How did the U.S. government lead its people to war?
Rhetoric and Spin
“Peace" and "Freedom”
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In his public appearances, Bush repeatedly proclaimed that he was seeking peace and freedom, even though he was on the path to military action and war.
For example, in his press conference on March 6, 2003, just 13 days before the commencement of military action against Iraq, President Bush used the word “peace” 18 times.
Video: PEACE & FREEDOM
The themes of peace and freedom were part of a broader effort by the Bush administration to position itself and the country as acting with the best of intentions, with goals ranging from protecting the security of the United States to liberating the oppressed people of Iraq. President Bush often repeated the declaration that “freedom is not America’s gift to the world, freedom is a God-given gift to the world,” implicitly offering assurance to the American people that if the United States went to war it would do so with virtuous aims, not aggressive aims, in accordance with God’s will.
Notably, the invasion of Iraq was given the name “Operation Iraqi Freedom.”
BUSH: This government will continue to lead the world toward more peace. And we hope to resolve all the situations in which we find ourselves in a peaceful way. That’s my commitment, to try to do so, peacefully.
CHENEY: President Bush has often spoken of how America can keep the peace by redefining war on our terms.
BUSH: We understand history has called us into action. And we’re not going to miss this opportunity to make the world more peaceful and more free.
BUSH: America’s interests in security and America’s belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq.
BUSH: America will seize every opportunity in pursuit of peace, and the end of the present regime in Iraq would create such an opportunity.
BUSH: We will make this an age of progress and liberty. Free people will set the course of history, and free people will keep the peace of the world.
BUSH: If you want to keep the peace, you’ve got to have the authorization to use force.