Rhetorical Analysis on Bush's Speech to Congress

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Dan Leininger
War is the Only Answer
Like most Americans my age, I can vividly remember the morning America was attacked on September 11, 2001. I can still piece together the disturbing television images, the terrified look on my teacher’s face as she told the class what had happened, and the memory of seeing my father cry for the first time. I remember watching George Bush’s speech following the attacks with my family, but I was too young to truly understand it at the time. When I recently read and watched the speech, I was reminded just how powerful and emotional his speech actually was.
Bush’s intended audience was not only the U.S. Congress and the American people, but also America’s allies and enemies. When Bush delivered his speech nine days after the attacks, the entire nation was furious and confused. The majority of the world watched Bush give the speech to find out details on who was responsible for the attacks and what actions the U.S. would take. Bush used strong pathos and logos in his arguments in order to draw out the emotions of his audience and to successfully pull the United States and its allies together and inform the world that the United States’ response to terrorism would be a War on Terror. This message was accepted by most people in the United States primarily because Bush managed to make retaliation with military force sound like the only logical response. The majority of the speech was directed at Americans; however, the intended audience was a much, much larger group. Bush invited other countries into the audience with statements such as, “And on behalf of the American people, I thank the world for its outpouring of support. America will never forget the sounds of our National Anthem playing at Buckingham Palace, on the streets of Paris, and at Berlin 's Brandenburg Gate” (Bush 2). By sounding friendly and appreciative towards our allies, he increased the likelihood of world-wide support. Bush makes it clear that he will



Cited: Bush, George W. "Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People." United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. 20 Sept. 2001. Speech. 10 September 2010.

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