Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Bryan, Ferald

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Communication


Presidential war rhetoric is an incredibly complex and far-reaching genre of political rhetoric, and the consequences of such rhetoric can often lead to mass destruction and death. Based on the continuously changing rules of warfare and the increased use of deception in political communication, this study aimed to analyze this usage of deception more closely in presidential war rhetoric. This project examined the case study of George W. Bush’s war rhetoric on the Iraq War f 2003 to determine if the deception he used fits the “strategic misrepresentation” characteristic that Campbell and Jamieson identified in their landmark 2008 book, Presidents Creating the Presidency. By using Campbell and Jamieson’s theoretical framework of the presidential war rhetoric genre, this case study sought to reveal the rhetorical strategies of deception that President Bush used in his public statements that justified military action in the build-up to, that argued for sustainment during, and possibly later attempted to defend the Invasion of Iraq after it was declared resolved. After a deeper examination of concepts related to deception and strategic misrepresentation, this project revealed Bush’s steady acceleration of strategic argumentation that utilized several deceptive claims to justify war with Iraq between the years of 2001 and 2003, as well as his deflection of accountability after official military operations ended in May of 2003. This study concludes by identifying major areas of consideration for future analysis of deceptive rhetoric.


152 pages




Northern Illinois University

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