How did the U.S. government lead its people to war?
Rhetoric and Spin
During the months leading up to the Iraq War, Bush administration officials carefully and masterfully used language to distort facts, to generate fear and confusion, and to oversimplify issues in order to promote their agenda. They often created false connections by giving intentionally vague or misleading answers to reporters’ questions.
The following 12 sections, beginning with ‘Epic Struggle,’ demonstrate the administration’s various uses of rhetoric and spin to shape and steer public opinion to support a war.
Bush officials often used grandiose declarations about the Iraqi threat and the threat of terrorism – such as “This is a fight to save the civilized world.” They also used sweeping phrases like “history has called us into action” and “free people will keep the peace of the world,” which framed an invasion of Iraq as a heroic obligation to save and preserve world peace – when in reality there was little threat at all from Iraq.
Video: EPIC STRUGGLE
"History has called us into action"
"Not going to miss this opportunity to make the world more peaceful and more free"
"Fight to save the civilized world"
"This is a struggle against evil"
"Rid the world of terror"
"Much graver threat than anybody could have possibly imagined"
"They’re to wipe out our way of life"
" Our generation has now heard history’s call"
"Keep the peace by redefining war on our terms"
"History has called us"
"Threaten civilization with weapons of mass murder"
"Set the course of history"
"Keep the peace of the world"
PRESIDENT BUSH: My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people, and to defend the world from grave danger.
On March 19, 2003, upon the commencement of military action, Bush continues to use inflated language, in this case to promote the idea of Iraq as a world threat.