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LINGUIST List 20.236

Mon Jan 26 2009

Diss: Disc Analysis: Sahlane: 'The Discursive (Re)Construction of ...'

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        1.    Ahmed Sahlane, The Discursive (Re)Construction of the 2003 Iraq War in Western and Arab Opinion/Editorial Argumentation: A critical discourse analytic approach


Message 1: The Discursive (Re)Construction of the 2003 Iraq War in Western and Arab Opinion/Editorial Argumentation: A critical discourse analytic approach
Date: 26-Jan-2009
From: Ahmed Sahlane <asahlaneyahoo.com>
Subject: The Discursive (Re)Construction of the 2003 Iraq War in Western and Arab Opinion/Editorial Argumentation: A critical discourse analytic approach
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Institution: University of Ulster
Program: School of Communication
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2009

Author: Ahmed Sahlane

Dissertation Title: The Discursive (Re)Construction of the 2003 Iraq War in Western and Arab Opinion/Editorial Argumentation: A critical discourse analytic approach

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis

Dissertation Director:
Rosalind Pritchard
John Wilson

Dissertation Abstract:

Using opinion/editorial (op/ed) pieces from Western and Arab 'quality'
newspapers, the present study examined the 'debate' between the advocates
and opponents of military action as a plausible solution for the 2003 Iraq
conflict. The study problematised the fallacious 'justification discourse'
deployed in the pro-war op/eds to build up a 'moral/legal case' for war on
Iraq based on adversarial (rather than dialogical) argumentation. The
proponents of war deployed 'instrumental rationality' (ends-justify-means
reasoning), 'ethical necessity' (Bush's 'Preemption Doctrine') and
'humanitarian virtue' (the bombing of Iraq to 'save' Iraqis from Saddam's
tyranny) to justify the pending invasion of Iraq. Their arguments
intertextually resonated with the Bush administration's 'war on terror'
rhetoric in a way that created a form of indexical association through
'recontextualisation'. The type of arguments marshalled by the pro-war
op/ed commentators simply bolstered the set of U.S. official 'truth claims'
and presuppositions. The questions about the motives and legality of the
war were suspended. Conversely, anti-war op/ed debaters dismissed the Bush
administration's 'neo-imperialistic' reasoning and called into question the
logic of militarist 'humanitarianism' by demonstrating that brute force and
daylight 'plunder,' dressed up in moral grab and in the language of a
'noble ideal,' were part of a long U.S. colonialist tradition that
glorified the allegedly virtuous role of the Global Patriarch, whose
'mission civilisatrice' to rescue distant cultural others was a mere war
for resources and strategic domination.



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