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The Soft Power of War

Benjamins Current Topics
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Volume 3
The Soft Power of War
Edited by Lilie Chouliaraki
These materials were previously published in Journal of Language and Politics 4:1

The Soft Power of War Edited by Lilie Chouliaraki London School of Economics John Benjamins Publishing Company Amsterdam / Philadelphia .

Box 36224 · 1020 me Amsterdam · The Netherlands John Benjamins North America · P. 2003.8 TM The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences – Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials. cm. by print. Language and languages--Political aspects. 5.76. photoprint. without written permission from the publisher. issn 1874-0081 . alk.O.48-1984. John Benjamins Publishing Co.2. 4. or any other means. Box 27519 · Philadelphia pa 19118-0519 · usa . 6. microfilm.3. Iraq War. DS79.S632 2007 956.O. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data The soft power of war / edited by Lilie Chouliaraki. p. International. 3) Includes bibliographical references. World politics--1989. Security. ansi z39. I. (Benjamins Current Topics. Iraq War. 2003--Mass media and the war. · P.7044'31-dc22 2007003846 isbn 978 90 272 2233 6 (Hb. Rhetoric--Political aspects. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form. Lilie. Chouliaraki. v.V. paper) © 2007 – John Benjamins B. 1.

Table of contents About the Authors Introduction: The soft power of war: Legitimacy and community in Iraq war discourses Lilie Chouliaraki The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq Phil Graham and Allan Luke vii 1 11 Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ Norman Fairclough 39 War rhetoric of a little ally: Political implicatures and Aznar’s legitimatization of the war in Iraq Teun A. van Dijk 61 The Iraq war as curricular knowledge: From the political to the pedagogic divide Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis 85 Computer games as political discourse: The case of Black Hawk Down David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen 109 Spectacular ethics: On the television footage of the Iraq war Lilie Chouliaraki 129 Index 145 .


Chouliaraki@lse. . resources for discourse studies and other information. Sage. who holds two honorary doctorates. Dominación étnica y racismo discursiva en España y América Latina (Barcelona: Gedisa.discourse-in-society. Authors’ address: Department of Media and Communications · London School of Economics and Political Science · Houghton Street · London WC2A 2AE · UK Email: L. 2003). He founded 4 international journals. and is at present professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. He is the author of several books in most of these areas. and he edited The Handbook of Discourse Analysis (4 vols. of which he still edits the latter two. text Teun A. Ideología y Discurso (Barcelona: Ariel.About the Authors Lilie Chouliaraki is Professor of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics.. He has published widely in critical discourse analysis. and his last edited book (with Ruth Wodak).org. news in the press. has lectured widely in many countries. His last monographs are Ideology (London. and Discourse Studies. After earlier work on generative poetics. Barcelona. van Dijk was professor of discourse studies at the University of Amsterdam until 2004. He is currently working on a new book on the theory of context. Authors’ address: Universitat Pompeu Fabra · Dept. Discourse & Society. de Traducció I Filologia · Rambla 30 · 08002 Barcelona. Teun van Dijk. knowledge and context. and the psychology of text processing. recent articles. Text. see his homepage: www. For a list of publications. his work since 1980 takes a more ‘critical’ perspective and deals with discursive racism. Racism at the Top (2000). 1998). ideology. Spain Email: teun@discourse-in-society. 1985) and the introduction Discourse Studies (2 vols. 2003).org Norman Fairclough has recently retired from his Chair in language in Social Life at Lancaster University and is now Emeritus Professor at Lancaster as well as Emeritus Professorial Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Management and Social Sciences. Poetics. She has published extensively on media and the public sphere and her most recent book is ‘The Spectatorship of Suffering’ (Sage 2006). 1997).ac. especially also in Latin America.

literacy education. Authors’ address: Centre for Language and Communication Research · Cardiff University · PO Box 94 · Cardiff CF10 3XB · UK Email: VanleeuwenT@Cardiff. Singapore. Authors’ address: Department of Linguistics · Faculty of Philology · Aristotle University of Thessaloniki · Thessaloniki 54124 · Greece Email address: dkoutsog@lit. He is the editor of Information-Communication Technology and Literacy: The International Experience (Centre for the Greek Language His research interests are in educational reform. Ap112 · 011131 Bucuresti · Romania Email: eianlf@exchange.viii About the Authors including most recently New Labour. . Centre for the Greek Language (www. His areas of special interest include educational linguistics. teachers and teaching in Asia. His publications include Reading Images — The Grammar of Visual Design (with Gunther Kress). and Multimodal Discourse — The Modes and Media of Contemporary Communication (with Gunther Kress). Nanyang Technological University.qu Dimitris Koutsogiannis is Assistant Professor of literacy education in the Department of Linguistics. new media. N. ON · Canada N2L3G1 Email: phil. the development of normative models of education and cosmopolitanism. and. Authors’ address: University of Queensland · 200 University Ave · Waterloo. more Sound.auth. the move from Theo van Leeuwen is Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. His research interests include political economy of communication. Elearning and critical discourse analysis. Sydney. Titulescu 1 · Bloc A7. His main research interests are social Speech. University of Technology. educational and institutional formations to emergent ‘new Asian pedagogies’ Allan Luke is Dean of the Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice at the National Institute of Education.komvos.lancs. Phil Graham is Associate Professor in Communication at the University of Queensland. Authors’ address: Bd. and discourse analysis. Faculty of Philology at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Deputy Director of the Portal for the Support of Greek language teachers. bilingual edition). multimodality and critical discourse analysis. New Language? (Routledge 2000) and Analyzing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research (Routledge 2003). literacy and technology.

critical and academic literacies. University of Leicester. Authors’ address: Centre for Language and Communication Research · Cardiff University · PO Box 94 · Cardiff CF10 3XB · UK Email: MachinD@Cardiff. His publications include Ethnographic Research for Media Studies and The Anglo-American Media Connection (with Jeremy Tunstall). Athens: Metaihmio Publications and the University of Athens. Her research interests are in the areas of critical discourse ix . Faculty of English Studies. 2004). applications of new technologies in education. 2004) and Periphery Viewing the World (with C.uoa. About the Authors Authors’ address: Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice · National Institute of Education · Nanyang Technological University · Singapore 637616 Email: aluke@nie. media influences. Athens: Parousia. Mitsi. Dokou and E. educational linguistics. media and politics. His main research interests are media ownership. National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. David Machin is Lecturer at the Department of Media and Bessie Mitsikopoulou is Assistant Professor in the Department of Language and Linguistics. Authors’ address: Department of Language and Linguistics · Faculty of English Studies · School of Philosophy · National and Kapodistrian University of Athens · Panepistimioupoli Zographou · Athens 15784 · Greece Email address: mbessie@enl. She is the co-editor of Policies of Linguistic Pluralism and the Teaching of Languages in Europe (with B.


This is. took place in the midst of a fierce controversy about the reasons for and the possible effects of the US/UK coalition’s decision to invade the country and abolish the Saddam Hussein regime. Taking the war in Iraq as one exemplary case through which to demonstrate the changing nature of . It is this symbolic war that this book examines. The distinction is obviously analytical rather than substantial. important to comment on the commonalities and the differences between the two themes. of course. such as the UN. a consensual view of what the international community is and wants to be were the two crucial stakes of the controversy. in an unprecedented manner. a symbolic one. a rather well-established conception of power since the Sophists’ belief in the capacity of rhetoric to bear material effects upon the world. has been raging around the military operations themselves. It is. Another war. and media discourse often has political effects. This war split the international community. consequently. even though it may not be directly political. or since Gramsci’s view of hegemony as power by consensus rather than coercion. officially declared in March–April 2003. The book consists of six chapters organised in two themes. Soft power. The legitimacy of the war and. But the reference to soft power by one of US’ most influential academics and state officers gives the term an interesting twist. The power of language in politics Both political and media discourse appertain what leading US political analyst Joseph Nye calls soft power. The first theme is ‘the war in political discourse’. and the second theme is ‘the war in media discourse’. however. Political discourse is almost always mediatised. and challenged the status of international institutions.Introduction: The soft power of war Legitimacy and community in Iraq war discourses* Lilie Chouliaraki London School of Economics The Iraq war. that is the power of “getting others to want what you want” (2004: 5). including the European Union.

Fairclough draws attention to a range of British PM Blair’s speeches. to an extent. however. economic) and soft (symbolic) power. 2003. all contributions seek to illustrate the ways in which a variety of public genres. They all trace down the emergence of new ways of talking and thinking about international relations. Nye’s question “What is wrong with dominance in the service of sound principles and high ideals?” (2004: 26) clearly underlines the key role that soft power. opens up the definition of politics to include a broader range of meanings that shape not only traditional political institutions. the manner through which soft power operates is multiple and diffused. contemporary ‘bodies politic’. In line with Graham and Luke. Lewis 2004). guns or money and the language of narrating the world in coherent and persuasive stories. Whereas van Dijk discusses the parliamentary discourse of Spanish (now ex‑)PM Aznar in defence of his decision to include Spain in the US/UK coalition. between the politics of territory. One might say. historical and. political and media discourse. the definition of media in this volume is broad enough to encompass an array of technologies and discourses that cut across not . It is indeed these practices that take up most space in the ‘the Iraq war in political discourse’ section of this volume. This is where the distinction between the two types of discourse. The domain of politics can be strictly defined in terms of specific institutional practices. about the conduct of war and about the moral principles of contemporary ‘global citizenship’. to establish symbolically the legitimacy of war and. Indeed. Bringing together different strands of discourse analysis with social. has played in shifting global public opinion from a position of disapproving a war unauthorised by the UN to supporting the war in the name of global security (Brooks et al. Graham and Luke’s perspective. Nye argues that the effective study of international politics depends today upon our understanding of the interplay between hard (military. It is this connection between language and politics that this collection of essays seeks to critically investigate. the power of argument and belief. the legitimacy of a new world vision. with it. Soft power in politics and the media If the aim of soft power is solid and concrete. what the authors refer to as. political analysis. such as parliamentary hearings and public speeches. concerning UK’s vision of the ‘international community’. but also. from political speeches to computer games and from educational material to newspaper reports. produce influential knowledge about the war and shape the ethical and political premises upon which the legitimacy of the Iraq war and the ‘vision’ of the emergent world order rests. Let us start with politics. Lilie Chouliaraki contemporary power. comes into focus.

as well as a vision of what the global citizen should be and which civic and political sensibilities this citizen should carry (see Wodak et al. Mitsikopoulou and Koutsogiannis compare the assumptions about the war and the ‘global citizen’ implicit in two different US educational websites. but through strategies of aestheticisation that represent the war as a spectacular operation rather than as a political fact with humanitarian implications. which addresses the ways in which political and media discourse construe the war as a legally and morally acceptable project. but also popular entertainment. as van Dijk argues. In the field of new media. a US war game and film. is reflexively (though not necessarily consciously) designed in ways that appeal to broader contexts and audiences. there is the issue of international community. has to do with their common function as instruments of soft power. even when it is formulated as a parliamentary address. Second. First. there is the issue of legitimacy. they are bound by certain interdependencies — a fact that. evidently. such as the Internet. whereas Machin and van Leeuwen’s paper demonstrates how ‘Black Hawk Down’. what I earlier called the main stakes of the controversy around the Iraq war. political discourse. such as broadcast and print media or pedagogic curricula. The stakes of soft power Politics and media may be distinct spheres of practice. The chapters of this volume examine the interdependencies between politics and the media on two issues. Aznar’s parliamentary speeches. computer games as well as film. then. Legitimacy and community. 1999 on the discursive construction of the national community. Calhoun 2003: 531–68 for critical discussions of legitimacy and community in the post September 11th world order). Butler 2004: 1–18. which addresses the ways in which political and media discourse propose a vision about what the international community is and what it should be. First. there are two arguments to be made. Chouliaraki argues that television participates in the legitimation of the war not by overt propaganda. Legitimacy Concerning the question of legitimacy. draws upon recent history in order to propagate a pro-US perspective for the interpretation of conflict and the conduct of war. Introduction: The soft power of war only traditional institutions. The ‘Iraq war in media discourse’ section. includes contributions on the mass media and new media. strategically employ a set of political implicatures that aspire to rationalise and justify the PM’s decision to join the Iraq war. nevertheless. a decision that met a strong anti-war  .

security and terrorism organise a broader argumentative regime. the pro-war coalition elites sought legitimacy by promoting moral argument. “politics becomes in part a competition for attractiveness. the paper usefully contextualises the use of soft power in the Iraq war. yet the overall assumption behind this analysis is that political discourse anticipates its dissemination in the media and therefore reflexively incorporates public counter-discourse and criticism in its own arguments. The article reformulates and criticises the presuppositions implicit in Aznar’s parliamentary discourse. where the ideal audience clearly transcends the parliament and encompasses a wider public. As Fairclough argues. serve as powerful tools for legitimising US-led military solutions to local conflicts around the globe and for projecting an ideal identity for the global citizen. as Nye puts it. in which the suffering of Iraqis under a ruthless dictatorial regime and the threat that the regime’s alleged possession of WMD posed to the rest of the world provide the necessary and sufficient grounds for overthrowing Saddam Hussein from power. Thus. Lilie Chouliaraki sentiment among the Spanish population. security and terrorism. as a person endowed with (a western sense of) humanity and moral integrity. The most effective work of legitimisation takes place through leisure and seemingly ‘innocent’ entertainment. The second point to be made with respect to the legitimacy of the war is that political discourse is not the only nor is it the most effective means to render the war a morally acceptable project. concerns for peace. In this sense. This is particularly evident in Aznar’s use of the argumentative topos of peace. such as the Black Hawk Down production. legitimacy and credibility” so that “the ability to share information — and to be believed — becomes an important source of attraction and power” (2004: 31). such quest for legitimacy and credibility in the Iraq war was largely driven by the humanitarian argument. The second paper on new media shows that the struggle over the legitimacy of the war appertains not only to home leisure. there is an intensification of this argumentative process as we approach the war. His paper shows that the increasing association of moral claims with combative action and the justification of the war in the name of the ‘liberation’ of Iraqi people are two key features in Blair’s 2002–2003 speeches. In the age of information. but also to school pedagogy. According to all contributions in the volume. Mitsikopoulou and Koutsogiannis’ analysis of on-line educational material that help students and teachers “better understand the country of . which shows that pc games and Hollywood cinema. Although not directly engaging with empirical material about the Iraq war. In the absence of a legal basis for the military intervention in Iraq. the Machin and van Leeuwen paper establishes a clear and timely link between the current project of war legitimacy and historical discursive resources that inculcate a firm belief in the superiority of western values. This is the argument of Machin and van Leeuwen’s paper.

On the whole. it was the clash surrounding the decision of the coalition to go to war without a UN mandate that seriously hindered the discursive struggle to produce a consensual definition of the ‘international community’ — a struggle clearly manifest in the dramatic split of the EU members into pro.and anti-war nations. Chouliaraki’s paper on BBC television draws our attention to the project of war legitimacy as an aesthetic project that involves the staging of images at the service of the management of emotions among media publics. there are again two issues to address. and ‘them’. is consistently construed through argumentative  . in political as well as media discourse. is to construe the ‘international community’ around the age-old cultural and political division between ‘us’. Finally. but it is also a key assumption in the verbal and visual features of the media. rather than a project of the ‘best argument’. First. the civilised west. Second. legitimacy does not only rely on old-fashioned methods of propaganda. the hard power of war needs to be framed by the soft values of humanitarian care for the Iraqi people and of global security for the world population. only reluctantly turn to examine. such as in computer games and the Black Hawk Down film. adaptable and strategic use of political discourse in the service of military projects. the Islamic threat. the Islamic threat. which today acts as one of the most effective devices of soft power — one that theorists like Nye. however. This is a concept that we usually tend to take for granted but. in the case of the war. it is in fact a fragile construction. the Iraq war threw into new relief the deeply contested nature of ‘international community’. International Community Concerning the question of ‘international community’. The key discursive strategy to homogenise difference and overcome disagreement. is a clear example of how school socialisation combines with new media to powerful effects. the essays of this volume converge around the claim that the enemy. As the volume demonstrates. the volume shows that soft power is central to the question of war legitimacy in two respects. as a powerful device for collective identification and as a matrix for interpreting the new world order through the particular perspective of high morality. as Fairclough’s comparative discussion of Blair’s 1999–2003 speeches shows. First. Introduction: The soft power of war Iraq and the circumstances leading to the current conflict”. This is evident in the political speeches of Blair and Aznar. but also capitalises upon the huge influence of media entertainment. From different perspectives and in different vocabularies. In the case of the Iraq war. the ‘us’/‘them’ distinction functioned again. legitimacy requires the ongoing.

which. is a powerful ideological hybrid that. Militarisation. antagonistic bodies politic in order both to safeguard its own legitimacy and to re-define the contours of political communities. The paper makes the interesting point that neo-feudal corporatism goes hand in hand with the hectic militarisation of contemporary bodies politic the world over. This metaphor for understanding new and subtle aspects of the emerging world order does not only point to the inevitable continuities between politics and the media. orientalisation (equating western values with universal values and annihilating the cultural weight of the enemy) and (e)vilification (out-casting the enemy as an irrational force with a metaphysical wish for destruction and death. This point leads to the second issue to be addressed with respect to the construal of the ‘international community’ in discourses of the Iraq war. economic and cultural force in many societies. as a novel articulation of contemporary corporatism with the military basis and ethical code of feudal politics. Lilie Chouliaraki topi such as criminalisation (connecting Iraq with international terrorism). This is because militarisation requires the generation of new. military power is inextricably linked to soft power. manages to consolidate and increasingly expand the militarisation of bodies politic today. for the three categories see Lazar and Lazar 2004: 230–4). Graham and Luke propose the metaphor of neo-feudal corporatism in order to define the ‘international community’ as a new world order. the authors argue. the paper also spells out a challenge for critical discourse and political analysts. continuity and intensity . but further argues that hard. In so doing. however. The mutation. How should we be analysing new formations of power? And how should we be acting (if we can) within and upon the new socio-political world order? Contents of the volume Graham and Luke’s paper Militarising the Body Politic: New Mediations as Weapons of Mass Instruction opens up the section ‘The Iraq war in political discourse’. Neo-feudal corporatism understands key features of the current political discourse. negative evaluations of other. It is this cultural-moral dichotomy that enables the humanitarian argument of liberating Iraqis and removing Saddam’s global threat to occupy a strategic position in the project over the legitimacy of the war that I discussed above. but also of a broad range of other mediated discourses. and therefore it requires the power of language — soft power. Such evaluations of the antagonistic ‘other’ are inculcated by new and multiple mediations of meaning. by virtue of their global reach. primarily reveals itself as a political. in articulating fluently both Christian fundamentalism and Hollywood entertainment.

Machin and van Leeuwen’s paper. What is currently evidenced in the case of Iraq. diffusion. presents an analysis of the discourse of war that dominates the genre of contemporary war games. and one way of interpreting what we are now seeing in the case of Iraq is that a would-be hegemonic discourse is being materialised and enacted. The section ‘The Iraq war in media discourse’ is divided into the two contributions on new media. War Rhetoric of a Little Ally: Political Implicatures and Aznar’s Legitimatisation of the war in Iraq. such as maps and video clips. and the paper on the war footage of BBC television. Computer games as political discourse: The case of Black Hawk Down. The first paper on new media. These sites offered collections of news reports and other media texts. examines the speeches by José María Aznar held in Spanish parliament in 2003 justifying his decision to enter the coalition in the war against Iraq. This is a discourse. Teun van Dijk’s paper. ‘global security’. education and entertainment. The paper builds upon Graham and Luke’s point that contemporary bodies politic depend upon the power of discourse to rationalise military interventions and re-define international community. He argues that such analysis reveals significant sociopolitical aspects of Aznar’s discourse and gives insight into the broad bank of discursive resources through which the project of war is narrated and legitimised. Teaching the Iraqi War in on-line educational material. which became available on-line at the wake of the war. The authors provide an analysis of this educational material and critically discuss the conflictual ideological positioning it construes for both educators and students. and ‘international community’. and new discourses have emerged as imaginaries of alternative world orders. Mitsikopoulou and Koutsogiannis’ paper. and they were accompanied by detailed lesson plans with the purpose of integrating ‘breaking news’ into lessons. and bid for international hegemony of new discourses (and narratives) of international affairs. discusses educational material from the Scholastic and Rethinking Schools websites. the authors claim. Within a framework of multidisciplinary critical discourse analysis. Looking at Blair’s contribution to this process over the period 1999–2003. Fairclough argues. when in fact most attacks on terrorists are from the air and do  . that is dominated by individual heroes ambushing terrorists. is that old practices and doctrines have been perceived as outdated. rescuing hostages and so on. The section on political discourse continues with Fairclough’s contribution Doctrine of International Community. defined as inferences based on general and particular political knowledge as well as on the context models of Aznar’s speeches. Introduction: The soft power of war act as pervasive forms of public pedagogy. Fairclough critically engages with the emergence. A struggle for hegemony has opened up. Tony Blair’s contribution to an emergent hegemonic discourse of global security. van Dijk pays special attention to political implicatures. preparing ‘lessons of war’ and exploring the war impact on students.

according to Sony. The aspiration of this book is rather to provide snapshots of this struggle within two fields that are today instrumental in capturing our collective imaginary. All four assert the key role of soft power. more generally. the footage ultimately suppresses the broad ethical and political issues that lie behind the bombardment of Baghdad and. both effaces the presence of Iraqi people as human beings and sidelines the question of the coalition troops as bombers — rather than liberators — of the Iraqi people. This aesthetic register. There is more suffering to bear for the Iraqi people. Chouliaraki’s paper. The exercise of hard power. according to the ‘Iraqi Body Count’ investigations. This war is not yet over. the sublime. Its aspiration is also to illustrate the capacity of soft power not simply to provide a name for. the power of the media to cast cultural difference and political struggle in the language of military conflict and war. according to a scientifically valid prestigious but politically controversial study published at ‘The Lancet’. which estimate that 654. Finally. argues that the semiotic choices of the footage on the bombardment of Baghdad construe this catastrophic event within a specific aesthetic register. All media-related papers meet the Graham and Luke paper on political discourse in full-circle. The soft power of the polis It is obvious that the selection of papers in this book cannot exhaust the wide spectrum of public discourses that fought for a new hegemony over the legitimacy of the war and over the content and status of the international community today. politics and the media. the largest major international conflict of the . in so doing. Estimations on Iraqi casualties between March 2003 and November 2006 range from a ‘modest’ 49. the conduct of war in Iraq.5% of the Iraqi population has died in this. By rendering these identities irrelevant to the spectacle of the suffering. coalition troops fight daily to re-gain and re-pacify territories in Iraq. Still today. The study concludes: ‘Our data. and for Asian markets. once declared conquered. Machin and van Leeuwen discuss the way in which these games are localised for the USA (for example. Americans do not like to lose). up to a shocking 655.000. The pro-war bias in this BBC footage occurs precisely through this representation of warfare that denies the sufferer her humanity and relieves the bomber of his responsibility in inflicting the suffering.000. but. Spectacular Ethics: On the television footage of the Iraq war. as. even though the military operation ‘Iraqi Freedom’ was quickly completed. Lilie Chouliaraki not involve SAS type soldiers. by being made easier.965 or 2. becomes then a more feasible global project. war itself. to also help constitute the contemporary landscape of power and global order.

London: Verso. 21 October 2006. Ethnicities 3(4). Cardiff: Cardiff School of Journalism. L. Analysing Political Discourse. T. and so also what is just and what is unjust. Calhoun. there is for us in the West much more to write and argue for in that war. and Roberts. International Journal of Public Opinion Research 16(3): 295–310. and Leibhart. 531–68.  . Lafta. Report commissioned for the BBC. Embeds or In-beds? The Media Coverage of the War in Iraq. Introduction: The soft power of war 21st century. As Chilton argues. 368. It is the sharing of a common view in these matters that makes a household and a state. 2006. J. 2004. The Means to Success in World Politics. 1999. universal and particular are constantly shared. 2004.1421–1428. Lazar. Brooks. Issue 9545... drawing on Aristotle. P. and Threadgold. Soft Power. and Lazar. debated and subjected to criticism. just and unjust. De Cillia. Mosdell. R.. Lewis. London: Routledge. The Discursive Construction of National Identity. G. Doocy. R.. Discourse & Society 15 (2–3). 2003. Television. Lafta. The greatest aspiration of this volume is to take part in the broader conversation. just and unjust etc. Soft power is not a privilege of military and economic might. Doocy and Roberts 2006: 1426). For the real difference between man and other animals is that humans alone have perception of good and evil. N.. M. The discourse of the new world order. Chilton. Wodak. S. New York: Public Affairs. Reisigl. Lewis. J. A. where questions of true and false. Precarious Life. K. It is also the ‘stuff ’ of public life. indeed. 2003.. Butler. objective and biased. And. 2004.” (The Politics 1253a7: ibid) References Burnham. M. 2004. 2003. 223–43. pp. public opinion and the war in Iraq: The case of Britain.. R. J.Vol. ‘Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey’ in The Lancet . R.. Nye. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. should be of grave concern to everyone’ (Burnham. it is a very close link between the human faculty of speech and the propensity to live in the polis (2003: 5 and 198). G. The Powers of Mourning and Violence. J. ‘Belonging’ in the cosmopolitan imaginary. In Aristotle’s words “Speech…serves to indicate what is useful and what is harmful..


Our toil. … But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. the United States had no armaments industry. We recognize the imperative need for this development. resources and livelihood are all involved. Bush.000 word corpus of public utterances by three political leaders — George W. even spiritual — is felt in every city. we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. The total influence — economic. and John Howard — we identify and explicate defining characteristics of this system and how they are manifest in political language about the invasion of Iraq. every office of the Federal government. It is a statement by a military strategist and national hero whose credentials as such were never questioned by media . Using examples drawn from a 300. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. This chapter offers a counterclaim: that current geopolitical economy can be more usefully characterised as a form of neofeudal corporatism. Added to this. so is the very structure of our society. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations. ‘fast’ and ‘postmodern’ capitalism to explain the geopolitics of the Iraq War. political. three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. many critical scholars have extended the analytic vocabulary of ‘advanced’. Tony Blair.” Dwight Eisenhower (1961) Dwight Eisenhower’s 1961 ‘farewell address’ is a significant and prescient commentary fraught with historical ironies. Introduction “Until the latest of our world conflicts.The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq Phil Graham and Allan Luke University of Queensland / Nanyang Technological University Beginning from recent critical work on globalisation. every State house.

political. race and space. a polemical metaphor and an attempt at description of new social and discourse relations. affiliated ideologies of desire and destruction. “spiritual” and affective order. Elsewhere we have characterised the system as ‘neo-feudal corporatism’ (Graham and Luke 2003). This is at least in part because of the key role of dominant modes of mass . indeed. Nor did anybody living in those historical periods expressly theorise a system they called ‘feudalism’ or ‘mercantilism’. but rather a reinvention of an embodied and lived warrior state. indeed.12 Phil Graham and Allan Luke or political pundits. the scope of domestic corporations like GM and GE — even before the term ‘multinational’ was in common usage. We take these comments as a nascent but explicit recognition that this particular post-war nation-state was crossing an imaginary threshold: past an adjunct or responsive military capacity. even spiritual” influences on “the very structure of our society”. like the naming of epoch and culture. unprecedented moment in US geopolitical engagement. and the exact historical moment of its constitution in discourse. We use it to foreground our assertion that a qualitatively new set of social relations has gained predominance – not a return. It was delivered just months after the Quemoi and Matsu dispute between Taiwan and China. This was a new warrior corporatism of production. it is worth noting that comparatively few political economic systems have been as self-conscious and self-appellative as those that defined the twentieth century. and the escalation of Vietnam under the Kennedy administration. Without venturing into the various arguments about whether feudalism did or did not exist. shortly before the Bay of Pigs. The naming and renaming of political economy. Our use of the term ‘feudal’ is at once an anachronism. indeed. is often a retrospective matter. This is a key part of our argument. while contributing to. it would suffice to say that it was a crucial and. noting that the “defense establishment” exceeded. Without highlighting historical parallels. cultural and. past budgetary conventions of ‘peacetime’ national investment in armaments to a new kind of political. Neither feudalism nor mercantilism had theorists that called themselves ‘feudalist’ or ‘mercantilist’. consumption and. Major discourses around feudalism first appeared in the mid-eighteenth century as “an early essay in comparative jurisprudence” (Maitland 1888 in Brown 1974: 1064). Those who lived in systems characterised by historians as ‘feudal’ would most certainly have never described themselves as such (Brown 1974). Yet it is a profoundly ambivalent statement coming from a President/General. a statement by the modern patriarch of an internationalist Republican leadership who reigned over McCarthyism and the Cold War — a post-war lineage that leads us forty years later to the pronouncements of Bush’s war cabinet. Note Eisenhower’s description of “economic.

naming. scholars. inevitability and force that it has not had before. National Socialism.” (Giddens 2000) 13 . but with the fall of the Communist Soviet Union. The undergirding narrative of cultural and economic globalisation goes something like this: since the end of the Cold War and Fall of the Wall. Our question here is whether we are indeed living in a ‘capitalist order’. Hutton and Giddens 2000. communitarianism and so forth. progressive or conservative. multinational capitalism has emerged a clear victor over competing forms of state formation and economic organisation. Not just intellectuals and politicians. and public pundits of all persuasions express the view that the political economic system we live in can accurately be termed ‘capitalism’ (Fukuyama 1995. social relations and material consequences. whether as ideal type or historical version. This new capitalism differs from that of previous eras. Throughout the twentieth century it has been challenged from right and left. As much as such categorical affiliations can mark out difference. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq information in the establishment of self-legitimacy. Here is a typically hyperbolic statement about the state of capitalism: “Capitalism has become the universal social and economic order of our time. workers. fascism. politicians. communism. they can function in obfuscatory ways. it has emerged triumphant and stronger than ever before. Contemporary arguments for and against capitalism Capitalism. Soros 2000). but also less overtly legitimated and normalised systems such as collectivism. and by unfettered global financial markets. Capitalism has a speed. and students throughout the twentieth century have sought and found identity. aided by extraordinary advances in technology and communication. misrecognising and misrepresenting a global system of relations that may not count as capitalism per se. Harvey 2001. but also citizens. has triumphed. of free markets and flows of exchange — or indeed whether we have. crossed into a geopolitical economy that is materially. relationally and discursively different in kind and intensity. as Eisenhower’s comments anticipated. Jessop 2002. the contemporary wisdom of trade paperbacks and that which talk shows insist on. since the rise of multinationals and ‘branded’ consuming cultures. the vaunted ‘free market’ of individual enterprise and will. Whether claiming to be ‘left’ or ‘right’. which is our concern in this analysis. These include capitalism. however it is truly global. purpose and community by explicit reference to the various ‘isms’ that have been touted as labels for political economic systems as readily as they might have done the work of identity construction through religious and transcendental discourses.

indeed: (a) not be ‘capitalism’ per se. The most deleterious is that it tends to overwrite alternative political economic understandings and analyses. and they reify what is. Hence. Those acts were indeed horrendous. Yet the current tendency to unproblematically reify capitalism has a number of unhelpful effects. and. global system of political economic relations. we argue here. This is the oft-cited illusion. depending upon site. Taken together. ‘virtual capitalism’. ‘fast capitalism’. the scripted arguments ‘for’ and ‘against’ are trotted out and played. or adapt to the system. emergent ruling relations. These events consisted of buildings in the US being damaged or destroyed after they were hit by hijacked commercial airplanes. fight. relatedly. ‘multinational capitalism’. and so forth. particularly when viewed against the backdrop of near continual wars and everyday public health problems . necessarily. conditions and consequences. Blair and Howard in the events since September 11. even. a complex set of formations. That is to say. they have the effect of reinforcing the claim of ascendancy and monopoly. many current arguments about capitalism — for or against — constitute the assumption that capitalism is the extant universal.882 people. for better or worse. especially those aspects that have become most apparent in the pronouncements of Bush. over and over. locality and cultural history. its localised and generalisable conditions and effects. So. many critical scholars deconstruct and critique the current system without querying the conditions and contradictions of its naming and its very existence — without considering the possibilities that current conditions may. depending on one’s attitude towards capitalism in globalised conditions. (b) critical arguments against capitalism may be self-annulling by perpetuating a seamless veneer of comprehensiveness. most of whom were civilians. for better or worse. But what of an alternative naming and explication? In deploying the term ‘neo-feudal corporatism’ we wish to reject any characterisation of the current system as capitalism per se. and to foreground certain aspects of the current system that reveal its underlying character. ‘postmodern capitalism’ and. that there is no place outside of capitalism or no system other than capitalism is extant. when arguments about political economic systems are put forward. ‘global capitalism’.1 These material and discourse relations include. all that is left to contention is whether the singular phenomenon of capitalism is good or bad. and that we must therefore embrace. repeatedly leading to the inevitable conclusion that capitalism is unstoppable and universal. cohesiveness and historical inevitability. thereby causing the deaths of 2. In such a situation. Yet the number of deaths itself is not large in comparison with everyday violence in the US. there is a diversity of nuanced versions: ‘new capitalism’. 2001. ‘hypercapitalism’.14 Phil Graham and Allan Luke In public and academic discourse. whether it makes things worse or better. however intentionally. like a badly scratched record.

and the resurgent nation-state has once again become the focus of political dialogue.” (gwb09: 1213)3 In text (1) we see why the heretofore naturalised discourses of economic and cultural globalisation have been disrupted in the current context. technology. led by the new corporatist comitatus (of which more below). services and bodies have been repartitioned. realigned and redirected. its allies — our coalition. the ubiquitous flows of globalised capital. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. The axis of evil is bent on hurting the United States. The world is once again divided into ‘for’ and ‘against’ everything the US allegedly ‘stands for’. ‘globalism’ and parochial versions of the ‘nation’. the US and its allies responded by first invading Afghanistan and then Iraq. New policies were drafted and passed. the binary opposition pivots around the notion of a “civilized world” and its ostensive other. This is a regime that has something to hide from the civilized world. Here is an example of text from George Bush that in effect redefines the parameters and participants of any new globalism: (1) “This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens — leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children.. the move here is not to construct self/other in relations that have been familiar in analyses of contemporary capitalism (e. and their terrorist allies. giving them the means to match their hatred. This is a regime that agreed to international inspections — then kicked out the inspectors. as if it were a free-standing semiotic. ostensibly to protect people from further terrorism. to an axis of evil comprised of terrorists with state sponsors. This is discourse uttered by the head of the world’s most powerful army. constitute an axis of evil. The Patriot Act is one such policy (de Beaugrande 2004). the price of indifference would be catastrophic. In this regard. The ‘evil’ other is an amorphous entity presented in agnate movements from a regime. By seeking weapons of mass destruction. and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction. arming to threaten the peace of the world. We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials. as has occurred during the current electoral campaigns in the US and Australia). information.g. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq throughout the developing world since ‘decolonialisation’. They could provide these arms to terrorists.2 Following these events. to States like these that have terrorist allies. But chillingly. goods. and it frames and promotes antagonism and violence between opposed nation-states organised into blocs. amplified and reframed as they were by a global mass media system. between ‘free markets’ and ‘regulation’. States like these. In consequence. Bush’s comments 15 . Instead. these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. ‘Homeland Security’ Ministries and Departments were developed throughout the world. especially among ‘the coalition of the willing’. the uncivilised. In any of these cases. or even between ‘democracy’ and ‘oppression’.

an isolationist nation. writers. uniformity of product and message. the US was expressly. if only for its contribution to the reversal of widespread isolationist sentiment. indeed. and immigrant organisations comprised of ‘the foreign born’ all became media for the militarising function of the CPI (1939: 12–16). civic organisations such as the Boy Scouts. colonisation and. The domestic section of the CPI was explicitly a discoursal weapon — it “had for its aim the instruction of the public for entering the war and historical matter of an educational nature” (Larson and Mock 1939: 14). educators. George Creel was charged with ‘preparing’ the United States for the First World War through the Committee on Public Information (hereafter.000. the CPI successfully reached and influenced a massive cumulative audience. Processes of militarisation and the character of political forms Rather than via the historically durable means of impressment. in the last century mass media campaigns and public discourse became the stock and trade of the militarisation and mobilisation of bodies politic (Graham and Luke 2003). “women’s organizations. If current media are characterised by ‘wall to wall’ messaging. and translators”. textual and ideological branding and ‘choice’ masquerading as diversity — early media campaigns were Fordist in their conception: focusing on integrity of initial design. cartoonists. saturation.16 Phil Graham and Allan Luke harken back to an earlier historical discourse of empire. photographers. if not actually. CPI) (Creel 1920. Larson and Mock 1939. The CPI’s success in galvanising popular support for the US to enter the war in Europe was remarkable. We find prototypical moves in the Creel Committee’s efforts during World War I. churches. Creel manufactured a first approximation of a militarising American polis coordinated through mass mediation. with quantity of production. force or coercion. In successfully selling war to the US public. Lasswell 1927. “novelists. and other artists. film. Steele 1970). Despite the lack of instantaneous electronic mass media at the time.4 The CPI enlisted every available communications technology for organising public opinion: press. This was achieved largely by volunteer “writers.000 pieces of literature” (1939: 14). their original normative grounds: the civilisation and domestication of barbarity. As Creel put it then: . painters. within only two years. seizure of chattel or lands. mass and elite. The messages were staged to cut across popular and ‘high culture’. distribution and quality assurance substituting for speed and replicability. replicability. and theatre. 1941. and strong local networking/dealership/franchising. formal and informal outlets. and professors”. and schools”. who. disseminated “more than 75. Lutz 1933. At the time.

the spoken word. the world’s greatest adventure in advertising” (Creel 1920). of a democracy depends upon the degree to which each one of all the people of that democracy can concentrate and consecrate body and soul and spirit in the supreme effort of service and sacrifice. and to this day a symbol of the draft. the sign-board — all these were used in our campaign to make our own people and all other peoples understand the causes that compelled America to take arms. putatively ‘grassroots’ push (local soapboxes) with a centrally developed and replicable apparatus of multimedia production. the CPI built a militarised public consciousness often. the object of caricatures fifty years later in the Anti-War Movement. periodicals. a vast enterprise in salesmanship. Creel’s approach combined a locally-based. and civic organisations. It remains a powerful and recognisable icon of the militarised US body politic. and legislative acts. the cable. words. reaching a total audience in excess of 300 million people (Larson and Mock 1939: 14–15). The poster had a print run of four million during the 18 months of the CPI’s activities and made such a successful and lasting impression that it was used throughout WWII for recruitment. in what Creel called “a plain publicity proposition. devotion. gave prepared speeches four minutes in length “on behalf of war aims at a theatre or other meeting place”. The establishment of a nationally organised and centralised body for the propagation of warlike attitudes in the US — and for the suppression of pacifist ones — was a milestone in strategic mass communication.” (Creel 1920: 5) Creel’s ‘Four-Minute Men’. through thousands of newspapers. courage. All that was fine and ardent in the civilian population came at our call until more than one hundred and fifty thousand men and women were devoting highly specialized abilities to the work of the Committee. and deathless determination. The war-will. In the space of two years. without the aid of electronic mass media. In this way. the wireless. more than forty films were made in the glorification of the war effort (Creel 1920). the poster. magazines. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq “There was no part of the great war machinery that we did not touch. […] What we had to have was no mere surface unity. the telegraph.000 “locally endorsed speakers”. if not continually. A notable example of the latter was the personification of the US body politic in James Montgomery Flagg’s Uncle Sam. the will-to-win. At the same time. slogans. but a passionate belief in the justice of America’s cause that should weld the people of the United States into one white-hot mass instinct with fraternity. no medium of appeal that we did not employ. What had to be driven home was that all business was the nation’s business and every task a common task for a single purpose. as faithful and devoted in their service as though they wore the khaki. remoulded into 17 . The printed word. the US Army and Uncle Sam. which first gained recognition in the I want you army recruitment poster (Library of Congress 2002). in pictures. in an effort that predated the emergence of broadcast mass media in the interwar period. comprised of 75. the motion picture.

That spirit of America is so strong and so alive. across generations. just as Bush had promised to bring US troops home in a debate with Al Gore prior to the 2000 elections. political parties and contexts. History will show that a prayer was said. but out of the evil is a new spirit.18 Phil Graham and Allan Luke what he termed white-hot instinct of … determination. Imagine what went through their minds. the body remembers. 2001. Because the spirit of this country. but a more compassionate and hopeful and decent America for every citizen who’s lucky enough to live in this country. to serve something greater than themselves. one soul. perhaps best represented by the folks on Flight 93. excites a multitude of historical sentiments. a selfless spirit. He created an elaborate symbolic apparatus which. No. out of the evil done to this country. It captures what I know is the strength of our country. It’s more than just making a living. People were flying across the land and they heard the airplane they were on was going to be a weapon. parts of which are quite ancient and. one conscience at a time. embodied in memory and habitus. a vitality of the American spirit. The story. and it is this very body that is being recalled and remoulded. asynchronous. media convergence and cross-media marketing and messaging. indeed. 2001. he created a set of symbols and attitudes. is alive and well. ‘Let’s roll. is going to come incredible good. Wilson had narrowly won the 1916 presidential election with the slogan ‘He kept us out of war’. And one way to best serve your country is to love your neighbor just like you’d like to be loved yourself. which have been used to militarise the US body politic ever since. at present. serve their country. with nothing like current patterns of corporate ownership. not only a peaceful world. At the same time. The responsibility of a true patriot is somebody who’s willing to serve something greater than themselves. Creel successfully assaulted public memory and significantly contributed to the historical construction of the most powerful militarised body politic in history. it allows me to boldly predict that.’ These citizens took the plane into the ground to save lives. tragedy. To paraphrase Bourdieu (1990). The precedent of Creel’s work tells us a great deal about the information and discourse practices visible and durable in the US. They eventually got their thoughts together. and strategies for deploying these. is going to be one of the profound stories of the September the 11th. less than twelve months prior to the CPI. board and CEO control.” (gwb16: 3441) . Bush: (2) “I strongly believe that America is going to change one heart. This was achieved in a far less centralised. they called their loved ones and said goodbye and I love you. when set in motion. there was tremendous evil done to America. There are thousands of people all across New Orleans and Louisiana and all across America who understand the responsibility of being an American. These residual traditions are evident in the following words spoken by George W. especially since the events of September 11. Ironically. One guy said. and unruly media blend. in my judgment.

It was organised around the institution of “the feudum or fief ”. a group of warriors whose political organisation was based on personal loyalties to a chief or king. being comprised of free men “who considered the bearing of arms a distinction and companionship with a famous warrior a source of honor” (1941: 796). incredible good and great evil. These. We are fighting a variety of enemies. of course. relies on personal loyalties. and conflated in text (2) in order to promote a militarised public consciousness. A system of tenure called vassalage thus emerged. It was also a personal relationship. the heroic individual and the victory of the nation. was at the core of the feudal political system (Koehl 1960. we argue. the promise of a coming utopia are all opposed. This is total war. That is entirely 19 . juxtaposed. the basis of tenure being “essentially military because the original vassalage was a military relationship” (1941: 797–8). It focuses on five areas of management weakness across the government where improvements and the most progress can be made. land and other tenures were granted to leading members of the Charlemagne’s comitatus (1941: 793). Here (3) is an exemple of neofeudal corporatist discourse: (3) “No stages. Under Charlemagne and his successors. reliant upon the dual acts of homage and fealty by the vassal to the lord (Bloch 1961). well-practiced discourse strategies. There are lots of them out there. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq Ancient sacrifice and new technologies. and Christianity. The comitatus of feudal society is a prototype of today’s neofeudal corporatist system. and were subject to his judicial control” (Stephenson 1941: 792). then we take a look around and see how things stand. Above all. civic responsibility. Stephenson 1941. Creel and the development of corporate comitatus “The President’s Management Agenda. The comitatus “was essentially a public relationship: the followers swore fealty to their leader. benefices. 1943: 245). It was also “fundamentally aristocratic”. then we will do Iraq. are archetypal. announced in the summer of 2001. and the arbitrary exercise of executive power. tenures. an appeal to the spirit of patriotism. gave him warlike service. aristocratic privilege and mass media campaigns alike. and. it is now quite overtly reorganised and mobilised around militaristic and militarising pursuits. those of epic poems. The system is global in reach.” (Office of Management and Budget 2004) The comitatus. religious sentiment. out of an urge to create a Europe-wide system of political organisation. is an aggressive strategy for improving the management of the Federal government. All this talk about first we are going to do Afghanistan.

We must use our full resources. Perle has a long involvement in defence industries. … We can no longer make only partial use of the war potential at home and throughout Europe. and “serves as a director of a company doing business with the federal government: the Autonomy Corporation. We could argue.” (Richard Perle 2001. The efforts we take to meet it must be just as enormous. Thus the National Socialist ideology made much of ‘Germanic’ feudalism and condemned the modern state both for its autocratic and its bureaucratic elements. as cited in Dixon 2001) Besides holding an influential defence policy role in the US administration. and in the formation of its ruling relations. and we don’t try to … piece together clever diplomatic solutions … but just wage a total war against these tyrants. National Socialism was an incipient and crude form of neofeudal corporatism. … The danger facing us is enormous. that in its militarism and expansionism. Our children will sing great songs about us years from now. As Koehl puts it. That is to say.20 Phil Graham and Allan Luke the wrong way to go about it … If we just let our vision of the world go forth. the model for all political relationships … National Socialists denied allegations that the ‘leadership principle’ was equivalent to unrestrained and arbitrary tyranny … Far from extolling naked force. the Führerprinzip was ‘the rediscovery of the basis of political power: loyalty. Such a claim would be facile.” (Goebbels 1943/44: 167–204) National Socialism was a distinctly feudal form of political organisation (Koehl 1960). a British firm that recently won a major federal contract” (Hersh 2003). Consequently. rather than being the his- . as quickly and thoroughly as it is organizationally and practically possible. though. the National Socialists “quite consciously turned to feudal and medieval models for political relationships” (1960: 921). But note the claims here: that partiality and anything less than ‘totality’ will not do. He remains a partner in Trireme. ‘Total war’ is an attractive financial scenario for people in defence industries.’ And behind that loyalty lay the ‘full and honest acceptance of responsibility’ by the strong. use of media and symbols. and we embrace it entirely. Unnecessary concern is wholly out of place. … Those who today do not understand that will thank us tomorrow on bended knees that we courageously and firmly took on the task.” (Koehl 1960: 922) This is not to say that the current global system we are calling neofeudal corporatism is modelled on National Socialism. I think we will do very well. a company that invests in homeland defence. and that “Our children will sing great songs about us years form now”. The time has come to remove the gloves and use our fists. the “comitatus (Gefolgschaft) for the Nazis was the natural political unit. Contrast the claims and key metaphor in Perle’s comments with the statement below: “Total war is the demand of the hour.

particularly for its professionalism. … In order to achieve peace all countries in our region must take responsibility to do their best to fight off terror. he has immense admiration for the US military. indeed. Yet at the same time this is homage to his most honoured liege (see also Fairclough. there is a clear deference to US military power evident in Blair’s words. and I know the Prime Minister joins me as we mourn the loss of life. the rightness of which is apparently unquestionable. 21 . John Howard. as well as our own pride in our own forces during the course of this conflict. The elements of neofeudal corporatism that we identify above are present in political language about the invasion of Iraq. technological modes of information. we are bound by the strong conviction that freedom belongs to everybody and that we have got to work together to make the world a more peaceful place.” (gwb_tb01: 56) This is well in keeping with the spirit of comitatus: Blair is a friend to Bush. This is most marked by his deference to their leadership. Bush and Blair are bound by a common code and a common purpose. at the heart of the Frankfurt School suspicion over mass culture and media such as radio and television (Adorno 2001). The pact of comitatus is echoed by Blair in response: (5) “Once again let me thank President Bush for coming here. he is a strong leader. While he naturally feels pride for British force. a strong leader — a companion in war. The latter point was. pays homage to both Blair and Bush. Australia’s Prime Minister who once referred to his nation as America’s ‘Deputy-Sheriff ’ in the Asia-Pacific region. This is a strong alliance. George Bush: (4) “Prime Minister Blair … He is a friend.” (gwb_tb06: 982) Along with a reaffirmation of the bond between Blair and Bush. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq torical aberration in the apparently seamless political development of democratic and capitalist Anglo/European nation-states that it is often portrayed as. we are strong allies and I think day by day the proof of the wisdom of that alliance grows. this volume). a ruling state/corporate military complex based upon an overarching and comprehensive set of discourse strategies and unprecedented manipulation of dominant. and there are recognisable hierarchies of allegiance expressed within such language. This was something more in kind and intensity than the ‘print capitalism’ (Anderson 1991) affiliated with the emergence of the European nation-state three centuries before. Personal bondage between representatives of the bodies politic that comprise ‘the coalition of the willing’ is evidenced throughout the language of their political leaders. we have watched with immense admiration the skill and tenacity and professionalism of the American forces. the key word of corporatist business here applied to organised and massive violence. it may well be the case that National Socialism modelled a form of political ‘progress’ in the West that is ascendant. Let me say.

Yet it was a noted function of ‘globalisation’ to disperse corporate ownership and membership whilst simultaneously separating ownership from control and . Howard takes the opportunity to remind Australians that they owe allegiance to the US because the Australian body politic is its vassal. Typical of the corporatist register. is difficult to comprehend. The United States is the most powerful country in the world. the hegemon to whom Howard pays homage and tribute is not ‘the United States’ or ‘Americans’ per se. often wind up providing support to opposing sides of an armed conflict. And I think he’s shown a very strong commitment to a set of attitudes and to an outcome and he’s given very impressive leadership. advocating perpetual war whilst in one’s residence in Provence. or at best only ostensive ones. What is required to be a defence advisor for the US government. and its long-term security depends on doing service to the US at its bidding (compare with van Dijk. for example. Richard Perle. a corporate and corporatist constituency that has no national roots. backstage presence in geopolitics. this volume).” (jh40: 502) Once again. with a quiet.443) Howard pays public respect to the leadership of Bush and expresses his admiration for the leadership of Tony Blair. Australia’s political leader goes a step further in establishing a relation of vassalage: (7) “America has given very strong leadership to the world on the issue of Iraq. It’s easy to attack the President of the United States.” (jh14: 2. they’re an easy mark for all the critics and all the people who have grumbles. indeed. a code of valour. […] Alliances are two-way processes and our alliance with the United States is no exception and Australians should always remember that no nation is more important to our long-term security than that of the United States. Corporate raiders of the US body politic Yet. maintains a residence in Provence (Russell 2003). And can I also say as a fellow participant in a parliamentary system of government how much I admire the leadership of Tony Blair on this issue. constituting a massive service and supply network that may. the issue of Iraq is presented as a management problem that has been solved through strong leadership. It provides the kind of stage and set management for geopolitical and military action. It is the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned against. which in the current context refers to management strategies. the invasion and destruction of an entire country is reduced and sanitised to become merely an issue that can be solved through strong leadership. Once again there is a reference to a set of attitudes.22 Phil Graham and Allan Luke (6) “I do want to record my respect for the leadership displayed by President Bush.

it has operations in 69 countries (CSC 2003). and primary supply complex. Whether commercial or theological. and those of other corporations awarded ‘massive’ contracts (predicted to be worth more than $US100 billion) for ‘dynamic reconstruction’ in ‘post-conflict’ Iraq. Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. executive. and distancing of ownership. legislative. regardless of the particular domains in which a corporate entity operates (cf. Interested applicants must be active duty. Saul 1997). Saul 1997). dispersion. World Trade Executive 2003). commercial. the corporate constituents of the new hegemon are globally dispersed yet systematically interdependent parts of a global administrative. (DAOL). Roe 2000. DynCorp is an exemple. While its corporate headquarters are in California. In fact. financial. In 2003 it was recruiting ‘rent-a-cops’ for the newly ‘liberated’ Iraq. including Bosnia. correctional officers or experienced judicial experts. DynCorp’s advertisement for new positions in Iraq conveys a sense of the complex and confusing relationships that have been forged in the new environment: “On behalf of the United States Department of States. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq distancing administrative activities from productive ones. to participate in an international effort to 23 . US citizenship is required. confusing. Colombia. For shareholders of CSC. and BT (British Telecom) (CSC 2003). at best. service. is seeking individuals with appropriate experience and expertise to participate in an international effort to re-establish police. DynCorp’s new owner. Afghanistan. administrative. DynCorp Aerospace Operations (UK) Ltd. a direct function of globalisation has been the de-territorialisation. CSC had 119. media or military. retired or recently separated sworn police officers. was the first software company to be publicly listed (in 1964) and has operated since 1959 — its major clients include Raytheon (makers of Patriot missiles and significant amounts of other military hardware). corporate ‘nationality’ is entirely irrelevant (cf. justice and prison functions in post-conflict Iraq. D&B (formerly Dunn & Bradstreet).340 globally dispersed shareholders. and productive functions. a commercial liability (Klein 2000. just as it has done in other places around the world. where it “reviews security clearance applications of military and civilian personnel for the Navy” (Chatterjee 2003). or judicial in function. the United States Marines. a CSC Company. on a prima facie basis.” (DynCorp 2003) An ‘aerospace operations’ company purporting to be located in the United Kingdom recruiting a private-sector police force for the US Federal government to impose order on a country in the Middle East and requiring employees be US citizens is. outsourcing. In this global order. Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). Allegiance to particular national or regional labour forces has become. and the US. At June 2002. many of whom are themselves publicly listed corporations (CSC 2002: 61).

and the proper national citizenship/immigration/social security status — Creel’s ‘white hot intensity’ to hit the trenches of the First World War appears to be optional.24 Phil Graham and Allan Luke re-establish police. Now they must rise to the responsibilities of a free people and secure the blessings of their own liberty. Kellner 2002). Here is how the various benefices of neofeudal corporatism are expressed in Bush’s political language: (8) “From the outset. justice and prison functions. all that is needed is the requisite skill sets. and from the damage those weapons and facilities cause. People such as Perle function as corporate lobbyists — courtesans — who now have direct control of the world’s most powerful military force. booty. which we expect will cost $66 billion over the next year. We will provide funds to help them improve security. the largest of which have military connections (Centre for Responsive Politics 2003. the White House. I have expressed confidence in the ability of the Iraqi people to govern themselves. The Bush administration parcelled out reconstruction contracts. such as those given to Halliburton and Bechtel. Afghanistan and elsewhere. This budget request will also support our commitment to helping the Iraqi and Afghan people rebuild their own nations. and also in Afghanistan. Halliburton has received “billions of dollars worth of reconstruction contracts” in ‘post-war’ Iraq (Jehl 2003). after decades of oppression and mismanagement. Benefice. before the Iraq war had even begun (Center for Responsive Politics 2003b). it is a ‘win-win’ situation. The request will cover ongoing military and intelligence operations in Iraq. the rewards of loyal military service usually granted in the form of land or entitlements to draw revenues from the produce of a land and its people. The close links between transnational corporations. Vice-President Dick Cheney received a million dollars per year in ‘deferred compensation’ payments from Halliburton since retiring as the corporation’s CEO immediately after his nomination as Bush’s running mate in 2000 (CBS Broadcasting 2003. We have conducted a thorough assessment of our military and reconstruction needs in Iraq. job competences. There are revenues from weaponry and military facilities. And we will help them to restore . Our strategy in Iraq will require new resources. Many members of the cabinet have intimate ties to transnational corporations. For the corporations involved. and the ‘reconstruction’ of Iraq A defining feature of feudalism was the distribution of benefices. and the Pentagon in the current US administration are well documented. Cable News Network 2000). I will soon submit to Congress a request for $87 billion.

is tied to American trade and commerce. and medical clinics.” (tb21:1. he says this: (9) “All this stuff in the media about the Americans giving out the contracts. which fell from $302 million in 1998 to less than zero — to wit. American aid. legally under American law. but they must rise to secure those. American aid is certainly tied to a national body politic: it is paid for by American taxpayers. with the largest contractor being a subsidiary of Halliburton. such as electricity and water. as if the campaign of destruction that the government itself branded ‘Shock and Awe’ were not a primary cause of reconstruction needs. Blair’s statement there is no question of us trying to tie up British or American commercial interests with this is factually accurate — for it is a requirement of US 25 . Responding to widespread public criticism about the way the US administration awarded reconstruction contracts. not the Americans. he shifts the blame for the need for reconstruction on decades of oppression and mismanagement. an $85 million rebate — in 1999” (Huffington 2002). the corporations that were awarded the major reconstruction contracts in Iraq are transnational. This effort is essential to the stability of those nations. and to build new schools. So the actual American aid that America is giving to Iraq. “the number of Halliburton subsidiaries registered in tax-friendly locations”. That is a completely different thing from the reconstruction contracts for Iraq itself that will be let by the interim Iraqi authority and it will be up to them to decide. However. to our own security. Yet in an ironic way.” (gwb35: 1. such as the Cayman Islands. The American trade and commerce that Blair refers to is ‘American’ in name only. with a significant proportion of its operational profits and revenue flows flowing moving offshore to tax-havens (Huffington 2002).661) Bush’s benefices here are said to be parcelled out to the people of Afghanistan and Iraq. He firstly bequeaths them the blessings of their own liberty. There is no question of us trying to tie up British or American commercial interests with this. but for them to decide who gets those contracts. “ballooned from nine in 1995 to 44 in 1999”. Blair’s account follows. The $87 billion he is requisitioning from the taxpayers of the US is. or anybody else to decide. or the British. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq basic services. Blair’s attempt to distance the flows from American national benefices is accurate. to be paid mostly to corporate contractors to repair the damage of mass bombing campaigns. thus resulting in a “dramatic drop in Halliburton’s federal taxes. as if oppression were not a form of ‘mismanagement’. roads. Under Cheney’s leadership. and therefore.937) Now common knowledge confirmed by various branches of the US government. they let the contracts for their own companies. all that has happened is this. It is true but misleading of Blair to identify American aid with American trade and commerce. So again a lot of these stories are not actually correct. of course.

prisons. Howard is far more subservient and far less expectant than Blair. and. indeed. there is a legal requirement for corporate benefice in the structure of US Federal law. Since making this statement.” (jh11:177) The lure of a free trade agreement between Australia and the US appears to have been a deciding factor in Australia’s involvement in the ‘coalition of the willing’ (Davidson 2003). both the free trade . (10) “Well ladies and gentlemen as you know I’ll be going shortly to the United States where I’ll see President Bush and I’ll have the opportunity of spending some time with him and Mrs Bush at the Bush family ranch in Texas. particularly in corporatised universities seeking defence and intelligence contracts. Moore 2003). present this process via infotainment to the world as of great benefit to the people whose land has been occupied by force. in these same networks). There are no expectations here. The reference to reconstruction is worth comment. circumstances in our own region and most particularly North Korea and it will be an opportunity of course with the fairly extensive amount of time for bilateral discussions to cover each of these issues in some detail. Consequently. through global media networks. When it was announced in Australia that the US administration would only allow US corporations to bid for reconstruction contracts. establish and sustain a broad array of affiliated research and development activities to sustain these activities. and they have done so for many decades (cf. Saul 1997. In the matter of benefice. Yet here is a heavily modalised expectation that such an agreement will eventuate — it is merely possible progress towards such an agreement. research organisations and agencies. the extension of the corporate complex identified by Eisenhower. oil mining and refining. the heart of the nobleman’s fief.26 Phil Graham and Allan Luke law that contracts funded by US aid must go to US companies. merely to be in the presence of the US President is an opportunity. national and transnational NGOs (this is to say nothing of the intrication of university boards. sea port management. Weapons. regardless of where they pay taxes. especially since the meeting is to take place in the Bush family ranch. representatives of the Australian corporate sector were publicly outraged (Inbaraj 2003). the possible progress on a free trade agreement between Australia and the United States. and a broad range of philanthropic. For Howard. electricity and water supplies. a corollary of Reaganomic era ‘privatisation’ and. We’ll talk about the bilateral relationship. reconstruction. the comitatus can now plan and launch a war. the challenge ahead in Iraq. only hopes for beneficence. policing and other security functions — practically every ‘essential’ service in the US is provided by a member of its corporate comitatus. In other words. The most influential members of the comitatus populate the US cabinet and presidential advisory boards. parcel out reconstruction contracts for essential services. control the extraction of precious minerals and metals.

massive. a type of social organization designed to produce and support cavalry” (White 1962: 3). Research. Like ‘second age’ feudalism. military personnel. globally operative. proprietary discretion. it arises from and accelerates a “profound weakening of the State” (1961: 441–452). private security firms. yet leaving the traditional Australian rural sectors to cry foul over the effects of the agreement. executive privilege. and military force (cf. the expenditure on organised legitimate violence and the suppression of organised illegitimate violence. systematic corporate subjection (or the subjection of one group to another) through ties of political and economic interdependence. When added to the increasingly outsourced and corporatised security budgets more generally — police. Bloch 1961: 345–354). Since the second age of feudalism. excess agricultural production was promoted for the seasonal maintenance of a professional military class. few political forms have achieved such degrees of distance between ruling elites and the ruled. the largest item of trade in tangible things is the trade in arms (Saul 1997: 21). jails. The currently dominant form of social organisation is ‘designed’ (in the same loose sense) to produce and support high-tech. intelligence services. public relations campaigns. government personnel. ministerial. Most historians accept that “feudalism was essentially military. In feudal societies. border protection forces. multilateral peace-keeping forces — along with the various and invariably large bureaucratic. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq agreement and Australian business involvement in the reconstruction ‘Bonanza’ in Iraq have been secured by the Australian government. confusing distinctions between property rights. Today. and the highest of economic priorities being placed on the maintenance of a professional military class. and multi-million dollar movie budgets can all be put under the banner of military expenditure (Herman and Chomsky 1988/1994). “the rigorous economic subjection” of the great majority of people “to a few powerful men”. the feudal aspects of our current age are characterised by contractual allegiances underwritten by an intense religiosity and militarism. But the predominance of militaristic values only begins with armaments. 27 . and administrative organisations associated with these combined parts of the disciplinary industrial complex. Neofeudal corporatism and the militarised body politic The most overt similarity between our current age and that of feudalism proper is the social logic of a ‘permanent arms economy’ — the very phenomenon which Eisenhower described in his farewell remarks (White 1962). “the identification of wealth … with power”. Far from reflecting a new totalising force of the state. corporately owned military institutions.

. The global mediations of corporate militarism reach into practically every level of consumer society. pension funds. Daimler-Benz). EMI). physical. telecommunications and IT companies (Siemens. As Arnold Pacey (1999/2001) points out. NEC. Ford. whites against non-whites — as violence that produces good things. We tend to regard certain forms of violence — violence that pits advanced against primitive peoples. development and manufacturing. media and entertainment companies (CBS. As one commentator notes: “The special history of the United States has given us a very unique mythology of violence.28 Phil Graham and Allan Luke both domestic and transnational. As we shall see just below. aerospace manufacturers (Boeing. Rolls Royce. It would appear that the military industrial complex identified by Eisenhower now has grown to include both its Creel-like modes of information and a transnational service industry devoted to the amelioration. Texas Instruments. produces civilization. Hence. Militarism is also a pervasive production value for corporatist culture industries. This is a practice that began with Creel. General Motors). and purposive. General Electric). in CDI. the fact that extreme and explicit violence is a staple theme in the mass entertainment economy should give pause for concern. mortgages and insurance.” (Slotkin 1994. or by direct or indirect taxation. Toshiba). British Aerospace). then by investments. between individual and collective interests. household appliances (Samsung. Fiat. 1994) It would be one thing if such ‘entertainments’ were merely a by-product of a social consciousness which had emerged from total immersion in militaristic forms of life. strategic. NBC. within that. The density and reach of corporatist mediations make it impossible to delineate militaristic mediations along public-private lines. the Center for Defense Information (CDI) details almost a century of direct and conscious involvement by the military in the production of movies. is staggering. HMV. if not by direct consumption. produces progress. and car makers (General Motors. mollification and ‘mopping up’ of its human. or. Consumers (‘commoners’) thus are now woven into a global network of militarised corporate mediations at almost every level of existence. But militaristic production values are direct. Mitsubishi. Consumers and investors consequently cannot help but subsidise military research. however directly or indirectly. or between general activity and specifically military activity. produces moral advancement. IBM. ecosystemic and discoursal effects. Among the largest corporate manufacturers of military hardware and software can be found some of the world’s largest personal finance companies (General Electric. national budget deficits stand like medieval levies to raise armies and support the vassal. which was designed to impress upon the public the virtues of military ideals and technologies (CDI 1997). Lockheed Martin.

a place that was to become the promised Heaven on Earth. and we pray for your safety and your strength. You live by a code of honor. and technology (Mumford 1964. The weight of Christianity’s evangelical history. your friends and comrades who paid the ultimate price for our security and freedom. a conceit reiterated time and time again by early Protestants. “all America … became a bloody arena. the settlers of the New World “carried with them their typical medieval institutions and continued the same processes” (Mumford 1964: 7. Upon settling the New World. all at a fatal toll to indigenous communities and ecosystems. His discourse resonates with the millenarian consciousness that has infused technocratic elites throughout the West since at least the twelfth century (Noble 1997). in which Europeans fought out their ancient rivalries” (Ellis 1966: 13) between nations. Bush is hailed as “God’s President” by the Christian Right (Conason 2002). The seed crystals of neofeudal corporatism were transported to the Americas in incipient form. unquestioning loyalty. in (11). Each one of you has answered a great call. (11) “On this Thanksgiving. as you continue to defend America and to spread freedom. the code of honor. is the joint burden of Americans and God. May God bless you all. Again. I bring greetings from America. are all invoked by the priest-king-warrior who asks for God’s blessings upon his military cohort as he 29 . Not surprisingly. The New World was thought to be the ‘new Eden’. I’m proud to be your Commander-in-Chief. is actually medieval in origin and spirit” (Noble 1997: 9). see also White 1965). their loved ones and their friends. Even the most modern aspects of the US — its extensive technological dynamism — can be attributed to the feudal spirit: the “dynamic project of Western technology. Our military is full of the finest people on the face of the earth. Noble 1997). the historical depths of the feudal comitatus relationship are summarised and drawn upon: sacrifice of life in the glory of the greater good. resurrected in Ronald Reagan’s frequent invocation of Puritan ‘Shining city on the Hill’ (Fitzgerald 1986) and reflected in later US attitudes to war. “far from starting life anew”. Bush’s discourse is redolent with intertextual references to high feudal sentiment. religions and tribes. according to this Chief Executive. the defining mark of modernity. religion. our nation remembers the men and women of our military. the unbridled praise of military service above all else (the finest people on earth).” (gwb06: 600) Here. races. participating in an historic moment in world history. with the safety and the security of your fellow citizens. of service to your nation. historical consequence. We ask for God’s blessings on their families. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq The roots of US feudalism and their continued re-emergence It is worth remembering that the Europeans first came to the Americas at the height of feudalism.

time and time again — the body politic has to be remediated into existence. the will-towin. devotion. Even now. must address and overcome the same divisions as Creel: (12) “Beyond all differences of race or creed. They embrace tyranny and death as a cause and a creed. Deep in the American character. The activities of the CPI helped to build. we are one country. Rarely has the world faced a choice more clear or consequential. the US is far from homogeneous. What we had to have was no mere surface unity. mourning together and facing danger together. the nation was “torn by a thousand divisive prejudices.” (Creel 1920) At the inception of its westernisation. stunned by the voices of anger and confusion. as Ellis (1966) points out. But it must be remembered that it is only a mere 140 years since the most devastating civil war tore the country apart. And many have discovered again that even in tragedy — especially in tragedy — God is near. This is a fact that remains evident to anyone who has toured the US to any extensive degree. on the day of our founding. made long ago.” (gwb09: 3. and it is stronger than cynicism. a miniature of mediaeval Europe — fractured. We affirm it again today. North America was. The war-will. We choose freedom and the dignity of every life. that we’ve been called to a unique role in human events. Bush. These were conditions that could not be permitted to endure. a future of evercloser collaborations between public and private organisations. Our enemies send other people’s children on missions of suicide and murder. fragmented. too. and deathless determination. we realized that this will be a decisive decade in the history of liberty. We stand for a different choice. crusades and barbarians. and clearly heralded. and violently antagonistic. of a democracy depends upon the degree to which each one of all the people of that democracy can concentrate and consecrate body and soul and spirit in the supreme effort of service and sacrifice. This is nothing less than a narrative of the divine right of regents. so much so that Creel’s efforts have had to be repeated. there is honor. courage. an exercise in the production of mass mediated meanings designed to unite the nation symbolically and attitudinally. What had to be driven home was that all business was the nation’s business and every task a common task for a single purpose. but a passionate belief in the justice of America’s cause that should weld the people of the United States into one white-hot mass instinct with fraternity.838) The welding of America into Creel’s ‘white-hot mass instinct’ was an achievement of discourse. It remains.30 Phil Graham and Allan Luke sends them to propagate freedom throughout the lands of the infidel. In a single instant. According to the person whose job it was to unite public opinion at the turn of the twentieth century. religious and political differences. perhaps less so than it ever was. and muddled by the pull and haul of opposed interests. between state and . It is a patchwork quilt of cultures and subcultures.

and Dowd 2004). conducted forty-five war conferences from coast to coast. and direct military involvement in major Hollywood ‘blockbusters’ (the name of a bomb). ‘Strategic Communication’. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq community. Creel relied on corporations. Today. Keenan. According to a US Department of Defence (DOD) spokesperson. and that our pilots were the best. and the Belgians. The CPI’s propaganda was written “by the country’s foremost publicists. co-ordinated the entire speaking activities of the nation.” (1920: 6–7) 31 . These activities have continued through to the present. The particulars of these general strategies for militarising bodies politic necessarily change with the ‘societal order of discourse’ (Fairclough 1992). with “the various universities lending their best men and the National Board of Historical Service placing its three thousand members at the complete disposal of the Committee” (Creel 1920: 6). Creel trail-blazed the close collaborations between government. the CDI documents extensive. His instigation of modern discoursal warfare emphasised “the importance of the spoken word” and included a ‘speaking division’ that “toured great groups like the Blue Devils. “‘Top Gun’ … prepared the American people for the Gulf War. Pershing’s Veterans. that our aircraft carriers could go anyplace. commercial and otherwise. and assured consideration to the crossroads hamlet as well as to the city. including direct censorship tied to “hundreds of millions of dollars” worth of subsidies. ongoing. the American people had more or less decided the United States military couldn’t do what it said it could do. in CDI 1997) Whether named ‘Public Relations’. and historians”. between department and non-government organisation. there’s no reason for any American civilian to believe that we can’t beat Saddam Hussein. Yet Urban II. carrying [America’s] defense and … attack” (1920: 6). ‘Propaganda’.” (Philip Strub. who launched the first crusade in 1095. to propagate and enforce his policies of censorship and militaristic image building. And so. arranged mass-meetings in the communities. His advertising campaign was translated into “many languages other than English” and “went to every corner of the world. corporations. scholars. ‘Top Gun’ showed that we could shoot down airplanes. and scripting decisions over major productions designed to inculcate faith in military ideals among the public (CDI 1997). They are achieved by means of the most effective forms of mediation available and enacted by the most legitimate speakers of the day. and scholarly organisations in the prosecution of war. Before the completion of the rehabilitation [of perceptions about the US military post-Vietnam PG]. the techniques and strategies referred to in the above comments by Strub have their roots in the activities of the CPI. or ‘Integrated Marketing Communication’. used essentially similar strategies (Graham. artists’ guilds. when the Gulf War comes along.

so redolent of the armoured knight. ” (Wells. who show verbal or even bodily signs of dissent — the similarities are striking. provide the historical . The current feudal impulses are in large part the product of discoursal efforts. Some of the coverage resembled a ‘war film’. military. even in outsourced organisations three or four times removed from the court. Language. ‘An Army of One’. At the same time. Our point is this: that any part of humanity should still be engaged in feudal pursuits — funded by political and economic monopolies — is appalling.’ that opened up our military and naval activities to civilian camera men” and “handled … the voluntary censorship of still and motion pictures in order that there might be no disclosure of information valuable to the enemy” (1920: 9). 2003) Enough So much more could be said about the neofeudal character of the current age. they avoided images that would be too graphic or violent for British television. Lasswell. and many other highly successful propagandists. “[r]esearchers found that although reporters who accompanied the British and US military were able to be objective. the deep and cynical use of religious fundamentalism as a war tool. Not surprisingly. amplified and accelerated by systems of mass mediation. especially in the US. the unquestioning loyalty that is expected of those in corporate. but as well. the raising of local funds by parents and communities to provide body armour for their sons and daughters sent to war. It also “conceived the idea of the ‘permit system. discourse and image. the photography division’s ‘permit system’ legacy was evident in the use of ‘embedded reporters’. and government bureaucracies. It is not just the discursive glorification of war with the bulk of excess production going to fund a warrior class of corporations that we have documented here. which became the study of Goebbels. beginning in March 19. journalists licensed by the US military to officially ‘cover’ the war. we should realise that the current expression of feudalism differs from the last in one very distinct and important aspect: it is largely discourse-driven.32 Phil Graham and Allan Luke The CPI’s ‘photography division’ distributed “more than two hundred thousand” photographs “at no cost”. the extreme cost of training and arming US soldiers. the facile division of the world into Good and Evil. Creel’s propaganda methods. such as those by Creel. During the invasion of Iraq. Bernays. thus leading to the army’s marketing slogan. marketing and entertainment are at the core of neocorporate feudalism. the ferreting out of staff. It should not continue. They are therefore its most vulnerable organs and the focus for any system of checks. 2003.

Their sense of civic duty. It is the stuff of children’s tales. with as little intervention as possible. In the world we have described here. secrecy. and bondage. 33 . In small. The understandable levels of anti-Americanism are. responsibility. popular psychologies or near-cult religious community — it has a kind of mystical power that perhaps only Weber fully anticipated. and competition (Saul 1997). To return to our initial premise: to call this ‘capitalism’ is misleading. with more at stake in a very personal and necessarily local way. even the now infamous ‘trickle-down’ metaphors. lands and chattels. Corporatism and capitalism are entirely different relations of production. discourse. The language of neofeudal corporatism and the war on Iraq antecedents and precedents for a brutally militaristic attitude that is now being realised with an intensity and reach that they could not have imagined. at the heart of liberal capitalism. For the wars to come. textbook capitalism looks like a positively favourable set of circumstances in comparison with the present circumstance. services. and the committee are collective means of elite control designed to remove the need for personal responsibility. responsibility. is a myth — that is. moral and institutional responsibility was tied very directly into agentive choices related to their capital interests in pursuit of mobility. resources and. these will play a large part in any remedies to the current situation. risk. Textbook liberal capitalism calls for an entirely different set of social relations. At issue here is an internationally organised cohort of corporate courtesans who have hijacked the symbolic resources developed by Creel and his later counterparts. means for the fair flow and open exchange of goods. in our analysis. Eisenhower’s ambivalence was well founded. naïve and misleading. And the function of ‘small government’ in such a schema is to enable. And while it is folly to suggest that the corporate comitatus could be removed from power by discoursal means alone. indeed. In other variations. the comitatus. personal initiative. entrepreneurship and civic choice and to replace it with loyalty. The corporation. the very meaning of ‘proprietary limited’. we find metaphors of ‘free trade’. The feudal spirit — with its roots so deep in western culture — has re-emerged. But it is important to remember that the disciplinary and training regime acting upon the US body politic at this moment is not the United States or Americans. medium and even large regional businesses people owned means of production and tended to have more responsibility. And its appeal is in a context where large segments of the population retreat into consumerist narcissism. Without offering a naïve defence. benefit and accountability. wealth and ‘the good life’. The idea of the corporation was invented to remove accountability. we live the risk of the extension of corporatism to totalitarianism. This warrior class of professional manipulators of public discourse has come to represent the US. its peoples.

. L. T. http://www. … In 1998. 2003. Accessed May 11. 3. Taking aim at war deals. 1990.102 (39%) of those were murdered. We used Wordsmith Tools to analyse the texts. 2001. Center for Defence Information (CDI). Manyon. 30.000 people in New York and Washington. 2. Vol. 12 million people in Africa were starving to death (World Health Organization 2002).cbsnews. Accessed April. Feudal Society: The Growth of Ties of Independence.  In 2000. The American Historical Review 79(4). R. inventing and using those affirmative discourses that enable us to rebuild those other institutions that.cdi. April 18. Notes 1. [Documentary Transcript]. Whether or not remains to be seen. We can start by renaming it and its protagonists. E. 57% (16. The Culture Industries. Adorno.  Texts are referenced by corpus code word numbers. while at the same time finding. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. A.bradycampaign.” (Brady Campaign 2004). quite literally. http://www. London: Verso. 17. adm/724/transcript. 1994. 866 (3%) were accidents. Trans. Richard Nice. Bloch. The tyranny of a construct: Feudalism and historians of medieval Europe. Washington. 1.html. there are two non-fatal firearm injuries.  May 1917–June 1919. The Logic of Practice. DC: American Defense Monitor.424 (57%) were suicides. References Anderson. London: facts/factsheets/?page=firefacts.586) were completed using a firearm.shtml. 1961(1940). Trans. M. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. we would like to think it could be fought by similar means.708 people in the United States died from firearm-related deaths — 12. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. and in 316 (1%) the intent was unknown. A. 2004. 2003. 4. 1063–1088. London: Polity. 2004. CBS Broadcasting. are at risk in such a world (Luke 2004). … For every firearm fatality in the United States.  John Ralston Saul (1997) is a notable exception. 2nd Ed. P. But it is incumbent on analysts of political language to deploy counterdiscursive strategies against neofeudal corporatism before it becomes even more destructive than it is at present. 1974. 29. Brown. Media and the images of war.34 Phil Graham and Allan Luke As a system that was forged by means of discourse and mass mediation. Available at http://www. 1991.350 committed suicide in the US: “of this number. It is also worth noting that while the West mass-mourned the deaths of less than 3. Firearm Facts. Cities on a Hill. Accessed May 11. Available at http://www. 1920. http://www. Cable News Network. 199–221. and Dowd. Bush’s declaration of war on terror.htm Ellis. International mission information source: Iraq mission. http:// 2001. 1943/1944.cdi.html.opensecrets. Fort Worth. Accessed February 17. New York: Simon and Schuster. D. de Harvey. American Journal of Sociology 47(3). Body & Society 9(4). 2003.. New media as weapons of mass instruction. 1992. Available at http://www. 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I shall be discussing specifically the discourse moment of this process. the UK Prime Minister. focusing on speeches by Tony Blair. I shall discuss how Blair has contributed to the emergence of a new hegemonic discourse of international relations and international security in speeches given between 2000 and 2003. I have included extracts from the April 1999 and April 2002 speeches in an appendix. as evidenced recently in Kosovo. efforts to develop and diffuse a new hegemonic discourse of international relations and international security. Afghanistan. and his Interview for British Forces Broadcasting Service).Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ Norman Fairclough Lancaster University This chapter examines the recent move towards a new regime of international relations and international security from a discourse analytical perspective. The data I shall draw upon includes ‘doctrinal’ speeches which elaborate policy: particularly speeches delivered in April 1999 (‘Doctrine of international community’. and in particular the contribution of one key ‘player’ in this process: Tony Blair. and one of a number of ‘occasional enunciations’ in response to practical political contingencies of the Iraq war: the ‘Address to the Nation’ of March 2003 (others of the same period include Blair’s ‘Vision for Iraq’ which was published in the Arabic press. and April 2002 (George Bush Senior Presidential Library). . and Iraq. Introduction My focus in this paper is the emergence of a new regime of international relations and especially of international security and the use of force. Chicago). but also more briefly a speech delivered in January 2003 (Foreign Office Conference). I shall look at how the new discourse emerging in Blair’s speeches has shifted in the period 1999–2003.

more general processes of change are often ‘led’ by changes in discourse. and competing strategies on the part of different groups of social agents emerge to resolve it. The processes of change which are represented. Examples include the emergence and international diffusion of ‘neo-liberalism’ as a political project and set of policies tied to a form of (economic) globalization (on neo-liberalism as a hegemonic project. it is enacted in new ways of acting and interacting. Thus. ‘learning society’. It is just as important to avoid a reduction of social change to discourse as it is to recognize discourse as an element or dialectical ‘moment’ of social change.g. the governance of welfare). in terms of categories such as these can be seen as partly actual and partly imagined responses to socioeconomic crisis. which constitute ‘imaginaries’ for a new economic and political ‘fix’. leading potentially to the diffusion of a new hegemonic discourse across social fields and scales. we are dealing partly with discourses which are elements of strategies. new articulations of elements of existing discourses (Chouliaraki and Fairclough 1999). Schematically. . There is a crisis in the existing social order. ‘new public management’ in social governance (e. see e. New discourses emerge in response to the crisis. inculcated in new ways of being (forms of identity). as facets of strategies. 2. and constructed. 4. But caution is needed: the relationship between changes in discourse and more general processes of change is often opaque and complex — partly because the former may obfuscate the latter. machinery. ‘neo-liberalism’. If a discourse achieves hegemony.). recontextualization. and so forth. There is a process of contestation between discourses. ‘new capitalism’. In all these cases. we can sum up the role of discourse in such situations of crisis as follows (see Jessop 2002): 1. but not just changes in discourse. operationalization Discourse is a crucial and irreducible dimension of processes of social change which are currently referred to by such terms as ‘globalization’. the ‘knowledgebased economy’ and the ‘learning society’. in the sense of making it difficult to distinguish between mere changes in discourse which may be rhetorically motivated.g. Kagarlitsky 2000). and (my present concern in this paper) a new regime of international relations and international security. and real social change which is in part change in discourse. materialized in new ‘hardware’ (architecture.40 Norman Fairclough Four moments of the dialectics of discourse: Emergence. hegemony. these and other momentous changes in contemporary social life are partly changes in discourse. which actually amounts to changes in relationships between discourses. technologies etc. ‘Globalization’ is a case in point. Moreover. 3. a new order. ‘knowledge economy’.

from one social field — such as business — to another — such as education) and scalar boundaries (e. and what is happening? 2. from ‘global’ organizations to nationstates and to particular localities.g. institutions or fields.g. their inculcation as new ways of being. or vice-versa). i. How does Blair narrate the world and world change — what has happened. as part of relations of contestation between strategies and between groups of social agents. I shall consider in particular the following questions: 1. their materialization in features of the physical world. (See further Fairclough 1992. discourses being enacted as genres. and what is happening? 41 . How does Blair narrate more particularly international security — what has happened. Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ On the basis of the schema above. we can distinguish four elements or ‘moments’ within the dialectics of discourse (Harvey 1996): – Emergence: the ‘translation’. 1995. from actualities to imaginaries. One question which arises here is how to account for certain discourses and not others emerging in particular circumstances (e.g. 1999). Fairclough and Thomas 2004.e. – Operationalization: the enactment of discourses as new ways of (inter)acting. – Recontextualization: the dissemination of discourses across structural boundaries (e. Held et al. or at new scales. which may lead to particular discourses (and strategies) becoming hegemonic. we can see Blair as arguing from ‘is’ to ‘must’. In both of these speeches and a good many others. Enactment and inculcation are partly ‘intrasemiotic’ processes.) ‘Doctrinal’ speeches I shall focus on a comparison of the April 1999 and April 2002 speeches. ‘condensation’ (Harvey 1996) and ‘simplification’ (Jessop 2002) of complex realities into discourses. from descriptions (narratives) of the world and world change to prescriptions for policy. the construction of new discourses through the articulation of elements of existing discourses. Chouliaraki and Fairclough 1999. the recontextualization of discourses in new organizations. – Hegemony: relations of contestation between discourses. when the process of globalization has arguably gone on for centuries. and inculcated as styles (Fairclough 2003). Fairclough 2000. why has a discourse of ‘globalization’ emerged in the past few decades. or identities.

I shall also touch upon the following text analytical questions: 1. and the texturing together of different discourses? Narrative of world change in the speech of April 1999 World change is represented as ‘globalization’. see for instance Held et al. What linguistic (semantic. We would have turned our backs on it. and can be regarded as mystifying actual diversity by giving it the simplifying appearance of homogeneity (on the complex character of ‘globalization’.42 Norman Fairclough 3. and a highly abstract representation of actual processes. a nominalization. What aspects (let’s call them ‘themes’) of those parts of the world that are represented are included (and given greater or lesser salience). grammatical. including how Blair justifies and legitimizes such intervention. and how are they combined? What available alternative discourses are significantly not drawn upon? 5. How does Blair envisage — imagine — more specifically international security. what discourses (relatively durable ways of representing particular parts of the world) are drawn upon. which also raises the issue of how he argues from ‘is’ to ‘must’. are they represented? How are the complexities of reality reduced and condensed? 3. and the intervention (especially military) by the ‘international community’ in the affairs of sovereign states? There are also various other questions which invite investigation. How are included themes represented? What other available ways of representing them are there? Note that representations include implicit meanings — assumptions. which necessarily subsumes a huge diversity of processes. 4. In the course of discussing these questions. The fact that we are engaged is the result of a wide range . 1999). ‘globalization’ is attributed agentive capacity: “globalisation has transformed our economies and our working practices”. Moreover. or (significantly) excluded? 2. How concretely or abstractly. presuppositions. lexical) characteristics realize particular discourses. specifically or generally. ‘Globalization’ is also assumed to be a specifically contemporary and indeed very recent ‘phenomenon’: “Twenty years ago we would not have been fighting in Kosovo. How does Blair envisage — imagine — international affairs and the ‘international community’? 4. Taking themes and the ways they are represented together.

Blair talks a lot about ‘values’.” (Jessop 2002: 114) It is also evident with respect to periodization: other discourses of globalization represent it as a centuries-old process (the word may be new.” Blair draws very selectively from a range of current discourses of globalization. Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ of changes — the end of the Cold War. ‘culture’ another: 43 . but the process is not. rhetorically motivated. the spread of democracy. In this case. It is also a political and security phenomenon. in that themes associated with other discourses of globalization are absent — e. it should be understood as the complex. ‘Values’ seem to be one thing.g. noting that there are systematic differences between domestic and international policy contexts. as an aspect of ‘globalization’ alongside the more familiar economic and political aspects. changing technology. Financial instability in Asia destroys jobs in Chicago and in my own constituency in County Durham. but within his imaginary for changed international relations (see below). (b) globalization as a threat rather than an opportunity — a set of problems to be overcome. which it is Blair’s purpose to set out in the speech. Conflict in the Balkans causes more refugees in Germany and here in the US. the speech is structured by his own particular tripartite classification of globalization processes — ‘economic. emergent product of many different forces operating on many scales … Hence nothing can be explained in terms of the causal powers of globalization. Two themes are salient in Blair’s speech: (a) the global impact of local events (as in some sociological accounts such as that of Giddens 1991). see Held et al. For instance: “Many of our domestic problems are caused on the other side of the world.” This excludes what many representations of ‘globalization’ include: ‘culture’. These problems can only be addressed by international co-operation. Globalisation has transformed our economies and our working practices. the threats demand a new approach to international affairs and security. political and security’: “But globalisation is not just economic. This is suggested with respect to agency in Jessop’s observation that “far from globalization being a unitary causal mechanism. the increasing gap between rich and poor. Blair’s particular contribution to a new doctrine of international security is framing security within ‘globalization’.” Hay and Rosamond (2002) have commented on the diverse. Poverty in the Caribbean means more drugs on the streets in Washington and London. But it is bigger than that I believe the world has changed in a more fundamental way. Thus. And it is evident with respect to themes. discourses of globalization which are to be found in the language of New Labour. 1999).


Norman Fairclough

one of the most internationally widespread anxieties about globalization is that it
is a threat to cultural diversity.

Narrative of world change in the speech of April 2002
In this speech, in contrast with the earlier one, ‘globalization’ is not referred to as
such in the narrative of world change — though it is in the context of refuting antiglobalization arguments (“What the poor world needs is not less globalisation but
more”). The same themes from the range of discourses of globalization are salient
here as in the 1999 speech — the global impact of local events, and globalization
as a threat. The difference is that the global threat from local events is a more
prominent theme in this speech, and that prominence is linked to September 11,
which is represented as the exemplary instance. The threatening character of local
events is accentuated, and the need for the ‘international community’ to take action against it. Compare two sentences which have a comparable position in the
two speeches in introducing the theme of global effects of local events:
“Many of our domestic problems are caused on the other side of the world” (1999)
“In truth, it’s rare today that trouble in one part of the globe remains limited in its
effect” (2002).

The former is a passive sentence without an agent but with a locational adjunct
— the location of problematic local events is (vaguely) represented. But the events
themselves are not, only their effects (‘problems’) are represented. In the latter, the
events are represented, as ‘trouble’, a term which has been widely used in the British press for industrial disputes or sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, and a
category which suggests that the forces of law and order are needed. It is threats to
security, rather than economic threats, that are accentuated in the speech of 2002.

Narrative of international security in the speech of April 1999
Blair constructs a bifurcation of the world into protagonists (‘us’) and antagonists
(including Saddam, Milosovic), in which the antagonists terrorize their own people
and threaten international security. One task for textual analysis is to see how antagonists are represented as malign. This is a matter of what critical linguists (Fowler et al. 1979) have called ‘overlexicalization’, i.e. antagonists are lexicalized in a
variety of ways (‘dictators’, ‘crime’, ‘evil’), a sort of lexical ‘overkill’. This can be seen as
articulating together what we can loosely call ‘discourses of malignity’ from several

Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’

social domains — politics (‘dictators’), law and order (‘crime’), and religion (‘evil’).
Another task for textual analysis is to see how the protagonists are represented as
benign. The malignity of the antagonists is relatively explicit, the benign character
of the protagonists is by contrast assumed, presupposed. For instance:
“This is a just war, based not on any territorial ambitions but on values. We cannot
let the evil of ethnic cleansing stand. We must not rest until it is reversed. We have
learned twice before in this century that appeasement does not work. If we let an
evil dictator range unchallenged, we will have to spill infinitely more blood and
treasure to stop him later.”

‘We’ act on the basis of values, and resist evil unstintingly; ‘we’ are the progeny of
the anti-fascist alliance of the 1930s and 1940s (implicit in ‘us’ having learnt about
‘appeasement’, and in the echoes of the political oratory of Churchill, “we must
not rest” … “blood and treasure” etc). ‘Our’ armed forces have been ‘busy’ (which
resonates with ‘getting on with the job’, a favored way of representing military action in Iraq and elsewhere on the part of politicians, the military, and ‘vox pops’)
doing good. In particular, the US is represented as benign in quite a remarkable
(one might say sycophantic) eulogy — for instance, they ‘shoulder burdens and
responsibilities’. One might compare this for instance with Chomsky’s many less
flattering analyses of US foreign policy since World War II (e.g., Chomsky 1991).

Narrative of international security in the speech of April 2002
There is as in the 1999 speech a bifurcation of the world into protagonists and
antagonists (once referred to in a Bushian way as ‘the bad guys’), with threats to security and stability (as well as human rights abuses) emanating from antagonists.
The bifurcation is accentuated by the language of ‘alliances’ and ‘coalition’ which
I discuss below. The construal of the antagonists is different from in the earlier
speech, however. It is ‘terrorism’ and ‘weapons of mass destruction’, and countries
that ‘sponsor’ them, that ‘threaten us’. One important shift in the would-be hegemonic discourse in the period since September 11 is the constitution of a relation
of equivalence between ‘terrorism’ and ‘weapons of mass destruction’ as co-members of the class of ‘threats’. ‘Terrorism and/or weapons of mass destruction’ has
become a high frequency collocation. This shift in discourse has, one might argue,
been decisive in justifying the extension of the ‘War on Terrorism’ to attacks on
‘rogue states’ in what Bush has called the ‘axis of evil’. Of course weapons of mass
destruction are only a threat in the hands of the ‘bad guys’ — ‘our’ weapons of
mass destruction are not alluded to. (Perhaps the widely used acronym WMD
helps in narrowing the focus to ‘bad’ weapons of mass destruction.)



Norman Fairclough

The ‘threat’ posed by terrorism and countries which ‘sponsor’ WMD is more
fully elaborated, and overlexicalized, as ‘instability’, ‘disorder’ and ‘chaos’, and salience is given to the threat to the economy — to business ‘confidence’ and ‘progress’. There is claimed to be an international ‘craving’, ‘struggle’, for ‘stability’, and
a ‘recognition’ that the world needs ‘order’. Relations of equivalence (co-membership of a class) are textured between ‘stability’, ‘security’ and ‘order’ on the one
hand and ‘instability’ and ‘disorder’ on the other, and relations of difference between these two classes:
“Instability is contagious and, again today, more than ever, nations, at least most of
them, crave stability. That’s for a simple reason. Our people want it, because without it, they can’t do business and prosper. What brings nations together — what
brought them together post September 11 — is the international recognition that
the world needs order. Disorder is the enemy of progress. The struggle is for stability, for the security within which progress can be made.”

Imagining international affairs and ‘international community’ in the
speech of April 1999
A contrastive relation is set up between ‘International cooperation’ and ‘isolationism’, a term which has historical resonance as a tendency in US foreign policy.
The term ‘internationalist’ also has historical resonance in the socialist movement,
but is used here in a radically different sense, with respect to the ‘international
community’. Blair explicitly extends the concepts of ‘community’ and ‘partnership’
from a national to an international scale. Advocacy of ‘communities’ and ‘partnerships’ is salient in the ‘third way’ policies of ‘New Labour’ in the UK, and this has
been seen as an appropriation of a communitarian discourse (Fairclough 2000).
As at the national level there is a ‘rhetoric and reality’ issue — are current international relations really those of ‘community’ and ‘partnership’, or is this an obfuscatory and one might argue ideological misrepresentation?
Analysis can focus on how textual elements with a provenance in different
discourses are textured together — how a new discourse is being constituted
through an articulation of existing discourses. For instance: “Just as within domestic politics, the notion of community — the belief that partnership and cooperation are essential to advance self-interest — is coming into its own”. My sense
of provenance (corpus studies could help to substantiate such ‘feel’) is that ‘community’ emanates from political philosophy but also grassroots politics, ‘partnership’ from business, and ‘self-interest’ from representations of individual(ism)s, in
contrast with the normal political term ‘interests’. ‘Community’, ‘partnership’ and

Imagining international security in the speech of April 1999 This is the crux of Blair’s contribution to the construction of a new doctrine — and discourse — of ‘international community’. co-members of a class. at the same time the expectable relation of difference and contrast between these and ‘self-interest’ is textually subverted. principles. discourses which had been seen as politically incompatible 47 . but tends to be reduced down to the powers which constitute G7 (now G8) and NATO. and from a discourse analytical point of view. The grounds on which “the principle of non-interference must be qualified” are not made explicit. This is a rhetoric of ‘not only but also’ (Fairclough 2000) — policies. Taking these together. What is distinctive about Blair’s position is the claim that “values and interests merge”. working to the same goals”. This is very much a ‘third way’ position which is reminiscent of e. Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ ‘cooperation’ are textured as equivalent. ‘barbarous’ regimes. This is quite a remarkable and one might say alarming statement and imaginary: can difference be so radically eliminated other than through violent imposition? Another significant change is that internationalism is now construed in terms of ‘international alliances’ and ‘international coalition’ as well as ‘international community’. “responsibilities as well as rights” in New Labour discourse in the UK. but they are implicit in Blair’s allusion to ‘undemocratic’ regimes. sharing the same values. ‘us’ in the 1999 speech (Fairclough 2000) — ‘international community’ sounds fully inclusive. “a series of interlocking alliances with a common agenda on issues of security. based upon an alliance between America and Europe. trade and stability”. and “threats to international peace and security”. The first two are represented as ‘moral’ grounds. The implied universality of the ‘international community’ is at odds with the implied exclusivity of ‘alliances’. the third as a matter of ‘self-interest’. There is also development: “we seek one integrated international community.g. ‘Integration’ is new. and evokes debates within the EU. Imagining international affairs and ‘international community’ in the speech of April 2002 Blair explicitly alludes to the 1999 speech and the doctrine of ‘international community’ — there is continuity in that respect. “enterprise as well as social justice”. there is an ambivalence which is reminiscent of my analysis of the vague and shifting membership of the ‘international community’.

. The grounds for intervention are more explicit and focused than in the earlier speech: “where terrorism or Weapons of Mass Destruction threaten us”. one should be sensitive to the texturing of relations of equivalence between different discourses. ‘spreading’ values as a strategy for achieving security (‘self-interest’). There has been a covert but significant shift from responsive to pre-emptive intervention. ‘order’ — are markedly more salient than moral grounds. the values which Blair lists tend to change. Other elements in lists in the material I’m referring to include ‘justice’ (sometimes in the sense of ‘social justice’. Imagining international security in the speech of April 2002 Whereas a case is made for qualifications of the principle of non-intervention in the speech of 1999. the rule of law. crucially. As with lists generally. There is a central ambivalence here: if these values are ‘universal’. for instance. here the option of intervention is simply taken as given. as a process of classification. human rights and an open society”. These are ‘our’ values. which presumably also includes what he elsewhere formulates as “tolerance and respect towards others”). The first reference to military intervention — actual rather than imaginary — is Kosovo. ‘yet’). the meanings notoriously may not be — parts of the ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ celebrated on the right and now center-left in the USA and Britain might be perceived as selfishness and selfindulgence by many Muslims.48 Norman Fairclough are construed as compatible in ‘third way’ discourse (and extensively textured together with such conjunctions as ‘not only … but also’. not at all in terms of its legitimacy. and ‘democracy’ (more specific than ‘an open society’. whereas ‘human rights’ discourse is very new — human rights legislation was only enacted in the UK within the past decade — and ‘open society’ is directly attributable to Karl Popper. More fundamentally. The values listed are: “liberty. ‘stability’. ‘Liberty’ and ‘the rule of law’ are well-established in liberal discourses. ‘as well as’. Blair invites — and has received — the objection that ‘our’ values are western values. though the latter are still here. ‘Self-interest’ grounds — ‘security’. He addresses this in the speech of January 2003 — claiming that ‘our’ values are ‘universal’ values (see below). and that raises the issue of who ‘we’ are. As I have pointed out elsewhere (Fairclough 2000). What is proposed is ‘establishing’ and. that ‘spreading’ them is cultural imperialism. not just ‘the rule of law’). why do they need to be ‘spread’? One might take Laclau’s position (Laclau 2000) that claims to universality are always to be taken as hegemonic bids for ‘universal’ status for specific particulars. and it is justified retrospectively in terms of its claimed good effects. even if the words are shared in common.

Yet. This assertion is elaborated not as for instance “the world over.” ‘Our’ values are here asserted to be universal values. We have again the strategy of serving self-interest. of partnership. Without justice. Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ intervention motivated by a perceived possible future threat. all these things come back to one basic theme. and stability. sharing the same values’ I referred to earlier. by ‘promoting’ and ‘defending’ and ‘standing up for’ and ‘fighting for’ ‘our’ values. of equality. One might ask whether values which people ‘want’ (“given a chance”) are truly ‘universal’. people want them. But the collocations have significantly shifted: ‘promote’ is less missionary than ‘spread’.” (2002) The claim to ‘moral force’ in 2002 is based more on combative assertion (‘fighting for’. the values I describe can be portrayed as ‘Western values’. people believe in them”. and there is a new emphasis on ‘defense’ of values. they are in the ascendant and we have a common interest in standing up for them. the world over. and ‘our’ values being under attack. ‘standing up for’) of ‘our’ values than in the 1999 speech. the order we want is seen by much of the world as ‘their’ order not ‘ours’. The consensus can only be achieved if pursued with a sense of fairness. democracy. at the same time there is the imaginary of ‘one integrated international community. Here is one specific comparison: “Now our actions are guided by a more subtle blend of mutual self-interest and moral purpose in defending the values we cherish… If we can establish and spread the values … that is in our national interests too” (1999) “I advocate an enlightened self-interest that puts fighting for our values right at the heart of the policies necessary to protect our nations” (2002) “I am arguing that the values we believe in are worth fighting for. globalisation becomes a battering ram for Western commerce and culture. are all universal values. Imagining international security: Values in the speech of January 2003 Let me bring one brief extract from the January 2003 speech into the picture with respect to ‘values’: “In the end. human rights. The issue then is how “consensus can…be 49 . but “given a chance … people want them”. We shouldn’t be shy of giving our actions not just the force of self-interest but moral force. The values we stand for: freedom. the rule of law. But they have to be pursued alongside another value: justice. Given a chance. the belief in opportunity for all. There is an implicit recognition that ‘our’ values are in fact widely seen as ‘western values’.

The ‘Address to the Nation’ Let me comment briefly on one of what I referred to earlier as Blair’s ‘occasional enunciations’. there is just one element of the ‘doctrine’ of especially the speech of April 2002: this ‘new world’ needs ‘order and stability’ to meet ‘challenges’. and the emphasis is on the ‘liberation’ of the Iraqi people. In this case. Discussion What the analysis I have carried out in this paper indicates is the contribution of one major international politician to an ongoing process of re-imagining ‘international community’. ‘values’ are not explicitly thematized. surely that implies that there is consensus? In short. “my judgement is that this threat is real”). again in the ‘Vision for Iraq’ published in the Arabic press. including George Bush. The discoursal process of re-imagining ‘international community’ is an essential element in the political project of re-constituting international relations. As is typically the case in these ‘occasional’ pieces. Military action is justified because ‘brutal states’ such as Iraq which have WMD. especially Americans. Blair of course is not the only ‘player’ in this game — there are other significant contributors. What the comparison between the two major speeches of 1999 and 2002 shows is that the . Thus. the more fully elaborated ‘doctrine’ of the ‘doctrinal’ speeches is selectively drawn upon according to rhetorical needs. and “removing Saddam” is claimed to be “a blessing” (a rather unfortunate Christian term in the circumstances) “to the Iraqi people”. and ‘terrorist groups’. This is a justification for action rather than an elaboration of ‘doctrine’ or policy. The threat is especially from the convergence of terrorism and WMD — though this is not categorically asserted but hypothetical (“should terrorists obtain these weapons”).50 Norman Fairclough achieved” — yet if these values are truly ‘universal’. the theme of the coincidence of values and self-interest is not surprisingly absent. In contrast with the ‘doctrinal’ speeches. this is profoundly contradictory. though there is an undertaking to “help Iraq towards democracy”. threaten ‘disorder and chaos’. his ‘Address to the Nation’ at the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. and subjectively modalized (“my fear is that these threats come together”. as Blair’s speeches quite often are (Fairclough 2000). but one question we can ask is to what extent and how the ‘doctrine’ of the ‘doctrinal’ speeches is appealed to in justifying action in these ‘occasional’ pieces.

Investigating recontextualization would be a matter of charting the diverse and ultimately unpredictable trajectories of the emergent hegemonic discourse in its structural and scalar dissemination. Let me briefly indicate what that would entail with respect to the context I am currently working in. and the shift of these textured relations. Recontextualization is a colonization/appropriation dialectic (Chouliaraki and Fairclough 1999). while at the same time sustaining its identity as the discoursal facet of this particular strategic project through the continuities I have pointed to. and of the discourse. The analysis also bears to some degree on the moment of hegemony. it is a discourse and a politics which has been ongoingly sought for. More generally. media texts. One can to a degree see a new discourse of international affairs and international security in the process of its formation in these texts (though of course I have analyzed only two of a larger body of relevant texts). and in that Blair is a major international statesman and opinion-former. The concept of ‘appropriation’ accentuates the fact that even in the process of ‘colonizing’. I have not discussed ‘recontextualization’. The most complex ‘moment’ of the dialectics of discourse to research is ‘operationalization’. my analysis has directly addressed ‘emergence’. but a process which develops and shifts in response to changing events and circumstances. many of which have recently been admitted into NATO. of a new discourse through articulating together elements of existing discourses. or ‘texturing’. in that it touches upon relations of contestation between discourses. This is essentially the same conclusion I reached about the discourse of the ‘third way’ in British politics (Fairclough 2000): it is not a political imaginary that was formed and reached closure at some point in the trajectory of ‘New Labour’. a new discourse enters new and potentially transformative relations with existing discourses in the recontextualizing context. over time. Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ process of re-imagining is not a one-off process. The military and diplomatic strategies of nations and alliances of nations. the ‘transitional’ societies of Central and Eastern Europe. hegemony is not sought and won once for all. This is the point at which one is faced with the difficult problem of specifying the effects of discourse on other elements of the social. the textual construction. With respect to the four ‘moments’ of the dialectics of discourse which I distinguished in the introduction to the paper. It would be a matter of investigating how the emergent hegemonic discourse of international relations and international security both ‘colonizes’ and is appropriated within government policy texts. but one would need to look at a wider range material over a longer period of time to get a sense of hegemonic struggles over international relations and international security. in these countries. the organization 51 . it must be ongoingly sustained and struggled for under shifting circumstances and shifts in the competitive field of hegemonic projects. and so forth.

N. of course. 2000. 1999. whether there ever were WMDs in Iraq). whether states like Iraq really do threaten the security of states like the USA and Britain (and. New Labour. 1995. Pujolar 1997. Fairclough. whether the ‘moral’ agenda is merely a cover for the real agenda. have attracted considerable criticism based in alternative discourses. L and Fairclough. and more specifically his attempts to elaborate a new doctrine of ‘international community’. whether we can take ‘terrorism’ and ‘weapons of mass destruction’ at face value. Discourse and Social Change. 1991. international meetings and exchanges. London: Longman. military systems and technologies. possibly combining CDA with ethnographic methods (Chouliaraki 1995. 1992. Discourse in Late Modernity. New Language? London: Routledge. Deterring Democracy. Wodak 1996). Cambridge: Polity Press. N. . studies of the process of decision making and implementation in the procurement of new military hardware might allow us to see how discourses of international relations and international security are operationalized in specific practical contexts. are all operationalizations of discourses. One fruitful approach might be detailed case studies of processes of policy formation and implementation (such as those carried out by Iedema 2003). 5–32. or whether this is a rhetorically motivated exaggeration of ‘newness’. Discourse & Society 9(1). exchanges etc. Regulation in ‘progressivist’ pedagogic discourse: Individualized teacherpupil talk. whether it is ‘new’ in the ways he suggests — or whether there are geopolitical processes and agendas (including the politics of oil) which cannot be publicly acknowledged. Fairclough. London: Verso. Chouliaraki. is a highly complex matter. 1995. One might ask whether the world really is as ‘new’ as he suggests. For instance. But tracing how precisely a change in hegemonic discourse is operationalized in new strategies. the identities of politicians on the international stage. Chouliaraki. or as merely a cover for a pre-existing geopolitical agenda. institutions. N. References Chomsky. N. L. N. Conclusion Blair’s ‘third way’ politics.52 Norman Fairclough and structure of institutions of international security and defense. Fairclough. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. and whether military intervention in for instance Iraq decreases or increases risks to international security. Critical Discourse Analysis.

Journal of European Public Policy 9. D. London: Pluto Press. De Que Vas Tio? I Llengua en la Cultura Juvenil. Modernity and Self-Identity. Hay. C. B. London: Verso. Global Transformations. Fowler. 1996. 2002. Cambridge: Polity Press. forthcoming. R. In: C. The fact that we are engaged is the result of a wide range of changes — the end of the Cold War. Language and Control. and Thomas. knows that Bismarck was wrong. J. London: Routledge. 1979. We must not rest until it is reversed. Fairclough. the role of universality in the constitution of political logics. London: Routledge. The globalization of discourse and the discourse of globalization. P. B. But it is bigger than that. Awful crimes that we never thought we would see again have reappeared — ethnic cleansing. London: Longman. Oxford: Blackwell. Identity and hegemony. Harvey. N. 2000. We have learned twice before in this century that appeasement does not work. et al. heard their heart-rending tales of cruelty or contemplated the unknown fates of those left behind. Justice. But I want to put these events in a wider context — economic. Laclau. the spread of democracy. We would have turned our backs on it. Handbook of Organizational Discourse. 1996. Kagarlitsky. Cambridge: Polity Press. we will have to spill infinitely more blood and treasure to stop him later. based not on any territorial ambitions but on values. In: J. Analyzing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research. et al. Anyone who has seen the tear stained faces of the hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming across the border. Wodak. Extract from the speech of April 1999 Kosovo While we meet here in Chicago this evening. Appendix 1. (Section omitted) Global Interdependence Twenty years ago we would not have been fighting in Kosovo. 2003. Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ Fairclough. systematic rape. Globalization. Contingency. B. Nature and the Geography of Difference. This is a just war. Jessop. and Rosamond. 53 . (eds). The Twilight of Globalization. Hegemony. 2002. 1991.2. N. Universality. mass murder. We cannot let the evil of ethnic cleansing stand. E. Bismarck famously said the Balkans were not worth the bones of one Pomeranian Grenadier. unspeakable things are happening in Europe. Cambriadge: Polity Press. Held. Pujolar. A. political and security — because I do not believe Kosovo can be seen in isolation. 2000. I want to speak to you this evening about events in Kosovo. No one in the West who has seen what is happening in Kosovo can doubt that NATO’s military action is justified. Giddens. Butler et al. 1997. If we let an evil dictator range unchallenged. 1999. The Future of the Capitalist State. Barcelona: Editorial Empuries. R. Disorders of Discourse. Hardy et al. changing technology. London: Sage. D. European integration and the discursive construction of economic imperatives.

deterring attacks on defenceless people. We cannot ignore new political ideas in other counties if we want to innovate. It has certainly been a less easy time than many hoped in the euphoria that followed the collapse of the Berlin Wall. We are all internationalists now. we developed a series of international institutions to cope with the strains of rebuilding a devastated world: Bretton Woods. the global environment. We need new rules for international co-operation and new ways of organising our international institutions. global security and disarmament issues: none of these can he solved without intense international co-operation. backing up UN resolutions and occasionally engaging in major wars as we did in the Gulf in 1991 and are currently doing in the Balkans. We are continually fending off the danger of letting wherever CNN roves. On the eve of a new Millennium we are now in a new world. be the cattle prod to take a global conflict seriously. But globalisation is not just economic. Kyoto can stimulate our conscience about environmental degradation but we need constant reminders to refocus on it. NATO. . As yet. The doctrine of isolationism had been a casualty of a world war. the notion of community — the belief that partnership and co-operation are essential to advance self-interest — is coming into its own. that national interest is to a significant extent governed by international collaboration and that we need a clear and coherent debate as to the direction this doctrine takes us in each field of international endeavour. There is a global financial crisis: we react. it fades. By necessity we have to co-operate with each other across nations. We cannot turn our backs on conflicts and the violation of human rights within other countries if we want still to be secure. Many of our domestic problems are caused on the other side of the world. We now have a decade of experience since the end of the Cold War. whether we like it or not We cannot refuse to participate in global markets if we want to prosper. Global financial markets. By this I mean the explicit recognition that today more than ever before we are mutually dependent. After World War II.54 Norman Fairclough I believe the world has changed in a more fundamental way. Even then. Today the impulse towards interdependence is immeasurably greater. the United Nations. Poverty in the Caribbean means more drugs on the streets in Washington and London. We need to focus in a serious and sustained way on the principles of the doctrine of international community and on the institutions that deliver them. Globalisation has transformed our economies and our working practices. however. it was clear that the world was becoming increasingly interdependent. We live in a world where isolationism has ceased to have a reason to exist. where the United States and others finally realised standing aside was not an option. Our armed forces have been busier than ever — delivering humanitarian aid. Conflict in the Balkans causes more refugees in Germany and here in the US. It is also a political and security phenomenon. (Section on ‘Globalisation’ — economic globalisation — omitted) International Security The principles of international community apply also to international security. the FU. These problems can only be addressed by international co-operation. Just as within domestic politics. our reaction becomes less urgent. Financial instability in Asia destroys jobs in Chicago and in my own constituency in County Durham. our approach tends towards being ad hoc. so it needs to find its own international echo. We are witnessing the beginnings of a new doctrine of international community.

Looking around the world there are many regimes that are undemocratic and engaged in barbarous acts. If we wanted to right every wrong that we see in the modern world then we would do little else than intervene in the affairs of other countries. One state should not feel it has the right to change the political system of another or forment subversion or seize pieces of territory to which it feels it should have some claim. As John Kennedy put it “Freedom is indivisible and when one man is enslaved who is free?” The most pressing foreign policy problem we face is to identify the circumstances in which we should get actively involved in other people’s conflicts. the next dictator to be threatened with military force may well not believe our resolve to carry the threat through. As a result of these destructive policies both have brought calamity on their own peoples. His drive for ethnic concentration has left him with something much smaller. Milosevic took over a substantial. Non -interference has long been considered an important principle of international order. That is the basis for the recent initiative I took with President Chirac of France to improve Europe’s own defence capabilities. the rule of law. As we address these problems at this weekend’s NATO Summit we may be tempted to think back to the clarity and simplicity of the Cold War. It has no dreams of world conquest and is not seeking colonies. The spread of our values makes us safer. So how do we decide when and whether to intervene. But now we have to establish a new framework. When regimes are based on minority rule they lose legitimacy — look at South Africa. And it is not one we would want to jettison too readily. ethnically diverse state. Acts of genocide can never be a purely internal matter. with political life stultified through fear. In the end values and interests merge. or does it represent a pattern that will extend into the future? Many of our problems have been caused by two dangerous and ruthless men — Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic. If we can establish and spread the values of liberty. But the principle of non-interference must be qualified in important respects. At the end of this century the US has emerged as by far the strongest state. a ruined economy and soon a totally wined military machine. If NATO fails in Kosovo. Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ Have the difficulties of the past decade simply been the aftershocks of the end of the Cold War? Will things soon settle down. We would not be able to cope. I think we need to bear in mind five major considerations. well placed to take advantage of new economic opportunities. Both have been prepared to wage vicious campaigns against sections of their own community. Instead of enjoying its oil wealth Iraq has been reduced to poverty. We understand that this is something that we have no right to take for granted. No longer is our existence as states under threat. and must match with our own efforts. That in itself will be a major step to ensuring that the next decade and the next century will not be as difficult as the past. human rights and an open society then that is in our national interests too. Now our actions are guided by a more subtle blend of mutual self interest and moral purpose in defending the values we cherish. 55 . America’s allies are always both relieved and gratified by its continuing readiness to shoulder burdens and responsibilities that come with its sole superpower status. When oppression produces massive flows of refugees which unsettle neighbouring countries then they can properly be described as “threats to international peace and security”. If anything Americans are too ready to see no need to get involved in affairs of the rest of the world. One of the reasons why it is now so important to win the conflict is to ensure that others do not make the same mistake in the future.

When I spoke about this issue in Chicago in 1999 and called it a doctrine of international community. The other is Utopian: we try to create a better world. if we try to stop him. he will win. justice. why bother? there’s nothing we can do. Today I want to suggest that more than ever before those two views are merging. 2. but armed force is sometimes the only means of dealing with dictators. But it does make a difference that this is taking place in such a combustible part of Europe. But we need to find a new way to make the UN and its Security Council work if we are not to return to the deadlock that undermined the effectiveness of the Security Council during the Cold War. Milosevic is on trial charged . where a brutal dictator. are we prepared for the long term? In the past we talked too much of exit strategies. Kosovo has held its first elections. Engagement in the world on the basis of these values. we will strengthen his hand. Second. or he’ll lose but be succeeded by someone worse. I advocate an enlightened self interest that puts fighting for our values right at the heart of the policies necessary to protect our nations. are there military operations we can sensibly and prudently undertake? Fourth. Slobodan Milosevic. have we exhausted all diplomatic options? We should always give peace every chance. Extract from the speech of April 2002 (Introduction omitted) The only purpose of being in politics is to strive for the values and ideals we believe in: freedom. do we have national interests involved? The mass expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo demanded the notice of the rest of the world. That calls for an approach of integration. The same tension exists in the two views of international affairs. This should be a task for members of the Permanent Five to consider once the Kosovo conflict is complete. And finally. Third. At the time. people hesitated over what appeared to be Panglossian idealism. But alongside the values we know we need a hard headed pragmatism — a realpolitik — required to give us any chance of translating those values into the practical world we live in. If we want a world ruled by law and by international co-operation then we have to support the UN as its central pillar. But having made a commitment we cannot simply walk away once the fight is over. was embarked upon a programme of ethnic cleansing of innocent people — in this case. Sound familiar? Today thousands of refugees have gone back. what we Europeans call solidarity but you might call respect for and help for others. the major international crisis we faced was Kosovo. Montenegro and Serbia are being reconciled. are we sure of our case? War is an imperfect instrument for righting humanitarian distress. Any new rules however will only work if we have reformed international institutions with which to apply them. I am not suggesting that these are absolute tests.56 Norman Fairclough First. These are the decent democratic values we all avow. as we have in the case of Kosovo. But they are the kind of issues we need to think about in deciding in the future when and whether we will intervene. better to stay with moderate numbers of troops than return for repeat performances with large numbers. on the basis of a practical assessment of the situation. not isolationism from it is the hard-headed pragmatism for the 21st Century. Yet we were told: it’s not our fight. Why? In part it is because the countries and people of the world today are more interdependent than ever. the region will explode. Muslims — the likes of which Europe had not seen since the Nazis. One is utilitarian: each nation maximises its own self interest.

but where disorder threatens us all. Quite apart from our security. Today boundaries are virtually fixed. immediate and in technicolour. on trade and it is only now with the terrorist network on the run. This is heightened by mass communications and technology. For 2. reports of battles came back weeks or months after they were won or lost. despite the massive problems which still exist. for example. on business. That’s for a simple reason. the people push for moderation and order. for the security within which progress can be made. more than ever. But on the big security issues. What brings nations together — what brought them together post September 11 — is the international recognition that the world needs order. Not all the wrongs of the world can be put right. One consequence of this is that foreign and domestic policy are ever more closely interwoven. And of course the surest way to stability is through the very values of freedom. again today. The struggle is for stability. albeit slowly. Our people want it. Instability is contagious and. nations. regimes act unchecked by popular accountability and pose a threat.000 years Europe fought over territory. But what are the policy positions that should guide us in doing so? First. In Queen Victoria’s time. we should act. So today. inflame feelings that can spread worldwide across different ethnic. In truth. (Section omitted) The most obvious lesson is indeed our interdependence. Today we see them enacted live on the BBC. effort and money. There is a democratic government in Belgrade and the whole region. “their” problem becomes “our” problem. Disorder is the enemy of progress. whether you are a utilitarian or a Utopian. the world works better when the US and the EU stand together. There will be issues that divide — issues of trade. Where they are absent. but it’s a lot less than if we had turned our back and let the Balkans plunge into civil war. we know now: these events and our response to them shape the fate not of one nation but of one world. religious and cultural communities. towards the EU. For a time our world stood still. the shock impacted on economic confidence. Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ with war crimes. Governments and people know that any territorial ambition threatens stability. the common interests dwarf the divide. more than ever. they can’t do business and prosper. and the threat spreads. but in trade and finance — witness the crisis of 1998 which began in Thailand and ended in Brazil — the world is interlocked. This is especially true of democracies whose people vote for higher living standards and punish governments who don’t deliver them. And that has been well illustrated by the role which the United Nations — under Kofi Annan’s excellent leadership — has played since September 11. at least most of them. countries want to protect their territorial integrity but few are into empire-building. most recently over steel. Of course. It was September 11 that brought these thoughts into sharper focus. crave stability. the world is interdependent. Sky or CNN. Where these are strong. Not just in security. Like it or not. Their very visibility. democracy and justice. We can’t intervene in every case. Yes. that confidence is really returning. is on a path. It’s still costing us time. because without it. it is very rare today that trouble in one part of the globe remains limited in its effect. Forget the talk of anti Americanism in Europe. So the promotion of these values becomes not just right in itself but part of our long-term security and prosperity. So if we didn’t know it before. if you 57 . Every nation in the world felt the reverberation of that fateful day. and instability threatens prosperity. There is no escape from facing them and dealing with them.

Milosevic. Britain is immensely proud of the part our forces have played and with the results but I can honestly say the people most pleased have been the people living under the regime in question. In our different ways. if necessary and justified. are the bad guys. the unintended consequences of action are limited. But it needs hard work. the bankrollers of the trade in terror and WMD. dialogue and some mutual understanding. But people know Europe needs America and I believe America needs Europe too. but how huge. Since September 11 the action has been considerable. The point I am making is simply this. We need to use those ties both to encourage Japan towards vital economic and structural reforms and also to bind the EU. And Sierra Leone. and how that power will be used. argue and vote as they wished. The Taliban. He is in my view a bold and immensely capable leader. of course. We are strong democracies. we must be prepared to act where terrorism or Weapons of Mass Destruction threaten us.58 Norman Fairclough call a demonstration. Complaining about each other is fashionable in some circles. the US and Asia closer together. intervene in all cases but where countries are engaged in the terror or WMD business. Now we envisage a new Russia/NATO relationship where certain questions are determined at 20. no one else feels they can play us off against each other. you will get the slogans and the insults. moving his country into a new and co-operative partnership with us. where a country of six million people was saved from a murderous group of gangsters who had hijacked the democratically elected government. but compatibly. We should pursue it vigorously. ‘Spheres of influence’ is an outdated concept. I have been involved as British Prime Minister in three conflicts involving regime change. trade and stability should replace old rivalries. But the truth is Russia today has as much interest in defeating terrorism as we have. If we stand together. Where it operates. we can develop relations with China and India. If necessary the action should be military and again. we should not shirk from confronting them. a route to respectability. Not just by military means but by disrupting the finances of terrorism. it should involve regime change. NATO is the cornerstone of the transatlantic US/EU relationship. I’ll always remember driving through the villages near Freetown in Sierra Leone seeing the people rejoicing — many of them amputees through the brutality from which they had been liberated — and their joy at being free to debate. Iran and even North Korea can accept the need . Some can be offered a way out. in many countries. But there should be no let up. the diplomatic parameters better fixed. Together. to see both the US and the EU strengthening enormously their political as well as economic links with South America. The fight against international terrorism is right. A series of interlocking alliances with a common agenda on issues of security. It is fascinating too. The international coalition matters. getting at the middle men. two nations about whom the only question is not whether they will be huge powers in the world. As long as I am British Prime Minister I will work to secure it. by the 19 NATO members and Russia. Never forget: they are the true victims. We cannot. In Afghanistan we worked with Russia in a way that would have had the old hands of the Cold War days frozen in disbelief. Secondly. There are no Cold War battles to play to. we can forge a new relationship with President Putin’s Russia. And we both already have strong ties with Japan. I hope in time that Syria. The US and EU together is a precondition of such alliances. We have so many shared values. Not just in Afghanistan but elsewhere. But the only people really rejoicing at a falling out.

And can disagree. they are in the ascendant and we have a common interest in standing up for them. That would be a recipe for the lowest common denominator — a poor policy. any time. Free enterprise is not their enemy. Their injustice is not globalisation but being excluded from it. But to allow WMD to be developed by a state like Iraq without let or hindrance would be grossly to ignore the lessons of September 11 and we will not do it. succeed and be applauded for their success. I am not suggesting. the moment for decision on how to act is not yet with us. (Section omitted) My basic argument is that in today’s interdependent world. The message to Saddam is clear: he has to let the inspectors back in. We’re all moving on it but we could move further. What makes America great is not its GDP alone or its military might. repressive. Usama bin Laden’s philosophy is not just a security threat to us. what happens in Africa offends every criterion of justice and decency we believe in. When I pass protestors every day at Downing Street. the fact that someone of humble beginnings can aspire. or starting wars with neighbouring states and it has used chemical weapons against its own people. 59 . Brutal. It must be fought by moderate Islam against extreme Islam. democracy. But they must know that sponsoring terrorism or WMD is not acceptable. in a calm. that nothing is done without unanimity in the world. at a certain point these forces merge. international community. its enterprise. That’s called freedom. Likewise. incidentally. we need an integrated approach. They needn’t. its rejoicing in its different colours and cultures. is not an option. they protest against it. As I say. It can’t be fought just with guns. And it’s time we took on the anti-globalisation protestors who seek to disrupt the meetings international leaders have on these issues. and believe me. based on the values we believe in. As for Iraq. measured. cruelty. I am arguing that the values we believe in are worth fighting for. When we defend our countries as you did after September 11. Blair’s contribution to elaborating a new ‘doctrine of international community’ to change their relations dramatically with the outside world. we aren’t just defending territory. I may not like what they call me. I want the WTO round started in Qatar last December to be a success. by the virtues of religious and political tolerance triumphing over bigotry. A new relationship is on offer. sensible but firm way. a doctrine of international community as I put it before. What the poor world needs is not less globalisation but more. We shouldn’t be shy of giving our actions not just the force of self-interest but moral force. refusing still to allow weapons inspectors back to do their work properly. any place that the international community demands. The regime of Saddam is detestable. It’s an assault on our hearts and minds. We are defending what our nations believe in: freedom. but I thank God they can. as we did after September 11. anyone. intolerance of different cultures and lifestyles. But leaving Iraq to develop WMD. work hard. I know some fear precipitate action. In all these areas. we seek one integrated. And in reality. political opponents routinely tortured and executed: it is a regime without a qualm in sacrificing the lives of its citizens to preserve itself. tolerance and respect towards others. in flagrant breach of no less than nine separate UNSCRs. Third. we should work hard to broker peace where conflict threatens a region’s stability because we know the dangers of contagion. It represents extremism. working to the same goals. It is its freedom. you name it. sharing the same values. We will proceed. justice. The plight of the Middle East ……… (Section omitted) I want to pick out the issue of trade. but their friend.

It does change everything. (Section omitted) . Yet we also have the capacity to destroy ourselves. the prospect of prosperity my father could never have dreamed of as a child. All this has been latent in world politics for some time. September 11 brought it into sharp relief. can be for good or ill. When an event of such magnitude occurs only a fool fails to reflect and consider. What makes the difference is the values that govern it. The great paradox of our modern world is that we have the unlimited possibility of scientific and technological advance.60 Norman Fairclough Fighting for these values is a cause the world needs. The very interdependence we have.

of more than 90%. why would a prime minister thus commit political . cognitive and sociopolitical aspects of parliamentary debates. including his own coalition partners. special attention is paid to political implicatures defined as inferences based on general and particular political knowledge as well as on the context models of Aznar’s speeches.War rhetoric of a little ally Political implicatures and Aznar’s legitimatization of the war in Iraq Teun A. Aznar totally ignored both the biggest demonstrations ever held in Spain (more than a million people in Barcelona alone). The theoretical framework for the analysis is a multidisciplinary CDA approach relating discursive. One of the interesting contextual features of Aznar’s speeches in the Cortes was that they defied a vast popular majority. Barcelona In this chapter we examine some of the properties of the speeches by former Prime Minister José María Aznar held in Spanish parliament in 2003 legitimating his support of the USA and the threatening war against Iraq. Introduction In this paper we examine some properties of the belligerent parliamentary rhetoric of Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar in support of military action of the USA and its allies against Saddam Hussein in 2003. Besides an analysis of the usual properties of ideological and political discourse. van Dijk Universitat Pompeu Fabra. against a war in Iraq without UN-backing. Although he was not personally up for re-election at the next general elections in 2004. even among his own party. such as positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation and other rhetoric devices. and thus risked to lose many votes in the approaching municipal elections of May 2003. the Partido Popular. as well as the opposition of all other parties. It is argued that speeches in parliament should not only be defined in terms of their textual properties. but also in terms of a contextual analysis.

values and ideologies. That is.g. I shall do so against the background of broader questions about the legitimization of state violence and war. . such as party propaganda and parliamentary decision making at the national level. may make on the basis of (their understanding of) this speech and its context. we need to relate them to such sociocognitive representations as attitudes. van Dijk suicide by slavishly following President George W. but in order to explain them. but more concretely examine some of the properties of the speeches that are the discursive expressions of Aznar’s public reasons. and March 5 and 29. Aznar’s political discourses and their properties are ultimately to be treated not only as texts. but also as expressions of political cognition and political actions in political processes. especially after the attack against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. However. Thus. the specific political inferences that participants in the communicative situation. and focus only on his own contributions. coalition building and power politics at the international level. e. we are interested not just in describing some interesting properties of political rhetoric. norms. administration? Because of genuine worries about the weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein allegedly had? Or perhaps in order to enlist Bush’s support for the local fight against the terrorist organization ETA? This paper will not engage in these or other political speculations about Aznar’s decisions to support the war against Iraq.S. and ignore. that is. 2003. I shall focus on what I shall call the political implicatures of Aznar’s speech. I shall cite examples only from his first speech of February 5. in this paper. 19. Our corpus consists of four interventions by Aznar held during parliamentary sessions on February 5.. This is especially true for political discourse. cognitive and social dimensions of a problem (Van Dijk 1993. those that Aznar shares with his party.62 Teun A. as well as diplomacy. and the international anti-terrorist hysteria that followed it. My general framework is a multidisciplinary brand of critical discourse analysis (CDA) that tries to ‘triangulate’ social issues in terms of a combined study of discursive. the contributions of other politicians and the discursive interactions of the debate. whose analysis should not be limited to structural features of text and talk. on September 11. Bush as a small-time ally-at-war who is barely taken seriously internationally? Because of the conservative ideology shared with the current U. 2001. but should also account for their conditions and functions in the political process. as well as to the sociopolitical context of his speeches in contemporary Spain. 2003). More specifically. for instance MPs in a parliamentary debate. in our case.

supporting the government and engaging in opposition. such as overlaps. moral or political justification of such participation. governing and control of government. Parliamentary debates have a number of formal properties that shall largely be ignored in my analysis. but also the well-known global semantic strategies of positive self-presentation of Us and negative other-presentation of Them. repairs. such debates feature speeches of MPs and members of government that pragmatically function as presenting and legitimating government decisions and policies. and on political discourse in particular.. More specifically. Such debates are forms of institutional verbal interaction as well as a specific genre of political discourse. these overall semantic 63 . As is the case for many other political discourses after September 11. Also because our data are taken from the official record. ritualized form of address (e. in a speech legitimating Spain’s participation in the war in Iraq. such as the legal. and it will thus be assumed that also the structures of the speeches in these debates may be described as implementing local moves in the overall realization of these global political functions. and hence more relevant in a CDA framework. Although there are few general semantic constraints on parliamentary debates. false starts and incomplete sentences. War rhetoric of a little ally Theoretical framework Parliamentary debates Against the background of earlier work in CDA in general.g. parliamentary debates are local manifestations of the global political acts of legislation. e. We represent the western democracies that fight against terrorism or ‘rogue states’. are the semantic and rhetorical properties of Aznar’s speech. ‘Su Señoría’ in Spanish) and the formal lexical and syntactic style of prepared addresses and official reactions to previous speeches. and their general properties may thus be analyzed in the broader frameworks of these discourse categories. which after all may be about many different topics. It is within this framework that I shall define and use the notion of ‘political implicature’ below.g. in our case specifically Saddam Hussein. Thus. we may not only expect the usual global strategies of legitimation. Relevant analyses of parliamentary debates should therefore focus on these global functions. the theoretical framework of this study first of all focuses on the structures and functions of parliamentary debates. and They are the terrorists or states that threaten us. there are hardly any spontaneous forms of speech and interactions. As a genre of political discourse. Such semantic polarization may be rhetorically emphasized in the usual way. order and change of speakers according to membership of government or opposition parties. by hyperboles and metaphors about our good things and their bad things. Politically more interesting in this case. such as speaker and turn-taking control by the Speaker or President.

though culturally variable. the ‘opposite’: negatively describe. the format of context models is necessarily more general. but rather the way individual participants represent. it is here that we must observe the political functions of the debates. Context models There is another fundamental aspect of parliamentary debates: context.64 Teun A. as interactions between MPs. what kind of actions they engage in. condemn or attack such actions and policies. That is. contexts can only influence what people say or understand when defined in terms of subjective. This means that most of the unique properties of this genre of political discourse are contextual: Who are speaking and listening. . semantic strategies and so on. it should be emphasized that there is no direct relationship between text and context when context is defined in terms of these aspects of the political situation: MPs and their roles. It is not the social or political situation itself that influences text or talk. This formulation of the contextual dimension of parliamentary debates is however rather informal. and may be found also in other formal encounters or in other political discourse. Theoretically. many of the formal. semantic and rhetorical aspects of parliamentary debates are hardly specific. style. formats. understand or otherwise construct the now-for-them-relevant properties of such a situation. Rather. MPs need not invent each time the standard categories of the structure that organizes their context models of the debates they participate in. In terms of contemporary cognitive psychology. actions and goals. or ‘out there’. as engaging in specific political actions and with specific political goals. Thus. what are their roles. by definition. rhetoric. van Dijk and rhetorical strategies of ingroup and outgroup polarization are quite general and also dependent on the political functions of such debates. As suggested above. while representing each participant’s ad hoc construction of the communicative situation. governments and the MPs that back them will typically present their own policies and actions in a positive light and opposition MPs will do. lexical selection. contexts are not objective. this means that contexts are mental models represented in episodic memory: context models. In my analysis I shall merely summarize some of the specific forms this semantics and rhetoric takes in the speech of Aznar. Although unique in each communicative situation. with what intentions and so on. participant constructs. That is. These context models control many of the properties of the production and comprehension of discourse: speech acts. but subjective constructs of participants.

These implicatures must be defined within the framework of the theory of context briefly summarized above. then the (political) implication is that Iraq is a threat for ‘us’. For example. he not only makes an assertion about the war in Iraq and his policies — to be analyzed in semantic terms — but this assertion should also be understood as the defense of government policy of the Prime Minister. My use of the term will be limited here to the pragmatics of context and I shall thus define political implicatures as implicatures that are specifically based on the political context. when Aznar in the beginning of his speech defines the situation in Iraq as a “crisis that confronts” the international community. each fragment of his speech may also be analyzed in terms of its functions in the current political interaction. others more personal and variable. I have chosen the term ‘implicature’ rather than ‘implication’ because the inferences involved are not semantic but pragmatic or contextual. actions and beliefs. participants’ more general knowledge about the political situation in the world and in the country. such as legitimating his own policies and delegitimation of the opposition. Thus. locally within parliament in the current debate and more globally in the current political situation. also has many semantic implications. That is. Implicatures on the other hand are usually defined as weak semantic implications or pragmatically in terms of contexts (Atlas 2000. Political implicatures are assigned by the participants as inferences from three sources: i. participants’ context model of the current communicative situation. Much of the understanding of the speeches in this debate involves the production of these semantic inferences. participants’ representations of the structures of the discourse and its meanings (such as their mental model of the situation in Iraq). his policy is a peaceful one. if Aznar emphasizes that despite his support for the war in Iraq. in terms of the participant’s context models of their own political identities. Aznar’s speech. terrorism. reacting to critique from citizens and the opposition parties with the political aim to legitimate highly controversial decisions. Iraq and so on. Most of these semantic implications are. they are inferred from the topics talked about as well as from the general knowledge we have about Spain. Grice 1989. about Iraq and Spain’s policy. War rhetoric of a little ally Political implicatures The features of Aznar’s speech I would like to focus on are the political implicatures of his speech. goals. of the leader of the government party Partido Popular (PP). iii. some of which quite general. Gazdar 1979. roles. international policy. that is. among other strategies. Thus. for instance when he describes the ‘bad’ behavior of Saddam Hussein. in our case. 65 . Levinson 2000). of course. ii.

and hence for the selection of . This selection and brief characterizations show how Aznar is engaging in political discourse and its wellknown structures and strategies and more specifically in the case of the debate about the war in Iraq. Also. a satisfactory account of (pragmatic) political implicatures presupposes an explicit theory of context. conversation analysis and political discourse analysis that ignore a cognitive component either need to disregard such ‘unobservable’ implicatures or reduce them to properties of discourse or undefined contexts. namely how political leaders manage the legitimation of controversial policies. This will be done more or less informally. I shall show in more detail how such implicatures may be derived. This is. as briefly summarized here. Method In my analyses below I shall select a number of characteristic fragments of Aznar’s speech as they implement the usual properties of political discourse as we know them from the literature. as well as the strategies of inference that allow participants — in this case MPs — to make such inferences. but more specifically may also be explicitly signaled by the participants in their reactions to previous speeches. van Dijk In the examples below. but it should be stressed that in a theoretically more explicit account. such as positive ingroup and negative outgroup descriptions as well as other strategies of parliamentary debates. Later commentary in the media on parliamentary debates often precisely focuses on these tacit political implicatures of such debates. these examples and their (largely semantic) analysis should provide insight in a political issue. They define the fundamental political point of parliamentary debates in the first place. That such implicatures are actually relevant for political discourse analysis is not only obvious for participants and analysts alike if they share the relevant political knowledge of the current political situation. not a necessary condition of our analysis — political implicatures may also be assessed indirectly by later interviews of participants or by other methods — and need not be signaled explicitly in a speech of participants. There is no explicit discovery procedure for these political discourse structures. such as ‘doing’ government and ‘doing’ opposition and more generally the institutional and political power play enacted in parliaments. however. Political implicatures explain that and why political participants say the things they do. Approaches in CDA. we show why ongoing political discourse is relevant for the political process.66 Teun A. Indeed. At the same time. we would need to spell out in detail the contents of the context models. Through an analysis of political implicatures. thus. they are routinely understood and only presupposed in later talk and text.

see. a complete analysis of all political implicatures of this speech would require hundreds of pages of detailed description. parliaments and especially governments need to take action when there is a ‘crisis’. otherwise than those predicted by theories of political discourse in general and theories of parliamentary debates in particular. understand the debate. e. reasonable and legitimate. comprehensible. Newhouse 2003. this is a persuasive way to define the initial situation. as from the first words of his intervention. if only because of the looming war threatened by the USA and the UK. see also Chomsky 2003. Aznar does not blame the crisis on those who started it 67 . Dinstein 2001. al comenzar el periodo de sesiones. in which he defines the situation as a crisis: (1) “El señor PRESIDENTE DEL GOBIERNO (Aznar López): Señora presidenta. Nye 2000.” Since politicians. Walzer 2004). Such a category is sequentially relevant in discourses whose main aim is to make comments on a social or political situation.g. This is indeed what he does. thus accounting for the political functions and rationale of this debate in the Spanish Cortes. as well as by the knowledgeable public at large. Thus. Defining the situation Many types of discourse..SS. Obviously. Rodin 2002. feature an initial schematic category that might be called Defining the Situation. Besides these brief standard analyses. Thus. if Aznar is required to defend his very unpopular Iraq policy. such as editorials and also speeches in parliament. War rhetoric of a little ally the fragments analyzed. it makes sense to describe a situation in which such acts appear necessary. so we shall limit ourselves to a limited number of characteristic examples. Daalder and Lindsay 2003.S. Borch and Wilson 2003. Typically. also the opposition no doubt describes the current situation as a crisis. or to justify or legitimate actions. Christopher 2003. to recommend specific actions. comparezco esta tarde ante la Cámara para informar a SS. there are normative rules (and international law) that in specific cases allow people or states to defend themselves when they are attacked — and U. he first needs to lay out a political situation that makes such a policy understandable. scholars and military have justified the Iraq war on such grounds (for analysis of such forms of legitimation. I suggest that this is probably the way MPs and other observers. Note though that even in this very first sentence. the analysis will focus more in detail on the political implicatures of each fragment. politicians. unavoidable or otherwise acceptable. Gareau 2004. if one wants to explain or justify why one acted in a specific (usually criticized) way. de la posición del Gobierno ante la crisis que enfrenta a la comunidad internacional con Irak. Falk 2003. logical. señorías. Indeed.

68 Teun A. one might further infer that if the opposition is not with the ‘international community’ (that is. Secondly. of positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation and of course of political counter-attack. Besides these (semantic) implications. The obvious political implication of his first definition of the situation. can be opposed. responsible party leader and prime minister and that. These and possibly other political implicatures may be seen as part of one of the forms of contextual polarization and face management. which does not want to join the war (and which when they came to power in March 2004 immediately decided to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq). but that he be seen and accepted as a good. as well as of the opposition and the population at large. the . van Dijk with their war plans. Bush. he politically implicates that (i) he is doing his job as MP. From the start and throughout. that is. (iii) that the earlier critique against him is not or no longer relevant and (iv) that those who formulated the critique — such as the oppositional PSOE — have no point.’ an implicature that has a whole series of other political implicatures. that is. Thus. is that it is Iraq that is responsible for the crisis. by making his own ‘appearance’ and ‘report’ for the MPs explicit in the very first sentence of his speech. Aznar shows that he is acutely aware of his own position. thus. the crisis is not defined as facing Aznar’s government alone. Such performatives may just be a more or less formal way of speaking. such as the USA and the UK. the opposition has no ‘point’. is one of the ways in which arguments that claim that this is a conflict only as defined by the USA and its allies. (ii) he listens to the opposition and the country and hence is a good democrat. and therefore legitimate. Such a formulation. it is crucial that not only the ‘content’ of his speech be an efficient contribution to the general strategy of legitimation of his policies. but as a crisis that affects the whole international community. and the choice of the word ‘enfrenta’ (confront) further confirms that ‘we’ are the victims of this confrontation. but on Iraq. Thus. is not part of the international community and hence less legitimate in its claims. there are however also a number of political implicatures of this speech. and its (weak) implications. At the same time. hence. thus. in the question of Iraq. In the current situation in parliament. the ingroup of the ‘international community. Aznar prefaces his statement with an explicit deictic formula describing his own ‘appearance’ in parliament. Aznar politically implicates that his government is part of us. that of his party. instead of directly starting with his report of the government’s policy in Iraq. Indeed. and not by the international community. but in this case they also have specific political implicatures: Aznar had been accused by the opposition as well as by the media and other elites of ignoring parliament and public opinion by not informing them about government policy on Iraq. and that the opposition. following the political logic of President George W. namely that his policies are in line with the international community.

c. is still guilty of provoking an international crisis and 69 . Such a rhetorical emphasis presupposes the normative or legal inference that if a negative act (such as non-compliance) is not unintentional or exceptional. By referring to international obligations and the Security Council of the United Nations. he semantically emphasizes the seriousness of non-compliance. thereby adducing further grounds to accuse Iraq and to legitimize the war. Again. does and implies the following: a. so that it can be shown how previous political knowledge. the formulation of these implicatures is informal. A more formal account would have to make explicit the precise context models of Aznar and the MPs. he emphasizes that Iraq is defying the world’s highest authority and official earlier resolutions. (Rumores. This is indeed what he does. this emphasizes the ‘official’ guilt of Iraq. in which Iraq’s (Saddam Hussein’s) aggression was obvious because of its invasion of Kuwait. War rhetoric of a little ally USA. then it is against them and possibly even playing in the hands of the enemy. the representation of the situation.)” Note that Aznar here does much more than merely accuse Iraq as the cause of the crisis. Aznar needs to provide specifics of the situation of crisis and further arguments that allow him to define the situation as a crisis in the first place and that also explain the position of his government in this crisis. its repeated nature makes it intentional and the perpetrator more guilty. and hence the seriousness of the crisis. Aznar refers to the (first) Gulf War. by now explicitly attributing the crisis to Iraq: (2) “La crisis es consecuencia del reiterado incumplimiento por parte de Irak de sus obligaciones internacionales y de las resoluciones del Consejo de Seguridad de las Naciones Unidas. Aznar politically implies at least two other things: That Iraq. By calling the current situation a continuation of that invasion. Saddam Hussein. b. despite the fact that it did not invade another country now. but will have to do for the purposes of this paper. cuando el régimen iraquí invadió Kuwait. By modifying non-compliance of Iraq with the word “repeated”. and the mental model representing the semantic interpretation of this fragment all provide the information necessary to derive these plausible political inferences. if not the obligation. as well as the legitimacy. and does not occur for the first time. he says. vemos que no es más que un nuevo episodio del problema surgido en 1990. the UK and some other countries). to condemn Iraq and take action against it. and hence thematic or global definition of the situation (as headlines do at the beginning of a news article) and its overall contextual implicatures. Among other things. After this initial. In the second sentence. A poco que hagamos memoria. As suggested before.

and UK foreign policy. That this implication is understood. and those who oppose the war as supporting Saddam Hussein. they are at the same time international in scope and overlapping with those of U. the implications of this definition provide as many arguments for the political legitimatization of his own policies: to define the current situation as a crisis.70 Teun A. He does so. Indeed. since there are many other dictatorships in the world. the initial definition of the situation is one that Aznar carefully articulates in a way that is consistent with his own policy. which already begun with the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. so that it is imperative to marshal any evidence or argument that finds him guilty of current breaches of international law. Although these implications are local legitimatizations of his own policy.N. implicitly. through a polarization according to which he associates himself with the Good Guys. the fact that Saddam Hussein oppresses the people of Iraq is as such no international legitimization for war against him. is obvious from the protests of other MPs (described here as “rumores” — noise — in the transcript of the Diario de las Sesiones). But Aznar is not only aligning himself internationally with Bush and Blair. This further definition of the situation as a crisis provoked by Iraq. In other words. but rejected as a legitimatization of war now. as a form of politically aligning Aznar with such authority (the Security Council and the United Nations) and finally to legitimate international action because of the repeated and continuous challenges to the U. or that defines his current position as the same as the one that provoked the earlier (legitimate) war. This means that we should also draw the political inferences of his speech in terms of the relation with the stance of the parliamentary opposition and public opinion. the enemy. international (armed) action against Iraq is legitimate. his speech not only provides a description of an international crisis and not only is formulated in such a way that the mental model of the event it expresses and conveys is the one preferred in this process of persuasion. We see that Aznar carefully follows this legitimatization strategy in his speech. Aznar does not only speak about Iraq or about his government policy. and hence to legitimately confront Iraq with armed intervention as was the case in the Gulf War. at the same time emphasizes the seriousness of the crisis as well as the guilt of Iraq. but in parliament he needs to defend such policy against fierce opposition and against a nearly unanimous popular condemnation.. Again. That is. By doing so. to define this challenge as a continuation of the aggression against Iraq. he not . that is in terms of contextual implicatures. but also needs to manage his power in parliament and the country. At the same time. to accuse Iraq as being non-compliant and hence as in breach of international resolutions. this move is part of the ideological strategy of positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation.S. as a challenge to the highest authority in the world. van Dijk secondly that in the same way as in 1990. In other words.

War rhetoric of a little ally

only legitimizes his own policy, but also delegitimizes those who oppose the war,
and especially also the political opposition parties, such as the PSOE, the Socialist
Party of Spain. As suggested above, such political implicatures are inferred from
a combined general knowledge of politics and a more contextual understanding
of the current political situation, for instance in Spain. The sequence of political
inferences might in that case be something like this:

I am doing what I am supposed to do according to the rules.
(Therefore) I am doing my job as prime minister.
(Therefore) I follow the rules of our democracy.
(Therefore) I am a democrat.
(Therefore) I am a good politician.
(Therefore) There is (now) no reason to criticize me or my government.
(Therefore) The criticism of the opposition (or others) is unfounded.
(Therefore) The opposition is not doing its job well.
(Therefore) The opposition is no good.

Empirically, such inferences are warranted when consistent with the way competent political participants actually do understand Aznar’s statements in this way,
an understanding that may become manifest in the way they react to his speech.

Positive self-presentation
As we have seen also for Aznar, speakers prefer to describe themselves in positive
terms. This tendency is part of the well-known interactional and sociocognitive
strategy to present oneself in a positive light, or at least to avoid a negative impression and in general to manage the impression on our interlocutors. The same is of
course true in most forms of public discourse, where making a good impression
may even be more important than in informal everyday life conversations, for
instance because of the more serious impact on a larger audience, as well as the
possibility of professional or political damage that may be the result of a ‘wrong’
presentation of Self. This is particularly important in politics, where especially opposition politicians, as well as the media, and indirectly the public at large are
critically listening, and where a faux pas may cost votes at the next elections. We
may therefore expect that also Aznar will engage in extensive and varied forms of
positive self-presentation, especially given the devastating critique his position on
Iraq received in the media from most other political parties as well as from the vast
majority of the population at large. Probably on few topics in recent Spanish history, opposition against government policy had been so pervasive. In other words,



Teun A. van Dijk

Aznar has some serious image repair to do. Let us examine some of these moves.
Here is a first example, right at the beginning of his speech:

(3) “Esta comparecencia continúa la información proporcionada a SS.SS. por
el Gobierno anteriormente. En concreto, el Gobierno ha informado sobre la
situación de Irak por medio de la comparecencia de la ministra de Asuntos
Exteriores en un total de cinco ocasiones, la última el viernes pasado ante
la Comisión correspondiente. Yo mismo he comparecido para dar cuenta
de la posición del Gobierno en otras dos ocasiones. El Gobierno también ha
contestado por escrito a diversas preguntas que se le han formulado sobre la
cuestión. A la comparecencia de hoy seguirán otras mías o de los ministros de
Asuntos Exteriores y de Defensa, en función de los acontecimientos y según la
forma que requiera la evolución de esta crisis, conforme al Reglamento de la

Why would Aznar enter in so much detail about his repeated ‘appearances’ in
parliament? The rather obvious answer is in terms of its relevance in relation to
the (presupposed) critique of the opposition, the media and others, namely that
Aznar, unlike Tony Blair, hardly tried to explain or justify his policies about Iraq,
and thus had shown his arrogance in the face of massive public opposition to the
war. That is, in order to show that he is not arrogant, but democratic, listens to
the people, and follows (as he says explicitly) the rules of parliament, he emphasizes his repeated compliance with the democratic rules. He need not explicitly say
that he is democratic and otherwise respecting the wishes of parliament, but this
passage politically implicates such meanings for a politically knowledgeable audience. At each point of his speech, Aznar carefully measures the possible political
implications of what he is saying, emphasizing the points that show that he (or his
party) is complying with basic political rules of democracy, as well as with more
general social norms and values — and conversely, justifying or de-emphasizing in
many ways those elements of his words and his policies that might be interpreted
negatively, thereby aiming to avoid or to challenge a bad impression.
Throughout his speeches, Aznar engages in many other forms of positive selfpresentation. Let us examine some other examples:

(4) “El Gobierno, señorías, desea la paz y está trabajando activamente para
asegurarla.” (p. 11250).

(5) “España ha mantenido siempre una actitud constructiva en el conflicto de
Oriente Medio.” (p. 11253).

(6) “Señora presidenta, señorías, soy bien consciente de que lo que esta tarde
tratamos en la Cámara es algo que afecta de manera profunda a los
sentimientos, también a las convicciones y también, por supuesto, además,

War rhetoric of a little ally

a la razón. Siento el mayor respeto por todas las posiciones que se puedan
manifestar en esta sesión… (Rumores.). (…) Nadie tiene el monopolio de la
razón, como nadie tiene el monopolio de los buenos sentimientos. Comprendo
que lo que tratamos son decisiones difíciles y que ninguno querríamos estar en
la situación que estamos.”

These are three different types of self-presentation, namely when the speaker
speaks for his group or organization (here, the government), as in example 4, when
the speaker speaks for his country (example 5), and when the speaker speaks for
himself, as in the last and most significant example. Whereas the first two kinds of
self-praise are typically political, the last one is personal, and intended to emphasize the good character of the speaker. In all cases, these forms of self-congratulation are interactionally occasioned and respond to real or possible criticisms of his
opponents — as they define the political context of Aznar’s speech. Example (5) is
the most obvious case, since Aznar and his government have been widely accused
of warmongering, so he needs to emphasize that he and his government are (of
course) in favor of peace — a self-evident and well-known topos, widely used even
to legitimize war and aggression, and part of the overall strategy of positive selfpresentation and negative other-presentation: We are peaceful and merely defending ourselves, whereas They are aggressive and warmongering.
We shall see later that in this and many other passages, however, Aznar always adds that this peace should be peace “with security”. The second case is more
general, and responds to the real or possible critique that by joining the USA in
a war against Iraq, Spain may lose its credit with the Arab states. The third form
of self-presentation, which may also be described as the first part of a (complex)
disclaimer, namely as a form of apparent empathy, is intended to show that he is
not the ruthless statesman who disregards the feelings, opinions and reasons of all
those who are against the war — namely the vast majority of the Spanish population and all political parties in parliament except his own. Disregarding these feelings and beliefs would not only allow the conclusion that he personally lacks feelings and consideration, but perhaps even more crucially that he is not democratic
by not considering the opinions of all those who oppose the war. Indeed, respect
is one of the major values both in everyday interaction as well as in politics. It is
important that he emphasizes these characteristics, especially in the face of multiple critiques among other politicians, the media and the population at large that
his pro-war policy ignores the opinion of the vast majority of the people in Spain.
In the last part of example (6), he continues this important section of his speech
with a topos of equality, formulated in the form of a repeated negation and parallelism to emphasize its effect. This fragment may also be interpreted as (part of) a
standard disclaimer, namely as an apparent concession (“I may be wrong, but…”),


74 Teun A. lo que creo más razonable y lo que creo que conviene mejor a España y a los españoles.” Note that in these examples. The analysis of these few examples is not merely another illustration of the well-known strategy of positive self-presentation and its functions in political speeches. which are the final words of this speech before thanking the president of the Cortes. Politically most relevant.” (p. and the communicative and political situation in the Cortes during the speech. as suggested. of course. and why each move in his speech also has a very specific function in the political process. with an emphasis on personal commitment. and the rationale for this article. such as a eulogy of his government. van Dijk but given the political context. in the rest of the sequence. at a more global level. Personally and interactionally however. is that the informal analysis of various types of positive self-presentation and facework provided above highlights a series of political implicatures that cannot simply be described in a semantic analysis. There are many ways and levels to ‘understand’ this speech. Aznar nevertheless disregards these feelings of “comprehension” and asks for a “responsible” (and hence not emotional) support of his policies. is his claim that the policy of his government is good for the country. My point. . he interestingly combines various forms of positive self-presentation. (8) “Creo sinceramente que hoy estoy cumpliendo lo que reclamé cuando encabezaba la oposición. Indeed. at the local level. because only in this way the best interests of Spain are served: (7) “Y la que le corresponde tomar a un gobierno español que atienda a los intereses permanentes de nuestro país. but presuppose detailed contextual knowledge of the current political situation in Spain and the world (the Iraq crisis). However. reasonableness and sincerity. in another move of positive self-presentation that also has a function as a legitimization of his policies. so that his positive moves may be interpreted as the first part of a long disclaimer. Aznar then adds that a “firm and resolute” response to Saddam Hussein is a “responsible” policy. 11254). the interpretation should rather be that Aznar does not accept that the “good feelings” are only on the side of the opposition. as well as in the speech as a whole. These functions are relevant and understood by all knowledgeable participants but are seldom made explicit and are embodied in the political implicatures that participants derive at each point of a political speech. lo que me comprometí al ser elegido presidente del Gobierno. it is more important that he comes across as credible and honest. and a politically relevant one is what Aznar’s political concerns are.

Thus. such as in the following passage (9) “El de Sadam es un régimen de terror que no ha dudado en emplear armas de destrucción masiva en las guerras que ha promovido contra sus países vecinos y contra su propio pueblo. there was at least a good argument for its legitimacy if the argument were purely humanitarian. Saddam Hussein was generally portrayed as the West’s preferred villain. but also because these arguments could. This and related backgrounds and legitimatizations of the war against Iraq of course also play in the discourses of the allies of the USA. against Iran). positive self-presentation is usually combined with negative other-presentation. Saddam Hussein soon became the number one rogue. leftist perspective and therefore strategically an excellent ploy. when Osama Bin Laden could not be captured after the attacks. and a specific set of lexical items (such as “terror”. Saddam Hussein. extreme case formulations. So it is not surprising that in the wake of the sudden interest of Bush & Co for ‘rogue states’ and ‘global terrorism’ after the September 11 attacks. as we also have seen in the speeches of Bush. Blair and those who support them. Moreover. bashing Saddam is perfectly consistent with a humanitarian. both in politics and the media (Martín Rojo 1995). However. If the war against Saddam Hussein was not strictly legal. derogation of the ‘enemy’ is of course crucial. in order not to break international legal conventions.” An analysis of this and other passages is consistent with earlier work on political rhetoric in general and on Saddam Hussein in particular. especially since the occupation of Kuwait. Thus. and we may therefore expect extensive derogation of Saddam Hussein also in Aznar’s speeches. or derogation. the threat of weapons of mass destruction had to be alleged as the official motive for the war and not because Saddam Hussein was a dictator or violating human rights — since that argument would apply to many other countries and dictators. we find the usual forms of hyperbole. Thus.g. Although first considered and supported as an ally (e. “armas de destrucción masiva”) among many other forms of negative person and group characterization. hardly be challenged by a leftist opposition that could not agree more. My main point in this paper is not merely the usual description of political rhetoric and 75 . It is not surprising therefore that Aznar emphasizes the negative characteristics of the enemy. as such. in speeches that are intended to justify or legitimatize war.. namely the UK and Spain. War rhetoric of a little ally Negative other-presentation In political and other ideologically-based discourse. following the well-known social psycho-logic of ingroup–outgroup polarization. these arguments are strong not only because Hussein was undoubtedly a dictator who had savagely oppressed the people of Iraq. and will not further detain us. as we know.

van Dijk legitimation. For the same reason. even against the interests of the Iraqi population. but rather with the overall strategy of legitimating a war against such a tyrant. – On the other hand. but a study of some of the contextual functions of such strategies in the current political situation and the political process. the socialist opposition is betraying its own principles and hence cannot be trusted. since Aznar does want to support a coalition that wants to fight such a terrible dictator as Saddam Hussein (because he is a danger for the world and his own people). Why is it politically relevant and important now to repeat and emphasize that Saddam Hussein is a very bad guy? After all. – By describing and emphasizing those characteristics of Saddam Hussein as they were highlighted also by the USA. through their alleged links with Saddam Hussein.76 Teun A. the alleged weapons of mass destruction and the links with terrorist organizations. So. his earlier breaches of UN resolutions. but the point is clear that what Aznar says about Saddam Hussein has little to do with his personal or ‘real’ opinions about the dictator. but also shows the political ‘family resemblance’ between Aznar and Bush. what are the political implicatures of Aznar’s current derogation of Saddam Hussein? Let us spell out a few of them: – If the socialist opposition (mostly the PSOE) does not want to go to war against Saddam Hussein. as fellow conservative politicians. Of course several other implicatures may be formulated. such as the invasion of Kuwait. then Aznar is doing his duty as responsible prime minister. there is no disagreement about this at all with the opposition or public opinion at large. and hence our policies. Aznar shows his legitimate concern as responsible leader and at the same time politically implies that the opposition obviously does not have that concern and hence disregards its social responsibilities. – By emphasizing the danger ‘for all of us’ of the possibility that the weapons of mass destruction may be used by terrorists. So. the opposition are nevertheless supporting him. so there is no particular point for an argument or a form of persuasion here. Since we all know that he is an appalling dictator. then they are in fact playing in the hand of Saddam Hussein. by not supporting the war against Saddam Hussein. there is much less emphasis on the serious violations of human rights by Saddam Hussein — which would be much more typical for the opposition. Aznar shows the alignment of his government and party with those of a powerful ally. That by itself may be seen as a legitimate policy. This is obviously inconsistent with the humanitarian and social values of the (socialist) opposition. The political implicatures of such a negative otherpresentation of the dictator is thus again a way of positively presenting his own .

El interés del Gobierno es obtener una situación de paz con seguridad. A detailed.g. (10) “Primero. citizens are manipulated into believing that society has become increasingly insecure. que también son las de nuestro país.” (11) “Desearía que convinieran conmigo en que una postura firme y resolutiva para desarmar a Irak en un plazo inmediato es lo responsable. against international rules (that do not allow removal of terrible dictators). what the currently politically relevant ‘bad’ things that need to be highlighted in discourse are. negative other-presentations in political discourse are not just a description of a bad guy. awkward questions may then be asked about the earlier support of Saddam Hussein by the USA. lo lógico e inteligente para las aspiraciones de paz y seguridad de la comunidad internacional. as in the following examples. It is the kind of value. by the supply of toxic gas and other weapons. and characteristic of his conservative government. and too consistent with the attitudes of the opposition. and emphasis on. Terrorist attacks are selectively (and gratefully) focused upon.” The first part of the binomial expression is in line with a major value. peace and security. when the dictator was their ally against Iran. and mobilized to support a sometimes draconian curtailment of their civil rights. The analysis of political implicatures makes such tacit ‘tactical’ reasons explicit. negative description of the horrible violations of human rights by Saddam Hussein would not have satisfied these political functions: they would be inconsistent with the main arguments of the USA. and shared by the majority of his opponents. In other words. both in politics and the media.. In many countries. and hence those of his party and government. War rhetoric of a little ally position and policies. Peace. even when these are not exactly pacifists. to sustain that continuous fear. aim and principle that is unassailable. as is the case more generally. but only oppose this war. but rather a politically relevant selection of. el Gobierno está trabajando por restablecer la paz y la seguridad. a slogan that is repeated in many forms in his speech. it is the combination with the second concept that makes the slogan interesting. That many more citizens die of other avoidable causes that could 77 . security and terrorism Aznar’s slogan in this debate. is “paz y seguridad”. while at the same time disparaging those of the opposition. also in domains that have little to do with terrorism. Indeed. e. also in questions of immigration. However. and in line with similar slogans in the USA and Europe: security has become the keyword of the post September 11 politics.

Aznar. to legitimate power policies and wars. Bush and Blair know that most citizens — no more than they themselves — are not really worried in their daily life about what happens in Iraq or the Middle East. second part then becomes the essential condition and the principal aim of the discourse. as also several other passages in his speech show: . van Dijk be combated with much less money and less limitations of freedom. the Pentagon budget. comparable to the well-known counterpart in racist disclaimers (‘we are not racists’). they are relevant in the local political context in Spain — when Aznar indirectly and sometimes directly links Iraq and Saddam Hussein with international terrorism and international terrorism with local terrorism of ETA. the slogan is not just that Aznar and his government want Peace and Security. Thus. Peace in such a context may be a less appropriate term. but security. ‘we are peaceful’). it takes the more transparent form of a wellknown disclaimer. Peace and Security serves to appeal to the fears of people who feel insecure and need a strong government that will primarily satisfy the fundamental needs of security. they are not offering what people want most: security. that of the Apparent Concession. and maybe not even about lack of peace somewhere else in the world. These implicatures also function locally — that is. Hence. the corollary is the political implicature that if the opposition only wants peace. In the same way as Law and Order is the slogan to combat crime and emphasize and implement conservative values. his party. and the derogation of the opposition. Thus. or about weapons of mass destruction. Aznar is implicitly able to disqualify the leftist opposition as mere pacifists. In (10) therefore. we witness that the fundamental contextual strategy is one of positive political self-presentation for the public or the voters at large.78 Teun A. consistent with the overall strategy of well-known security text and talk of the national security state. is of course no issue in such belligerent ideologies and policies. Such analyses have been provided repeatedly by other authors. in which the first part is the part that satisfies the strategy of positive self-presentation (‘we want peace’. it is essential to use the vague general concept that does matter for many people: feelings of (in)security. but security of course is. relevant for us are the political implicatures of such a slogan: why does it serve Aznar here and how? Again. The crucial. but are actively engaged in trying to establish it (“trabajando”). and especially the businesses involved in war and security. No further analysis is needed here why terrorism serves Bush. In other words. if we read the slogan as it is really intended. Peace. the curtailment of civil liberties. on the other hand. on the one hand. At the same time. Besides the general semantic and political analysis of the disclaimer. the slogan at the same time functions politically as a way to emphasize the positive role of the conservative government in the fight against ETA.

and of course Iraq. That international terrorism. Aznar strategically uses this argument to argue for a broader. en Barcelona que hay grupos terroristas dispuestos a atacar causando el mayor daño y destrucción posibles y que cuentan con sustancias que podrían causar centenares. especialmente si tiene a su alcance medios de destrucción masiva. Sabemos que ello nos ayudará — ya lo está haciendo — en nuestra lucha contra el terrorismo de ETA y creemos que es un deber específico de España ofrecer su cooperación a otros países señalados por el terrorismo.señorías. Hemos impulsado la lucha contra el terrorismo y contra la proliferación de armas de destrucción masiva en nuestras relaciones bilaterales y en todos los foros internacionales. pero sé muy bien que no estamos hablando. War rhetoric of a little ally (12) “(…) este Gobierno ha querido desempeñar un papel activo en esta crisis internacional pensando en la nueva amenaza que hoy supone el terrorismo. si no miles. ante su conciencia y ante su país.” (14) “La lucha contra el terrorismo es el principal objetivo. Another political implicature is to accuse the opposition of inconsistency: If you are against ETA terrorism. puede ignorar esta realidad. No son hipótesis de ciencia ficción. Since the public at large as well as the socialist opposition share the main aims of the struggle against ETA assassinations. Creo que la pasividad ante estas nuevas amenazas es nuestro mayor peligro. Sé bien que no es agradable precisar estos riesgos. international struggle against terrorism by asserting that this will also be relevant locally. has nothing to do with the actions of ETA. especially when associated with weapons of mass destruction. Después del 11 de septiembre ningún gobernante responsable. apoyado por las fuerzas parlamentarias. is of course irrelevant for such an argument — they simply have the concept of ‘terrorism’ in common — a well-known move of amalgamation. Hemos visto hace pocos días en Londres y también. 79 . you should also actively fight international terrorism. de la política exterior española. por desgracia. Aznar locally needs to do more than that. So he repeatedly emphasizes the local relevance of this struggle by constructing a link with local terrorism of ETA.” (15) “España ha impulsado con toda sus fuerzas estas políticas y vemos con satisfacción cómo la lucha contra estas lacras ha escalado posiciones en la agenda de la comunidad internacional hasta convertirse en objetivo básico de ésta. International terrorism has become the main argument for the security policies of Bush.” (13) “… el Gobierno entiende que hay un riesgo gravísimo y un vínculo amenazador entre la proliferación de armas de destrucción masiva y el terrorismo. de ninguna fantasía.” These examples barely need further contextual and political analysis. de muertos. Aznar and other leaders. But although that alone is a sufficient legitimation for them to go to war.

what we can learn about the political implicatures of Aznar’s speech of February 5. 2003. Aznar seems to get the ‘proof ’ he wants — namely that international terrorism is also locally relevant. Other strategies With these examples of Aznar’s political rhetoric not only have we witnessed some of the common properties of political discourse and legitimation. Namely. finally. However. Ironically. and the feelings of safety of the citizens. that is a topos. first of all in order to legitimate the war and his support for it as beneficial for the whole world (see also Fairclough.80 Teun A. Hence. 2004. in the words of Bush. again for the same local reasons mentioned above — the alleged amalgam of international (‘Islamist’) terrorism and ETA terrorism — Aznar at first wanted to make the media and the public believe that the attacks were perpetrated by ETA. on March 11. van Dijk In the last sentence of (15) he actually makes this implicature somewhat more explicit: the danger consists in not taking action. that can be used in any argument. we learn that it is always crucial to sustain international policies with local policies and strategies to get votes and to delegitimate one’s political opponents. Blair & Co. that the topic of terrorism threat is thus becoming a standard argument that needs no further proof. is important. but also some principles underlying the contextual interpretation of such discourse in terms of political implicatures. such as the strategy of positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation. this volume) — which. causing 190 deaths. for the obvious reason that this would even more vindicate his aggressive anti-ETA policy and get him votes. engaging in war and to curtail human rights — all in order to enhance security. Indeed. The other global and local strategies of Aznar’s speech function in a similar way and may thus be summarized more briefly. it is pacifism and not terrorism that is the main problem for Aznar. When international terrorism finally also hit home. will . as it did one year later. the public and the media resented such obvious manipulation just two days before the national elections and voted him out of office. this is basically the same strategy Bush followed in the USA to legitimate the war against Iraq. by the well-known move of conversion. Note. the link established with ETA and the focus on national security. Interestingly but typically. however. however. with the train massacre in Madrid. for instance to increase defense spending. Independently of the public response. Internationalism Aznar repeatedly refers to the UN and the international community.

” The political implicatures of this example are quite explicit by Aznar’s emphasis that not only his policy is legitimate — and hence the aims of the opposition inconsistent with international ‘legality’ — but also that the government is primarily thinking of the national interest and hence that an international action is actually in favor of Spanish citizens. also in his own party. War rhetoric of a little ally be “safer without Saddam Hussein”. and secondly to hide that the war in Iraq was precisely not supported by the UN or the Security Council: (16) “El Gobierno ha mantenido desde el comienzo de esta última crisis una postura coherente con la legalidad internacional.” Obviously. Indeed. the number game has several functions. no ha dado cuenta de 6. Hence.000 toneladas de agentes químicos que conservó tras la guerra con Irán. the precise numbers do not matter here — and the fact that almost four years after the occupation of Iraq none of all this has been found shows that these numbers were largely speculative or relative to innocent chemicals.500 litros de ántrax. la defensa de los intereses de la nación y sus obligaciones internacionales. The political point and implicature of the number game however is its rhetoric of objec- 81 . here and elsewhere Aznar actually emphasizes that the opposition is placing itself outside the international consensus — a well-known move of conversion when he knows that it is the war policy of Bush and himself that is nearly universally condemned. his support for UN resolutions is mere political lip service. In Aznar’s speech. The number game A well-known ploy of argumentation is the number game. on the left. on the right. This again politically implies that those who oppose that policy are not working in the best interest of Spanish citizens. and hence credibility. no ha demostrado la destrucción de 8. such as to convey objectivity and precision. no ha detenido la producción de misiles con un radio de más de 150 kilómetros: no ha revelado el destino de 380 propulsores de misiles con agentes químicos que fueron introducidos de contrabando en el país el mes anterior. and specifically to emphasize the truth about Saddam Hussein’s non-compliance with international resolutions.). emphasizing the interests of the nation is also a counterweight against possible critique. no ha explicado el destino de 1. that ‘internationalism’ may be inconsistent with ‘nationalism’. por este orden. which we also know from the rhetoric against immigration.500 proyectiles para carga química. and the interests of the people. The number game is also a rhetorical move of emphasis and hyperbole: (17) “No ha dado cuenta del agente nervioso VX producido y no declarado (Rumores. At the same time.

but again also has the political implicature that Aznar is taking his international ‘obligations’ seriously and hence is a honorable statesman — whereas the ‘pacifist’ opposition on the other hand does not do so. van Dijk tivity and credibility — Aznar shows that he is well-informed. the number game is an example of a more general type of strategy that may be called ‘facticity’. This strategy not only plays a role in argumentation and legitimation. At the same time. Aznar uses this ploy to emphasize the relevance of the unanimity of Resolution 1441 of the UN. ‘threats’ from outside are typically met with a call for national consensus. in fact means acting against national interests and against political common sense — thereby discrediting the opposition. This also happens here. But as is also the case for immigration policies both in Spain as elsewhere. that he has done his homework. as well as the relevance of the notion of political implicature. but the examples given above should suffice as illustrations of the nature of the war rhetoric and legitimation by Aznar in the Iraq crisis. Consensus A well-known political move is that of Consensus. but also in the context of political interaction. There are many other moves in his speech that have similar functions.82 Teun A. The political implicature of this move is that opposition. which is again one argument in the legitimation of the support of the war. Concluding remark Although this paper cannot possibly do justice to all the structures. A somewhat stronger version of this move is that of Necessity: We have no other way than to honor our international obligations. The facts as such matter little. Thus. The opposition in this case has less of case against him and cannot use numbers to support its pacifist policy. we now have a first glimpse . when Aznar requires national unity in the fight against terrorism. that is asking for or affirming that policies are not partisan but in the national interest and hence should be supported by the opposition. namely to signal truth and precision and hence competence and credibility. moves and strategies of Aznar’s speeches in parliament about Iraq. Hence. the political point is to appear credible. which is now brought to bear in a request for support for action against Iraq. and lacking support for government policies. This is not only a well-known and effective semantic strategy of argumentation and hence a valid form of legitimation. Aznar of course uses these ‘facts’ as proof about the bad character of Saddam Hussein. The same is true for much media discourse.

2003. Pragmatics: Implicature. The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy. 2003. Chomsky. and Conversation: Semantical Underdeterminacy. A. 2000. authorities. Gareau. S. but also of the context models that control the very speech of Aznar. Christopher. H. War rhetoric of a little ally of some of the main characteristics of these speeches. in the sense that the large majority of the moves and strategies are quite classical in political and ideological text and talk. R. Chilton. participants. References Atlas. Upper Saddle River. At the same time. America Unbound. M. this means not only that participants need to share knowledge about the current political situation in Spain as represented in their episodic mental models.C. Borch. Atlanta. Daalder. Cambridge [England] New York: Cambridge University Press. 2003. H. 2004. Political Discourse Analysis. International Law and the War on Terror. consensus. 1979. and Self-Defense. An Introduction to Legal and Moral Issues. Bayley. Hegemony or Survival. 2003. J. aims and so on. For Spain. State Terrorism and the United States. is the notion of ‘political implicature’. such as positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation. 2003. as well as the legitimacy of his government and its international policies.: Naval War College. These political implicatures are what define also the political functions of the speech in the political process and focus especially on Aznar’s role as prime minister. 2004. Newport. and Wilson. N. It is this political analysis of the speech that may be a contribution to the study of the political function of the speech in the political process. P. 2001. such as the use of statistics/numbers. Gazdar. D. P. however. F. War. Implicature. the implicatures have the function to derogate and attack the opposition in the public sphere. 83 . New York: Metropolitan Books. as well as a number of familiar rhetorical and argumentative ploys. There are few surprises. D. Falk. New York: Olive Branch Press. Washington. and Lindsay. internationalism. These implicatures are the political ‘subtext’ of the speeches. New York: Oxford University Press. Aggression. comparisons and examples to justify current policy and action. I.: Brookings Institution. N. GA: Clarity Press. and the way he wants that his audience understands him. London: Routledge. Amsterdam: Benjamins. R. J. and the Semantics/Pragmatics Interface. New York: Academic Press.J. Theoretically more interesting. 2004. P. Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Parliamentary Discourse. L. including setting. Logic.: Pearson/Prentice Hall. based on inferences from combined general political knowledge and models of the current political situation.I. Dinstein. The Great Terror War. Meaning. America’s Quest for Global Dominance. P. F. Presupposition and Logical Form. The Ethics of War and Peace. A. G. Y. party leader. From Counterinsurgency to the War on Terrorism.

Amsterdam: Benjamins. Studies in the Way of Words. Parliamentary Discourses on Ethnic Issues in Six European States. The Language of Politics. 1995. Grice. Klagenfurt. Cognitive style and political belief systems in the British House of Commons. Political Linguistics. Van Dijk. 45-78. T. van Dijk Geis. 1993. 1998b. NJ: Erlbaum. New York: Knopf. O. 2001. S. Power. 523-567. 1993. Wodak. and Sears. Analytical approaches to political discourse. Iyengar.84 Teun A. Hillsdale. 1989. Discourse & Society 6(1). Parliamentary Discourses on Ethnic Issues in Six European States. T. A. Political discourse and political cognition. 2000. “There was a problem. MA: MIT Press. T. H. and Menz. In: Paul A. P. Cambridge. In: P. Oxford. New York. Van Dijk. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 46. S. 2002. and Van Dijk. Language. J. Principles of Critical Discourse Analysis. Chilton and Christina Schäffner (eds). Goodin. 1990. Presumptive Meanings. A New Handbook of Political Science. Van Dijk. Newhouse.: Harvard University Press. Multidisciplinary CDA: A plea for diversity. Van Dijk. and Ideology. New York: Longman. L. H. D. A. (eds). 1986. Van Dijk. A. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Analysen zum öffentlichen Sprachgebrauch. Cambridge. T. D. Imperial America. 1996. In: Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer (eds). 49-79. Discourse & Society 4(2). 1990. T. 93-129. F.). Racism at the Top. Austria: Drava Verlag. C. T. Martín Rojo. 249-83. England UK: Sage Publications. Wodak. Lau. (Language in Politics — Politics in Language. Tetlock. Political Cognition. P. New York: Springer. T. A. (eds). 2000. 204-236. Van Dijk. and McGuire. Martín Rojo. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 1998a. A. and Van Dijk. 1997. Mass. M. Division and rejection: From the personification of the Gulf conflict to the demonisation of Saddam Hussein. Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Parliamentary Discourse. van Dijk (eds). J. W. S. R. Bayley (ed. Van Dijk. 2003. Oxford: Blackwell. Analyses of Public Language Use). R. A. Austria: Drava Verlag. The Theory of Generalized Conversational Implicature. Oxford University Press. 339–372. and it was solved!” Legitimating the expulsion of ‘illegal’ immigrants in Spanish parliamentary discourse. 1987. L. 95-120. Explorations in Political Psychology. A. New York: Clarendon Press. Text and context of parliamentary debates. L. What is political discourse analysis? In: Jan Blommaert and Chris Bulcaen (eds). (eds). T. Sprache in der Politik — Politik in der Sprache. R. (ed. J. R. R. Durham: Duke University Press. and Klingemann. 2000. Parliamentary debates. The Bush Assault on the World Order. Levinson. 2003. R. D. Politics as Text and Talk. . NY: Oxford University Press.). Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Wodak and T. Nye. Amsterdam: Benjamins. Klagenfurt: Drava. In: R. (eds). London: Sage. Ideology: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 11-52. A. A. 365-375. London. Understanding International Conflicts. Klagenfurt. E. Wilson. T. Rodin. 2004. Van Dijk. Studies in Political Discourse. War and Self-Defense. An Introduction to Theory and History. J. 1984. Politically Speaking. A. Wodak. Discourse & Society 8(4). T. Journal of Language and Politics 2(1). Knowledge in parliamentary debates. Racism at the Top. A. E. 2002. 1989.

Scholastic. and National Council of Teachers of English that informed students about Iraq and the circumstances leading to war. maps. Among the on-line . whereas in the other an attempt towards a ‘compulsory’ challenging of the war. Analysing on-line materials In the wake of the Iraq war. The chapter suggests that the lesson plans in the two sites constitute materialisations of two general approaches to education. and exploring the impact the war had on students. video clips accompanied by detailed lesson plans were offered with the purpose of integrating ‘Breaking news’ into lessons. 1.The Iraq war as curricular knowledge From the political to the pedagogic divide Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis National and Kapodistrian University of Athens / Aristotle University of Thessaloniki The chapter deals with educational discourse concerning the recent Iraq war in an attempt to explore how broader political issues. Collections of resources such as reports. the pedagogisation of which seems to raise more questions than to provide answers. aimed to be used by US educators of primary and secondary schools. preparing ‘lessons on war’. are materialised in everyday classroom practices. there is an attempt towards ‘compulsory patriotism’. most importantly. news reports and other media texts. the dominant and the critical. The events of 11 September had already prompted discussion in the classrooms (Apple 2002). Differing views were voiced by American educators as to whether to discuss their country’s involvement in the war with students. from two Internet sites: one supporting the official position of US to go to war and the other taking a position against the war. It analyses lesson plans. which do not simply adopt opposing views concerning the war but which. such as war. The ideals which are in fact recontextualised here are those of nation and justice. contribute to the construction of different pedagogic subjects: in one case. educational material was made available on Internet sites of associations such as the National Geographic.

org/newshour/extra/teachers/iraq/) and Rethinking Schools (http://www. Rethinking Schools. an on-line newsletter.pbs. lesson plans and activities. both sites provide a wealth of resources for teachers including lesson plans and supporting material such as further sites for exploration. maps and geography activities and various resources for an on-line journal and educational materials for teachers. Its mission statement includes the following aim: “PBS uses the power of non-commercial television. they adopt different perspectives: while NewsHour Extra is pro-war and is supportive of the US government’s decision to go to war. This study reports on an analysis of on-line lesson plans based on the Iraq war material from NewsHour Extra (http://www. maps. both sites adopt the view that the issue of the war should be explicitly dealt with in the classroom. which are defined by topic. It hosts supersites for children.86 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis sites which offer educational materials on the 2003 Iraq war are NewsHour Extra and Rethinking Schools. It is a strong supporter of public education and it deals with issues such as critical classroom practice. non-profit making organisation which publishes educational materials. NewsHour Extra is an electronic magazine hosted by PBS portal. science and technology. and 10 lesson plans from Rethinking Schools most of which appeared in the Spring of 2003. Its online portal includes information about its publications. NewsHour Extra draws part of its materials from the 60-minute evening television news programme by awardwinning journalist Jim Lehrer. b. suggested reading. educational reform. arts. and it also includes several online sites with classroom resources.shtml). background documents. c. is directed by volunteer editors and editorial associates and has subscribers in the United States. inspire and delight”. media enterprise owned and operated by the US public television stations. The corpus was retrieved on 21 May 2003 and is comprised of 24 lesson plans from NewsHour Extra that appeared between 21 March and 21 April 2003. .org creates and distributes interactive programming for educational purposes. printed articles. suggestions for further activities. Rethinking Schools openly adopts an anti-war position. The two sites were originally selected on the basis of the following three criteria: a.rethinkingschools. pbs. the Internet and other media to enrich the lives of all Americans through quality programs and education services that inform. and race and equity in education. parents and teachers offering information on subjects such as history. Through combining online and television media. a private. a proactive. non-profit making. Rethinking Schools openly adopts an anti-war position and its site on the Iraq war contains links for lesson plans. Canada and other countries.

so our understanding and interpretation of the situation is necessarily somewhat different. our interest in these two sites is not limited to the different positions they hold concerning the war. for instance physics. a matter of how we organise the socialisation of children through the massive socio-cultural institutions of our society (see Machin and van Leeuwen. are drawn mainly from the discourse of Physics. having had to experience the effects of our own centralised educational system. we did not view the war-time events in the way that the American people might have. how are the media and other discourses transformed into pedagogic discourse during the recontextualisation process? Considering that each different theory of instruction “contains within it- 87 . Implied then in this paper is the view that political discourse may not at all be just a matter of what we find in the news but also.1 As we live in a country in South East Europe which is far away from the United States and yet greatly affected by changes in the Middle East. we primarily wanted to explore the extent to which the different positions concerning the war are related to the construction of different ‘imagination’/pedagogic subjects (Bernstein 1996: 47) and ultimately look into the ways in which broad political issues. In addition. since these two sites are characteristic examples of two important educational discourses: the dominant and the alternative. The Iraq war as curricular knowledge Taking into account their different views concerning the Iraq war. since this has not traditionally been an object of knowledge for schools? Moreover. on the other hand. and perhaps more importantly. we wanted to investigate how these opposite positions are handled pedagogically by the two sites. such as the Iraq war. 2. in the case of war as school subject matter. though. However. legitimate school knowledge and object of pedagogy results in the war as pedagogic discourse. conduct and evaluation of classroom teaching. we turned our analysis to the ‘contexts and contents’ of these sites investigating the ways they are constructing pedagogic subjects in an attempt to answer the question: what discourses are selected and recontextualised by the two electronic sites in their attempt to ‘teach’ the war from their different perspectives? The discourses of other curricular subjects. this volume). we were intrigued by the wealth of educational materials available on the Internet after 11 September 2001. The war as pedagogic discourse A view of war as curricular subject matter. may add to the advantages of this study. This distance. materials which deal with current political issues and military conflicts such as the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war. Assuming that “pedagogic discourse selects and creates specialised pedagogic subjects through its contexts and contents” (Bernstein 1996: 46). are materialised in more everyday practices such as the planning. What happens. Thus.

most importantly in this case.) available on the sites comprise. as we shall see. graphs. interviews. the curricula of NewsHour Extra and Rethinking Schools have implied in them knowledges. 4/21/03: . which develop in the context of the lesson plans and the suggested materials of the two websites. by assumed positions on the Iraq war. which theories of instruction are embedded in war-related pedagogies and what models of learners and teachers do they imply? In the next sections. and. a main activity in which students read an article drawn from the hosting portal and answer reading comprehension questions.88 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis self a model of the learner and of the teacher” (Bernstein 1996: 49). What is included or excluded in each curriculum is. is to enable learners to analyse some texts in order to understand the arguments about the necessity of this war. skills. President’s speeches). while developing at the same time some knowledge concerning aspects of the war. The pattern is the same in most cases: a warm-up activity with a few initiating questions introduces the topic and helps the teacher identify how much students know about it. 3. Kress 1996). The texts used are drawn primarily from media discourse. US official documents) and historical discourse (primarily concerning US involvement in WWI and WWII). administrative discourse (e. As is the case with other types of curricula. The following extract of a plan concerns the story US Forces Capture Eight Iraqis Pictured on “Most Wanted” Playing Cards. and a discussion part in which students relate the discussed topic to their own experiences and knowledge. meanings and values which are ideologically specific (cf. various texts from historical and political discourses. The collection of lesson plans in NewsHour Extra and Rethinking Schools together with other resources (newspaper articles. with the purpose of identifying their potential for the construction of pedagogic subjects.g. a kind of an informal curriculum on the subject of the Iraq war. determined to a certain extent by adopted pedagogic approaches. as this approach is referred to in the beginning of some lesson plans. we present some of the main elements of the war-related pedagogies.g. political discourse (e. their ‘what’ and ‘how’. in our view. We look primarily at the contents and methods proposed. Teaching the Iraq war in NewsHour Extra 3. maps etc.1 ‘Critical analysis’ of war NewsHour Extra lesson plans focus primarily on reading comprehension activities that ask learners to identify the main idea(s) and supporting arguments. The purpose of this ‘critical analysis’.

in the following activities. Looking at the types of activities used in NewsHour Extra lesson plans.g.  Does this use of cards trivialize the US mission in Iraq? Why or why not? 2. should the UN be kept out of political or military campaigns altogether?” (“The role of the United Nations in postwar Iraq”) or.” (“Reconstruction of Iraq: A lesson of historical precedents”) the role of the United Nations: “As Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz recently stated.  What card is Saddam Hussein? Why? 4. learning how to analyse something in groups and report back to class). Why might this method be effective in searching for members of the Saddam Hussein regime? Explain. we were intrigued by the types of activities which involve students in political decision and policy making. In light of this. should the United Nations primarily be oriented towards humanitarian efforts? Due to recent complications such as those in the governing of Kosovo. Ayatollah Mohammed Bakral-Hakim. For instance. if the oil embargo is lifted. The Iraq war as curricular knowledge “Initiating Questions: 1. List and explain the ways in which the military has used similar playing cards in the past? Discussion questions: 1. after the fall of Hussein’s regime the UN should be more involved in the dispensing of humanitarian aid to the people of Iraq than in the rebuilding of their government (see Online NewsHour article). What is the latest information about Iraq? Who is in charge? What is the status of Saddam Hussein’s regime? 2. students are invited to work individually or in groups in order to decide upon issues concerning Iraq’s payment of debts: “Have each group reflect upon the following question for the reconstruction of Iraq: Should Iraq have to pay back billions of dollars in debts incurred by Saddam Hussein? Keep in mind the fact that Iraq has enormous potential economic resources. Massoud Barzani of the KDP and Jalal Talabani of 89 . How many Iraqi officials from the ‘most wanted’ list have been captured so far? 2. the most appropriate person to become the future leader of Iraq “Have interested students research the lives of Ahmed Chalabi.  What do you know about playing cards? How are they organized? Reading comprehension questions: 1.” General techniques such as pairwork or groupwork are frequently suggested and learners are trained in transferable skills (e.  How are the ‘most wanted’ cards organized? 3.

Have the class write an essay on which leader appears to be more qualified to lead. Ellis 1997). equipped with a few reading texts and some background information provided by the teacher. criticised this model of critical thinking for its exclusive and reductive nature. The ‘critical thinking’ approach has also been criticised for its insistence upon the development of gereralised and transferable thinking skills which are assumed to be universal and thus can be used beyond their original domains of application. intellectual laziness. it is clear that students are not left unguided. making detailed observations. and. are invited to discuss and eventually take up a position on complex issues concerning governmental policies and international politics. making assertions based on sound logic and solid evidence. In fact.” (“Who should rule the Interim government in Iraq? What should be their priorities?”) In these and other similar activities. an approach widely known as ‘critical thinking’ which has been quite popular since the beginning of the 1980s in US language education from primary to college level. while Ellis (1997) and Halpern (1996) argue that critical thinking skills involve identifying author’s intent. distinguishing between fact and opinion. In this tradition. Harris and Hodges (1981: 74) define critical thinking as the process of making judgments in reading. it is also used in lessons which deal with analysis of current events and the teaching of the Iraq war: students are asked to read a text and express their opinion on an issue of their academic life in the same way they are asked to decide who will be the most appropriate leader of another country. and closed mindedness (Kurland 1995). should Iraq pay back its debts?” or “due . “taking into account Iraq’s wealth from oil. it is concerned with reason. Martin (1992) and Walters (1994).g. intellectual honesty and open-mindedness. in this task. main arguments and supporting evidence. as opposed to emotionalism. the purpose of ‘critical thinking’ is to enhance clarity and comprehension through close reading. these activities take place within the context of what is suggested to be a ‘critical analysis’. generally. uncovering assumptions. arguing that it is a highly normative and ‘logistic’ model which claims objectivity and rationality. high school students. A careful reading of such activities reveals a strong regulation which directs students’ answers. among others. Notice the following examples. In the same way that the model of ‘critical thinking’ is applied to freshman composition courses or courses which develop academic study skills (e. This view of critical thinking is often considered synonymous to logical thinking since. At this point it is worth noting that Atkinson (1997). a point that Atkinson (1997) elaborately refutes showing that thinking skills do not appear to transfer effectively beyond their narrow contexts of instruction. or the role of the United Nations.90 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis the PUK and report to the class. “evaluating relevancy and adequacy of what is read”. However. according to its proponents.

unconsciousness. have the students closely examine maps of the region that highlight the ongoing war strategy. to find analogies with the past or to calculate the cost of the war. mustard gas. its history and usage. As stated on the initial web page. should the UN be kept out of political or military campaigns altogether?” 3. The Iraq war as curricular knowledge to recent complications such as those in the governing of Kosovo. invite students to discuss most recent events.). etc. and where it is now believed to exist. in the form of new episodes. we soon realised this was not only a lexico-grammatical construction. two new lesson plans are added every week.2 The war as episodes in a TV series NewsHour Extra lesson plans closely follow the progress of war from its beginning until its official ending. nerve agents such as sarin. bombing campaigns and troop deployments. to predict. to assess new situations. which. compare military technologies: 91 . Students were actually ‘taught the war’ by being involved in activities which asked them to research weapons of mass destruction: “Ask your students what they already know about the weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein is thought to have.” (“The Powell Doctrine”) or.” (“Weapons of mass destruction in Iraq”) analyse war strategies: “Map activities: In order to determine whether the Doctrine is being observed. Research its development and/or discovery. fatal if untreated – nerve agents (such as sarin and tabun) — can cause convulsions. This tendency is also apparent in the title often used on pages. “teaching the Iraq war”. This is one of the two key elements of these lesson plans whose main purpose becomes to construe subjects who are well aware of the progress of war and who vigorously support the government’s decision to go to war. The war is construed as a kind of a TV series which progresses day by day. nuclear weapons. Various maps can readily be found in daily newspaper coverage of the war as well as on most news websites. Quite interestingly. in which the Iraq war becomes the Goal in a material process (Halliday 1994) instead of the unmarked circumstantial element in “teaching about the Iraq war”. Give them the following background as necessary. and death if untreated immediately Extension Idea: Select a particular weapon of mass destruction (anthrax. – mustard gas — blisters / burns exposed tissues.

when discussing the US attempt to establish an ‘interim authority’ in Iraq. following the progress of the war is largely facilitated by the use of current news articles from the hosting portal. Second.” (“War expectations”) This perspective narrows dramatically the context (Chilton 2002) within which discussion can be conducted in class and from which teaching materials are selected. the Vietnam War. it allows the use of articles from the daily press for educational purposes. it excludes any discussion about the necessity of the war or its ethics and focuses exclusively on current events. Next. the teaching material is carefully selected aiming to inspire certainty of the victorious outcome. discussion also centres on democracy. trust in the justification for going to war. and the current war in Iraq. The step-by-step following of the war becomes the starting point for class discussion of wider issues which aim to achieve the aforementioned aims. There are some remarkable similarities with traditional patriotic cinema films or TV series (compare with Chouliaraki. the construction of war as a TV series has the following effects. Granted the site presents a positive stance towards the war. in one case. For instance. In fact. have the students analyze the Iraqi media’s use of images of the prisoners of war (POWs) to determine whether it is contrary to the tenets of the Convention. For instance. . In this context. when discussing “the recent rescue of Private Jessica Lynch”. through stressing the importance of respecting international conventions in a democratic country. it restricts discussion from the general to the specific and inevitably locates any kind of ‘critical analysis’ within this limited context. and there is no challenge concerning its necessity in the first place.92 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis “Write a report comparing and contrasting the use of military technology in the following conflicts: World War II. Introduction: Begin by discussing the overview of the Geneva Convention… 2. the topic of women in the American army and their invaluable contribution to the nation is also discussed.2 In this context. students are given an extract from Thomas Jefferson’s first Inaugural Address and are asked: “Are there aspects of this vision that are uniquely American? Why or why not?” (“Getting to democracy”). national pride and alertness. For instance. The war is taken as a given. For instance. A second main characteristic of the NewsHour Extra lesson plans is the reproduction of the dominant discourse and its argumentation concerning the necessity of the war and the construction of a national consciousness. this volume). In another lesson plan. students discuss the Geneva Convention: “1. the democracy theme is quite popular: ‘we have democracy and we are trying to restore democracy in a non-democratic country’. discussion concerning freedom of speech in the press centres on limited themes such as the ethics of embedded journalists or the ethical dilemma which resulted from CNN’s decision not to report on Saddam’s atrocities prior to war. particularly Article 13. First.

The Iraq war as curricular knowledge

3. Lastly, ask the students to compare the use of the Al Jazeera images of American
prisoners to recent media images of Iraqi prisoners held by U.S. soldiers.” (“The
rules of engagement: The Geneva convention”)

Comparison with previous wars is quite prominent in NewsHour Extra and serves
mainly two purposes. First, it is used to stress the positive role of the US in critical
moments in history:
“Following the end of WWII, much of Europe, both victor and vanquished, was
ravaged. Infrastructures had been destroyed, millions killed, cities levelled. However, rather than punishing the German aggressors with billions of dollars in war
reparations, the United States engaged in a massive campaign to rebuild Germany
from the ground up. Germany is once again a world leader, and boasts one of the
strongest economies and democracies in Europe.” (“Reconstruction of Iraq: A lesson of historical precedents”)

Second, it is employed to identify differences with previous wars. In the case of the
Vietnam war, the focus is on the knowledge then gained for the US and on outlining that war’s differences from the Iraq war, due to rapid technological developments and the present supremacy of US army:
“Discuss with the class the tenets of the Powell Doctrine. Help them to see that
the Doctrine was an outgrowth of US involvement in previous military campaigns
(such as Vietnam and Korea) that were ambivalent, tentative and poorly planned.”
(“The Powell doctrine”)
“After the students have gained a solid foundation on the war strategy, have them
respond either in essay or discussion format to… the following: ‘How might this
war be different from previous ones with which you are familiar, such as the Persian Gulf War, Vietnam, World War I and World War II? How are they all similar?’” (“Military strategy”)

4. Teaching the Iraq war in Rethinking Schools
4.1 Critical pedagogy
The purpose of the Rethinking Schools lesson plans is repeatedly stated to be the
development of an alternative perspective to education: “Our pedagogy has to be
more political. We need to invite students to consider alternatives — we need to
invite them to become part of making alternatives” (“Defeating despair”). In order
to raise students’ critical awareness, educators often stress the need for relevant
teaching materials:



Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis

“As I sat down recently to figure out how I was going to teach about the impending
war against Iraq, I was struck by how much information was available and yet how
little curriculum… This is not the time for educators to hole up in our classrooms
and play curricular lone rangers. The issues are too complicated, the pedagogical
challenges too stiff.” (“Teaching Gulf war II”)

In Rethinking Schools lesson plans, students are involved in a variety of activities
such as pairwork, groupwork, simulations, role play and project work using a variety of resources such as Internet sites, war statistics, maps, videos, articles and
books. Some of the materials are offered through hyperlinks, while for some others reference information is provided (e.g. electronic address, publisher). Generally, new technologies are extensively employed in these lessons. In addition to
anti-war documentaries and war films, the Internet is regularly used as a source of
information for both teachers and students since “the Internet makes it possible
for us to seek out different perspectives from non-corporate, alternative media,
and from media of other nations” (“Drawing on history to challenge the war”).
The texts used are primarily drawn from literary discourses (anti-war literature,
e.g. poetry, novels, short stories and extensive use of songs), historical discourses
(particularly concerning Gulf War I, Vietnam, and Afghanistan) and political discourses. The suggested activities generally encourage students to
“think about the frameworks that the media fashions for us — the purely bad guys
and the purely good guys, the cleansing role of violence, the contempt for nonWestern cultures, etc. … to recognize how we are often led to organize information about today’s global conflicts, especially those in the Middle East, into these
frameworks” (“Teaching Gulf war II”),
“think about social events as having concrete causes, constantly asking ‘Why?’ and
‘In whose interests?’” (“Rethinking the teaching of the Vietnam war”),
“look back at the history of US relations with Iraq in order to better understand
US objectives today” (“Predicting how the US Government will respond to the
Iraqi Government”).

To this purpose, language analysis of texts is quite often employed: “I pointed out
the mechanics of Priest’s use of questions, followed by a list of images. Students underlined the images that made them see or hear war” (“Entering history through
In an article entitled “Rethinking Our Classrooms”3 from the Rethinking
Schools Journal (Fall 2003), the editors outline the main elements of their adopted
‘critical pedagogy’, according to which a
“critical curriculum should be a rainbow of resistance. Through critiques of advertising, cartoons, literature, legislative decisions, foreign policy choices, job

The Iraq war as curricular knowledge

structures, newspapers, movies, consumer culture, agricultural practices, and
school life itself, students should have opportunities to question social reality”.

However, it is also noted that a critical curriculum should encourage students to
“see themselves as truth-tellers and change-makers” since “part of a teacher’s role
is to suggest that ideas have real consequences and should be acted upon, and to
offer students opportunities to do just that”. In this context, the main purpose of
the suggested lessons is to change students’ attitudes towards the war, and this may
be the reason why changes of students’ views are frequently reported:
“When the video ended, they jumped right into an angry critique of the rhetoric
surrounding the present war. One indignant student asked, ‘If our companies gave
Hussein weapons of mass destruction, why are we going to bomb him because he
might still have some?’” (“Drawing on history to challenge the war”)
“One student wrote: ‘To me, this cartoon is saying that we (the US, portrayed by
Popeye) can do whatever we want to other people in other cultures, because we’re
always right. Violence is alright and gives you power and control’. ” (“Teaching
Gulf War II”)

In another case, students prepare an educational session to teach their fellow students about Iraq, and in another part of the same lesson a student is reported to
take up an active role attempting to persuade others: “I was so proud to know how
to argue with my dad. I told him. I’m telling you realities. You think what they
want you to think” (“Drawing on history to challenge the war”).
However, it should be noted that the preoccupation with developing an alternative pedagogy is focused on the presentation of anti-war argumentation and
not on a multi-faceted and disinterested presentation of the Iraq war. As a result,
it leaves out of discussion any arguments of the opposite side. In our analysis of
lesson plans, we came across only one instance in which students were asked to research both mainstream and alternative press in order to record argumentation of
both sides. Even then, however, the ideological context was given to students since
the purpose of the analysis was to show that the opposite position was wrong. In
most other instances, the attempt to develop students’ critical awareness generally
ignored the arguments of the opposite side, perhaps assuming that since this was
the prevailing view, it was well known to all students.
4.2 Challenging the war
In Rethinking Schools, the day by day progress of war is ignored. Topics discussed
focus on challenging the war’s necessity and calling for the investigation of its
deeper causes. Instead of dealing with current events, these lessons focus on the


“The world up close”.96 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis general. Actually. To control Mideast oil. whereas the other six appeared in the Spring of 2003. like Saudi Arabia?” (“Teaching Gulf War II”) Moreover. are known definitively to possess weapons of mass destruction. US corporations supplied Iraq with biological. and on the opening page. like China? Why not other nations in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. and supplied them with billions of dollars of weaponry. from WWII to 1988. “Whose terrorism?”. As stated in the introductory page of the site: “This collection includes lesson plans and teaching ideas created by the editors of Rethinking Schools. is avoided. In the lesson plans of Rethinking Schools. like Pakistan? Why not other nations with alleged links to terrorists. so frequently used in NewsHour Extra. Winter 2000/2001. A great number of the lesson plans aim to illustrate this powerful position of the US and to provide answers to ‘why war’ by closely examining the wars that the US has been involved since WWII: “The most important question wanders in and out of these lessons but still remains to be confronted directly in my classroom: Why? Why is the United States so intent on overthrowing Saddam Hussein? Why now? Why not other oppressive regimes. In the 1980s. The video opens with crucial history about US activities in the Middle East. For instance. the name of which is systematically avoided. and the US is presented as a powerful super power with financial and geopolitical interests.” (“Drawing on history to challenge the war”) “A video I’ve found useful in prompting students to explore a bit of the history of Vietnam and the sources of US involvement…offers an overview of Vietnamese . as well as teaching materials created by other teachers around the country who are trying to come to grips with the issues raised by the war”. the topics discussed in the classroom often do not relate directly to the current war. history that our mainstream media ignores. in “World up close”. the underlying and the global as their titles indicate: “Drawing on history to challenge the war”. and nuclear components. the collection of lesson plans is placed under the heading “The war” with no reference made to Iraq. helped install dictators (Hussein and the Shah). the US encouraged war. I showed the first part of Hidden Wars. yet in a different way from that employed in NewsHour Extra: “The second day. “A fifth grade teacher aims to help his students explore issues of war and terrorism as they look at the war in Afghanistan” and in “Songs with a Global Conscience” songs are used “to build international understanding and solidarity”. to illustrate the determining role of the US. like Israel? Why not other nations which. Rethinking Schools lesson plans often attempt to connect the present with the past. Winter 2001/2002). Four of the lesson plans on the site were written prior to the war (e. the term ‘coalition’. chemical.g. “Entering history though poetry”. unlike Iraq.

they prepare bulletin boards with photos. Islam.” (“Rethinking the teaching of the Vietnam war”) Analogies between past and current situations are frequently drawn on in order to encourage students to challenge the war. students may care enough to join our investigation into its causes. follow a strict format resembling that of a technical document. and in another case they become members of the Viet Minh and the French government invited to a meeting with President Truman to present their position on the question of Vietnamese independence. Poetry is not social analysis. some others aim at sensitizing them to issues concerning the brutality of the war. maps. And by humanizing the war. Rethinking Schools lesson plans are very differ- 97 . students get involved in an activity. or grief about loss of a family member. The genre of lesson plans in NewsHour Extra and Rethinking Schools NewsHour Extra and Rethinking Schools also differ in the ways each site realises the genre of lesson plans. students are expected to develop an alternative perspective to historical events and are encouraged to search for deeper reasons and motives. and have formal and ‘objective’ language. the poetry will help students understand the human consequences of those decisions. not to justify it. NewsHour Extra lesson plans have elements of traditional lesson plans which are descriptive and procedural. In one case. Anti-war poetry and songs are heavily drawn in this case: “Poems are not a substitute for information.” (“Entering history through poetry”) “I want my students to be comfortable expressing their fears about war and terrorism.” (“A world up close”) Through a number of different activities students are encouraged to express their feelings and emotions: for instance. Through these activities. Students’ poems won’t help them figure out the role of oil in this war… However. Role-play activities are extensively used to this purpose. Students need to investigate why this war is happening. simulating members of the Congress in 1964. they write their own poems. essays and facts. maps and student writing or they prepare a poster on landmines with pictures of victims. The Iraq war as curricular knowledge resistance to French colonialism (which began in the mid–19th century) and to the Japanese occupation during World War II. On the one hand. 5. immigration. If some lesson plans aim at equipping students with knowledge concerning this and the previous wars and at raising anti-war consciousness. and at promoting the global peace movement. This allows for emotional release and also provides insight into my students’ thoughts on topics such as stereotypes. On the other hand.

Materials. mathematics. in Rethinking Schools lesson plans teachers present materials directed to other teachers for use in the classroom. The section on National Standards is not part of the traditional lesson plan format. The fact that the same format is generally followed in all lesson plans leads to the assumption that some general specifications are followed as to how each section is to be organised. The Overview/Background section generally provides useful background information concerning the topic to be dealt with in the specific lesson plan. Viewing after Volosinov (1986: 23) genre realisations not as simply moments of the choice. assembly and reproduction of forms and techniques. We thus consider the differential manifestations of the genre of lesson plans in NewsHour Extra and Rethinking Schools as articulations of their different ideological positions which are. as we shall discuss below. 5. Instead of the formal language adopted in NewsHour Extra. we approach the genre of lesson plan as “a nexus for struggles over difference. failures as well as successes. usually ranging from three to five printed pages. and they discuss their personal experience.1 The genre of NewsHour Extra lesson plans The lesson plans in NewsHour Extra all follow the strict format of a traditional lesson plan which consists of Overview/Background. but its incorporation is related. world history. but as sites where “differently oriented social interests within one and the same sign community” intersect. as in the following example: . and they also adopt the formal language usually found in traditional lesson plans. and the target group (varying from primary to high school and university students and covering a variety of areas: English. specifies the objectives. They have been written mostly after a particular class has been conducted. Extension Ideas/Homework and National Standards sections. The information may all be included in one paragraph or may be separated in more sections. and in this sense they are retrospective. to a significant component of US education in the last decade. Procedure. identity and politics” (Luke 1996: 317). The lesson plans are quite detailed. history. including personal evaluations. journalism. contest and struggle. as we shall see. the time required for the completion of the suggested lesson (ranging from an individual activity which requires 20–30 minutes to a complete lesson or series of lessons). about the Iraq war as much as they are about wider pedagogic and educational matters. uncertainties.98 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis ent and have elements of the reflective lesson plan (Richards and Lockhart 1994). government). Emphasis is placed on objectives and a detailed description of activities to be handled in class in a pre-specified order.

– Students should consider the priorities of the new government. transcripts with extracts from discussions. hospitals. whose length varies from a few lines to a page. quotes. Standard VI. and it consists of numbered parts which address the order to be followed. definitions of terms. sanitation. interviews etc. is entitled “National Standards”. articles from other sources and various public documents. Reference is made to the specific national standards the suggested lesson adheres to.” (“What should be their priorities?”) The Materials section describes what will be needed for the completion of the suggested lesson. describes in detail further activities (e.g.g. The next section. The last section of the lesson plan. usually extending from one to three printed pages. police force. members of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Party or Iraqi exiles should make major decisions in the interim government and what the priorities of that government should be (transportation. computers with Internet access.).” (“Reporting on war in the 21st century”) 99 . The Procedure section provides a detailed description of the steps to be followed for the completion of the activities in the classroom. Power. a wealth of electronic materials is available to the teachers such as maps of Iraq. and institutions. and governance. copies of local. notebooks and pens are noted among the materials needed.). regional and national newspaper articles). authority. It is the largest part of the lesson plan. In addition to NewsHour Extra articles and downloadable handouts (with activities. This lesson plan asks students to consider whether the United Nations. Groups and Institutions Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of interactions among individuals. In addition. The Iraq war as curricular knowledge “Overview: President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair met in Ireland Tuesday to discuss who should run the interim government of Iraq. groups. – Students should understand who the potential leaders are and the issues they will confront. teachers are invited to collect their own materials (e. Objectives: – Students should look at the potential groups and individual leaders and decide who should have power in postwar Iraq. the US and British. project work or writing tasks) to be used for homework. Authority and Governance Social studies programs should include experiences that provide for the study of how people create and change structures of power. Extension Ideas/Homework. and occasionally includes the content of each national standard: “National Standards: National Council for the Social Studies Standard V: Individuals. schools. Less frequently. etc.

Have students read it silently for background information. Here we do not encounter the typical format found in the NewsHour Extra plans. No lesson plan follows the strict typical format of the first set. This lesson is most appropriate for use in a government or history class but may be used in any social studies class. The language employed in NewsHour Extra lesson plans is formal and impersonal. although you may choose to extend your discussion or have students write responses to the quotes given below. Have students read it silently.100 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis Actually. Silent war of sanctions. “Getting to Democracy”). It should take 20–30 minutes. Then provide students with an excerpted copy of the NewsHour transcript “Days of Disorder” (Handout #3) that discusses the issue of responsibility for restoring Iraq. Perhaps the most prevailing characteristic of the Rethinking Schools lesson plans is their close connection to the classroom. Why war?. ‘How’ is described in detail in the form of instructions to be followed: “Distribute copies of today’s NewsHour article (Handout #1). placed as a separate section after Materials and before Procedure sections. National Standards hold a prominent position in NewsHour Extra lesson plans. Provide students with a copy of the Hague regulation from 1907 (Handout #2) and have them read that silently. which leads to the last section of the lesson plan directly. Defining terrorism. Imperatives are used in the attempt to describe ‘what’ as well as ‘how’ to teach. For instance. the sections are entitled Lesson on terrorism. Economic terrorism. there is a hyperlink entitled “Correlation to National Standards” (in bold letters). since each lesson plan is written in the form of continuous text with sections which vary depending on the issue discussed. In addition to their placement at the end of each lesson plan. in “Teaching Gulf War II”. the lesson plan is divided into the sections Creating the ‘enemy’. appropriate to the ‘objectivity’ that a technical document is endowed with.2 The genre of Rethinking Schools lesson plans The genre of lesson plans in Rethinking Schools is quite differently realised. Median and high modality (Halliday 1994) are constantly employed: “This lesson may be used to discuss with your students President Bush’s decision to go to war with Iraq soon after that decision has been made. Bush’s blank check. In “Whose terrorism?”. through the use of narrative . Terrorism’s ghosts.” (“Choices in war: what would you save first?”) Interesting also is the categorical tone when describing the purpose of the lesson plan: “Students will understand that the United States hopes to set up an ‘interim authority’ in Iraq that will aid the country in establishing self-rule” (from the Overview.” (“The decision to go to war”) 5.

are encouraged to keep in the tradition of reflective teaching. similar to the ones teachers. For instance. After the video. On the board I wrote: …. They certainly do not look like any of the typical lesson plans teachers are generally trained to prepare. The Iraq war as curricular knowledge accounts of lessons which have been already tried out along with a detailed description of what happened in the classroom. McDonough and McDonough 1997). It was. a description of what students did and how they responded and an account of interactions. surprising to find accounts of failures: “Frankly. and teachers’ own evaluations of activities. these have not been compelling” (“Defeating despair”). my colleague invited me into her classroom to teach this lesson to her 11th grade Global Studies students” (“Whose terrorism?”). often in first person singular. Moreover. extensive use of past tenses narrating classroom events is employed: “I introduced the cartoon by telling students that I wanted them to think about the images … I read aloud a quote… I told them …I wanted them to think about aspects of the secret education children were exposed to. feeling my way along. but also about personal experiences. in fact. but my hunch was …” (“Whose terrorism?”).” Personal information is also included: “As I’m on leave this year. student voices are frequently recorded: “It was Sept. one of my fifth graders. when I’ve tried to design lessons to get students to imagine overarching social alternatives. In another part of the same lesson plan we read: “And there I am. students wrote … before we talked. quite surprisingly for a lesson plan. I’d like to increase the focus on international media. 101 . On the basis of the above analysis. Instead of the use of imperatives and high modality to describe steps to be followed. not only about procedural matters as in the above extract. teacher uncertainties: “I didn’t know for certain.” (“Drawing on history to challenge the war”). Holly (1984) discusses teacher diaries as a narrative genre which includes three main themes: an account of what the teacher did in the classroom. reflective accounts of lessons have primarily been explored either as a way to enhance teachers’ professional development (Richards and Lockhart 1994) or as methods of data collection in classroom research (Wallace 1998. one may wonder whether these texts are actually lesson plans.” (“Teaching Gulf war II”) The objective account of an authoritative voice is here replaced by the subjective tone of a teacher talking to other teachers. mostly novice ones. pointed out the window and asked. trying to piece together a curriculum that urges students to think critically about the antecedents to the coming war. ‘What would you do if terrorists were outside our school and tried out to bomb us?’” (“A world up close”). rather they are more like diaries of teacher experiences. 12 when Rafael. In language education. comments on future improvements: “The next time I teach this unit.

“Rethinking the teaching of the Vietnam war”). and thus suggesting a more student-centred pedagogy. through completion of reading comprehension questions) or in any other way. but more often than not there was disagreement among them as to what quality standards are (Rhoads. “Entering history through poetry”. “Teaching with protest songs”. .g. ‘National standards’ and ‘performance assessment’ became the buzz words of the 1990s in US education. World-class content standards and a set of achievement tests in five core subjects were announced by President Bush in 1990. “A world up close”. a position which was followed by the Clinton administration in the later years. for instance. we could say that the Rethinking Schools lesson plans provide a subjective alternative. To understand the significance of the extensive reference to national standards in the NewsHour Extra lesson plans and their absence from the Rethinking Schools lesson plans. Sieber and Slayton 1996). in the NewsHour Extra lesson plans.3 National Standards Another point of difference between the two sets of lesson plans concerns formal evaluation and adherence to national standards. Educators.g. In fact. target groups and procedures. “Drawing on history to challenge the war”. “Songs for global conscience”) have less explicit reference to the steps to be followed in the classroom.102 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis Although in analysing these texts we recognised most of the parts of a typical lesson plan such as background information. it is useful to look briefly at the history of the standards and some of the issues which have been raised during their implementation. Overall. nor any reference as to how the suggested lesson plans adhere to the aims of the national standards. assessment as a separate procedure does not exist. Contrary to NewsHour Extra. Whereas some lesson plans describe procedures in detail (e. Discussion about national standards in the US originated in early eighties when policy makers primarily called for national intervention in education (Kirst and Guthrie 1994: 159). The part which varied considerably was the Procedures section.g. either in the form found in NewsHour Extra (e. in contrast to the objective account of the traditional lesson plan. some others (e. these texts did not have the typical form found. 5. descriptions of objectives. “Teaching Gulf War II”. National curricula and standardised testing were at the centre of educational reform in various English-speaking and other countries during the 1990s (Tyler 1999). voicing students and teachers needs. administrators and policy makers were to decide whether and how they would incorporate national standards into their program of study. Rethinking Schools lesson plans do not include any kind of student assessment based on the suggested activities.

does not include any reference to national standards. 1996) views national standards as part of the neo-conservative agenda which aims to centralise control over ‘official knowledge’. Teachers are construed as professionals who produce and consume technical 103 . what kind of nation we want to belong to”. The Iraq war as curricular knowledge Apple (1993. On the one hand. which promotes an alternative view to education and which strongly supports the public nature of education. it is not surprising that NewsHour Extra lesson plans. Therefore. NewsHour Extra clearly attempts to manage pedagogic discourse in the line of the official US politics concerning the war. They do so through meanings which “create and unite two worlds”: in this case. It would not then be unrealistic to suggest that the incorporation of the National Standards section in the NewsHour Extra lesson plans and their total absence from the Rethinking Schools lesson plans is perhaps related to the position adopted by site editors concerning this complex issue in the history of US education. 6. It may be seen as an articulation of ‘compulsory patriotism’ (Apple 2002: 305) recontextualised in lesson plans. the students’ and teachers’ world with the world of the official US administration. The great divide and the grand narratives From the above analysis it becomes clear that the two sites do not merely present two different views on the war but. through their content as well as their form (genre). also follow closely the official position of incorporating national standards in education. Dendrinos 2001). Eventually. these lesson plans support the US official programme in every possible way: both at the political and at the educational levels. which voice the official view of the country on the topic of the Iraq war. On the other hand. aim at construing different pedagogic subjects. which reaffirms national shared knowledges and values and produces subjects with a national identity (cf. On the other hand. it is not surprising that the Rethinking Schools site. viewing students merely as future employees. as Street (1995: 125) argues. Drawing on the above. and of the neoliberal agenda which aims to turn schools into places whose primary function is to meet the needs of the economy. in agreement with the aforementioned criticism. The lesson plans of NewsHour Extra attempt to restrict the possibility of the creation of what Bernstein (1996: 44) called a ‘potential discursive gap’. national curricula have been seen as a defensive and protective device of an ‘imagined national past’ (Tyler 1999). “the pedagogized literacy… becomes an organizing concept around which ideas of social identity and value are defined. as stated in its introductory page. perhaps most importantly. and this may be the main reason why the opposite side is not voiced. what kinds of collective identity we subscribe to.

the current situation with previous situations in the past. urging students towards the ‘yet to be thought’ in Bernstein’s words (1996: 44). There is no reference to the rest of the world or any attempt to discuss cultural. Generally. students seem to be easily convinced to adopt the suggested alternative explanation of events. and there is not any reference to the effects of teaching. teachers are construed as active participants in the pedagogic practice who are invited to select their own teaching materials from a variety of available resources. Here. despite frequent references to ‘coalition forces’. Moreover. at moments of crisis. Apple 1993. Our purpose has not been to question these pedagogies — this has already been covered extensively (see. On the other hand. as well as detailed instructions concerning how to use them. A further difference between the two sites refers to the way each site adopts a global and local perspective (Apple 2002). Professionalism is based on objective accounts of the teaching situation. Students are expected to respond to the suggested activities according to the pre-specified lesson plan objectives and to develop skills in attaining national standards. they help their student “follow the aftermath of war”. The divide is great in this case too in most of the aspects that have been examined in this text. 1997. the war is seen from a local point of view. They develop a critical stance towards the official US politics concerning the war. the Iraq war with broader US foreign affairs and interests. In this realm. as a US-Iraq war. It is clear that the wider political conflict on the issue of the Iraq war finds its pedagogic equivalent in the two pedagogies described above. and the context is given: both students and teachers are assumed to adopt an anti-war position and to become missionaries or activists who restore truth and reverse misplaced views developing students’ critical awareness. religious or other aspects. and there is little account of their reservations or resistance. No initiative is left to the teacher. In the case of NewsHour Extra. for instance. Their task is restricted though to the implementation of pre-specified steps: information and materials needed for the completion of the lesson are all provided. Lankshear 1997. . 2002. who are willing to promote national standards and. they are good patriots and they are proud of their country’s glorious past and present. the ‘dominant’ and the ‘critical’. and through the lesson plans they suggest an alternative pedagogy. Penny­cook 2001) — but to foreground their deeper political nature (Gee 1996). the lesson plans in Rethinking Schools promote the creation of a ‘potential discursive gap’ aiming at differently thinking pedagogic subjects. such as this one. the opposite side exists only to be refuted. Muspratt et al. In Rethinking Schools there is a systematic attempt to connect the local with the global.104 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis documents. Koutsogiannis 2004.

Despite much theoretical discussion on the matter. your feelings of threat and anger are selfish. 1967–1974. The politics of official knowledge: Does a national curriculum make sense? Teachers College Records 95(2). Pedagogy. on the one hand. Theory. 4(10).edu/epaa/v4n10. Education Policy Analysis Archives. quite surprisingly. and democracy: On the educational meanings of 11 September 2001. Symbolic Control and Identity. by different pedagogies.shtml References Apple.html (retrieved 6/11/2003). and (international) justice. Research.rethinkingschools. http://epaa. Michael W. Apple’s account of dealing with 11 September in the classroom is indicative of this controversy: “I also had strong teacherly dispositions that this was also not the time to engage in a pedagogy of imposition. 1993. Bernstein. 2002. One could not come across as saying to students or the public. Micheal W. Paul. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education 23(3). Apple. Journal of Language and Politics 1(1).  Available at http://www. 2.” (Apple 2002: 302–303) Notes Michael W. Dwight. This could be among the most counter-productive pedagogies imaginable. Pedagogy. Atkinson. Chilton. Do something! Conceptualising responses to the attacks of 11 September 2001. 1996. any attempt to pedagogise issues related to nation and justice seems to raise more questions than provide answers. we would like to account for yet another reading of the above findings. TESOL Quarterly 31(1). for obvious reasons. Basil. on the other. Critique.  The authors would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for this comment. 3. 222–241. Apple. 1997. patriotism.  We have in mind Greek patriotic films and TV serials of the ’60s and early ’70s whose stories aimed at promoting national ideals and celebrating the uniqueness and significance of Greek culture. The Iraq war as curricular knowledge Closing. ‘Your understandings are simply wrong. 105 . are coming back — have they ever faded away? — and. 299–308. It seems that in the late-modern period of fragmentation (Chouliaraki and Fairclough 1999). Being popular about national standards: A review of National Standards in American Education: A Citizen’s Guide. 181–195. Several of these films were promoted in Greek primary and secondary schools during the dictatorship years. 71–94. 1996. any voicing of these emotions and understanding won’t be acceptable’. the grand narratives of nation.asu. A critical approach to critical thinking in TESOL. 2002. London: Taylor & Francis.

London and New York: Routledge. 2001. Kress. Discourse in Late Modernity. Becoming a Master Student. Norman. 2001. Genres of power? Literacy education and the production of capital. 1996. Rhoads. 308–338. Critical techno-literacy and ‘weak’ languages. Pennycook. In: Nina Cobb (ed. Allan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1995. A Dictionary of Reading and Related Terms. In: Stephen P. It also appears in Macedo Donaldo.106 Bessie Mitsikopoulou and Dimitris Koutsogiannis Chouliaraki. Social Linguistics and Literacies. Constructing Critical Literacies. Gee. Sieber. In: Ruqaiya Hasan and Geoff Williams (eds). 45–59. Keeping a Personal-Professional Journal. Ellis. Halpern. Learning and Playing in an Electronic World. Texts and Practices. Representational resources and the production of subjectivity: Questions for the theoretical development of Critical Discourse Analysis in a multicultural society. 1996. The National Center for Cross-Disciplinary Teaching and Learning: College Board. Bessie.). European discourses of homogenization in the discourse of language planning. Melanie. Alastair. 163–184. 163–180. James W. Gunther. 1994. K. Dendrinos. Jack C. Harris. Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking.. Kirst. Examining national standards. New York: Teachers College Press. The Hegemony of English. and Hodges. Rethinking Critical Discourse Analysis. Luke. Colin. Literacy in Society. 1984. 1999. London: Edward Arnold. Muspratt. Doing Literacy Online: Teaching. and Guthrie. Richards E. In: Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard and Malcolm Coulthard (eds). Susan. Norris (ed. Multiple Perspectives on an Educational Ideal. The Politics of ELT. 2004. New Jersey: Hampton Press. James P. Goals 2000 and a reauthorized ESEA: National standards and accompanying controversies. Deakin: Deakin University Press. The Generalizability of Critical Thinking. Jo and McDonough. London: Taylor & Francis. 30–42. NJ: International Reading Association. Jim R. In: Bessie Dendrinos (ed. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Michael W. Lilie and Fairclough. Allan and Freebody. Michael A. 1997. Daniel J. Reflective Teaching in Second Language Classrooms. The Future of Education: Perspectives on National Standards in America. 2003. London and New York: Edward Arnold. 1996. Mary L. 15–31. London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. http:// horizon. 1997. Martin. Critical thinking for a humane world. Changing Literacies. Richards. 1994.unc. Dendrinos Bessie and Gounari Panayota. Newark. Critical Applied Linguistics: A Critical Introduction. McDonough. Ron and Slayton. Athens: The University of Athens Publications. Halliday. Lankshear. In: Ilana Snyder and Catherine Beavis (eds). NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Peter (eds). Buckingham: Open University Press. Research Methods for English Language Teachers. Charles. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin. 1996. Diane papers/National_Standards (retrieved 6/11/2003) . CA: Wadsworth Publishing. Koutsogiannis. Steven. I Know What it Says…What does it Mean? Critical Skills for Critical Reading. Dave. 1997. 1992.). 157–173. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. 1994. Dimitris. Luke. London and New York: Longman. and Lockhart. Colorado: Paradigm Publishers. Sandy H. New Jersey: Hampton Press.). 1996. 1981. Holly. Theodore L. 1997. Kurland.

). Social Literacies: Critical Approaches to Literacy in Development. William. Trans. NY: SUNY Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 107 . N. Albany. MA: Harvard University Press. Cambridge. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. Tyler. In: Kerry Walters (ed. rationality and the vulcanization of students. 1995. London and New York: Longman. Re-thinking Reason: New Perspectives on Critical Thinking. 1999. Pedagogy and the Shaping of Consciousness. Matejka and I.). 1–22. 1998. 1986. London and New York: Cassell. Michael J. Brian. Walters. V. Ethnography and Education. R. Titunik. Critical thinking. Volosinov. The Iraq war as curricular knowledge Street. L. Wallace. Kerry 1994. 262–289. Action Research for Language Teachers. Pedagogic identities and educational reform in the 1990s: The cultural dynamics of national curricula. In: Frances Christie (ed.


but in Hollywood movies and computer games. And though not directly state produced. the chapter combines three methods: (1) analysis of the ‘special operations discourse’ that underlies both film and game. Ridley Scott 2002) and the computer game of the same name (US. they powerfully aligned audiences with the priorities of US global politics at the time of production. and certainly not in parliamentary debates and political speeches. It is important for critical discourse analysts to pay attention to entertainment texts of this kind. Though not dealing directly with the American military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Both were produced post September 11th. we believe. In this paper we explore how the March 1993 American intervention in Somalia is represented in the movie Black Hawk Down (US. and social actor analysis of the way the parties involved in the conflict are visually and verbally represented. It is a good expedient in the struggle for the soul of our people” (quoted in Bramstedt 1965: 278). Sudney The chapter analyses how the March 1993 American intervention in Somalia is represented in the movie Black Hawk Down and the computer game of the same name. and (3) an account of the collaboration between the US military and entertainment industry in the production of both film and game. The texts we will analyse in this paper are a good example of this. the producers worked. (2) the political history of the conflict represented in the two entertainment products. and the history of the ‘special operations discourse’ itself. in . Introduction The link between entertainment and propaganda goes back at least as far as the 1930s when Goebbels (1948: 122) wrote that “argument is no longer effective” and looked towards popular song. Today’s most important and influential political discourses are found.Computer games as political discourse The case of Black Hawk Down David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen Leicester University / University of Technology. Using a discourse historical approach. Novalogic 2003). not in newspapers. humour and movies as key media of propaganda: “With films we can make politics too.

We therefore combine a discussion of the history of US involvement in Somalia and its ‘Special Forces’ with the analysis of our two texts. the director of the Black Hawk Down movie. he said. It donated a percentage of the profits from Black Hawk Down to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. a specialist in ‘special operations’ titles such as the Delta Force series. which supplied arms and military support in return for the use of bases. very. The result. In this analysis. told CNN that the Pentagon proved “very. which provides scholarships for children of army personnel killed on duty. Ridley Scott. was an “almost page by page process of negotiation” with Pentagon officials over the screenplay (Peterson 2002). the producer of the Black Hawk Down game. The US and Somalia In the early 1970s. is in part an arm of the US military. 1994). 1990. Van Leeuwen and Wodak 1999: 93–99) to analyse how the texts present what we will refer to as a ‘special operations discourse of war’. citing human rights abuses as the reason (Gorman 1981). both the Soviets and the US supported dictators who needed military assistance to suppress annexed populations and maintain superiority over internal rivals (Lefebvre 1991). Novalogic. At the end of the 1970s. The US had the same relationship with neighbouring Ethiopia. It also has close relations with Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems making flight simulations for its military aircraft. Thus. after years of Italian rule. very user-friendly” over the film. 2000) and the ‘recontextualisation of social practice’ approach to discourse analysis (cf. This approach “centers on political issues and seeks to integrate as many of the genres of discourse referring to a particular issue as possible with the historical dimension of that issue” (Van Leeuwen and Wodak 1999: 91). and how they link this discourse to the events they recontextualise. It has a subsidiary called Novalogic Systems which is geared towards military simulation needs and works with the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command Analysis Centre on the high profile Land Warrior System. President Carter responded by cutting aid to Ethiopia. securing the military bases they needed for the control of oil territories. declaring the country a MarxistLeninist State. Our approach is based on Wodak’s ‘discourse historical method’ (Wodak et al. in close collaboration with the US Government. Somalia. The US now started to support .110 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen both cases. a Moscow-supported anti-US military coup in Ethiopia removed the US-friendly Emperor Selassie. as long as “what you are actually trying to do is present the [military] in the right and proper light”. while at the same time looking after their own interests. was supported by the Soviet Union. we will use ‘social actor’ analysis (Van Leeuwen 1996.

up to six million people died in the famine. The US said it would stop providing arms unless Barre withdrew from Ogaden. The US had just secured strategic military bases in Saudi Arabia and. an Ethiopian territory inhabited by ethnic Somalis. Barre was spending about one fifth of his government’s expenditure on the military. The country was heading for disaster. They had already liaised with clan leaders to create food distribution networks and were concerned that the presence of the military would create further instability (Perlez 1992c). This they found in the US-friendly Ali Mahdi who had started the wave of conflict by attempting to push his rival Mohammed Farah Aidid out of Mogadishu. which had provided most of the relief during the famine. But Barre attacked again. later that year the US did back the UN and sent relief specialists. 1992b). Although Congress was initially reluctant to provide more aid (Lewis 1992). thousands of civilians died in a range of civil rights abuses. as had been the case with Barre (Post et al. this was also the time of the build up to the Gulf War. The US planned to send troops to drop food supplies from helicopters. with civilians being massacred in the streets and looting the only form of livelihood. Computer games as political discourse the deeply authoritarian Barre regime in Somalia. Between 1980 and 1989 the US gave Somalia some $400 million worth of military aid along with another $200 million in cash arms sales funded with Saudi Arabian assistance. The next year. The US started to carry out the airlifts nevertheless. the fighting had escalated into a civil war. Aid agencies accused him of genocide on clans opposing his rule (in Somalia everyone belongs to one of five clans). There was a death penalty for belonging to any political organisation. Schraeder 1990). this situation would not have come about (Shalom 1993). as a result. Aidid of course feared that the UN’s presence would consolidate the position of his enemy. his forces poisoned wells. But the Red Cross. A UNICEF report (UNICEF 1989) revealed that in these times of starvation and poverty. Unfortunately for Somalia. Somalia was no longer of interest to them. By the early 1990s. was against this. 1992. fearing increased Soviet influence. Perlez 1992a. It has been widely argued that had the US not funded Barre’s regime. From the late 1970s to 1991. The 111 . and the Reagan administration. along with several hundred thousands of ethnic Somali refugees. and they pulled out. but automatic weapons and grenade launchers were everywhere. There was no food. slaughtered farm animals. In doing so they needed the support of the warring factions. rushed more arms to Mogadishu. Barre invaded Ogaden. In the early 1980s. Barre’s attempts to gain complete control of the country were ruthless. under US patronage. and carpet-bombed urban areas. Moscow intervened with arms and Cuban troops who pushed Barre’s army back over the border. Around 60 000 people were killed at this time (Africa Watch 1990. As well as using arms.

Why did he make this decision? To protect US economic interests in the region. Somalia remains in disarray. At this time. as delays could cause further casualties. According to aid agencies. meanwhile. Footage showing them giving out food was taken earlier in areas where there were fewer problems (Shalom 1993). Taiwan and Malaysia (Finnan 1993). however. the end of the Cold War had seen reduced budgets for the Pentagon. as some have argued? It is true that geological surveys had only recently estimated that there was about a billion barrels worth of oil in fields under both Somalia and Yemen. 1992: 4). It was at this time. Operation Restore Hope had only served to disrupt some of the stability created by agreements between the clans and the Red Cross. And Colin Powell commented that Operation Restore Hope was a “paid political advertisement” for maintaining the military budget (Washington Post Weekly December 14. many felt. and to create panic amongst clan leaders who felt the US were against them. As Bush told the US people. under the spotlights of a pre-planned media circus. according to Médécins Sans Frontières. can not replace complex long term work. even though the US military presence caused further massive movements of population. 1992). that Bush decided to send troops to Somalia. Arguably. especially Aidid. both in terms of airlifting food and military occupation. But. the Red Cross urged them to at least get to the affected areas as quickly as possible. . not just amongst the US oil companies but also amongst companies from China. international aid has dropped 90% since the 1990s. Instead. there was a growing sense that US supremacy continued to rely on its military power. with the worst of the famine already over (Perlez 1992d). have argued that the whole enterprise was a publicity vehicle for the Pentagon. “Only the US has the global reach to place a large security force on the ground in such a distant place quickly and efficiently and thus save thousands of innocent lives” (Transcripts of President’s Address on Somalia. and. then why were the troops not sent at the height of the famine? When the US Seals arrived. But if this was the case. whose importance the US probably overrated (Sciolino 1993). Operation Restore Hope showed that quick fix solutions. Yet. Today. continued to work with the clan leaders. and hundreds of thousands are displaced. half a million people are short of food. One way to ‘sell’ increases in military expenditure to the public could be through humanitarian intervention. made things much worse — there is evidence that things were a good deal more peaceful in unoccupied areas (Maren 1994). the Marines made a dramatic and needless amphibious landing and did not get to the worst areas until a week after their arrival (Waller 1992). Others.112 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen Red Cross. New York Times December 5. The race was on to develop Somalia.

(b) attacks. provocation of incidents. In the orchestrated media frenzy around the landing in Somalia. The Green Berets and the Seals were created for precisely this purpose. to a degree from the President himself. and denial activities. theft. Computer games as political discourse Special operations The US troops appearing in the Black Hawk Down game and movie are ‘Special Forces’. especially in Latin America. But this did not end war. its inability to protect its people” 113 . The same manual lists procedures such as: “terror by assassination. use of chemical or biological agents…sabotage…assassination. for instance. in the Kennedy Presidential Library. risking all on next to impossible missions (John Newsinger 1997). A document titled “US Department of the Army. the US carried out secret operations. Throughout the 1960s. (d) ambushes. Operations Against Irregular Forces” (FM 31–15) (May 1961) pages 6–7. (f) pursuit actions. for guerrilla warfare behind enemy lines. much was made of the presence of Rangers and Seals. extortion. became a kind of science. in order to bring about regime change. remaining largely hidden from the American people and. reprisals. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s. we read: “The murder of a village chief or a tax collector can serve the insurgent cause in several ways. (e) raids. it causes fear in other functionaries…Mass terror is used to demonstrate the weakness of the government. mutilation and kidnapping. and identifying individuals for terroristic attack” In a manual from 1969. elaborated in manuals which can now be accessed. when the League of Nations was replaced by the UN. are nothing new. They came into their own during WWII. which may help to persuade people that safety lies with adherence to the insurgent cause. using the experience gained in WWII counterinsurgency and guerrilla warfare. it demonstrates its power to kill selected individuals of its choice. this counterinsurgency warfare. Much was made of the heroics of the SAS. even though their overall contribution to the war was relatively minor. demolition. blackmail. SAS soldiers were portrayed as individual heroes. each such act weakens the government…Third. it became less easy for countries to use open military action in other countries. such as arson. (c) defence. for instance. called “Civil Affairs Operations” (FM 41–10) (McClintock 2002). lists the following activities as appropriate strategies: (a) meeting engagements. (g) interception actions. or what we now think of as ‘elite soldiers’. counterfeiting. Second. to train and arm much larger groups of indigenous people. After WWII. some argue. bombing. and … (h) terror operations. flooding. First. Why was it not sufficient to send in the regular army? What is it about the Special Forces? Special Forces. Mostly only small numbers of US personnel were involved. armed robbery. and holding of hostages. torture.

His failure to resolve the Iranian hostage crisis of 1980 allowed Ronald Reagan to proclaim the need for America to be strong again in the face of the world threat. 1984. drug traffickers and home grown psychopaths alike. As we have seen. such as the wars in Afghanistan. for instance in the legitimation of Operation Restore Hope and in the Bush administration’s post Sept 11 document “National Strategy for Combating Terrorism”. Chad and Nicaragua. or. Angola.php). Today. in which Special Forces would play a major role. Yet counterinsurgency did not acquire a fully overt and legitimate public face until after a succession of events in the 1980s — the bombing of US embassies in Lebanon and Kuwait. leading to the deaths of hundreds of Americans. but ‘low intensity wars’. not because of what they do. and to pump money into the defence budget. as Herman (1982) has shown.rightwingnews. but because they act against Western interests. In due course. of course. In the 1970s. which lays out a vision for a new world order based on the need to keep an eye on the ‘enemies of freedom’. later. he signed the National Security Decision Directive 138 approving pre-emptive attacks on terrorists. the two Trade Tower bombings (McClintock 2002). In his acceptance speech as Republican leader. a term by now indiscriminately used to refer to political protesters. and said that “We are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence” (McConnell 2001).com/speeches/destiny.114 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen Already in the 1960s the American people were familiar with the idea of miscellaneous evildoers around the world being portrayed as their enemies. counterinsurgency manuals clearly regard as legitimate all the same actions for which terrorists are branded as evildoers. and. This nation will once again be strong enough to do that” (http://www. this discourse would become second nature to American political thinking. from the massive amount spent on nuclear weapons). Kennedy had spoken of Free World security “being slowly nibbled away at the periphery” by world terrorists and subversion (Barber and Neale Ronning 1963: 31). The response? A renewed emphasis on the rhetoric of a ‘strong America’ and new elite units such as Delta Force to carry out raids on terrorist groups. the existence of networks of terrorism forms the key justification for the use of military force in the Third World. What Reagan had in mind was not an all-out war. His 1974 Human Rights Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act 1961 (Section 502B) stated that no assistance was to be provided to countries whose government grossly violated human rights. in . much of it going to Special Forces (apart. such as the Vietnam War. But later events allowed Carter’s policies to be portrayed as weakness. The term ‘terrorism’. is never used to describe brutality on behalf of Western states. On the 3rd of April. “I would regard my election as proof that we have renewed our resolve to preserve world peace and freedom. Reagan declared. Terrorists are terrorists. President Carter had wanted to make human rights central to US foreign policy.

On its release it made new records for its first weekend of US box office takings. Research estimates that 60% of Americans play on a regular basis. The American people. allowing it to eclipse movie box-office receipts of $8. the only localisation is through manuals and covers. Black Hawk Down. However. for instance. but may be localised in a range of languages. This is especially the case with games such as Vietcong. In the US alone there are approximately 162 million computer game users who spend $1200 million annually on game rental. The only actual change to the game itself is done for the German market. Movies and war games. and Black Hawk Down (interview with Lucinda Searle from Novalogic). 36% between 18 and 35. Global reach of the computer game industry The documents and speeches we have cited are not widely available to the public. bringing in around $30 million. Black Hawk Down has sold one million copies worldwide since its launch in April 2003. Computer games as political discourse terms of Bush’s “National Strategy For Combating Terrorism”: “The world must respond and fight this evil that is intent on threatening and destroying our basic freedoms and our way of life” (2001: 1). Korean. and 19% over 36. In some countries. is available in Canadian French. Even in Europe it is common to find people without any official versions. Of these 45% are under 18. according to NPD (Game Research 2003 http://www. although methods of distribution differ according to territory. were keen to see their elite soldiers out there taking US style truth and freedom to the world. had sold very well indeed. we can only guess at the actual sales. Some territories will take UK stock. and made at Columbia studios. where blood is coloured grey. on the other hand. in pirated form. distributors in fact prefer to keep the English version of US-based war games. 115 . from the amount of pirated copies. apart from the Western European versions. and with soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. South American Spanish. American computer games are distributed across the globe. such as The Black Hawk Down movie was produced and distributed by Sony. whereas in others it is delivered as a CD and then repackaged.4 billion in 2001. The US games industry last year grew at an astounding 43 percent to $9. and remaining at the top of the charts for several months. Our researchers inquired with shop keepers in game stores in China and Vietnam who said that the game. Polish and Russian.gameresearch. In other countries.3 billion. also produced by Novalogic. The software for the game remains the same for all territories. with September 11th still fresh in their minds. because the American voices are thought to contribute to the atmosphere of the game. are — and they are powerful vehicles for promulgating the ‘Special Operations’ discourse of war whose emergence we have just described.

accompanied by stirring music. we look at the documentary style introductions which relate both the game and the movie quite explicitly to the real world events they are based on. the efforts of the multinational UN peacekeeping force to deliver food relief were obstructed by Aidid. VLS Camera pans along with army plane on runway.116 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen The documentary anchorage of entertainment war discourses How are the events we have summarised above represented in the Black Hawk Down movie and game? As a first step towards answering this question. It is worth transcribing the sequence in full (Table 1). Super title: 1991 Music continues as voice over starts: Somalia is reeling from years of famine and constant fighting. 9.  Transcription of Black Hawn Down 1.. NOVALOGIC presents Lamentful string music with ‘Eastern’ feel 2. MLS Two US soldiers. According to the commentary. VLS Dusty Mogadishu street. the other a gun. using newsreel footage and a factual style voice over commentary to explicitly legitimate the war. She carries two bowls. The implication is that ‘capturing the tyrant’ will suffice to protect the UN’s efforts in delivering humanitarian aid. (music) . camera tracking forwards. hesitates who to give it to (music) 6.000 are reported dead. 5. 3. LS Street with crowd of people walking toward camera Voice over: There is no central government 7. VLS Truck as bags of rice are loaded from ship into truck. Super title: 19 December 1992 Voice over: The US Army 10th Mountain Division deploys… 8. Women filling food bowls from large pot …between clans 4. Delta Force was deployed “with the sole purpose of capturing Aidid”. Table 1. The game opens with a short film. camera tracking with them as they move L-R …to the region as part of a multinational peacekeeping force. LS Woman walking on deserted country road with basket Voice over: 300. one carrying a bag of rice. A role call of the soldiers who were killed in the operation is also included. MLS woman standing in centre of courtyard with children seated around her. The images include a close shot of an American soldier and a smiling Somali boy (shot 11) as well as a series of shots demonstrating the combat skills of the elite soldiers (shots 20–27). MS High Angle.

MLS Masked militia man with gun sitting atop pile of bags of rice 24 Pakistani soldiers… 15.US Army Rangers and… 26. LS Militia man with gun …continued Habr Gadir threat… 17. MS Militia man swivelling rocket launcher around …In response to the… 16. MLS sideview group of soldiers aiming rifles (music) 24. Computer games as political discourse 10. Car reverses …task force rangers… 18. militia leader of the Habr Gadir clan orders an attack… 13. Camera tilts up to …operational Detachment Delta. MLS Militia man with rifle mounted on car. MS Militia man on car.. an elite fighting unit also known as… 27b LS Black Hack helicopter overhead …Delta Force 117 . VLS Black Hawk helicopters flying over desert. MLS Two US soldiers moving forward . MLS Two US soldiers about to crash in door (music) 22. killing… 14. Super title: 26 August 1993 (music) 21. LS Two US soldiers crouched on street. He waves …with the sole purpose of capturing Aidid. CS Aidid addressing crowd. Super title: 5 June 1993 Voice over: Mohamed Farrah Aidid. 20. MLS Two US soldiers lying down with guns aimed Voice over: This force is comprised … 25. MCS American soldier and smiling Somali boy. MLS Two Somali porters carrying bags of rice via gangplank (music) 11. VLS High Angle. of . Somali people running for cover. MLS Militia man on car with rifle. signalling to each other (music) 23. Zoom in …on a UN relief shipment. He waves …enter Mogadishu… 19. Zoom in (music) 12. LS US soldiers crossing road and moving towards building …operators from the First Special Forces… 27a LS Humvee driving towards camera.

Blue-tinted monochrome images provide a documentary ‘feel’. a tattered Red Cross flag on a dilapidated building in the background. and factual titles. Camera tracks back to reveal Long Shot Man squatting in background CROSS FADE VIA BLACK TO 5. first establishing a sense of sad desolation as we view famine victims. Blue-tinted black and white images. And although we do see the consequences of the famine. later. The images show a ramshackle truck with a Red Cross flag (shot 9) and. then changing to an energetic drum roll as the first Black Hawk helicopter comes into shot. Superimposed title Somalia. Title on black: Years of warfare among rival clans caused famine on a biblical scale FADE IN 7. The sequence as a whole is shown below: 1. is almost identical to that of the documentary introduction of the game. but through reconstructed rather than authentic footage. Again the role of the Red Cross.118 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen The movie of Black Hawk Down also has a documentary style introduction. as conveyed by the superimposed titles. Long Shot Ancient looking truck with tattered Red Cross flag. Medium Shot Shrouded corpse. tell the story. and its relation to the Somali clans. 1992 FADE TO BLACK 6. Title on black: “Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Plato DISSOLVE TO 3. Singing voice enters 4. and then the man who is wrapping the corpse. Superimposed title: 300. rather than a voice over commentary. seen from behind as he wraps a corpse in a shroud. is omitted — but this time only in the words. The wailing music powerfully affects the emotions. Camera tracks with it revealing Long Shot Woman pushing wheelbarrow. Very Long Shot Truck on dusty road. tied to chair. The story. we never learn how and why it came about. Somali man standing up in the back. The Red Cross is thus shown as ineffective in fighting the famine and in as much of a state of disrepair as Somalia as a whole. East Africa. Camera tracks over sand towards Medium Shot Somali.000 civilians died of starvation FADE OUT . Title on black: “Based on actual events” Lamentful music enters mixed in with ‘wind’ sound 2. driving towards camera.

but six weeks later. Delapidated building with tattered Red Cross flag in background.000 US Marines. Sound of helicopter mixes in with music. Title on black: In late August. Sound of helicopter increases in volume 15. Camera tracks with them as they carry it towards the truck. Camera lifts down to his feet and tracks with him as he walks away. and begin targeting American personnel FADE IN 12. Camera tracks past him to reveal a Medium Shot of an equally apathetic woman. revealing emaciated corpses. rules the capital Mogadishu FADE IN 9. Superimposed title: He seizes international food shipments at the ports. and then declares war on the remaining UN Peacekeepers FADE OUT 11. Behind a force of 20. Title on black: BLACK HAWK DOWN 119 . and. Superimposed title: April 1993 Aidid waits until the Marines withdraw. Camera tracks backwards into a room. Army Rangers and the 160th SOAR are sent to Mogadishu to remove Aidid and restore order. Medium Shot Somali man as he and another man lift the shrouded corpse. Washington was growing impatient. Title on black: Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Camera continues to track past bodies of famine victims lying on the sand. food is delivered and order is restored. Medium Close Shot White man in white shirt giving Somali man a drink. FADE TO BLACK 13. Aidid’s militia ambush and slaughter 24 Pakistani soldiers. At the end of this shot the singing stops and the music continues instrumentally CROSSFADE VIA BLACK 10. Delta Force. Hunger is his weapon. through the window. with apartment buildings. Superimposed title: The world responds. FADE IN 14. revealing a bed. Superimposed title: The mission was to take three weeks. Medium Shot Somali man sitting and staring apathetically. America’s elite soldiers. Title on black: In June. Computer games as political discourse 8. Low angle. the outskirts of a town. the most powerful of the warlords.

players participate vicariously in the war. Superimposed title: Saturday.120 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen Music changes to more energetic drum bangs. represented as a rogue . As we will see in more detail below. A dialogue between two of the characters in the Black Hawk Down movie expresses this shift — a shift which. will also be experienced by the movie audience and the game players. are shown in close up. Movie audiences are addressed individually and imaginarily identify with the heroes. None of this applies to the other side. skilled eye-to-hand co-ordination. the game exploits its users’ natural pleasure in concentrated. Full colour image. In other words. In the movie and the game there is only one clan. that all Somalis belong to one of five clans. The film takes time to introduce them as people with a past. the style shifts from documentary to drama or game. looking down at the scene from helicopter (The scene that follows shows a raid on a UN food relief operation. in different ways. 1993 17. We experience the war with and through them. politics and all that shit goes right out of the window. while the movie exploits the emotions of the audience for propagandistic purposes. the Habr Gedir militia and the Somali civilians. Close Shot of Sanderson (Josh Hartnett). especially when fellow soldiers are hurt. October 2. Representing the participants We now take a closer look at the way the main participants in the conflict are represented — the US soldiers. Their emotions. Soldier A: You don’t think we should be here? Soldier B: You know what I think? Doesn’t matter what I think. Aidid. with loved ones back home. looking at the game’s images along the barrel of their guns. Helicopter sound continues 16. who will be the main hero. In the game. But the transition experienced by the movie audience differs from that experienced by the game player. Not all the parties that actually participated in the events we have described above are represented. they are also shown as individuals. not in an emotive experience. Once that first bullet goes past your head. Aerial shot of helicopter flying over town. on the other hand. but in the adrenaline-rush action. and individual character traits. the elite soldiers are not only attractive young Hollywood stars. ending with a challenge by the leader of the raid to the Black Hawk helicopter) Once the introduction is over. for instance. involved. It is not recognised. with feelings.

Linguistic reference is therefore dialogic and realised by first and second person reference (in the movie there is of course also dialogic interaction. striking the same poses. On the one hand. Other Somalis are ‘civilians’. ‘collectivisation’ is realised by plurality or by means of mass nouns or nouns denoting a group of people (e. the movie personalises and dramatises what in the introduction is represented as a conflict between more impersonal forces. they have to be shown as individual heroes. both linguistically (a force of 20. and visually by shots that show only one person. To discuss how these participants are represented. The same applies to the visuals. so that we can identify with them. It can be diminished by distance.g. task force rangers). on the other hand. In other words. and visually (with just one exception). Linguistically. These features are absent from the documentary introductions. especially between the soldiers). as for instance in the generic representations of ‘terrorists’ in computer games. for instance by wearing the same clothes. Individuals and groups Participants can be referred to as individuals or en groupe. Van Leeuwen 1996) and visually (cf. and the members of such a group or crowd can be ‘homogenised’ to different degrees. Visually this is realised by the ‘first person’ point of view shot that dominates the game (although players can also choose to see ‘themselves’ in a ‘third person’ close shot). In terms of this distinction. clan. or by not representing or obscuring individual traits and focussing on the generic features that make people into ‘types’ rather than individuals. In the game. interacting with other members of the team. Van Leeuwen 2000). ‘Individualisation’ is realised linguistically by singularity. Visually. Which of these two options is chosen can make a significant difference to the way events are represented. Such other US soldiers may be 121 . or performing the same actions. Visual individualisation is a matter of degree. their team spirit must also be emphasised. where US soldiers are always represented as a collective. which have the advantage that many of them can be realised both linguistically (cf. the players are themselves soldiers. action shots foreground their close coordination and team spirit.000 marines. Close shots foreground the individuality of individual members of the team. Computer games as political discourse force with a despotic leader. which makes individual traits less easy to observe. militia). it is realised by group or crowd shots. the Black Hawk Down movie linguistically represents the US soldiers both as individuals and as a group. except for its brief appearance in the documentary style introduction of the movie. we will use the categories of ‘social actor’ analysis. The role of the Red Cross is also excluded.

through close ups that enhance his demonic features. but through images in which they are represented generically. Within the games he is not referred to. The pattern is clear and simple. while other Somalis remain anonymous members of the crowd. Within the game it is also possible. on the other hand. regardless of whether they are also ‘individuated’ or ‘collectivised’. finally. but they remain generic and never become individuals in the sense of having specific. In the documentary introduction of the film. for instance after they have been ‘killed’. all differently dressed and armed. This emphasises that they are not a regular army. Categorisation The linguistic and visual representation of participants can also categorise them. Who is named. both linguistically and visually. In the beginning of one game. The two types . except within the game. both in the movie and in the documentary introduction to the game. Names and titles Another aspect worth mentioning is the use of names and titles. but in the documentary introduction of the game they are visually more often individualised than the US soldiers. cowering as US soldiers storm through her house. But they are shown from some distance. Thus. and their suffering is nowhere near as graphically depicted as that of wounded US soldiers. individual facial and bodily characteristics. we can see some civilians walking through a village as we set out to rescue a UN convoy that is stranded in the desert. However. where only anonymous militia men are encountered as enemies. and in the film itself there are also a few shots of individuals. Civilians. to view individual militia members. and one of a woman and her children. both in the movie and the game. and both in the movie and in the game. but there is no time to observe them in detail. the enemy is strongly personalised. Doing so would risk being ‘shot’ before the game has even started. and both in the documentary introductions and in the movie itself. rather than that they acquire individual features. are collectivised throughout in the game. from time to time. the shots are too distant and too brief to allow us to perceive individual traits. Aidid on the other hand is always individualised. US soldiers and Aidid are named. and only briefly.122 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen individualised. The Habr Gedir militia is linguistically always collectivised. and who remains anonymous? This feature is of course only realised linguistically. one of an old man carrying a dead child across the road. but a motley collection of individuals. It is interesting that there is no such personalised leader for ‘our side’. we do see individual famine victims.

in addition. a motley collection of individuals. sexual orientation and so on. militia leader). Computer games as political discourse of linguistic categorisation that are most important in the texts analysed here are classification and functionalisation. and visually through the attributes of their role as soldiers. The civilians. provenance. -ant. however much they are backgrounded in the representation. but it may also be meant to invoke positive connotations. Aidid is also functionalised. hair style. not so much by specific attributes as by the lack of the attributes that characterise a regular army. Biological categorisation is achieved through stereotyped physical characteristics. In the domain of warfare. shoots at civilians during a Red Cross food relief operation (it is not clear whether he is meant to be Aidid or one of his henchmen). They are represented as ‘authentic’ Somalis who. In the game they are. as in ‘Action Man’ type stereotypes of masculinity or ‘Barbie’ type stereotypes of female attractiveness. In the documentary introductions of both the film and the game. The militia men are linguistically functionalised. operators. “We have not been attacked by an army. is also ‘biologically’ categorised. soldier. gender. The demonic militia leader who. race. but visually categorised. differentiate between categories of people. They differ from the civilians. etc. In both the film and the game. 123 . women and children) by wearing Western clothes. US soldiers are frequently functionalised. It is typically realised by suffixes such as -er. the category of civilian is an example. as a burly black man who fits traditional racist stereotypes (cf. would dutifully add couleur locale for visiting tourists. linguistically through terms such as elite soldiers. Both differences are important elements of the contemporary legitimation of war. social actors are referred to by means of terms which. through ‘Action Man’ style square jaws and solid build. who wear traditional dress (and who include older people. or by compounds such as fighting unit.. in relation to the Iraq war. (e. ethnicity. body adornment etc.g. In the case of classification. class. Visual categorisation is either ‘cultural’ or ‘biological’ (the two may also be combined). for instance in terms of an occupation or a role. Key categories in Western societies include age. ranger. As Colin Powell has recently said. badly armed. in a given society or institution. And they differ from US soldiers by being badly dressed. Nederveen Pieterse 1992). ‘biologically’ characterised. etc. so that they are not ‘authentic’ locals. therefore. but by rebel groups that do not represent the people of Iraq” (Le Monde 2003). Cultural categorisation is realised through standard attributes of dress. do ‘represent the people’ on whose behalf the war is fought. in the film. as in the case of racist stereotypes. Such categorisation may be intended to invoke negative connotations. wealth. without order and discipline. Functionalisation occurs when social actors are referred to in terms of what they do. as a militia leader and warlord. in happier times.

still individualised in the introduction. and part of a collective. faces in the crowd. becomes anonymous. They always co-ordinate with the team and follow orders. That’s all it is.” The special operations discourse A ‘special operations’ discourse of war is a particular way of representing what goes on in a war. by contrast to the ‘classic’ Western. but in the game.. just as is the case in the ‘professional Western’. In the game. and do not acquire specific individual characteristics. e. They won’t understand it is about the man next to you. – US soldiers are initially represented as a collective. with his .g. more by their loyalty towards each other than by concern for those they are protecting. de-personalised. the UN Peacekeepers. however. In the film. and. what is foregrounded is the fight against ‘rebels’ by the elite soldiers. In the film. the ‘society’ protected by the heroes is increasingly backgrounded. but not as Chuck Norris style individual heroes. with their superior skill. many other movies and games. but in the main they remain distant. news and current affairs.124 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen To summarise. gives admonitions. this demonic anti-hero continues to play a role. which features a band of hardened men ‘doing a job’ to protect a weak ‘society’. too. the enemy. who are represented as weak and unable to defend themselves. issues warnings. It underlies both the film and the game of Black Hawk Down — and. with a larger-than-life anti-hero as their leader (there is no such larger-than-life leader on the other side). It is ironical that it was Reagan. And it is remarkably similar to the schema of the ‘professional Western’ described by Wright (1975). and named. to the point that it becomes little more than a backdrop (Wright 1975). – Civilians are initially statistics. there are a few fleeting moments where they can be seen individually. and so on. relying on superior ‘professional’ skills. – The enemy is represented as a motley collection of individual ‘rebels’. Although the moral legitimation is there. and motivated. Even in ‘single play’ there is constant dialogue with an invisible voice that commands. The same applies to the other group that the elite soldiers are purportedly protecting. teamwork is emphasised. compliments. where. as well as accounts in other genres. In the film they are then also individualised. Once the action starts. their spirit of teamwork and concern for each other. above all. superior co-ordination. they are rarely seen alone. As one of the soldiers says in the film: “They won’t understand why we did it. But here. we believe. the introduction is followed by a change from 3rd person to 1st person.

In the film. however. who played such a key role in importing this fictional scenario into the arena of real warfare. It is suspected the militia might try to raise the convoy and take the shipment for themselves. the distinction between ‘field’ and ‘genre’ (Van Leeuwen 1993). rather than ‘receives’ the discourse. in the game it realises both fabula and syuzhet. such as rescuing hostages. Within this legitimatory frame. Typically. Moral legitimation no longer matters. in both the film and the game.” 125 . the actual representation of the events of the war is preceded by a documentary style introduction which anchors the fiction in reality and legitimates the war. 1993. complete with map and photos of “the men we’re after”. Protect the convoy and escort it to its destination. As we have seen. Board the waiting Humvee and proceed to their location. and the soldiers are reminded of the ‘rules of engagement’: “Make no mistake. and so on.46. The player enacts. Extraction…(etc. but also the way the game itself is played. In the film this is realised by a scene in which General Garrison explains the mission to the soldiers. Computer games as political discourse background as an actor in Hollywood Westerns. in the dialogue between two soldiers we have already quoted: “It’s about the man next to you”.g. e. this takes the form of a ‘mission briefing’. Table 2. between the events of the story told and the events of the telling of the story. A detailed scenario for the operation is provided: “15. Literary theory has introduced the difference between ‘fabula’ and ‘syuzhet’. where they are extended to non-narrative genres. It just sometimes turns out that way”. A ‘special operation’ always has a specific. capturing (or killing) a specific individual. The war is a ‘professional’ job: “Nobody wants to be a hero. Rope in at 15. In the film.)”. destroying a specific building. Similar distinctions are made in the field of linguistic discourse analysis. not just the way war is represented. You are in a completely hostile neighbourhood. moving through the stages charted in Table 2.45 Force Delta will infiltrate the target building. 1530 hours Location: Marka Village. Remember the rules of engagement. It underlies. The ‘special operations’ discourse underlies both the game and the movie. circumscribed goal.  Special Operations discourse of war: Elements of the schema Statement of goal. there is legitimation also at the end — but on the basis of ‘professionalism’ and ‘group solidarity’ only. the discourse realises the fabula. but in different ways. This distinction can be used to describe a key difference between the film and the game. Jubba Valley Situation: A UN Convoy carrying food and supplies has broken down in the valley just north of Marka. both field and genre. the events themselves are depicted. the mission briefing is a specific screen: “Mission 1 Marka Breakdown Date: February 16. No one fires unless fired upon…” In the game.

exchange of fire) will take place. while the game is more episodic and procedural — all the enemy can do is kill you. The enemy. All stages contribute towards the achievement of the overall goal of the operation. as shown above.g. a counter-move to regain the upper hand. a new directive from HQ (“I want ground force to move and secure a new perimeter round that crash site”). Thus. and as ill-disciplined and ill-equipped by comparison to the US soldiers. We are now used to the idea that this is a reasonable account of events and people in the world. The operation itself is divided into stages with specific objectives — the bracketed sections in Table 1 schematise one stage. . Approach. The engagement may result in the achievement of a particular stage of the operation. As we have shown. effective operation and creation of ‘Delta Force’ specifically. is represented differently. The US not only sells arms and know-how to carry out this kind of warfare all around the planet. Even computer games that do not support the US adopt the ‘special operations format’. the absolute priority of looking after wounded members of the team. a hand grenade). In the game it signals the end of a game. in the game by an illustrated menu allowing players to select a ‘primary weapon’. Objectives. a ‘secondary weapon’ and an ‘accessory’ (e. In the film. which may require a revision of the action plan and a new objective. and a stress on the speed. tyrant or super-terrorist. In the film this is realised by a scene in which the soldiers test and pack their equipment. Engagement. they also sell the discourses that lay out the rules of the game and provide its justification. In the film. and the player will have to start from scratch. or of the operation as a whole.g. the meticulous timing. The approach is the approach of the heroes towards the location where engagement (e.. It may also be that the operation has not succeeded. and Reagan’s doctrine of the quick. a rescue. the taking of a room. the origins of this discourse lies in the history of counterinsurgency generally. the operation as a whole has succeeded.126 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen Technological support. ‘Technological support’ refers to the fact that the technological means for the operation are an indispensable element of the discourse. and the ‘n’ indicates that it can be repeated any number of times. Setback/Partial achievement of mission/Achievement of Goal. The engagement is the exchange of fire. this leads to a new objective. of the operation and the quick and efficient ‘insertion’ and ‘extraction’ of the force. in the latter. or some other key stage of the operation. in which case you will have to start from scratch (although some games attempt to build in other obstacles and allow the enemy a modicum of strategic planning). The key element of this discourse is its stress on the qualities of the elite forces: high combat skills. meanwhile. as under the sway of a despotic warlord. a new objective will be formulated. a new stage may be triggered by an enemy action such as the downing of a helicopter. superior technology and team work. In the former case. the unfolding of the film’s story exhibits narrative causality.

Maren. E. New York: Pantheon. he found that former fighters from different clans were now farming and trading with each other. Goebbels and National Socialist Propaganda 1925–1945. F. Somalia. 1991. Médécins Sans Frontières. Michigan: State University Press. Lewis. a recent Syrian game about the Israeli occupation which we are currently studying. http://www. London: Hamish Hamilton. Boston: South End Press. References Africa Watch. C. Maren (1994) has noted that when he returned to Somalia. But real wars do not necessarily happen in the way in which they are represented here. and so are the civilian casualties involved (see Chouliaraki this volume). The oil factor in Somalia: Four American petroleum giants had agreements with the African nation before its civil war began. and Neale Ronning. Barber. Leave Somalia alone. 2001. Diaries 1942–1943. peace returns. Counterinsurgency and Counterterrorism 1940–1990. 1982. L. Semaine sanglante en Irak. Computer games as political discourse for instance games produced in Arab countries. Lefebvre. J.html).fr. cssn-list/2001. 2001. J. Bramstedt. The Real Terror Network: Terrorism in Fact and Propaganda. the cynical manipulation of hunger. 1965. 1948. P. such as Underash. P. Los Angeles Times January 18. the role of the special forces is not necessarily as vital as we are made to believe. Goebbels. 1990.LeMonde. 127 . too.netnomad. M. 1977. M. Boston Review. The role of aerial bombardment is excluded or backgrounded. July 6 (http://www. When there is no ‘foreign assistance’ of the kind the US gave to Barre. McConnell. 1992. visiting some of the areas where the most aggressive fighting had taken place. International Security and Military Power: Counterinsurgency and Civic Action in Latin America. 1994. A. 9. K. 1981. M. As for the evil motives of the ‘rebels’. P. E. J. Herman. http://www. London: Africa Watch. New York Times. Security Council weighs role in Somali civil war. New York: Praeger. F. R. New York Times 18 March. London: Macmillan. Leave_Somalia. McClintock. Arms for the Horn: US Security Policy in Ethiopia and Somalia 1953–1991. Trans. 1963. Political Conflict on the Horn of Africa. Le Monde. A Rumour of War. Instruments of Statecraft: US Guerrilla Warfare. 2002. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. 2003. The counrerterrorists at the Fletcher School: The Reagan administration’s new terrorism policy. Lochner. M. for instance. As we have seen. S. he concluded. Finnan. W. does not always work in the way it is presented here. Cohen.columbia. Somalia: A Government at War with Its Own People: Testimonies about Killings and the Conflict in the North. and the idea of the ‘quick fix’. 1993. October/November issue. 2002. Somalia Briefing Document.

Discourse Studies 1(1). Newsweek 29 December. Shalom. Van Leeuwen. M. Armed UN troops arrive in Somalia. In: M. 1990. 14. Perlez. New York Times 15 September. Wodak. R. Gruber.. Van Leeuwen. 1992. Diskurshistorische Studien zum Nachkriegsantisemitismus. R. 1992c. Reisigl and R. London: Picador.. How do you spell relief? Newsweek 23 November. London: Pluto. Somalia puzzle: What is the American strategy? New York Times 5 October. T. 1993. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. 38. J. 1999. Van Leeuwen. UNICEF. Sixguns and Society: A Structural Study of the Western. R. 10. 193–225. R. White on Black — Images of Africans and Blacks in Western Popular Culture. com. J. ‘Wir sind alle unschuldige Täter’. Perlez. S. T. Wodak (eds). Van Mitten. New York Times 6 December. J. 1995. Caldas-Coulthard and M. Zmagazine February 1993. Gravy train: Feeding the Pentagon by feeding Somalia. R. 1990. 573–74. New York: Oxford University Press. J. J. and Stern. Menz. 1992. Nowak. W. 32–70. E. 1992a. Frankfurt: Surhkamp. The Semiotics of Racism — Approaches in Critical Discourse Analysis. http://www. F. London: Routledge. 2002. et al. H. De Cillia. Post. and Mitten. US says airlifts fail Somali needy. R. J. Legitimizing immigration control: A discourse-historical analysis. Wright. 1. The representation of social actors. In Pharaoh’s Army. 83–119. Wolff. and Wodak. 3.telegraph. 9. 1992. 1. 1996.html. . P. Texts and Practices — Readings in Critical Discourse Analysis.. T. In: C. Discourse & Society 4(2). Wodak. 1975.. Berkeley. 333–350. J. Hungry Somalis still die but crops grow too. Perlez. Chaotic Somalia starves as strongmen battle. Schraeder.. New York Times 4 October. Wines. 39. 1994. T. Coulthard (eds). T. Newsinger.128 David Machin and Theo van Leeuwen Nederveen Pieterse. New York Times 31 July. 1997. 1992b. D. CA: University of California Press. 2000. Waller. 1992d. Dangerous Men: The SAS and Popular Culture. 1993.zmag. Middle East Journal 46(4). P. Aides say US role in Somalia gives Bush a way to exit in glory. The Horn of Africa: US foreign policy in an altered Cold War environment. Genre and field in critical discourse analysis. New York Times 23 October. Pelikan. R. S. 1989 The State of the World’s Children. Peterson. Visual racism. Sprachen der Vergangenheiten. 1992. F. T. Sciolino.. J. R. 1993. http://www. Everyone is sniping at the marines. Black Hawk Down — good box office but bad history. New Haven: Yale University Press. Vienna: Passagen Verlag. Perlez.

It is also evident in the ongoing controversy about the validity of scientific documents and military reports that ultimately led both the UK and USA to the decision to declare war against Iraq. March–April 2003. the footage ultimately suppresses the emotional. . during and after the invasion of the coalition troops in Iraq. I show that the semiotic choices of this footage construe the bombardment of Baghdad in a regime of pity. The taking of sides in the BBC ‘update’ occurs precisely through this aestheticised representation of warfare that denies the sufferer his/her humanity and relieves the bomber of his responsibility in inflicting the suffering. This is evident in the unprecedented manner by which the justification for this war divided the international community and undermined trust in the capacity of international institutions. March 2003. without violating the principle of objectivity — a principle necessary for the credibility of public service broadcasting. Making use of the ‘analytics of mediation’. manages to take sides in the controversy over the Iraq war. By rendering these identities irrelevant to the spectacle of the suffering. whereby the aesthetic quality of the spectacle effaces the presence of Iraqi people as human beings and sidelines the question of the coalition troops identity either as benefactors or bombers. This combination is instrumental in aestheticising the horror of war at the expense of raising issues around the legitimacy and effects of the war. such as the EU and the UN. to manage crises in the current world order. ethical and political issues that lie behind the bombardment of Baghdad. Television and the Iraq war The legitimacy of the war in Iraq has been a stake before.Spectacular ethics On the television footage of the Iraq war Lilie Chouliaraki London School of Economics This chapter argues that the BBC World footage of the bombardment of Baghdad.

to a pro-war position. but the assumptions already implicit in the routine professional choices that stage and narrate the war in television. These pieces of research suggest that the place to look for the pro-war bias in western television footage is not a behind-the-scenes co-ordination between government and journalists. registered in polls and demonstrations before March 2003. then. this war more than any other) is television. Even though we may challenge the idea that the global reach of television. As a result of bringing home images of high news value. as a consequence of the government’s “various rhetorical devices and a complicit media” (Baines and Worcester 2003: 16). is to examine how television seeks to construe the legitimacy of the war. construes a single public sphere. in April 2003. also Brooks et al. this has not been the issue in the case of the war in Iraq. but the idea that the media are ‘complicit’ with government may suggest that television operated as an instrument of propaganda. 2003). providing media publics with the opportunity to make judgements and deliberate over issues of common interest (Barnett 2003). Together with the embeds programme. it is difficult to deny that the power of television to provide images and information is crucial in the shaping of public opinion. In the case of the war in Iraq. which presents and debates current affairs. the British public opinion appeared to shift from an anti-war position. was in fact shown to be shaped by “routine decisions about news values and practices” in the media (Lewis 2004: 309. otherwise unavailable to western . Rather than journalists taking “the decision to abandon impartiality”.130 Lilie Chouliaraki A crucial player in the struggle over the legitimacy of war (and as we shall see. that is to say as a public sphere that legitimises the taking of sides in the conflict without abandoning the principle of objective presentation and deliberation over the stakes of the conflict. the bombardment of Baghdad provided the global spectatorship with unprecedented footage from the battlefield. The critical question. by operating not as a technology of propaganda but as a technology of democracy. Despite the relevant controversy. at the service of the military project of the coalition. the pro-war swing of public opinion. 2003). This research confirms the role of the media in shaping public opinion. Television as a space of appearance I examine this critical question of how television legitimises the project of the Iraq war in the context of an objective public sphere. This is because television is a form of public sphere. with channels such as BBC or CNN. that is reports by journalists embedded in coalition military units fighting in Iraq. by analysing the BBC World footage on the bombardment of Baghdad (Rageh Omaar’s report April 8th.

but crucially in managing the political task of taking sides in the conflict and thereby of establishing or withdrawing public consent to the legitimacy of the war. In order to be acceptable for ‘public visual consumption’. but also to emphasise the fact that this public sphere is about emotions as well as argument — it is about what is ‘felt’ as well as what is ‘known’:1 “To produce what will constitute the public sphere […]. In this quote. read. the Iraq war footage simultaneously throws into relief a crucial but neglected quality of the public sphere of television. what they see. apart from its evident psychological dimension. spectacle and emotion on television need to be constrained and managed in certain ways. 2003). seen. benefactors and bombers. felt and known” (Butler 2004: xx). killing and destroying. How does television manage the spectator’s emotions in the face of such (potentially) fierce spectacle of suffering? The question. which inevitably is a spectacle of violence: images of attacking. formulated the problem of the coalition troops precisely in these terms: “the problem”. The dilemmatic identity of the troops on screen as. they are also seen as objects of strict regulation. 131 . The constraints are not only on content — certain images of dead bodies in Iraq. for instance. 2003). Christian Amanpour. both spectacle and emotion are constitutive of the public sphere of television and. The coalition sought to gain legitimacy over the war in Iraq mainly through the humanitarian argument of relieving the Iraqis from the oppressive Hussein regime. firing. The quality of television as a ‘space of appearance’. Spectacular ethics audiences. also entails a crucial political dimension that touches upon the very legitimacy of the war in Iraq. therefore. This reference to emotion is particularly relevant when we talk about the BBC footage of the bombardment of Baghdad. By virtue of this celebrated transparency. Butler makes use of the term the ‘space of appearance’ to tell us that the public sphere of television is about spectacle. how they hear. a site of what is seen as well as heard. Yet the coalition also appeared on our television screen as aggressors that daily bombed the city of Baghdad for three consecutive weeks. “is that the coalition troops want to be seen as benefactors not just as bombers” (CNN March 29th. are considered unacceptable for public visual consumption — but on what ‘can’ be heard. The term ‘space of appearance’ seeks to define the public sphere of television not only as a space of language and deliberation. it is necessary to control the way in which people see. this television war coverage was hailed as the most transparent ever (for a criticism of this argument see Brooks et al. is therefore instrumental not only in managing the spectator’s emotions vis-à-vis the spectacle of Iraqi suffering. CNN’s senior international correspondent. but also as a space of image and visibility. she said. at once.


Lilie Chouliaraki

Even though there is space to nuance the argument for legitimacy, for example
by claiming that the troops are bombing now only to liberate tomorrow, the power
of television to make visible such a compelling spectacle of destruction and suffering to a sceptical public does beg for the temporary, immediate management of
emotion on screen. This means that, on entering television’s space of appearance,
the coalition troops must necessarily be represented either in the image of the
liberator, the benefactor of the Iraqi sufferer who the media public approves of and
supports, or of the bomber, yet another persecutor of a perpetually suffering Iraqi
who the media public disapproves of and denounces.
How does the BBC deal with this, essentially political, question of distributing the potential for emotion in the spectacle of a city blasted with missiles every
night, by its own liberators?

The analytics of mediation
In order to address this question, I introduce the analytics of mediation (for the
Foucauldian term ‘analytics’ see Flyvebjerg 1999; Rose 1999; Barnett 2003; for the
‘analytics of mediation’ see Chouliaraki 2004a, b; 2006). The analytics of mediation
is a framework for the study of television as a space of appearance that presents the
war, and broadly human suffering, within specific regimes of pity, that is within
specific semantic fields where emotions and dispositions to action vis-à-vis the
suffering ‘others’ are made possible for the spectator.2 The analytics of mediation
thus conceptualises the BBC footage as a semiotic accomplishment, which combines camera work and voiceover, or television’s multi-modality, in order to establish a degree of proximity between the spectator and the scene of suffering and to
propose certain possibilities of action upon the suffering.3 The assumption behind
the ‘analytics of mediation’ is that choices over how suffering is portrayed, where,
when and with whom the suffering is shown to occur always entail specific proposals to the spectator for engaging with the sufferer, independently of our own
evaluative judgement on these proposals as undesirable or desirable (Boltanski
1999). The value of the analytics of mediation, in this respect, lies in its capacity to
re-describe the semiotic constitution of suffering and, in so doing, to explicate the
moral implications and political agendas that inform this constitution.
In multi-modality, I look into aspects of the moving image and of the verbal
text (narration, description and exposition), and I discuss how their combination
creates effects of objectivity and aesthetic appreciation. In space‑time, I look into
the perspective from which we experience the bombardment (cinematic proximity, analytical temporality) and into the effects of this perspective on the spectator’s

Spectacular ethics

own sense of engagement with the event. Finally, in agency, I investigate how the
figures of pity (here, the sufferer and the persecutor) are verbalised and visualised
in ways that suppress the production of emotion for the Iraqi sufferer.
My argument is that the semiotic choices of this footage construe the bombardment of Baghdad in a regime of pity, whereby the aesthetic quality of the
spectacle effaces the presence of Iraqi people as human beings and sidelines the
question of the coalition troops’ identity either as benefactors or bombers.4 The
taking of sides in the BBC ‘update’ occurs precisely through this representation of
warfare that denies the sufferer his/her humanity and relieves the bomber of his
responsibility in inflicting the suffering. By rendering these identities irrelevant
to the spectacle of the suffering, the footage ultimately suppresses the emotional,
ethical and political issues that lie behind the bombardment of Baghdad.

The Baghdad bombardment on BBC
The bombardments of Baghdad, one of the most visually arresting and emotionally compelling pieces of warfare on television, were broadcast live on the BBC at
approximately 19.00 CET, and they were, subsequently, inserted as regular ‘updates’ in the channel’s 24‑7 footage flow. The piece under study is the next-morning update of the April 8th night bombing, shown on April 9th, 2003 at around
09.00 CET, immediately followed by a live report from the city of Basra. I begin
with the multi-modality of the ‘update’ before I move on to its space-time and
agency properties.

The mode of presentation of the ‘update’ is moving image (the edited video of the
previous night’s footage) accompanied by running voiceover, which comments on
the image and occasional pauses to allow for the harsh sounds of the bombardment to take over.
On the visual plane, the point of view of the filming is from afar and above
with a steady camera, probably from a terrace of the ‘Palestine’ hotel where foreign journalists stayed during the war. The camera captures Baghdad in its visual
plenitude. The introductory sequence of the ‘update’ is filmed at night, turning the
screen into a dark surface animated by green flashes at the sound of bombing fire.
The visual effect is that of a digital game, endowing the spectacle with a fictional
rather than a realist quality — a similar quality to the Gulf War visuals that made
Baudrillard famously conclude that the war never happened. The ‘update’ quickly



Lilie Chouliaraki

shifts into morning shots of the bombardment, where bright light and the camera
zooms make bombing action visible in its detail. Following the verbal narrative, the
camera abandons the long shot and closes up on specific bombing acts four times.
It frames a large compound burning; a Tigris bridge on fire; a plane manoeuvring
on air ready to attack; and, finally, the building attacked by the plane now ripped
by missiles. Bombing and rattling sounds systematically interrupt the verbal narrative, throughout the ‘update’, investing the visual sequences with powerful sound
effects and maximising the realism of the scene of action. In the closing sequence,
the journalist appears on a frontal medium shot at the left hand side of the screen
addressing directly the audience; by that moment, the bombardment was over.
Overall, this pictorial composition conveys a strong sense of unrelenting action, with the harshness of repeated rattles and blasts turning the bombardment of
Baghdad into a spectacle of rare audio-visual power and intensity.
On the verbal plane, the spectacular quality of the screen is framed by a complex narrative, which accomplishes three main functions at once. I would claim
that the voiceover of the ‘update’ is a hybrid text that combines description with
narration, and also entails sporadic elements of exposition.5 Whereas description
is the ‘this-is-what-we-see’ narrative type that uses language referentially to put
words onto and illustrate visual action, narration introduces in the voiceover elements of story-telling proper, such as opening and closing conventions of the
‘once-upon-a time’ type. Finally, exposition carries the evaluative element of the
voiceover, implicitly articulating a moral stance vis-à-vis the visual text, such as
“isn’t-this-horrific, extraordinary or sad?” Let us now see how these narrative
types of the voiceover fuse with one another and interact with the visual mode.
Narration organises the voiceover of bombing action from beginning to end.
The opening sequence, in night vision, establishes an ‘as-if ’ continuity with action
that had been occurring before the recording of this footage: With barely a pause
in the early hours of the morning, they were on the attack again. Both circumstantial
attributes, with barely a pause and again, hint to this continuity and turn the spectacle on screen into a little glimpse of a broader trajectory of action. This is emphasised by the fact that the subject of the scene of action remains unspecified, as-if
already known: they were on the attack. In this way, the voiceover introduces the
spectator to a larger, ongoing story with familiar plot and characters. The visual
shift from night to day is managed through another story-telling feature, chronological continuity: By morning the buildings were still ablaze. Chronological coherence further sustains the main part of the verbal text, as in Then we heard…we
looked up…above us a buster…it swooped down…And it blasted. This part is simultaneously organised around the narrator’s point of view; notice the use of first
person plural in we heard, we looked. Chronology, the human perception of time,

For example. the aura of testimony allows only sporadic elements of exposition to be dispersed across sentences: a terrible deafening sound as though the earth was being ripped open… …anti-missile flare spewing out of its wing…. however. The spectator is called both to consume images of reality and to engage with the impressions of the person that witnesses — the we of the journalist and his cameraman. the buildings were still ablaze and still under attack is a declarative statement anchored on the visual evidence of a camera zoom on the burning compound. or …let loose a ferocious barrage. a value judgement on the television spectacle. ferocious barrage or antimissile flare and the audio and visual recordings as they appear on screen. testimony cannot rely on subjective story-telling. Spectacular ethics together with the use of the personal point of view. In the footage. which is accomplished through the mechanical eye of the camera. the quality of broadcasting necessary to legitimise the television footage as a public sphere genre. seek to convey a sense of the horrific and the extraordinary that the sight of the bombardment impressed upon the eye-witness. let loose a ferocious barrage. In the ‘update’. the third of Chatman’s narrative types that typically provides a point of view. Then we looked up […]. in this sense. construe the voiceover as a particular type of story-telling: the testimony of an eye-witness. what Peters (2001: 709) calls. the sentence. It needs to fuse with the reporting of objective reality. the voiceover reference to anti-missile flare spewing out of its wing is followed by a zoom on the plane releasing fire. This is obvious in the verbal references that systematically follow the camera zooms I mentioned earlier. it is description that establishes this factual correspondence between the person and the outside world. It is perhaps this combination that keeps under control. is followed by an upwards move of the camera. exposition. Both references to the hearing sense of the witness are followed by strong sound effects that validate his subjective perception. As the personal narration of facts. referring to vision. in this sense. Such quasi-literary use of adjectives. 135 . The multi-modality of the footage presents us with. singles out and illustrates. Finally. These statements take the moving image to be the external reality which language refers to. and the active face of saying. instrumental in establishing objectivity. by connecting verbal with visual text. Description. which is accomplished through the combination of subjective narration and factual description. together with the metaphors spewing and let loose and the simile as though the earth. works to create an indexical relationship between the nominal use of deafening sound. in perception verbs such as hear and look. In a similar manner. the ‘two faces of witnessing’: the passive face of seeing. The narrative type of description is. we. The effect of factuality gets stronger in Then we heard a terrible deafening sound as though….

Although no explicit ethical or political perspective is articulated. She/he is an onlooker. as a consequence of the use of steady camera. Nevertheless. in fact American forces. as Omaar frontally addresses the spectator. in the homes of Iraqis or in hospitals and. it is unable to shift the position of the spectator from the ‘detached’ overview to an ‘involved’ observation of suffering in proximity (as for example Al Jazeera did). a witness position that turns the reality of the war into a spectacular panorama that fills the television screen. The intensity of the singular act is now replaced by the contemplation of the big picture. however. It does not move through the streets of Baghdad.136 Lilie Chouliaraki In the final sequence. As a consequence. narrated for the most part in time past. The temporality of the ‘update’. Which regime of pity is enacted in this particular combination of subjective narration with objective description and traces of expository talk? Which effect does the multi-modality of the ‘update’ bear upon the sense of proximity that the spectator has to the scenes of bombardment she witnesses? And how does the ‘update’ shapes the spectator’s inclination to feel towards the suffering Iraqis? Space-time The presence of camera in the city of Baghdad and the sheer visualisation of warfare bring the western spectator closer to the scene of this suffering than ever before in any previous war coverage. but she/he can actually witness the bombardment as a reality unfolding in front of her own eyes. providing the spectator with panoramic views of the city. read about or skim through snapshots of bombed buildings. in a face-to-face communicative gesture. and some defending positions with hardly any resistance. who is watching from a safe distance. The spectator does not only hear. The quality of proximity that this ‘detached’ overview provides to the spectator is cinematic. Despite the total visibility that this point of view offers. therefore. the perspective of the narrative also shifts from witnessing a specific event to an overview of air war: American force are pushing relentlessly…continue to take ground… everything is there for their taking. This is the temporality of testimony. or precisely because of this. the spectator of the ‘update’ is simultaneously kept resolutely outside the scene of action. the testimonial perspective is abandoned in favour of a more expository narrative. the narrator’s first person is not part of the verbal but of the visual text. of describing facts that are . the ‘update’ remains constantly a panorama. the point of view of the camera is from afar-and-above. Furthermore. this conclusion does manage to set out the sides of the war in Iraq in terms of the asymmetry between a powerful coalition. reinforces the emotional distance that cinematic proximity imposes upon the scene of the bombardment. First.

In summary. Spectacular ethics already finalised: we heard […] deafening sound…we looked […] ferocious barrage. what happens to the figures of the sufferer and the bomber that organise the spectator’s potential for emotion in the face of suffering? Agency I look mainly into the two agency categories in the ‘update’. the sufferer. These are all non-living targets of coalition fire. [Iraqi] positions and defending positions. or through the use of intransitive verbs that take no object. the sufferer is altogether deleted from the narrative either through nominalisation. with the cost of failing to evoke proximity. presents longerterm facts that still sustain the distance to Baghdad: the city-target of a ferocious bombardment is not a scene of suffering but a terrain for the study of the logistics of warfare. [Iraqi] leadership’s seats of power. anything [that could be an Iraqi position] and everything [is there for their taking]. Finally. In fact. and the persecutor. the combination of cinematic proximity with analytical temporality shapes a regime of pity where suffering is construed as an object to watch and comment on. who is the bomber of the city of Baghdad. The shift towards the present tense. There is no reference to the Iraqi as a human being. the ordinary Iraqi. for whom the operation ‘Iraqi Freedom’ was launched in the first place. geographical or emotional. in formulations such as on the eastern side of the Tigris River. Under these conditions of representation. in the concluding sequence. either in language or in image. we may ask) and take ground (whose ground?). rather than to arouse emotion or a demand for action on the part of the spectator. The sufferer is also verbalised as a diffused entity. The persecutor of the scene of action is represented in non-human terms. is a significant absence in the footage of the bombardment of Baghdad. such as [The American forces are] pushing on (who?. twice. The sufferer of the bombardment is represented in non-human terms. This diffused verbalisation of the sufferer is parallel to the visual effect of the long shot as they both offer a panorama of the city. too. between the spectator and the sufferer. Even though these formulations acknowledge the asymmetry of warfare and signal the incapacity of the Iraqi side to defend itself. Ministry building. hardly any resistance. this vague reference to powerlessness has no concrete recipient. naturally. Specifically. such targets are also visualised by camera zooms onto concrete blasts and explosions in the Baghdad cityscape. who is the passive recipient of the bombing acts. This happens through verbal references such as explosions and heavy fire or anti-missile flare — which are simultaneously visualised on screen — or through 137 . the sufferer is verbalised as buildings.

I have argued elsewhere that these features of the footage construe suffering within a ‘sublime’ regime of pity (Chouliaraki 2004a. it invites the spectator to study the event as a spectacle. The war footage as a space of aesthetic appearance The regime of pity constituted through the semiotic features of the ‘update’ is characterised by a hybrid multi-modal text that invests the panorama of air war with factual description. but a site of intense military action without agency. and. But how is this link semiotised? First. At the same time. the footage presents the bombardment of Baghdad not a scene of suffering. but only a panorama of military action. the reference to the American forces already formulates some form of causal link with the Baghdad bombardment. Furthermore. in so doing. the ‘update’ on the bombardment of Baghdad contains no visualisation of human beings. The persecutor is also deleted in passive constructions. The sufferer is mostly a collective entity or a non-living being. at the same time. This combination authenticates the event of bombardment as an objective reality and. which cleanses the agency of the troops of any sense of aggression (compare to bomb or attack) and construes them primarily as successful operators: push on. and the persecutor is either diffused in the activity of air war or erased from the narrative. By cancelling the presence of the persecutor and the sufferer. We do not see American troops on screen. This occurs within a spacetime of cinematic proximity. 2004b). the only reference that could be interpreted as evoking a human persecutor is that to The American forces are pushing on relentlessly. To be sure. which is devoid of human agency but full of the spectacularity of striking action. the figure that inflicts the suffering on the inhabitants of Baghdad. it does not help to focalise the emotional potential of the spectator in a denunciatory disposition against the bombardment (Boltanski 1999: 59–67). This reluctance to semiotise the persecutor as a human force or a single individual performs a similar semiotic work as the diffusion of the sufferer does. take ground.138 Lilie Chouliaraki pronouns such as they [were on the attack again] and it [swooped down or blasted]. Indeed. It avoids to name the existence of the bomber. [Anything that could be an Iraqi position] was targetted. it is a reference connected to the material processes pushing on or continue to [take ground and pound defending positions]. dramatic narration and elements of exposition. the linguistic choices that verbalise the sufferer and the persecutor deprive these figures of any sense of humanness. such as [buildings] were still ablaze and still under attack. In summary. it is a linguistic link that lacks the power of pictorial presence. The sublime is a specific regime of pity that constitutes distant . pound positions.

In the bombardment of Baghdad. the ‘update’ does not appear to take sides in the Iraq conflict and. the sufferer and the bomber. First. which. What the ‘update’ appears to do instead is to invite the spectator to engage with the scene of suffering through reflexive contemplation. The testimony confronts the spectator with the horrific spectacle of the bombardment and turns her into a witness that contemplates on the aesthetic composition of this spectacle. doesn’t the combination of cinematic proximity with quasi-literary commentary such as … a terrible deafening sound… …flare spewing out…swooped down…ferocious barrage and with powerful sound effects cultivate precisely this aesthetic grasp of the reality of war. Without a sufferer or a bomber. not through propaganda but through regulating the war footage as a space of appearance: the public space where the taking of sides occurs without abandoning the principle of objectivity. However. This insight into the representation of the war in the BBC footage returns us to the critical question of my Introduction. obviously. valuable as it may be in prompting media publics to reflect upon the witnessing of destruction and death on screen. it considerably strengthens its testimonial claim to represent the war without bias. 139 . Spectacular ethics suffering less through emotions towards the sufferer and primarily through aesthetic appreciation derived from the horror of suffering itself. by definition. through which the sublime aspires to capture the essence of suffering? This aesthetic register of the war footage. places the scene of suffering and violence at centre-stage. in this manner. a ‘meta-describer’ (Boltanski 1999: 19). is related less to a conscious media complicity and more to the news values associated with journalistic choices about how to represent the war on television. Again. The taking of sides. As the sublime register suggests. Doesn’t the testimonial character of the voiceover draw the spectator’s attention to the horrific detail of the television spectacle as a passive object to be seen. the effacement of antagonistic human figures. There are two dimensions of the space of appearance that I would now like to comment on. this very claim to objectivity goes hand-in-hand with the taking of sides in the footage. as Lewis mentions in my Introduction. reflexive contemplation is an arrangement which turns the scene of the bombardment into a passive object of the spectator’s gaze and the spectator into a gazing subject aware of her own act of seeing. from the eye-witness account of the bombardment produces the effect of objectivity in BBC television. The question was to examine how television construes the legitimacy of the war. the BBC footage lives up to its role as a global news channel that disseminates information without partiality and operates within the premises of public legitimacy. the journalistic choice has been to employ the style of testimony. and simultaneously to the act of seeing itself as it is narrated by the journalist/meta-describer? As a consequence of this reflexive mode of engagement.

the contemplative spectator can now sigh in relief as the US soldiers take care of the ordinary Iraqis. from a regime of representation. the aesthetics of testimony. The taking of sides in the Iraq footage. be this linguistic exclusion or. decides how the aesthetic register participates in the broader process of legitimising the war in BBC television. This leads me to the second dimension of the footage as a space of appearance that I wish to comment on. the aesthetic register simultaneously provides a specific ‘normative scheme of intelligibility’. a group of Iraqi former teachers enter the compound of Basra’s technical college to take their belongings.140 Lilie Chouliaraki nevertheless suffers from a serious restriction. as Butler calls it. Put otherwise. where a small crowd of Iraqis is filmed side-byside to American soldiers. already at week three into the invasion. we shift to a regime where the coalition forces are reported to be fully active as a benefactor. which suppressed the possibility of pity when Baghdad was being blast to pieces. an exercise of the normative power of television to subject human life in Baghdad to ‘radical effacement’ (Butler 2004: 147). Thanks to the sequencing of the footage. strongly appealing to the spectator’s emotion and action. a fact that signals proximity. even more tellingly. And. with it. An American soldier is speaking Arabic to the Iraqis. for example. As a specific journalistic choice.6 Radical effacement is a form of power that television exercises in order to constitute the public realm of appearance on the basis of exclusion. The choice. In the course of the 24‑7 footage flow. let us recall that this register of representation. the Iraqi sufferer enters the space of appearance in the BBC footage only on the condition that her very humanity is cancelled. From the ‘update’ of the air-strikes. through which the spectator encounters and appreciates the reality of war. and it is this alternation that. The ‘update’ of the bombardment under study is. to visualise military action but neither to visualise the sufferer nor to verbalise his/her as a human being is. ultimately. The voiceover informs us that Escorted by US soldiers. there has been a continuous alternation of regimes of pity. at once. It appears then . To conclude. whereas. is not alone in shaping the coverage of the Iraq war overall. and they are all interacting and walking together. Unlike many other reports on suffering that portray human beings. has to do with the way in which this journalistic grid of intelligibility renders the identity of the Iraqi population — suffering under the coalition fire — invisible to the spectator. immediately sequenced by a regime of care that foregrounds the role of the coalition forces as benefactors of the Iraqi population. by the same token. we move swiftly to a reportage in the city of Basra. it also renders the identity of the troops as bombers irrelevant to the representation of the bombardment itself. then. that is to say. what is also cancelled is the potential for emotion and engagement with the sufferer that the spectator may have had the potential to feel. exclusion of the imagery of suffering.

seeking to shape variously our emotions and attitudes vis-à-vis the distant sufferer. In the light of this analysis. In this manner. This combination is instrumental in aestheticising the horror of war at the expense of raising issues around the legitimacy and effects of the war. seen. It plays upon the fact that human misfortune can be staged in different ways. in Amanpour’s words. It is this constraint on how it is at all possible to represent the war on television that is thrown into relief by the inscription of the testimony of the bombardment in the sublime register. felt and known” (2003: xx). but by rendering their identities irrelevant in the public sphere of television. without violating the principle of objectivity — a principle necessary for the credibility of public service broadcasting. The analysis of the BBC footage. The sublime register helps to ‘even out’ the unresolved or. April 2003. the presence of the persecutor is also unnecessary. Without overtly campaigning for the good. 141 . the sublime plays upon absences. read. more precisely. than when it is confined in the general denunciation of ‘news bias’ and in the pursuit of an abstract objectivity. the irresolvable tension in the identity of the coalition forces as benefactors or bombers. and it is provisionally resolved in the transition points between sequences and the shifts between regimes. the sublime becomes instrumental in taking sides in the conflict not by regulating the actors on screen. is constituted ongoingly through the alternating regimes of pity that the footage involves. poses a deeper constraint upon “what can be heard. not even regulating the presence of good and bad on screen. I would suggest that the televisual sublimation of suffering constitutes a form of regulation of the public sphere that does not simply impact upon what we actually see or hear but. This effectively means that the question of how television participates in the legitimisation of the war becomes more amenable to political and ethical criticism when seen under the light of the semiotic aestheticisation of suffering. by subjecting the identity of the Iraqi people to radical effacement. as Butler further claims. Conclusion In this paper. shows that the catastrophic spectacle of the Baghdad bombardment is narrated as the testimony of a witness and filmed so as to be contemplated at a distance and without a human presence. Spectacular ethics that the dilemma benefactors or bombers. In a scene of suffering without a sufferer. I made use of the analytics of mediation in order to study how television regulates “how people hear and what they can see” on screen.

Zoom on building in flames. US soldier speaks Arabic to them. a group of Iraqi former teachers enter the compound of Basra’s technical college to take their belongings. and for the connection between the communication of the private self in the public sphere of television see Scannel (1991: 1–9).  For semiotic analyses of suffering see van Leeuwen and Jaworski (2002) on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It swooped down and let loose a ferocious barrage [sound effect]. And given that they seem to be coming up against hardly any resistance. Notes 1. Sound effect]. Anything that could be an Iraqi position was targeted [Zoom on bridge in fire]. April 8th. for the language of mourning in public and. By morning the buildings were still ablaze and still under attack [Day light. Sound effect]. 3. Then we heard a terrible deafening sound as though the earth was being ripped open [Long shot of building. 2003 With barely a pause in the early hours of the morning. Explosions and heavy fire tore into buildings on the eastern side of the Tigris river [Night vision. Green/dark screen with white flashes.  For the connection between pity and citizenship see Boltanski (1999: 20–34). We looked up [Camera moving upwards]. ‘Digital’ visual effect] All this in the Iraqi leadership’s seats of power. interacting and walking together. media discourse see Butler (2003). specifically.  For relevant notions of the public sphere see also Boltanski (1999: 1–19). for the language of mourning concerning the September 11 events see Martin (2004).142 Lilie Chouliaraki Transcript of voiceover. Chartier (1999: 20–37). Screen bar: Basra. Arendt (1973/1990: 59–114). Perlmutter and Wagner (2004) on the violent conflicts under the G8 Summit in Genoa. it seems that everything is there for their taking. And it blasted this Ministry building for a second time [Zoom on building being ripped by missiles. Voiceover: Escorted by US soldiers. 2. Visual shift to Basra where small crowd of Iraqis is filmed side-by-side to American soldiers. they are standing together. they were on the attack again.]. Above us a 8/0/0 buster. An agitated crowd. anti-missile flare spewing out from its wing [Zoom on plane manoeuvring and firing in cloudy sky]. for the connection between private and public disposition see Peters (1999: 214–225). . Sound effects. Rageh Omaar standing now at left side of the screen The American forces are pushing on relentlessly. They continue to take ground and pound defending positions.

Culure and Democracy. Lewis (2004) and Brooks et al. The Powers of Death and Mourning. the celebratory discourse of Iraqi liberation that aligned the Iraqi population as a whole with anti-Hussein feelings and tendencies. London: Penguin Books. Cardiff: Cardiff School of Journalism. Cambridge: University Press. Mourning: How we are aligned. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 2004. H. 2003: 84). References Arendt. L. 2003. and Threadgold. 295–310. Embeds or In-beds? The Media Coverage of the War in Iraq. S. public opinion and the war in Iraq: The case of Britain. 2004b. exposition. J. Television. L. Space and Representation. Chouliaraki. J. Finally. 1999. 5. T. International Journal of Public Opinion Research 16(3). I examine a similar process of the aestheticisation of suffering in BBC reports during the early days of the bombardment. Ithaca. L. Report Commissioned for the BBC.  Elsewhere. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Shock and Awe: The Aestheticisation of Suffering in Iraq War Footage. Lewis. R. R. Boltanski. Brooks. 1999. Chouliaraki.  Silverstone (2004) also discusses the effacement of the distant ‘other’ as a textual practice of annihilation. Coming to Terms: The Rhetoric of Narrative in Fiction and Film. Politics. 321–44. 185–198. Chartier. Mosdell. 2004. Watching September 11: The politics of Chouliaraki. 2003. 1999. Analysing Political Discourse. Lewis. 6. Discourse & Society 15(2–3). Making Social Sciences Matter Cambridge. London: Routlege. 2003.. 2006. The Cultural Origins of the French Revolution. Discourse & Society 15(2–3). 143 . Durham and London: Duke University Press. 1990(1973). Media. due both to the long-shot filming and to front-line reporting that often portrayed the events as a war film (Brooks et al. and the celebratory discourse employed by studio anchors to refer to the advancement of coalition troops towards Baghdad (in contrast to the embeds’ reports that were more contradictory and sceptical). L. J. Martin. London: Sage. description. N. Morality and the Media. which places the sufferer at a different existential order to the spectator and thus beyond the reach of the spectator. P. persuasion (1991). Barnett. The Spectatorship of Suffering. (Working paper available at MediaDemos website http://www. Distant Suffering. Chatman.  I am here adapting Chatman’s discussion of the standard school genres/styles of narrative. 2004a. Namely. (2003) also discuss the fictionalisation of the spectacle of war. Spectacular ethics for the analysis of spacetimes see Chilton (2003). B. 4. Butler. Flyvebjerg. C. NY: Cornell. the so-called ‘Shock and Awe’ operations (Chouliaraki 2005b). London: Verso. J. Precarious Life. They further link this criticism to other features of journalistic discourse in the war coverage. On Revolution. for Discourse Analysis of discourses of pity in the context of migration see Reisigl and Wodak (2000). Chilton. 2003.

The Sage Handbook of Sociological Analysis. J. 91–108. 255– 76. N. . A. 2000.144 Lilie Chouliaraki Perlmutter. P. R. London: Routledge. Calhoun et al. Silverstone. The anatomy of a photojournalistic icon: Marginalisation of dissent in the selection and framing of ‘a death in Genoa’. 2001. London: Sage. M. London: Routledge. and Jaworski. Mediation and communication. Visual Communication 3(1). Peters. Reisigl. 1991. The discourses of war photography: Photojournalistic representations of the Palestinian-Israeli war. D. and Wagner. Rose. G. and Wodak. 2002. (eds). London: Sage. T. 2004. London: Sage. Witnessing. van Leeuwen. Journal of Language and Politics 1(2). Media Culture and Society. D. Broadcast Talk. Scannel. 1999. Discourse Analysis: Discourse and Discrimination. Rhetorics of Racism and Anti-Semitism. 2004. Powers of Freedom. In: G. Reframing Political Thought. R.

W. 2. 131. 139. 87 educational. P. 62–63 of war. 6 Critical analysis. 72 semantic implications of. 27. 52 pedagogic. 113 Coalition of the willing. 137 Alliances. 4. comitatus of.. dominant. 40 dialectics of. 30–32 Criminalisation. alternative. 87. 7. see Critical Discourse Analysis CDI. 29 Collectivisation. 32 D Debates. political functions of. 87 political. 110 history. 31 Community. 132. 7. 143 changes in. 3 Aesthetics of testimony. 19 Committee on Public Information. 33 Appropriation process. 2. 61 political implicatures of. 132. 26 Code of honor.Index A Aestheticisation. 9 Atkinson. 110 operationalisation of. B.. V. 51 Comitatus. see Committee on Public Information Creel. 30 Butler. notion of.. 62 Critical thinking. 62 self presentation of. 11. 78 implicatures. 92.. J. 90 Aznar’s speech contextual features of. 5. 138. T. 51 educational. 142 Bush. 26. 68 contextual strategies. 64–66. 44. 4.. 143 Chomsky. 61. 45 Analytics of mediation. 21. 21. N. 103 Blair. 121 Colonizing process. 110. 21. 125. 25. 14 Categorization. 64 Defense establishment. 64–66. 82 Context.. 115 .. 129. 15. 66.. G. 45 Anti-Americanism. 83 contextual polarization.. 25 Boltanski. 90 Critical Discourse Analysis. 140–142 C Capitalism. 69. 69. 83 CPI. 90 Current age feudal aspects. 33 feudal comitatus relationship. see Center for Defense Information Center for Defense Information. 45 Civil affairs operations. 33 effects of. 13–15. 16–18. 18. 46 Consensus. 16 activities of. 3. 28. 7. 32 propaganda. 67 historical method. 21. 65 B Bernstein. 3. 30 photography division.. L. 76. 19. G. 70 models. D. 29 feudal society. 141 Antagonists. 9. 27 neofeudal character of. 7. 62 Discourse analysis. 123 CDA. 149 Agency categories. 109. 62. 15. 12 Dijk. 3. 51 Aristotle. 31 Chilton.

32 current expression of. 121 Integrated Marketing Communication. 51 Enfrenta. 86 on-line. 23 Goebbels. E. 51 Hersh. crisis of. 19–20 L Legitimation properties of.. 103. 6 Militarism. 40. 29. P..M. 95. 68 N Narrative genre. 86 traditional. 91. 90 Embedded reporters. 65 Individualisation. analytics of. D. 101 National socialism. 6 Grand narratives.. 46. 109 Graham. 11 Elite soldiers... D. C.. 82 Fairclough.146 Index E Eisenhower. 31 Integration.. 4. 125 reference... R. R. 138 M Martin. 43 function of. 29 I Implicatures. 48 Mumford. 1–8. 122 Harris. 46 J Jessop. 91. 88. 95–97 educational materials. 20–21 National standards. 47 International community. L. 12. 8.. 98. 2 role of. 35. 3. 68 ETA terrorism. L. 50. 123 G Genre realizations. 34 H Halliday. 33 Linguistic discourse analysis. 130 BBC footage of. 113. R.. A. 32 Emergence. 25 Hybrid multi-modal text. 121 representation of participants. 3. A. 47 International alliances. 20 Hodges. 4 Lesson plans. J. 40.. 100 Habr Gedir militia. 100 formal evaluation. 24. 26 Functionalisation. N. S. E. 6 F Facticity. 16 definition of. 102 history of. 1. 50. 13 Globalization. 120 Ellis. 79 (E)vilification. 99–103 correlation to. 41.. 69 Iraq war. 8.. K. 43 Hegemony. Th. 2. 31. 27. 80 work of. A. 24. 139 Mediation. 20. 28 Military–industrial complex. A. 129 Isolationism. 85.. 43 K Koehl. 29. 7. 12 Militarisation. 7. 5. 24 Free trade agreement. 90 McClintok. 30. 98 Giddens. 141 Mercantilism. 5. 90 Harvey. R. 113 Media. 12. 40–41. 46–47. 6.. 46 Iraq. 102 Liberal capitalism.. 102 . bombardment of Baghdad. 11. 22. 41. 7. 67.. 32 defining feature of. 97. 47. 105 Internationalist. 122 Luke. 93. M. 132. J. 16. 41 Hay. 41 Huffington. 42–43 discourses of. 40. 28 Military intervention. 51 Feudalism. 123. 131.

121 Regime of pity. 45 Public relations. 33 Textual analysis. 71. 89 V Vassalage. 104 Pedagogized literacy. C. 40 Networks of terrorism. 70 Soft power. 139 Special operations discourse. 48 Index Self-presentation positive. 51 Total war. 20. 124 147 . R. 78. 103 Pedagogy critical. 129. 50 Operation Restore Hope. 140 War. 45 Wells. 44 Texturing. 12. W.. 25 Red Cross. 131. See Iraq war role of media. M. 130 role of television. 124. 15 Pedagogic subjects. 112 Orientalisation. 1 Social actors. 43 Reconstruction contracts. 78 forms of. 88. 141 Systematic subjection. 75 Neo-feudal corporatism. 5 in Iraq. 130. 103. 49 Self-interest grounds. 3 in media discourse.. B. 9 aim of. 32. 133. 125 key element of. 114 Number game. 27 Perle. 4 O Occasional enunciations. 27 Syuzhet. 19 Strategic communication. 22 Peters. 44. 6. 8. 109.. 5. 125 T Television footage. 126 origins of. S. 48. 6 Overlexicalization. 81 Nye. 104 Permanent arms economy.. 85. 19 Visual representation of participants. K. 81. 2. 129. 139 aesthetic register of. for combating terrorism. 104 dominant. 31 R Radical effacement. 1–2. 61. sequence of. 74 types of. 135 Political implicatures. J. 114 Negative other-presentation. 4 War on terror. 138 Re-imagining process.. 20 Transferable skills. 71 Propaganda. 81 political point. 110.. 87. 48. 82 implicature of. 42. 73 Situation.. 7. 75. 111 Wright. 20 elements of.. 102 National strategy. 44 P Patriot Act. 31 Protagonists. 126 Stephenson. 90 War footage. 135 Textbook capitalism. 140 Rosamond. 31 Sublimation of suffering. 122 W Walters. 1. 21 Neo-liberalism. 1 in political discourse. 65. 4. 123 Space of appearance. values for. 51 S Security. 14. 81. 1 struggle over. definition of. 83 Political inferences. 130 issue of. 72. performance assessment. 136. legitimacy of.


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