated by
identifying and evaluating accomplishment of stated goals
in conjunction with American public opinion polls.
17


Qualitative and quantitative methodologies both were
used in an effort to maintain objectivity. Employing
both critical and empirical evaluation generates
differing data but also serves to reinforce each
approach.
I will use a traditional neo-aristotelian approach to
explore the complete set of events surrounding this
particular political discourse. This methodology
examines the context of the speech, the artifact itself,
and the impact on the audience. The context includes the
rhetor, the occasion, and the audience, with particular
emphasis on the rhetor. It is nearly impossible to
separate George Bush's reaction to the crisis from his
cultural upbringing and diplomatic experience. The
second area, examination of the artifacts, parallel's the
three classical canons of 1) Invention, 2) Organization,
and 3) Style. The artifacts were transcripts of the news
conferences and exchanges with reporters. Analysis of
these items will not be divided by event in order to
maintain the comprehensive picture of the rhetoric.
18


A primary purpose of this thesis was to reveal Bush's
argument premises inherent in his crisis rhetoric. A
particular qualitative model designed to accomplish this
task is the constant comparative analysis, as outlined by
Glaser and Straus (1967). In this method the researcher
uses the existing data as the basis for analysis and
allows the data to generate the intrinsic classification
system. The application of this method attempts to
discover emergent themes within a given set of discourse.
This constant comparative system was used to examine
Bush's crisis rhetoric, topically and stylistically. As
concepts were encountered from the content of the sixteen
transcripts, each was recorded and compared to previous
ideas. From the list of ideas, the researcher determined
the classification system for the individual ideas.
After all news conferences and the two addresses were
analyzed, each point was taken separately and assigned to
one of the seven categories. This same recategorization
process was performed by a second rater in an effort to
establish reliability.
19


Once the content was separated into topical categories,
the researcher also used a constant comparative approach
to analyzing the way in which the concepts and people
were symbolized. Particular emphasis was placed on the
use of condensation symbols or metaphors used to help the
nation visualize this crisis. Graber (1976) defines a
condensation symbol as "a name, word, phrase, or maxim
which stirs vivid impressions involving the listener's
most basic values" (p. 291). Words like "freedom" and
"independence" prompt a multitude of affective
connotations and generally solicit positive emotional
responses. Metaphors relate to illustrations or
comparisons which are useful for the listener to transfer
and encode meaning. For example, Bush stated that Iraq
had placed a threat on the "doorstep of all nations" to
help illustrate the immediacy and proximity of the
danger.
The coding system was then quantitatively analyzed.
This segment includes a calculation of the frequency of
each argument type and the ratio of one type of argument
logic over another. For example, comparing Bush's use of
20


one theme over another may reveal an intrinsic
predilection for the use of one type over the other.
Finally, the impact on the audience was evaluated
according to opinion polls, documented international
response and editorial and critical evaluation of
commentary during this time frame.
A second stated objective was to compare this
presidential crisis situation with those faced by former
president's. Generic criticism seeks to discover
commonalities between forms of discourse and allow for a
more panoramic view of rhetoric. This methodology
suggests there are three types of discourse: political,
forensic, and epideictic. An analysis of Persian Gulf
crisis discourse will show it closely follows the genres
of previous presidential war rhetoric. Campbell and
Jamieson (1990), suggest all crisis discourse has
legitimization of presidential powers as its central
persuasive purpose. They identify five areas which most
presidential war rhetoric has in common. These are: 1)
thoughtful consideration, 2) narrative argumentative
claims, 3) unanimity of purpose, 4) justification of
force, and 5) strategic misrepresentation. The degree
21


to which George Bush's rhetoric parallels these five
areas were investigated.
This chapter overviewed the methodologies used to
examine presidential crisis rhetoric. The next chapter
furnishes the historical conditions that are pivotal to
understanding recent events in the Middle East. The
third chapter applies a neo-aristotelian approach for
rhetorical criticism to Bush's news conferences with
reporters along with two addresses to the nation. The
fourth segment concentrates on comparing Bush's
presidential crisis rhetoric with those from past
presidents. The final section attempts to evaluate the
outcome of this rhetorical crisis series and postulate
how these outcomes may shape the future of presidential
war rhetoric.
22


CHAPTER 2
HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK
Essential to an understanding of the Persian Gulf
crisis and its potential world impact is an examination
of the historical antecedents of the primary countries of
Kuwait and Iraq. Likewise, it is critical to the
evaluation of this crisis rhetoric to recognize the
mental disposition of the American population regarding
military conflict and attitudes toward American
involvement.
Prior to 1920, Kuwait was part of the Ottoman Province
of Basra, under Turkish reign. Turkish control over this
area was nominal. Although Kuwait paid tribute to the
Ottoman sultan, it acted independently and asked Britain
for protection from direct control by the Turkish
government. In 1913, Britain opened negotiations with
Kuwait and drafted a document which stipulated the
territory of Kuwait was an autonomous kaza (district).
This document was sanctioned by the Ottoman Empire.
However, the treaty was never ratified because of the
outbreak of World War I. Turkey was aligned with Germany
and Austria and therefore lost most of its Middle East
possessions as a result of pZ&t-war negotiations.


These original three provinces of Basra, Mosul
(Northern Iraq), and Baghdad formed what is mostly
modern-day Iraq. After World War I, most of the Arab
Middle East was divided between Britain and France. In
1922, the British Resident in the Persian Gulf, Sir Percy
Cox, arranged for representatives from Iraq, Kuwait, and
Saudi Arabia to meet. The ensuing agreements specified
common borders among the three states, regulation of
tribal arrangements and grazing rights, and two diamond
shaped neutral zones. Britain maintained its de facto
protectorate over Kuwait until 1961.
Iraq has formally and informally opposed the creation
of Kuwait as a separate state on several occasions. In
1937, King Ghazi advocated the absorption of Kuwait into
Iraq. Again, in 1958, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Said
invited Kuwait to join a short-lived federation which had
just been concluded between Iraq and Jordan. Both
proposals were abandoned in the face of stiff British
opposition. In 1961, Kuwait became an independent state
after the British released formal control. Immediately
thereafter, Major General Abdul Karim Qasim claimed
Kuwait and threatened to annex it by force. British
forces immediately moved to preempt this annexation. In
a surprising reversal in 1963, Iraq's new Ba'thist regime
24


disregarded this historical claim and recognized Kuwait's
independence. In May 1963, Kuwait was formally
recognized by the United Nations and admitted as its
111th member.
Border issues, however, have continued to plague
Kuwait. In 1973, a contingent of Iraqi troops briefly
occupied a Kuwaiti border post and Iraq began to seek
control over the islands of Warbah and Bubiyan. In 1975,
Iraq proposed that Kuwait relinquish Warbah Island and
lease half of Bubiyan Island to Iraq for 99 years.
Kuwait rejected this proposal and similar ones in 1980
and 1989. Most recently, Kuwait visited Baghdad to
attempt resolution of the border controversies, and was
met with hostility.
Iraqi claims to the Kuwaiti territory are based on the
fact that the treaty of 1913 was never ratified and
subsequent border agreements were unilateral acts by
Britain imposed upon Iraq. A second factor which
influenced Iraq's most recent occupation of Kuwait refers
to the principle of Arab unity. Saddam Hussein
proclaimed he was acting on behalf of Arab population.
Even though the government of Kuwait might object, it was
not representative of its constituents and even so, the
25


native Kuwait citizenry formed a minority of the
country's overall population (Congressional Digest,
1990).
Pragmatically, Iraq needed money. The country had just
concluded a costly war with Iran, was heavily indebted to
Western creditors, and oil prices were relatively low due
to increased production levels elsewhere in the region.
Annexation of Kuwait provided a quick fix to Iraq's
economic crisis. Invasion of Kuwait would sharply
increase oil prices, allowing Iraq to reap the benefits,
and give Iraq possession of Kuwait's $100 billion in
foreign assets (Miller & Mylroie, 1990). Hussein's
miscalculation centered around the global response to
this assault.
No country in the Middle East had the military power to
stop Saddam Hussein. He calculated the US might respond
but previous actions regarding tensions between Iraq and
Kuwait did not suggest a forceful response by the United
States. Additionally, the United States did not have a
large number of forces in this area. "His mistake was in
assuming that the United States would not become
involved, the Saudis would not ask for foreign military
assistance, and that Moscow would not side with
26


Washington" (Quandt, 1991). All three of these events
indeed transpired and George Bush became the leader of an
international coalition that could ultimately have a
profound impact on the post-Cold War world order.
The concise summary of the dispute between Iraq and
Kuwait provides insight into Arab sentiment, but
represents only half of the controversy. It is also
necessary to consider disputes in which the United States
has become involved and the resultant attitudes toward
armed conflict. American military intervention has many
precedents and a myriad of rationales. Particularly
relevant to the Persian Gulf crisis are World War II and
Vietnam. Both wars were fought under the guise of
deterring aggression, however the outcomes were quite
different. It is the lingering perception concerning the
success or failure of these conflicts which greatly
influence how Americans view military involvement.
Several articles have chronicled the similarities
between the Persian Gulf crisis and the geo-political
situation at the onset of World War II (Kaufman, 1991;
Apple, 1991; and Zuckerman, 1990). Adolph Hitler invaded
Poland in 1939, France fell in 1940, and Germany attacked
the Soviet Union in 1941. When the Japanese bombed Pearl
27


Harbor in December of 1941, America was reluctantly drawn
into World War II even though Roosevelt had been warning
of the threat to the nation for several months (Campbell
& Jamieson, 1990). George Bush was determined that Iraq
would not make Saudi Arabia its second victim and move
forward to dominate the Middle East as Hitler eclipsed
Europe. Bush said he would not repeat Chamberlain's
appeasement of Germany at Munich (Apple, 1991).
Consequently, this analogy was extremely useful in
facilitating the visualization of the consequences of not
stopping Hussein now, lest we find ourselves in a similar
situation.
Further parallels with World War II included Bush's
efforts to directly compare Saddam Hussein to Adolph
Hitler. Throughout this war, Americans were exposed to
tales of Nazi atrocities and the horrors committed by
Hitler's regime. Critics and proponents of Bush's
rhetoric alike agree that Hussein was not a Hitler;
however, the analogy was useful in planting doubts,
especially when Hussein had already demonstrated a
disregard for humanity in gassing segments of his own
population (Kaufman, 1991).
28


As much as President Bush tried to evoke the memory of
World War II, he tried equally as hard to avoid linking
this struggle with that of Vietnam. Where World War II
ended "gloriously for the coalition arrayed against
fascism," Vietnam "...ended in humiliating defeat and
made many in this country reluctant ever to back foreign
wars again" (Apple, 1991, p. A17). The confusion
surrounding justification for the introduction of troops
into Vietnam and the ensuing execution of military
strategy, left the American population demoralized as
well as defeated. "Many Americansand not just the
flower childrencame away from Vietnam believing that
I
U.S. military intervention tends to be futile, that it is
too often exerted on behalf of regimes that are opposed
by the people, that it costs American lives for no good
reason" (Barone, 1990, p. 34). The Persian Gulf crisis
represented the first major conflict since Vietnam and
presented a unique challenge to Bush. He needed to be
clear and concise in the justification for American
intervention and simultaneously dispel the public's
anxiety concerning a reoccurrence of a military defeat
with the potential for substantial casualties.
29


CHAPTER 3
NEO-ARISTOTELIAN APPROACH
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 delineates
presidential control in terms of sending forces into
battle as "the introduction of United States Armed Forces
into hostilities, or into situations where imminent
involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by
circumstances, and to the continued use of such force in
hostilities or in such situations" (Public Law, November
7, 1973). One of President Bush's first actions in
response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was to solicit the
United Nations to enact economic sanctions and deploy US
forces to the Persian Gulf. To fully understand American
involvement in this arena, we must understand the
personality of our president who "conducted crisis
diplomacy adroitly" (Zuckerman, 1990, p. 72.) and
executed his Commander-in-Chief duties quickly and
decisively.
Many articles have referred to George Bush's seemingly
dual personality. On the domestic front, he is
beleaguered by critics who say he is distracted, and
cannot establish priorities. Accordingly, they say he
30


confuses motion with progress (Walsh, September 17,
1990). How can this man be such a power player in
diplomatic affairs but unable to see fruition on a single
domestic initiative. The reasons for this dichotomy in
his performance can be attributed to a combination of his
personality and the requirements of the situation at
hand.
George Bush operates best in the international arena.
His style and preference is for activities which require
him to serve as a catalyst for an answer generated by
many other minds. He succeeds most often where
consultation is more important than domination and the
final expectations are not fixed. When George Bush was
first suggested as a vice-presidential candidate for
Ronald Reagan, Bush was criticized for possessing a
resume heavy in foreign policy but lacking in other
areas. However, this experience has proved critical in
the diplomatic negotiations necessary to organize the
multinational forces as well as interactions with the
United Nations.
A brief synopsis of his political career shows he has
been trained for just such a situation. Bush first ran
31
for the United States Senate in 1964. Although he lost


this election, he tried again in 1966. This time he was
vying for a seat in the House of Representatives. Bush
was victorious in this effort and went on to work in the
House for two terms. In 1970, he made another attempt
for the Senate, but was defeated by Lloyd Bensten. As a
reward for his sacrifice for the Republican Party then
President Nixon, appointed George Bush as Permanent
Representative of the United States to the United
Nations. Although, this was Bush's first diplomatic
position, he learned quickly, listened attentively, and
cultivated many personal relationships with fellow
delegates. These personal friendships would prove vital
to the rapid assimilation of our coalition partners. In
1973, Nixon named Bush chairman of the Republican
National Committee. Bush was very loyal to Nixon until
shortly before the exposure of Watergate. In August of
1974, Bush gave Nixon a letter requesting him to resign
the office of President. When Gerald Ford replaced
Nixon, he rewarded Bush for his loyalty to the Republican
party by choosing him to become the chief of United
States Liaison Office in the People's Republic of China.
From October 1974 until December 1975, he supervised the
226-person mission until he returned home to become the
head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Prior to Bush's
leadership, the CIA had been beleaguered by scrutiny and
32


suffered repeated embarrassments from misuse of power.
Reports from personnel during Bush's supervision praised
him for his efforts to prevent further CIA abuses and
appreciated his attempts to restore morale. He resigned
from the CIA when the Democrats took control of the White
House in 1976. Convinced that the Democratic control of
the White House was ineffectual, Bush began to position
himself as a candidate for the Republican Party
nomination for President. Although he lost the campaign
for the presidential nomination to Ronald Reagan, he was
offered the designation of vice-president, and he
accepted immediately. It was Bush's foreign policy
expertise that provided a balance to Ronald Reagan and
the Republican Party ticket in 1980. As vice-president
he executed his duties capably and tactfully. He was
careful to not imply any disagreement with President
Reagan, and therefore worked mostly behind the scenes.
When Reagan was injured in the assassination attempt,
George Bush assumed the presidential responsibilities and
his performance was applauded by politicians on both
sides of the house. These attributes certainly helped to
elect him to the White House in 1988.
Even before Bush began charting his political course by
vying for the Senate, he was raised within a culture and
33


time period which stressed "martial virility and moral
certitude" (Thomas, DeFrank, & McDaniel, August 2, 1990,
p. 33). In an article entitled "The Code of the WASP
Warrior", the authors describe Bush as a product of his
WASP background:
As a child Bush was taught to play fairly, but he
was also taught to punch the bully in the nose. The
concept of a "just war" was taught, along with
charity and faith, in morning chapel at Andover, (p.
33)
Bush was most impressed by a soldier named Henry
Stimson who spoke to a group of schoolboys at Phillips
Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, in June of 1940.
Stimson warned that war was imminent. Hitler's Germany
was bullying other countries and violating "Christian
principles" of "respect for justice and fair play."
However, these youngsters were envied for their
opportunity to choose between right and wrong. These
words energized a young boy named George Bush who upon
graduation enlisted and became the Navy's youngster
aviator. During World War II, he saw a considerable
amount of hazardous action. This firsthand knowledge of
war, and a soldier's responsibilities, contributes to
Bush's credibility as he assumes the role of Commander-
in-Chief.
34


George Bush cannot be thoroughly understood without
some reference to his wife Barbara, their children and
grandchildren. When George Bush was elected president,
the camera showed him in his hotel room surrounded by his
family, but particularly his grandchildren. He has been
pictured many times with his family and the nation views
him in that respect. This is particularly important in
light of the fact that one of the nation's chief concerns
regarding war with Iraq was the potential number of
casualties. George Bush repeatedly addressed this
anxiety by pointing to the fact that he had children and
grandchildren himself. During one particular news
conference, on November 30, a reporter asked President
Bush if "this issue is important enough to you that you
could conceive of giving up one of their lives for it?"
Bush's responds that each life is precious, even one is
too many... but a President has to make the right
decision" (Presidential Documents, p. 1955).
Whatever his moral upbringing or his political savvy,
George Bush performed his duties as the nation's
president and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces
skillfully and definitively. Dissension regarding his
execution of these responsibilities was few and far
between. Representative Newt Gingrich, a conservative
35


Republican from Georgia, remarked: "There is a sense of
awe at how brilliantly Bush has handled this" (Apple,
1990, 1). He enjoyed virtually international support
from our allies as well as other countries, bipartisan
support from Congress, and almost unanimous backing from
the American populace. When compared with the last
military conflict in which the US was involved, this was
quite an accomplishment.
The recipients of President Bush's rhetoric also need
to be examined to provide insight as to the success or
failure of the President's communication strategies. For
each news conference or national address, Bush, in fact,
had three audiences. The first would obviously be the
American public. A primary issue in the minds of most
Americans was the likelihood of similarities between this
conflict and the Vietnam War. Based on our experiences
with Vietnam, politicians were concerned this might be a
long war and American interest would wane.
Representative William Gray of Pennsylvania, well-
respected within the House Democratic leadership, said
the nation would stand behind the President "provided we
do not get into a protracted struggle with loss of life
and no prospect for victory" (Apple, 1990, p. 1)
Demographics from the recent census point out that
36


approximately 60% of the American population would be of
age to remember the controversy concerning America1s
involvement in Vietnam. President Bush was sensitive to
this issue and took great effort to reassure the public
that this was not going to resemble Vietnam:
... we are not looking at another Vietnam. The
analogy is totally different in who is supporting
you, what the topography is, what the force is, what
the determination of the military is the whole
array the coalition. All of these things come
together and argue very forcefully this is not
another Vietnam. (Presidential Documents, December
18, p. 2055)
The second audience was more global and consisted of
our coalition partners as well as those who were
providing monetary assistance, such as Germany and Japan.
It was necessary for President Bush to be very sensitive
to all parties when assimilating this group. When
President Hussein threatened attacks on Israel, and tried
to portray the invasion of Kuwait as an Arab issue, Bush
had to adroitly maneuver to preserve the coalition.
When Iraq ultimately fired several SCUD missiles on
Israel, Bush condemned this strike, but asked that Israel
not retaliate. It was of major concern to the White
House that Israel, reputed for pre-emptive strikes, not
be drawn into retaliating. The unity of the coalition
would be in serious jeopardy.
37


A second consideration was the diversity of the armed
forces regarding culture and religion. During the month
of October there were several Jewish US soldiers who
wished to observe Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. These
holidays passed with little comment from the Saudi hosts.
Additionally, the presence of women in this military
environment was quite a jolt for the Arab contingent.
President Bush made every effort to downplay the
differences in culture by stressing the unity and
similarity of purpose in the Persian Gulf.
A major factor in predicting the success of this
multinational effort was the cooperation of the Soviet
Union. If Moscow was not totally aligned with the United
States then this effort would have failed (Duffy, 1990,
p. 25). Traditionally, the Soviet Union was an ally to
Iraq. They sold arms to them and provided Iraq with
military advisors. One month after the invasion,
President Hussein asked for the Soviet Union to
"demonstrate that it is a great power by resisting George
Bush's pressure and by supporting the Baghdad regime."
Gorbachev replied,
... my position is unchanged. We see our role and
our responsibility, and within the framework of that
responsibility we shall act in cooperation with the
other members of the Security Council. And, in this
instance, I can once again say since we are sitting
here, two Presidents together, I should interact and
38


cooperate with the President of the United States
(Presidential Documents, September 9, p. 1350).
The third, but perhaps more obscure, audience member
was President Saddam Hussein. Although Hussein himself
was not the primary focus of Bush's rhetoric, the
president's comments seemed specifically engineered to
incite a reaction from President Hussein. Prior to the
Persian Gulf crisis, Bush referred to Saddam Hussein
using the correct pronunciation of the leader's name.
However, at the onset of the Mideast crisis, Bush
reversed his earlier correct pronunciation of "Saddam."
This change in articulation renders the name a cultural
insult. It is likely that Bush's mispronunciation was
intentional and intended to provoke Hussein and heighten
the rhetoric on both sides.
In contrast to the provocation of Hussein, President
Bush reiterated that we had no grievances with the Iraqi
people, only with President Hussein. Bush went to great
lengths to point out that the world was against Iraq:
"It is truly Iraq against the world. But I want to make
this point clear: We have no argument with the people of
Iraq" (Presidential Documents, August 30, p. 1305). He
repeated this point in subsequent news conferences and in
addresses to the nation. Bush's likely motive was to
emphasize to President Hussein that he stood alone in
39


this dispute and ultimately, he would be forced to
withdraw from Kuwait. Brent Scowcroft characterized it
as putting Hussein "in a box" politically and militarily
(Apple, 1990, A7). However, Freidman (1989) provides
insight into the nature of Arab rulers. Describing Hafez
Assad of Syria and Saddam Hussein of Iraq and the western
world's view of Arab leaders, Freidman states: The real
genius of Hafez Assad and Saddam Hussein is their
remarkable ability to move back and forth among all three
political traditions of their region, effortlessly
switching from tribal chief to brutal autocrat to
modernizing President with the blink of an eye. They are
always playing three-dimensional chess with the world,
while Americans seem to know only how to play checkers
one plodding move at a time" (p. 103) Freidman
elaborates that Assad and Hussein have survived longer
than any other rulers of Syria and Iraq because they have
been "brutal and smart." Both rule on the premise of
fear. "They have no friends, only agents and enemies"
(p. 96). On July 16, 1979, Hussein succeeded his
predecessor and became the head of the Baath Party. On
the eve of his succession, he suspected at least five of
his closest associates of harboring doubts concerning his
capabilities so he had one of them arrested. Muhyi Abd
al-Husayn al-Mashhadi was tortured and eventually made a
40


confession that he was planning an overthrow of Saddam.
Six days later, Saddam Hussein called a meeting of the
Iraqi Baath Party Regional Congress for all of the
members to hear al-Mashhadi's confession. As al-
Mashhadi recounted his story, he "mentioned" the name of
others in the leadership who were involved in the "plot."
Each person would stand and await further testimony.
Some members' names were called and they would be
accused, but others names would be mentioned and
Mashhaddi would state, "but he refused to help us" and
the fellow would slump back into his chair. Those that
were accused would be removed from the room by one of the
guards. This ordeal was filmed and the videotape mailed
to Baath Party branches throughout Iraq as well as army
units. Two weeks later, all 5 of the main conspirators,
along with 17 others were found guilty and sentenced to
death by "democratic executions." The next morning,
Hussein and the remaining senior members of the party
executed the accused with submachine guns (Sluglett &
Sluglett, 1991). The obvious message was that Hussein
was in complete control and would not tolerate any
reservations concerning his leadership or you run the
risk of being killed. Even beyond not voicing doubts,
you must prove yourself dedicated to Hussein and the
Baath party by your actions and willingness to do
41


Given the
whatever was necessary to maintain the regime
history of Hussein and his political tactics,
no way for him to retreat or exhibit any sign
and maintain power in his country.
there was
of weakness
42


The Artifact
In any analysis of rhetoric, the actual speech
encounter can be investigated based on Aristotle's five
cannons of rhetoric: 1)Invention, 2) Organization, 3)
Style, 4) Memory, and 5) Delivery. Invention includes
the lines of argument a speaker chooses to persuade.
Organization points to the presentation of the arguments.
Style refers the choice of words in presenting the
argument. Memory concerns the speaker's ability to
memorize the rhetoric and delivery concerns the verbal
and non-verbal presentation of the oratory.
Invention consists of two specific lines of proof which
Aristotle labels as inartistic and artistic. Inartistic
proofs are based on sources which the rhetor did not
create. Artistic proofs are lines of reasoning which the
rhetor does manipulate. Inartistic proofs are such
things as existing laws, contracts, or oaths. Artistic
proofs are arguments the speaker creates through his own
effort. They can be divided into three categories: 1)
logos, 2) pathos, and 3) ethos. Logos refers to the
logical premises a rhetor uses to persuade. Pathos
refers to emotional appeals. Ethos concerns the ethical
appeal and credibility of the speaker.
43


Due to the global nature of such an invasion, immediate
inartistic proofs were scarce. Events happened so
quickly and took the administration by surprise, there
was little in the way of solid documentation. Government
satellites could snap pictures of tanks and troops
crossing the border of Kuwait, but specifics were
relatively scant during the first few weeks. Even with
photographs of tank placement and troop size, Iraq's
intentions regarding further aggression could not be
determined. However, the fact that Iraq had moved into
Kuwait violated international law as defined by the
United Nations. This event was external to Bush's
control, but was a significant inartistic proof used to
persuade the public of the need for troop deployment. It
was the potential for further aggression that Bush had to
define for the population. Later in the scenario,
individuals who escaped from Iraq or Kuwait provided
"eye-witness" testimony as to the atrocities being
committed both towards individuals and the Kuwaiti
terrain. Many victims spoke of being tortured and ill-
treated but absolute proof of these incidents is still
not available.
The majority of President Bush's statements during this
six month period were artistic in nature. Constant
44


comparative analysis (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) of the
data yielded seven categories of statements used to
persuade the nation that troops must be deployed and
prepare the nation for war. Bush's argument to send
forces to Saudi Arabia was based on seven points: 1)
Iraq's violation of international law, 2) Requested
assistance from an ally, 3) Vital economic interests, 4)
Protection of American citizens abroad, 5) Preservation
and defense of American principles, 6) Maintenance of
world stability, and 7) Removal of a brutal dictator.
The first category, violation of international law,
included any comments with regard to reversal of the
Iraqi aggression, deterring further aggression,
withdrawal of Iraqi forces, or the restoration of the
legitimate government. The second division, requested
assistance from an ally consisted of any statements
referring to Saudi Arabia's request for aid, defense of
Kuwait, or the defense of any of our allies. The third
grouping, vital economic interests, was comprised of
remarks regarding crucial energy resources, or an
economic stranglehold. Protection of Americans abroad
was the fourth theme. This classification contains
statements concerning persons held against their will or
hostages detained in Iraq. The fifth segment,
45


preservation and defense of American principles, refers
to comments regarding concepts such as peace, freedom, or
democracy. The sixth category, maintenance of world
stability, included remarks involving terrorism,
possession of nuclear weapons, or the "new world order."
The final category, removal of a dictator, included
personal characterizations of Saddam Hussein, references
to his brutality, or depictions of him as ambitious,
irrational, and unpredictable.
Quantitative analysis of the content generated 237
comments from the 14 news conferences and 68 comments
from the televised addresses, for a total of 305 comments
analyzed. Table 3.1 displays the quantity of comments
per category for the news conferences and the two
national addresses.
Table 3.1. Thematic Breakdown of Comments.
News National
Conferences Addresses
1 Violation of international law 99 21
2 Requested assistance from an ally 22 12
3 Economic interests 6 6
4 Protection of citizens abroad 30 5
5 Protection of American principles 8 12
6 Maintenance of world stability 30 9
7 Removal of a dictator 42 3
46


A second rater was used to aid in reclassifying the
305 individual comments into the seven overall
categories. Of the 305 comments, only 6 comments were
not assigned to the same category as the first rater.
This corresponds to 98% agreement among raters.
The ensuing discussion of the analysis proceeds from
the most frequently used remarks to the least frequently
used. Statistical calculations of frequency highlight
that remarks concerning Iraq's violation of international
law are the most recurrent. Ninety-nine comments, or 42%
of the remarks, during news conferences referred to
Iraq's invasion, and 21 comments, or 31% of all comments
analyzed in the national addresses, refer to the Iraqi
aggression. This represents an overall total of 39% when
the two categories are combined. This signifies that
arguments relating to Iraq's violation of international
law was the most dominant persuasive theme used by
President Bush. President Bush explained during his
first new conference regarding the crisis, we are "trying
through concerted international means to reverse out this
aggression" (Presidential Documents, August 8, p. 1219).
He reiterated this theme many times during his news
conferences: "We are united in the belief that Iraq's
47


aggression must not be tolerated" (Presidential
Documents, September 11, p. 1359).
Removal of a brutal dictator, category seven, was
the focus of Bush's rhetoric 42 times in news conferences
and 3 times in the televised addresses, for a total
frequency of 45 times. Although these numbers place this
category second in terms of frequency of mention, the
timing of these references provides further insight into
Bush's tactics. Thirty-five of the 45 references
occurred after November 1, 1990. In contrast, only 5
references were found before October 1, 1990. This
continual increase in comments regarding Saddam Hussein
and the characterization of the man, indicate a shift in
argument premise. On August 30, 1990, Bush speculates
"...when you get into a situation like this and when you
have a leader that could brutalize his own
people...there's nothing that's painless in all of this"
(Presidential Documents, p. 1308). Even this reference
does not mention Saddam Hussein by name, but uses a
neutral pronoun. This shift in posture and the exact
language used in this remodeling will be explored later
in this research.
Comments pertaining to the maintenance of world
stability, protection of American citizens, and requested
48


assistance from an ally, ranked third, fourth, and fifth
respectively. Maintenance of world stability showed an
overall frequency of 39 comments or 13 percent.
President Bush determined that America must assist in
maintaining world stability by eradicating Iraq's
nuclear, biological, and chemical capability.
We're dealing with a dangerous dictator all too
willing to use force who has weapons of mass
destruction and is seeking new ones and who desires
to control one of the world's key resources-all at a
time in history when the rules of the post-Cold War
world are being written. (Presidential Documents,
November 30, p. 1948)
The repercussions of allowing Saddam Hussein to remain in
power were not contingencies which we wanted to confront.
Bush's philosophy indicated that Saddam Hussein was the
kind of tyrant who must be stopped before he became even
more dangerous. Much like Churchill's dilemma in 1944,
Bush felt that to delay would have made the cost of
stopping Hussein even more prohibitive.
Protection of American citizens, the fourth category,
was mentioned 35 times overall, or 11 percent. In a news
conference following the address to the nation, Bush
stated: "I consider the protection of American life
fundamental to my job and responsibilities as President"
(Presidential Documents, August 8, p. 1219). In contrast
to President Bush's statements concerning his
49


responsibility for Americans abroad he contended "we
cannot permit hostage-taking to shape the foreign policy
of this country" (Presidential Documents, August 30, p.
1306). This declaration is a vague reference to the
reactions of the Carter Administration during the hostage
crisis in Iran. Carter was held captive by Khomeini for
one hundred and forty four days, hence the public
perceived that he was unable to deal with the crisis. In
comparison, President Bush refused to be confined both
physically and psychologically, by Saddam's actions. In
doing so, the American public thought him to be in
complete control of the situation. An editorial by Marie
Natoli, in Presidential Studies Quarterly, cites this
decision to "recreate" as a "masterstroke of crisis
management- even if in the short run the President
received some flack from those who understand little of
the nature of a President's job" (1991, p. 209). The
article asserts that if he had run back to Washington and
assumed "a bunker mentality" he would have portrayed
alarm and panic to the American public. This would have
hypnotized the nation and been counterproductive to his
goal to make Saddam Hussein be the one to feel the
effects of isolation. President Roosevelt once said, "We
have nothing to fear but fear itself". George Bush, by
50


his actions and his blunt decision-making demonstrated he
also subscribes to this philosophy.
References to requested assistance from an ally as an
argument premise was indicated 34 times, or 11 percent.
In his August 8th address to the nation announcing the
deployment of forces, President Bush declared:
This decision ... grows out of the longstanding
friendship and security relationship between the
United States and Saudi Arabia... I want to be clear
about what we are doing and why. American does not
seek conflict, nor do we seek to chart the destiny
of other nations. But America will stand by her
friends. (Presidential Documents, p. 1217)
When Saudi Arabia requested our help, we were obligated
to assist: "What is at stake here is truly significant:
the dependability of America's commitment to its friends
and allies.." (Presidential Documents, August 30, p.
1304). Although American diplomatic treaties are not
always consistent as to who our friends and allies are,
in this case it solidly contributed to the evidence
justifying U.S. intervention.
The sixth most referred to category was the protection
and defense of American principles, with 20 recorded
comments. Although this does not demonstrate a large
percentage overall, 12 of these comments were found in
the two addresses engineered for the public. This
51


constituted the second most referred to argument in the
addresses to the nation. It is probable that President
Bush felt the concepts of freedom, peace, and democracy
would be effective condensation symbols, and emotional
proofs, to unite the public in the short time allotted
for his national address. In his first televised address
to the nation (August 8th) he began with the contention
that America must "... stand up for what's right and
condemn what's wrong, all in the cause of peace"
(Presidential Documents, August 8, p. 1216). This
reference to American cultural values and beliefs was a
central argument in many of Bush's speeches. He
referenced the morality of the American public and
challenged them that as a great nation we have a
responsibility to stand up for "... who we are and what
we believe" (Presidential Documents, August 8, p. 1216).
At a news conference in late September, President Bush
again referred to these ethical standards: "I must
continue to emphasize to people in this country and
around the world that there are certain principles here -
right and wrong- moral principles and that's what I was
talking about when I was talking about Iraq pulling out
of Kuwait unconditionally" (Presidential Documents,
September, 21, p. 1416). Further analysis of President
52


Bush's use of condensation symbols will be addressed in
the section on language and style.
The least used concept are those comments which refer
to economic interests, or energy dependence. Six
comments were recorded for the news conferences and 6
comments for the televised addresses. This computes to 2
percent of the news conferences and 8 percent of the
televised addresses. When the categories are combined,
comments referring to economic interests make up only 4
percent of the overall theme structure. President Bush
spoke of America's need to protect her vital interests.
He defined America's interest in the Persian Gulf as oil,
and pockets of the American public refused to accept this
as a rationale to send troops. "No blood for oil" was a
common refrain among protestors. Based on the previous
Administration's lack of a consistent energy policy,
America is more indebted than ever to our oil-suppliers.
Approximately 50% of our oil is imported from the Persian
Gulf area. This not only presents a direct problem for
America, but also indirectly through our trading partners
difficulties in purchasing oil. As fragile as the
American economy is at present, we would certainly not
recover if Japan or Germany's economies were to decline.
If this supply were eliminated, the cost of gas and other
53


related products would rise sharply. If a single world-
domineering personality were to gain control of the oil,
he could not only charge whatever price he wanted but
could also control the destiny of nations. Their
economic woes could be escalated at Iraq's discretion.
Whether or not America could have withstood this turmoil,
given her other economic ills, remains to be seen. The
question of whether this was a legitimate cause to wage
war, was the subject of most of the debate over sending
troops to Saudi Arabia. However, the threat of this
disaster was employed to acquire support early in the
crisis. President Bush explained:
The stakes are high. Iraq is already a rich and
powerful country that possesses the world's second
largest reserves of oil and over million men under
arms. It's the fourth largest military in the
world. Our country now imports nearly half the oil
it consumes and could face major threat to its
economic independence. (Presidential Documents,
August 8, p. 1217)
President Bush received much criticism from the segment
of society that felt the administration's energy policy
was not productive and it was not worth the loss of life
to maintain our access to oil. In light of this
appraisal, it is apparent that he was reticent in using
economic interests as a reason for military action.
President Bush never really said we were fighting for
oil. He couched it in terms of economic independence and
self-reliance. The terms "independence" and "self-
54


reliance" go back over two hundred years to the
foundation of our country. In choosing these symbols of
Americana, Bush was able to phrase our "vital interests"
so America would perceive them to be worth fighting for.
Bush intertwined the 7 categories using a strategy of
deductive reasoning to build his rationale. His premise
that America would stand up for what is morally right was
followed by specific examples of first what is wrong and
secondly what is right. Iraq had invaded a helpless
neighbor and America was going to protect her friends
from further aggression as well as American citizens held
against their will. Iraq was led by a brutal dictator
and America must be the leader in changing this violation
of human rights. Iraq was in domination of "energy
resources that are crucial to the entire world"
(Presidential Documents, August 30, 1990), p. 1304) and
America must safeguard her interests.
The 7 themes of Bush's rationale for military
intervention appeared in each new conference and national
address, but the emphasis on each argument shifted over
time. Time sequence analysis reveals that early in the
conflict, Bush concentrated his reasoning on Iraq's
unprovoked aggression (theme one) and requests from our
55


allies (theme two). Bush used the premise that Iraq had
violated international law and an ally had requested our
help. However, beginning in November, Bush moved
progressively toward intervention based on the need for
world stability (theme six) and removal of a brutal
dictator from power (theme seven). This trend
highlighted a shift in emphasis from Iraq's past
transgressions to possible future crimes if Iraq, and its
leader, were not stopped now.
A weekly breakdown, by category shows Bush suggested
world stability and removal of a dictator as a rationale
18 times before November 1, 1990, and 52 times after
November 1, 1990. He began to link these arguments with
Iraq's flagrant violation of international law and
obvious disregard for humanity. ...I don't believe a
dictator should violate international law by starving out
or isolating another person's Embassy. I think there's a
fundamental principle involved in that" (Presidential
Documents, November 1, 1990, p. 1726).
56


Language and Style
Once the topical areas were determined, the researcher
again used constant comparative analysis to examine the
stylistic components of the language Bush used to develop
the seven themes. This methodology included an
investigation of the way in which concepts and people
were symbolized.
Results of the analysis showed that with this evolution
in argument premise there was a concommitant shift in
language. Further study of the transcripts uncovered a
progression from concrete/descriptive terms to more
elaborative/visual terminology. Early in the conflict,
Bush used concrete or neutral terms to describe the
crisis. As the tensions escalated so did the rhetoric as
Bush began to use more elaborative terms.
Concrete/Descriptive terms are defined as words or
phrases which are impersonal, have few affective
connotations, and generally do not evoke emotion. For
example, in the early stages of the conflict, Bush spoke
of reversing Iraqi aggression and forcing troops to
withdraw from Kuwait. He did not go into detail in
describing the destruction that was taking place in that
country. He did not cite specific examples of the
devastation or use adjectives to describe the severity of
57


the situation. However, as time elapsed, Bush began to
add his evaluation of the situation to his words. He
spoke of the flagrant violation of international law and
the outrageous act of aggression. Additionally, he began
to refer to Saddam Hussein personally instead of the more
neutral reference to Iraqi troops. These adjectives and
evaluations represented Elaborative terms. Elaborative
terms were words or phrases which were more visual,
personal, and typically provocative. They may take the
form of inflammatory adjectives, condensation symbols, or
metaphors or analogies designed to help the audience
realize the immediacy of the danger.
Moving from concrete terms to elaborative language
required Bush to use words and concepts representative to
the nation. These messages needed to be complex in
meaning and symbolic of core values. For example, words
such as freedom and democracy embody many positive
emotions. Other words such as terrorism, dictator, and
tyrant have negative valences. Graber (1976) suggests
"When mass audiences respond strongly and uniformly to
the appeals of such symbols, the symbols become Pavlovian
cues: the audience reacts automatically to the cue,
rather than to the facts of the situation (p. 291)."
Graber continues: "Condensation symbols supply instant
58


categorizations and evaluations. Adoption of the label
amounts to adoption of its connotations, even though the
public's factual knowledge of the events and phenomena
may be minimal" (p. 292). If President Bush could get
the public to acknowledge and accept his evaluation of
the situation, the public would be much more likely to
support his justification for military action.
The language used to frame these arguments and threats
to our "way of life," changed over the six month period,
as did the emphasis on certain arguments as justification
for intervention. This evolution in language appears to
coincide with the administration's shift from a defensive
posture to an offensive stance, in conjunction with
increasing criticism from the media that Bush was doing a
poor job convincing the American people of the need for
war. As early as September 10, after the initial rally in
support of the President's actions, polls show that only
27 percent supported an invasion of Iraq to force a
withdrawal. U. S. News and World Report provides insight
into public sentiment:
While the President commands strong support for his
deployment of troops, his military options are
severely limited by underlying public doubts and by
the administration's difficulty in explaining both
its real goals and the strategic stakes in the
conflict. (Roberts & Walsh, 1990, p. 28)
59


Budiansky (September 24, 1990) further elaborates on
the administration's failure to match our high tech
hardware with suitably elevated rhetoric. He reflects
"there is a very real danger in the failure of words to
match deeds, ... in the meagerness of the prose and
massiveness of the hardware. Talk of economics of
standing by friends, of a new world order is waterlogged
ammunition for this battle" (p. 13). Budiansky suggests
Bush follow the lead of Winston Churchill and provide
Americans reasons that justify dying, such as "a threat
to our way of life." Whether as a result of the
criticism or a sense that a change was needed, Bush began
to modify the focus of his rationale, the style of his
words, and the method of his communication.
Similar to Budiansky, Duffy (November 5, 1990) says the
President "has made this case neither clearly nor well,
and support for a long stay in the Saudi desert is
consequently eroding" (p. 13). President Bush needed to
adopt a rhetorical strategy which convinces the American
public of the merit of our presence and mission in the
Gulf. Duffy suggests Bush could begin to reverse the
decline "by describing the horrors already visited on
Kuwait by Iraqi henchmen" (p. 13). In other words, Bush
could elaborate on the destruction and devastation that
60


Iraq is inflicting on Kuwait and its citizens. It was
essential that Bush find a strategy to persuade the
public of the need for American troops in the Gulf.
As the doubt and criticism increased, Bush began to
move toward more elaborative terminology. Division of
the original 237 comments from the news conferences by
date (before or after November 1, 1990) and by type
(Concrete or Elaborative) show that in the first half of
the crisis, Bush used concrete terminology 60 times and
elaborative language 36 times. Analysis of the second
half shows Bush used concrete terms 65 times, and
elaborative phrases 76 times. A second rater analyzed a
random sample of 60 comments from the original 237 to
determine whether they were concrete or elaborative.
Inter-rater reliability analysis results in 92% of the
comments categorized the same way as the first rater.
Results of a contingency table analysis indicates an
expected frequency of 74 instances of concrete
terminology and 66.6 instances of elaborative speech
(Table 3.2). The table shows that in actuality, concrete
speech was recorded 65 times and elaborative terms
76times. The use of elaborative speech was more than
double the recorded quantity for the first half (105%).
61


President Bush was responding to the need for further
clarification of the reasons we should pursue offensive
options to solve the crisis. Consequently, he sought to
introduce and sustain labels and symbols in order to
cultivate and maintain support for war.
Table 3.2. Contingency Table.
tgO 3I
(50. lS) (H.-aji)
(s5 1U
(ThSto) w-l
las na
During the first few weeks of the crisis, President
Bush refused to call the Americans left in Kuwait,
"hostages." Instead he referred to them as people ..held
against their will or delayed from leaving, or
...inconvenienced people who want to get out"
(Presidential Documents, August 14, 1990, p. 1249).
When questioned regarding the danger these people face,
he responded "It gets more dangerous, I think if I
heighten the concern that I've already expressed"
(Presidential Documents, August 16, p. 1258). It is
probable the President Bush purposely avoided labelling
those people "hostages" during the first three news
conferences.
62


The first use of the word hostage appears on August 30,
when Bush reiterates "we cannot permit hostage-taking to
shape the foreign policy of this country" (Presidential
Documents, p. 1306). In this same news conference, Bush
points to the absurd irony between Saddam Hussein's
designation for these people and our label. "...what he
calls guests and what we call hostages was really so
brutal and so totally unacceptable..." (p. 1309).
Saddam Hussein was not only detaining foreign nationals,
but he was using them as "human shields" to protect his
armaments from allied attack.
In September this became a major rallying point for the
President. Until this time he refused to call the
individuals detained in Iraq and Kuwait hostages.
However, in mid-September he changed his stance and began
to refer to them as hostages. The change in language
indicated an elevation in the prominence with which Bush
used these remarks to rally support.
The change in reference is an example of a condensation
symbol. Condensation symbols are those terms or words
which are rich in affective connotation. During the
Carter administration, Americans were held hostage in
Iran for over a year. Throughout this period, the nation
63


was asked to remember these individuals in their thoughts
and prayers. During the Christmas holidays, Americans
were asked to place blue candles in their windows as a
sign of hope that the hostages would soon be released.
They were held in captivity for 435 days.
In 1985, a TWA airplane was held on the tarmac in
Beirut, and all of those aboard held hostage. An
American soldier aboard this aircraft, Sgt. Robert
Steadham, was killed and his body dumped on the runway.
This crisis eventually became material for a television
movie. As of this writing there are 5 hostages still
held in Lebanon, 3 of which are Americans. Some have
been in captivity for as long as seven years. These are
just a few of the illustrations regarding hostage
situations with which Americans have direct experience.
When President Bush, used the label of "hostage" to
describe the people from the American Embassy in Kuwait,
he escalated the importance of this particular issue.
The word has a vast affective connotation, which is
similar in meaning for the majority of Americans.
A second example of a condensation symbol was the use
of the phrase "commitment to our friends." These were
elaborative terms to describe our response to Saudi
64


Arabia's request for assistance. The word "commitment"
invoked the idea that America has made a promise and it
would be fulfilled regardless of the cost. This
"commitment" is a sacred oath much like that in the
marriage ceremony; it should not be taken lightly.
"Commitment," in conjunction with the word "friend,"
suggests we cannot turn our backs on those who have asked
for help. "What is at stake here is truly significant:
the dependability of America's commitments to its friends
and allies.." (Presidential Documents, August 30, p.
1305). Describing our relationship with Saudi Arabia as
a friendship, and highlighting the fact America's
reputation was at risk, was much more vivid and
illustrative, than suggesting we were just adhering to a
treaty.
Similarly, Bush contrasted our "friendship" with Saudi
Arabia with Iraq's unprovoked invasion of a "neighboring
country." According to American tradition, "neighbors"
do not invade one another without provocation. Neighbors
are helpful and generally watch out for one another; they
do not launch an attack. Initially, when Bush referred
to Kuwait, he did not attach any adjectives to add
evaluation to the situation. However, as time progressed
he began to picture Kuwait as a helpless territory that
65


had been raped and pillaged by an ambitious tyrant. This
linkage moves Bush's argument away from that of merely
deterring aggression to a vivid illustration of the man
who orchestrated the invasion.
Words such as "rape" and "pillage" invoke beliefs of
the most brutal and violent of crimes ever imposed on
another person. "No nation should rape, pillage, and
brutalize its neighbor. No nation should be able to wipe
a member state of the United Nations and the Arab League
off the face of the Earth." Saddam Hussein is not merely
just trying to annex Kuwait, he is bent on destroying its
citizens and eliminating the territory altogether. This
depiction is quite different than simply reversing
aggression.
Additionally, President Bush has compared Iraq's use of
poison gas in earlier conflicts to Nazi atrocities and
Iraqi forces behavior in Kuwait to the conduct of the
Death's Head regiments behavior in Poland: "...I see
many similarities... Go back and take a look at your
history, and you'll see why I'm as concerned as I am"
(Presidential Documents, November 1, p. 1724). If any
analogy were guaranteed to evoke emotion, this comparison
would. To describe the situation in the Persian Gulf as
66


parallel to Hitler's domination of Europe was vivid and
startling.
Kaufman (Spring, 91) discussed the similarities between
Bush's predicament and that face by Winston Churchill.
Kaufman states that Bush acted in much the same way
Winston Churchill would have. "Counsels of prudence and
restraint may become the prime elements of mortal
danger," wrote Churchill. "The middle course adopted
from desires for safety and a quiet life may be found to
lead directly to the bull's eye of disaster." Would
waiting for sanctions to work hamper the option to fight,
or increase the costs prohibitively? Bush responded to
this dilemma the same way Churchill would have: war
sooner. Kaufman explains, "fighting now could minimize
the havoc, death, and suffering Saddam could inflict on
others by imposing confiscatory oil prices or using
lethal force" (p. 43). Additionally, a defeat of Saddam
Hussein would discourage aggression elsewhere: "..if we
do not continue to demonstrate our determination, it
would be a signal to actual and potential despots around
the world" (Presidential Documents, September 11, p.
1360).
67


A more direct analogy was Bush's comparison of Saddam
Hussein with Adolf Hitler. Recounting that Hussein had
used chemical weapons on his own people, Bush sought to
portray Hussein as brutal and determined regardless of
the cost in human life. Critics and supporters alike
agree that Bush may have been exaggerating for effect,
nevertheless, the analogy served to remind the public the
potential danger of not stopping Hussein now before he
had a chance to perpetrate any more harm.
Arguing that America was in the Persian Gulf to protect
"our way of life" was another example of a condensation
symbol that needed to be defined to elicit support. In
her book, The Symbolic Presidency: How President's
Portray Themselves. Hinckley (1989) suggests that
presidents present themselves as: "1) identical to the
nation, as a symbol of the nation, 2) identical to the
government and the powers of government, 3) as unique and
alone, and 4) as the moral leader of the nation, one who
can say what is good for the nation and the citizens" (p.
15). President Bush worked very hard to use symbols
which would summon emotions from within his audience to
champion his actions. He needed to rouse traditional
American sentiment to support the deployment of troops.
By focusing on the need for unity, and alluding to
68


threats against our entire way of life, he was successful
in gathering public opinion in his favor. Words like
freedom, patriotism, moral principles, and tradition, all
combine to present a powerful argument for forceful
intervention in this situation. "Throughout our history
we've been resolute in our support of justice, freedom,
and human dignity. The current situation in the Persian
Gulf demands no less of us" (Presidential Documents,
January 12, 1991, p. 39). These concepts were all
powerful condensation symbols.
Hinckley proposes that presidents personify the
morality of a nation. Terms such as "moral strength" and
"undaunted principles" establish a bond with the nation's
citizens and become devices to legitimize actions in
protection of these same symbols. For example, Bush
could not explicitly state we were fighting for oil. He
needed to cloak this economic threat in symbols that
Americans would perceive to be worth fighting, and dying,
for. "But as we plunge into battle, we cannot fight long
and hard unless we fight in the name of some great
principle of social order, for it is such names which
give our relationship the glory and radiance we need to
stave off the pressing horrors of decay and death,
(Duncan, 1968, p. 24).
69


The two national addresses were different in style from
the news conferences. Although arguments based on
aggression also ranked first in the national addresses,
but the second most recorded comments in the national
addresses were those based on the preservation and
defense of American principles. Virtually, all of the
comments regarding defense of American principles were
classified as elaborative and replete with condensation
symbols. Bush opens his first address on August 8th: "In
the life of a nation, we're called upon to define who we
are and what we believe. I ask for your support ... to
stand up for what's right and condemn what's wrong, all
in the cause of peace.
President Bush added his evaluation of the situation to
the rhetoric and used words rich in morality to begin his
address. Throughout this speech he reiterated our
position based on the protection of American principles.
Bush concluded: "Standing up for our principle is an
American tradition... America has never wavered when her
purpose is driven by principle" (Presidential Documents,
August 8 ,p. 1218). It was essential to convince the
public of the reasons for our actions with an economy of
words.
70


All of the above quotations contain components which
reference the emotions of the American public. Themes
such as morality, patriotism, independence, and support
for the troops tap fundamental sentiments found in most
Americans. Bush's running analogy of the Iraq crisis to
World War II created a sense that America was in fact
engaged in a cause "larger than ourselves." Most
Americans are familiar with World War II. Those who do
not remember first-hand have certainly been exposed to
this period of American history in school.
President Bush had a pre-determined amount of
television coverage in which to deliver his message to
the public. As a result of this time limit, he needed to
invoke symbols and words which would be rich in meaning
and yet, appeal to a very diverse audience. Graber
(1976) states that condensation symbols are exceptional
choices for this task: "The general utility of
condensation symbols springs from the fact that verbal
communication must be a form of mental shorthand.
Because of the limited time and attention spans of most
audiences, it is rarely possible to spell out situations
in full detail (p. 293). Bush needed convey the reasons
for our presence in the Gulf as effectively, but
efficiently, as possible.
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Logical and emotional appeals were effective in that it
was George Bush who was sending the message. However,
the ethical dimension of George Bush, the man, and George
Bush, the President cannot be overlooked. George Bush's
most convincing characteristic was his credibility with
the audience. The years of diplomatic and international
experience were a primary factor in the public's
perception that he was capable of handling this crisis.
Additionally, the office of President contributes to the
credibility of the rhetoric. In the earlier discussion
regarding George Bush, his background and experience was
detailed. Of particular emphasis however, at this point,
would be the longstanding friendships he had established
and nurtured with the individual heads of state. An
article in the New York times notes that within 3 weeks
after the invasion, President Bush had assembled a
multinational force composed of twenty-two nations. Bush
also lead the crusade within the United Nations for
resolutions condemning Iraq's actions. He was extremely
skillful in gathering the global community together to
demonstrate unanimity of purpose regarding implementation
of the United Nation's resolutions. All of these acts
are examples of his ethical appeal to the audience as
well as his intelligence in handling the situation. Only
a president who was extremely knowledgeable about foreign
72


affairs could have reacted as swiftly and decisively
regarding this crisis (Duffy, 1990).
The essence of goodwill also played a role in the
enhancement of Bush's credibility. He reiterated that
the world's outrage was directed at Saddam Hussein, not
at the Iraqi people: "We have no argument with the
people of Iraq; indeed, we have only friendship for the
people there" (Presidential Documents, November 30, p.
1949). It was important Americans understand the troop
buildup was directed at Saddam Hussein and his
government, not at the innocent civilians would might
become the ultimate victims of the armed conflict.
Secondly, Bush stressed that peace was the goal, not war.
To that end, he would give the economic embargo ample
time to work before other alternatives were explored. On
many occasions, President Bush reconfirmed he was willing
to "go the extra mile for peace." Even after the United
Nations passed Resolution 678 allowing force after
January 15th, Bush sent Secretary of State James Baker to
meet with Iraq's ambassador in hopes of finding a
diplomatic solution to the crisis: "... I never would
want it said that we didn't go the extra mile"
(Presidential Documents, December 18, p. 2056).
73


In this same address, Bush stated that this cohesion
would determine the degree to which we could help our
friends and achieve our objectives. Arab, European,
Asian, and Africans nations were working together with
our forces, we could at least develop a unified approach
here in our own land:
...our ability to meet our responsibilities abroad
depends upon the political will and consensus at
home. ... although free people in a free society
are bound to have their differences, Americans
traditionally come together in times of adversity
and challenge. ... if old adversaries like the
Soviet Union and the United States can work in
common cause, then surely we who are so fortunate to
be in this great Chamber -Democrats, Republicans,
liberals, conservatives-can come together to fulfill
our responsibilities here. (Presidential Documents,
September 11, p. 1363)
A public opinion poll conducted on August 18th shows
Bush enjoyed support for his actions to send troops to
the Gulf. "Overwhelminglyby 72% to 16%Americans
continue to back Mr. Bush's handling of the confrontation
in the Middle East... At the same time, these voters
entertain no notions that any of this will be easy."
While the public supported Bush's actions there were not
necessarily as committed to go to war. According to the
Wall Street Journal, only 27% of the respondents were in
favor of U.S. military action if there was a severe
shortage of oil, while 64% believed this was the wrong
reason to go to war (Perry, 1990). Obviously if America
74


were to go to war, the people would need what they
considered a good reason if they were to support the
action.
With this in mind, President Bush needed to redefine
the rationale for our presence in the Persian Gulf and
possible impending offensive action. Examination of
Bush's organizational pattern shows he used a problem-
solution arrangement. He began with the immoral and
aggressive behavior of Hussein and the repercussions to
the United States. He then suggested we were morally
bound to send troops to this area to protect our
interests. Iraq's unprovoked invasion of Kuwait was the
problem, deployment of military personnel was the only
alternative. He extolled the virtues of our armed
forces, praised their bravery and dedication, and thanked
them for the sacrifices they were making. All of these
references were intended to highlight the high quality of
our service men and women and enlist support from the
public. How could we not be proud of these people who
were separated from their loved ones, toiling in the
desert, to protect our way of life. Bush then repeated
his objectives in the Gulf to emphasize his determination
and resolve. Each of the seven themes already discussed
were restated in the national addresses and hence, formed
75


the logical foundation for our conduct in this situation.
Both the news conferences and national addresses dealt
with clarification of objectives. In the national
addresses he concluded with emotional appeals for
Americans to share in his vision of "the new world order
...", where "the rule of law supplants the rule of the
jungle. A world in which nations recognize the shared
responsibility for freedom and justice" (Presidential
Documents, September 11, p. 1359). Finally, he closed
with calls for unity and commitment from the public in
order to achieve our goals.
Bush's objectives in these news conferences was to
clarify previous statements and answer reporter questions
concerning US military policy in this matter. In his
first news conference after the Iraqi invasion, Bush
referred to the "line in the sand" as his point of no
return. This phrase is reminiscent of Moamar Kadaffi's
"line of death." He indicated that the United States
had taken a position and would not retreat. He repeated
this analogy again in September to demonstrate he was
willing to do whatever was necessary to force Iraq to
comply with the United Nations resolutions. It was
important for the American public and world viewers to
perceive Bush to be determined and undaunted. A
76


reporter, referring to the January 15th deadline set by
the United Nations, asked President Bush if this date
\
passed without the use of force, how would we avoid the
impression that "the U.S.-led coalition has, in fact,
blinked?" The President responded: "I don't think there
will ever be a perception that the United States is going
to blink in this situation. That's why I had some of the
words in this statement that I had" (Presidential
Documents, November 30, p. 1951). President Bush was
sensitive to this potential impression and worked to use
language that was strong and specific. In this same news
conference, a reporter asked him why he seemed to be
avoiding consultation with the entire Congress. Bush
responded by saying he could not consult with all 535
members who each had their own opinion. In his
estimation, to do so "would send bad signals"
(Presidential Documents, November 30, p. 1955). At the
end of this news conference, he defined the discussion in
Congress as a democratic opportunity which is the
"American way." In this instance he was reinforcing the
fact that America was in the Gulf to protect core values.
77


Impact On Audience
During the week immediately following President Bush's
first address to the nation on August 8th, a Gallup Poll
survey indicated that 87% of the American population
backed his performance in handling the Persian Gulf
crisis. However, the majority of Americans did not
support the use of force against Iraq. When he addressed
the nation again on January 16 to announce that offensive
action had begun, 81% of the population approved of his
decision, while 12% did not (Apple, 1991, A14). Though
the polls fluctuated from a high of 87% immediately
following Iraq's invasion, to a low of 67% in December,
Bush did enjoy overwhelming approval for his actions. An
article in the New York Times (Apple, 1991) which
highlighted reactions of several Americans quotes Randy
Denton, an insurance executive from Maryland: "I respect
him for making the decision and taking the full brunt of
it if it went badly. He will make his mark in history
because of this." Similarly, Andrew Dawson of Houston
states: "As hokey as this may sound, President Bush's
whole premise that there is a possibility for a stronger
United Nations and a genuine world peace must be valued."
These two reactions were indicative of the vast majority
of American sentiment. This is not to say, however, that
many of these same supporters did not approach this war
78


cautiously. Dread that the situation would sour was
accompanied by fears of terrorist retaliation and
concerns for casualties, both civilian and military. But
during the first days and weeks of the air attack
Americans were quietly united, carefully waiting and
watching. Time proved that the military planning had
been as precise as the rhetoric. With reprisals of few
casualties, public displays of the precision of American
weaponry, and the fact we were having an easier time than
expected, all combined to spur public support. Bush
prepared the public for the support role, by appealing to
our desire to be on the "winning team." Although
Americans did not initially wish to be involved in this
conflict, they would demonstrate this was not another
Vietnam by supporting the actions taken by the President.
A cursory survey would lead the researcher to determine
that Bush's words were the primary contributing factor in
the increase in public approval. However, it is
extremely difficult to prove a causal connection between
Bush's rhetorical strategies and the uniting of American
public opinion. Several other unprecedented and
extraordinary events occurred simultaneous with Bush's
rhetoric. For example, the United Nations exerted its
legal authority for the first time in many years, when it
79


approved of the use of force to remove Iraq from Kuwait.
Secondly, the Soviet Union, which was an ally with Iraq,
also endorsed military action. Thirdly, that so many
Arab leaders could agree to assemble a unit was
remarkable. Were any one of these elements not present,
the scenario would have been vastly different. However,
combination of these components with Bush's rhetorical
strategies did lend unparalleled significance to this
military action.
80


CHAPTER 4
GENERIC CRITICISM
When President Bush sent troops into the Middle East to
defend Saudi Arabia, he followed the actions of many
presidents before him. The rhetorical strategies
utilized to convince the American people of the necessity
of this action also paralleled that of past presidents.
This chapter examines the nature of Bush's war messages
to determine the extent to which they resemble the war
rhetoric of previous presidents.
Campbell and Jamieson (1990), state that all
presidential war messages have the legitimization of
actions as the central persuasive purpose. Further, they
contend that all presidential war rhetoric possesses five
fundamental facets: 1) thoughtful consideration, 2)
narratives from which argumentative claims are drawn, 3)
unanimity of purpose, 4) assumption of Commander in Chief
Powers, and 5) strategic misrepresentation. Each of
these characteristics serve to facilitate the president's
portrayal of events to legitimize their actions.
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The first concept, thoughtful consideration, is
inherent in the division of powers. The President must
obtain congressional authorization and Congress must vote
to fund the deployment. In some cases this justification
is done after the fact but nevertheless is an essential
element in war rhetoric. It is important to convince the
public, and Congress, the decision to use military force
was not an irrational one. The judgment to introduce
troops into a hostile area must be approached rationally
and objectively. In describing his impending decision to
enter into World War II, President Wilson said: "The
choice we make for ourselves must be made with a
moderation of council and a temperateness of judgment
befitting our character and motives as a nation. We must
put excited feelings away" (Campbell & Jamieson, 1990, p.
106) .
Like Woodrow Wilson, President Bush also indicated he
had struggled with the decision, but could foresee no
other alternative. In his first address to the nation to
inform the public of his actions, Bush reiterated this
theme: "No one commits America's Armed Forces to a
dangerous mission lightly, but after perhaps unparalleled
international consultation and exhausting every
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alternative, it became necessary to take this action"
(Presidential Documents, August 8, p. 1216).
The second genre of presidential war rhetoric concerns
the use of narratives from which an argument emerges.
Intrinsic in this formation is the Presidents need to
dramatize and simplify the causes of war. Bush must
define the crisis in terms of the audience's values and
beliefs. In chapter three, seven points were identified
as the core of Bush's argument development. Variations
of these themes have appeared as evidence for previous
military interventions. Each premise indicates a threat
endangers the nation or its core values, emanates from an
identifiable enemy, and necessitates an immediate
response. Bush pointed to Iragi's unprovoked invasion
as the threat, identified Saddam Hussein as the
responsible party, and determined military intervention
was unavoidable.
President Bush emphasized the threat to our cherished
morality by underscoring Saddam Hussein's actions
regarding civilized principles of diplomacy.
... innocent people held against their will in
direct contravention of international law. Then
there's this cynical and brutal policy of forcing
people to beg for their release... This treatment of
our Embassy violates every civilized principle of
diplomacy. It demeans our people, it demeans our
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country. ...The tales of rape and assassination, of
cold-blooded murder and rampant looting are almost
beyond belief. The whole civilized world must
unite... (Presidential Documents, November 30, p.
1949)
The identification of the enemy was readily apparent.
"Iraq's brutality against innocent civilians will not be
permitted to stand. And Saddam Hussein's violations of
international law will not stand. His aggression against
Kuwait will not stand" (November 1, p. 1719). Included
in any description of the adversary is a distinction
between political governments and the innocent people of
that nation. Many times President Bush repeated his
statement that the coalition had no conflict with the
people of Iraq, but with Hussein's brutality and
unprovoked aggression.
On January 9, 1991, Bush alluded to military
intervention as inevitable. In light of the failed talks
between Secretary of State James Baker, and Iraqi foreign
minister Tariq Aziz, Bush stated "I think we have tried
the diplomatic track. I hope they know that I am as
committed to peace as anyone. But I hope they also know
that I am firmly determined to see that this aggression
not stand" (Presidential Documents, January 9, 1991, p.
25) .
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Once the argument for intervention has been detailed,
the President must urge the public to unite behind his
actions. Exhortation for unanimity is the third aspect
of war rhetoric. Once the argument has been enumerated,
the nation must repulse the threat with all available
resources. In 1845, then President Polk quoted Andrew
Jackson's address from 1837, to arouse intense public
reaction.
"The length of time since some of the injuries have
been committed, the repeated and unavailing
applications for redress, the wanton character of
some of the outrages upon the property and person of
our citizens, upon the officer and flag of the
United States, independent of recent insults to this
Government and people by the late extraordinary
Mexican minister would justify in the eyes of all
nations immediate war" (Campbell & Jamieson, 1990,
p. Ill).
President Bush also worked to solicit support and unity
from America's citizens. On August 8, 1990, speaking at
a news conference, Bush stated: "Standing up for our
principle is an American tradition. As it has so many
times before, it may take time and tremendous effort, but
most all, it will take unity of purpose." Similarly,
during his address to the nation on September 11, 1990,
Bush explained:
At this moment, our brave servicemen and women stand
watch in that distant desert and on distant seas,
side by side with the forces of more than 20 other
nations. ...if there ever was a time to put country
before self and patriotism before party, the time is
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now. ...what we must do together to defend
civilized values. (Presidential Documents, p. 1358)
Unanimity of purpose was vital for America but it was
also necessary for the multinational coalition. As part
of Bush's strategy to enlist American public support, he
repeatedly pointed to the fact that America was not alone
in this stance. The world was united.
Forces of 26 other nations are standing shoulder to
shoulder with our troops in the Gulf. The fact is
that it is not the United States against Iraq; it is
Iraq against the world. And there's never been a
clearer demonstration of a world united against
appeasement and aggression. (November 30, p. 1948)
Once the argument has been developed, and the President
has urged everyone to unite, he can then assume the
responsibilities of the Commander in Chief. This
dimension is the result of the identification of the
threat and the President's evaluation that all other
alternatives have been exhausted. This rhetoric seeks
approval from Congress and the public to accept the
duties of the Commander in Chief. In 1898, McKinley
asked:
the Congress to authorize and empower the President
to take measure to secure a full and final
termination of hostilities between the Government of
Spain and the people of Cuba... and to use the
military and naval forces of the United States as
may be necessary for these purposes (Campbell &
Jamieson, 1990, p. 113).
Although the Persian Gulf crisis did not require an
official declaration of war, the President did require
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approval from Congress in the form of a resolution of
support for his actions. Early in the crisis, Bush
responded by implementing economic sanctions against
Iraq, and sent troops in defense of Saudi Arabia:
At my direction, elements of the 82d Airborne
Division as well as key units of the United States
Air Force are arriving today to take up defensive
positions in Saudi Arabia. I took this action to
assist the Saudi Arabian Government in the defense
of its homeland. (Presidential Documents, August 8,
p. 1216)
As the crisis moved from one of defense to an offensive
posture, Bush reiterated his responsibilities as the
Commander in Chief "...you have an obligation as
Commander in Chief and you have an obligation as
President that you just have to make very clear..."
(Presidential Documents, November 1, p. 1725). In later
November, the United Nations passed a resolution
approving the use of force if diplomatic options failed.
There was no declaration of war in this conflict. Many
critics felt that Bush was in fact notifying selected
members of Congress after events had occurred. During a
November 30, press conference, one reporter commented:
"The experts on Capitol Hill say that what you have done
by prenotification, calling two or three Members and
saying we're on the way- you've already made the
decision. You're notifying them; that's
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prenotification. That's not consulting with Congress"
(Presidential Documents, p. 1955). President Bush
responded that he could not consult with 535 individuals
at once.
.. "nor does my responsibility under the
Constitution compel me to do that. And I think
everyone would agree that we have had more
consultations that previous administrations. ...
consultation is going on. ...And I know what the
responsibilities of the President are, and I am
fulfilling those responsibilities" (Presidential
Documents, November 30, p. 1955).
President Bush used the protection of American lives as
one of the reasons for introducing troops into the Middle
East. This, along with other reasons already cited, was
the basis for Bush's request to assume authority as the
Commander in Chief. In January, President Bush asked
Congress to back the use of force is Iraq did not pull
out of Kuwait by the deadline. Although there was much
debate, Congress did vote to support the United Nations
Security Council resolutions.
The final theme common to presidential war rhetoric is
that of strategic misrepresentation. Previous presidents
have purposely portrayed events so as to stifle dissent
and unify the nation for immediate and possibly sustained
action.
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President Bush has, however, alluded to his access to
information that has influenced his decisions and actions
regarding Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. There was concern
during the first few months of the crisis, that our
Embassy personnel in Kuwait were without adequate food
and water. In early November, one reporter commented
that there was plenty of food and water for the time
being. It was even determined that they had a vegetable
garden. Within twenty-four hours after this revelation,
President Bush was talking about Saddam Hussein starving
these people out. Bush responded that he was not aware
of the vegetable garden, but
the reports coming out of Iraq that make me feel I
must keep this in focus for the American people.
They must know how strongly I feel about an American
Embassy, the American flag flying, and these people
inside being cut off and, I would say, brutalized by
that behavior. ...It is essential that we not lose
track of these key points. (Presidential Documents,
November 1, p. 1723)
A second vivid illustration of the president's avenue
to sensitive intelligence data concerned Iraq's nuclear
capability. Senator A1 Gore (from Tennessee) differed
with the president's assessment of Hussein's ability to
manufacture nuclear weapons and felt the administration's
statements were misleading. The president quickly
responded by chastising Senator Gore for his speculation:
I disagree with the Senator. And if he wants to
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gamble on the future about the construction of
atomic weapons by Saddam Hussein, I don't. I know
what the intelligence says-every bit of it. I can't
share it obviously, because we don't comment on
intelligence matters......Senator Gore, I'm sure, is
an intelligence fellow, and he----but I don't think
he has access to absolutely all; maybe he does. But
I am not going to err on the side of underestimation
when it come to this question. (Presidential
Documents, November 30, p. 1952)
Iraq's possession of nuclear weapons was a critical
component to Bush's argument for offensive military
action. It was important for him to quell any dissent in
this area. When Senator Gore indicated a different
inclination regarding the intelligence data, President
Bush was forced to highlight his access to others avenues
by virtue of the office he holds.
The nature of war rhetoric foretells the use of
misrepresentation as a strategy for uniting opinion and
quelling dissent. It may well take several years for the
entire picture associated with this conflict to be
uncovered, however, if history gives us any insight, we
can be sure that at least some details were distorted.
In managing the Persian Gulf crisis, President Bush
submitted to the nation a profile of Saddam Hussein as a
tyrant in control of a majority of the world's oil
supply, a dictator who was extremely close to developing
nuclear arms, with the possibility he might use them, and
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a ruthless autocrat who persecuted his own people.
Bush's role as president required him to decide upon a
course of action, justify this direction, and persuade
the constituency to support his resolution.
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CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION
Results of an analysis of Bush's crisis rhetoric
revealed that President Bush used seven recurring themes
to develop his argument for U.S. military intervention in
the Persian Gulf: 1) Violation of international law, 2)
Requested assistance from an ally, 3) Vital ecnomic
interests, 4) Protection of American citizens, 5)
Preservation and defense of American principles, 6)
Maintenance of world stability, and 7) Removal of a
brutal dictator. President Bush's initial emphasis
centered on Iraq'a unprovoked aggression. However, as
the situation intensified, and the administration shifted
from a defensive stance to an offensive one, the
President modified his argument strategy. Bush began to
forecast the need for world stability and the removal of
a brutal dictator who had already demonstrated his
disregard for humanity.
Concurrent with a change in argument premise, was a
move toward more elaborative terminology. Bush began to
use condensation symbols to unite the American
population. These included references to abstract
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concepts such as "freedom" and "democracy" as well as
pictorial analogies between Adolph Hitler and Saddam
Hussein. This symbolization was an attempt to draw upon
the values of the populace and use the associated
affective connotations to unite public opinion.
This research also demonstrated Presideht Bush followed
the lead of many other presidents in framing his rhetoric
for offensive military action. Bush's strategies for
justifying the introduction of troops was consistent with
that of past presidents. The five recurring elements
outlined by Campbell and Jamieson (1990) were also found
to exist in Bush's discourse.
President Bush offered 7 explanations of his decision
to send ground forces to the Persian Gulf, and to
initiate offensive action against Iraq. His discourse on
this subject focused on the unprovoked Iraqi aggression,
the American "way of life", and our traditional beliefs
and values. More succinctly, President Bush suggested we
were fighting for oil, which would preserve our very "way
of life." However, this president could not afford to
address the American public quite so bluntly, nor could
any other president for that matter. Therefore, he chose
to frame this conflict in a context that we would sense
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