Rhetorical analysis assignment: President’s Address to the Nation
Since the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration has been calling every citizens and every nations to support his Middle East policy. Nonetheless, the U.S. has been involved in the middle-east struggle for more than half of the century, wars were waged and citizens were killed. Yet, political struggles and ideological conflicts are now worse than they were under Clinton’s presidency. As “President’s Address to the Nation” is a speech asking everybody to support the troops to keep fighting in Iraq, I, as an audience, am not persuaded at all because of his illogical fallacy in the arguments. In this essay, I will analyze how and what are the illogical fallacies he uses in the speech.
The “President’s address to the Nation” is a claim of policy. President Bush is asking people to support his policy that “we” have to keep fighting the war “until either we or the extremists emerge victorious.” To hold up his claim of such a policy, he uses three supports during the speech.
The first support is that “if we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.” To back up such an idea, he uses two backings. The first backing is “if we pulled out… they (the terrorists) will not leave us alone. They will follow us… they
will gain a new safe haven; they will use Iraq’s resources to fuel their extremist movement” while the second backing is that the terrorists hate “us”. To come up with these backings, he assumes that terrorists will use nuclear weapons to attack us as soon as they can obtain nuclear weapons.
The illogical fallacy of this assumption is cause and effect which happens when one event is based on the beliefs that one event will bring on another. There are more then twenty nations, including the U.S, process nuclear weapons. However, procession of nuclear weapons doesn’t mean the people who process them will use them. Therefore, process of nuclear weapons will not necessarily bring nuclear attack.
His argument doesn’t sound like the non-sense that it actually is if we don’t take a closer look. If we look at the first backing and the support together, we can see that it is obviously a slippery slope which when an arguer claims that an action will initiate a chain of events culminating in an undesirable event later. In the speech, the President claims that if we pull the troops out, the terrorists “will use Iraq’s resource to fuel their extremist movement”. Because of that, it will lead that “our children have to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.” The whole chains of events are not likely to occur that based on the initial event (pulling the troops out). First of all, Iraqis people will probably stay in civil war and fight for the resources. Therefore, it is not likely that the terrorists can use Iraqis resource
to “fuel their extremist movement.” Secondly, we don’t know who will be the next president of Iraq, and that president may not necessarily a “radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons.” Thirdly, governing Iraq doesn’t mean governing the Middle East. Hence, pulling out the troops is not likely to bring up those negative consequences that President Bush claims.
The second support is that “the regime of Saddam Hussein was a clear threat.” However, he doesn’t solidly explain why “Saddam Hussein was a clear threat” He says, “Saddam’s regime posed a risk that the world could not afford to take. The world would be safe because Saddam is no longer in power.” Still, it doesn’t explain why “Saddam Hussein is a clear threat.” Saddam Hussein was in power and had been a dictator for twenty-five years. Yet, President Bush doesn’t explain why his long-existed regime is “a risk that the world could not afford to take.” The illogical fallacy here is begging the question that...
Bibliography: Bush, George. “President’s Address to Nation/” The Fifth Anniversary of Septemer 11,
2001. 11Sept 2006. (http://whiteshouse.gov/news/releases/2006/09/20060911-3.html).
Reporters Without Borders. Press release: Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007. Paris:
Reporters Without Borders, 2007.
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