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Rhetorical Analysis Assignment: President's Address to the Nation

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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 happens when an arguer treats a debatable subject as if there is no debate. President Bush doesn’t tell what kind of risk that Saddam’s regime poses, and he doesn’t explain why “the world could not afford to take.” The statement per se could be a debate subject; however, President Bush treats it as if a factual statement.

Moreover, there are two illogical assumptions in the second support. The first illogical assumption is post hoc that happens when an arguer assumes that if one event happens after another, then the first must be the cause of the second. In the statement “we

are carrying out a clear plan to ensure that a democratic Iraq succeeds”, he assumes that without Saddam Hussein, Iraqis people will be set free and live happily. It is not true because Saddam Hussein is not the only cause of the problem. Even without Saddam Hussein, civil and religious conflicts have long been serious and tense. In second illogical assumption is hasty generalization, which is a logical fallacy that happens when samples are not wide enough to support a conclusion. In the statement “now the challenge is to help the Iraqi people build a democracy that fulfills the dreams of the nearly 12 million Iraqis who came out to vote in free elections last December” and “Al Qaeda an other extremists from across the world have come to Iraq to stop the rise of a free society in the heart of the Middle East, he assumes that all Iraqi people want Americans to go to their country to “set them free”. However, there is no poll about the Iraqi people’s will. Nobody knows firmly about whether they want American to go to their country to “set them free”. Even though some of the Iraqis do want Americans to go to Iraq, it has to be a significant amount of people to support such a decision or it will be a hasty generalization. Therefore, his second support is also not strong enough because it lacks of backing, and is



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