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David Morgan LOUGHBOROUGH UNIVERSITY A Discourse of Legitimation Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran B.A. (Hons.) International Relations

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David Morgan


A Discourse of

Legitimation Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

B.A. (Hons.) International Relations

David Morgan

i A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran


Table  of  Contents  

Abstract ...................................................................................................................... iii  

List of Appendices ...................................................................................................... iv  

Introduction .................................................................................................................. 1  

Literature Review ..................................................................................................... 3  

Methodology ............................................................................................................. 7  

Chapter Plan .......................................................................................................... 11  

Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran .................................... 13  

Strategy 1: an appeal to emotions that evoke a sense of fear ............................... 14  

Strategy 2: speech proposals of a hypothetical future ........................................... 20  

Strategy 3: rationality of the decision process ........................................................ 23  

Summary ................................................................................................................ 26  

Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse in the international

community ................................................................................................................. 28  

Operationalising Discourse: Interdiscursivity and Hegemony ................................ 29  

The international community .................................................................................. 31  

A new discoursal practice: other contemporary political discourse ........................ 36  

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ii Table of Contents

Summary ................................................................................................................ 42  

Conclusion ................................................................................................................. 44  

Appendix 1 ................................................................................................................ 49  

Appendix 2 ................................................................................................................ 50  

Appendix 3 ................................................................................................................ 56  

Appendix 4 ................................................................................................................ 57  

Appendix 5 ................................................................................................................ 58  

Appendix 6 ................................................................................................................ 59  

Bibliography ............................................................................................................... 65  


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iii A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran


This dissertation is posited in a Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) theoretical

framework with the aim of revealing ideology in political discourse that legitimates

social action. Using Norman Fairclough’s (2010) ‘dialectical-relational’ approach of

CDA, the study will show how language established in the eve of the September 11,

2001 attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York are being used to develop an

ideologically blurred representation of Iran’s foreign policy. Firstly, this is shown

through the use of a ‘war on terror’ discourse in American political institutions in

speeches from Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Secondly, the

acceptance of this discourse in the international community is explored in speeches

from European politicians and the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to

show how the ‘war on terror’ discourse has achieved international political support.

Thereafter, wider professional voices with expertise in national foreign policy and

governance of international organisations such as the UN are presented to

demonstrate the broader opinions on Iranian foreign policy. This dissertation shows

how the limited discourse of international political institutions could legitimise military

action against Iran; action which may not be publically acceptable if opposing voices

against the ‘war on terror’ discourse are given greater prevalence in the international

debate on Iran.

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iv List of Appendices

List of Appendices

Full colour photocopies of the original transcripts are included as appendices where

necessary, as indicted below. This demonstrates clearly how the discursive analysis

was conducted on these key speeches to produce the results used in my research:

Appendix 1: (full colour photocopy of original attached – titled:

‘AmericanRhetoric.com; George W. Bush 2002 State of the Union Address’).

Appendix 2: George W. Bush January 2002 State of the Union Address – discourse


Appendix 3: (full colour photocopy of original attached overleaf – titled:

‘AmericanRhetoric.com; Third Presidential State of the Union Address’).

Appendix 4: (full colour photocopy of original attached – titled: ‘The White House,

Office of the Press Secretary; For Immediate Release March 04, 2012 Remarks by

the President at AIPAC Policy Conference’).

Appendix 5: (full colour photocopy of original attached – titled: ‘Remarks by the

President to the UN General Assembly’).

Appendix 6: Transcript of Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Address

to the General Assembly of the UN on Iran’s nuclear programme.


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1 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran


“[O]ur war on terror is only beginning.... Iran aggressively pursues

these weapons [of mass destruction] and exports terror.... States like

these, and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to

threaten the peace of the world.” (Remarks in the State of Union

Address by Bush, George W., January 2002).

“[T]he entire world has an interest in preventing Iran from acquiring a

nuclear weapon… an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands

of a terrorist organisation… when it comes to preventing Iran from

obtaining and nuclear weapon, I will take no options off the table….

That includes all elements of military power.” (Remarks to the AIPAC

Conference by Obama, Barack H. 4 March 2012).

The phrases ‘war on terror’ and ‘axis of evil’ are met with disdain in many circles of

social and political life in 2013 – over a decade after George W. Bush said them in

January 2002. However, much of the same language can be seen in President

Obama’s words very recently. Eight months after his January 2002 State of the

Union Address, George W. Bush made a speech to the UN General Assembly in

order to call for Iraq disarmament or meet military force. Five days after Obama’s

speech to the pro-Israeli American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in 2012,

President Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel warned he would not delay in attacking

Iran’s nuclear sites if he felt it necessary (BBC  News  2012a).

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2 Introduction

The research that follows is not a comparison between the events leading to the Iraq

War in 2003 and recent events towards Iran. However, the invasion of Iraq has led

many to question why 78% of the American population supported the removal of

Saddam Hussein in November 2001 (Huddy, Khatib et al. 2002). And why is

Obama’s language, which so closely reflects the Bush Administration’s, not met with

greater enquiry both domestically and internationally? In light of these questions, this

research will analyse how politicians frame adversaries in such a way as to

manufacture public consent for action against other states through discoursal


In an attempt to address this issue, I will be employing Critical Discourse Analysis

(CDA) as described by Norman Fairclough (2010), Teun A. Van Dijk (2001), and

Ruth Wodak and Michael Meyer (2009), in combination with frameworks for

analysing legitimating devices in discourse as developed by Theo van Leeuwen

(2007, 1999) and Antonio Reyes (2008, 2011). Thereafter, the objectives of this

research are to employ these tools to analyse if: a ‘9/11’ discourse that was created

in 2002 has been used in political discourse towards Iran, and; how discourse can be

extended into the international political arena to legitimise military action.

In his inaugural speech in 2010, Obama said, ‘[t]o the Muslim world, we seek a new

way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect…we will extend a hand if

you are willing to unclench your fist’. Is it not reasonable to argue that this

demonstrates the ideology of the Bush doctrine died along with his incumbency?

Am I, as the author of this research ‘framing’ the issue through carefully selected

sound bites based on a personal bias against the US? I do not believe in complete

objectivity of research, however, the analysis throughout this dissertation will

demonstrate a clear line of inquiry into how Obama’s words above have transformed

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3 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

into language almost synonymous with Bush’s in 2002. This evidence suggests that

global institutions provide frames for action that constrain wider choices available to

social actors because dominance of particular discourses linked to social practices

are maintained and reproduced across societies.

If this is found to be the case, CDA can provide frameworks to uncover how a 9/11

discourse can be normalised to such an unconscious extent that even an agent such

as the US President, becomes victim to them. Thereafter, recontextualisation of

these semiotic elements could be sketched onto the Iranian issue to allow any

degree of action internationally because the pre-existing ideological context greatly

facilitates agents’ utilisation of legitimating strategies across global institutions.

Literature Review

September 11, 2001 was an unprecedented international event. As described by

Patricia L. Dunmire (2009), this has been seen as a ‘disjuncture’ in history,

demarcating the 21st century from the rest of history. However, Dunmire wishes to

show in her article ‘”9/11 changed everything”: An intertextual analysis of the Bush

Doctrine’ that the US government used the event of 9/11 to construct this

disjuncture, and furthermore, to legitimise international action against potential

adversaries thereafter. Dunmire sees that the 2001 attacks were used to legitimise a

post-9/11 national policy which can be intertextually linked to an American foreign

policy position stretching back to 1989 at the end of the Cold-War (2009: 196-197).

‘Intertextuality’, as defined by Martin Reisigi and Ruth Wodak (2009: 90), ‘means

texts are linked to other texts, both in the past and in the present.’ Discourses are

made up of these texts (oral, written and visual) which are related to ‘genres’. Van

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4 Introduction

Leeuwen (2009: 144) defines ‘genres’ as formations of language in connection with

actual social action.

The US post-Cold-War discourse has been described in a genre of ‘New World

Order’ discourse (Lazar, Lazar 2004). Dunmire says that after 1989, in light of a

threat blank, the US took the opportunity to re-orientate their security policy from a

threat based to a capability based policy, in an attempt to maintain US global

hegemony over friend or foe (Dunmire 2009: 209). Conservative voices, foremost

amongst them Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney, attempted to blur the distinction

between pre-emptive and internationally illegal, preventive action against potential

enemies (Dunmire 2009: 205). Hostility to such policies in Congress, and the Clinton

administration coming to office in 1993, left Cheney’s ideas largely unfulfilled.

However, Dunmire’s argument is that 9/11 provided the platform on which to bring

policies based on neo-conservative ideology to fruition, with many of the original

architects already holding positions in the Bush administration after the 2000

Presidential election (Dunmire 2009).

This ideological positioning is important. Firstly, as described by Trita Parsi (2012), it

may go some way to explaining why the Bush administration refused to enter

negotiations with Iran in 2003 and; secondly, because such beliefs can permeate

into society to legitimate political action. The aim of Norman Fairclough’s tenant of

CDA (2010: 30-45) is to ‘demystify’ these ideas, beliefs and norms which exist within

‘unconscious’ ideology that maintain unequal power relations in social and political

life. Fairclough describes how legitimating strategies employed by social actors

constitute wider macro-strategies whereby social agents, such as government

officials, and politicians (including the President) utilise semiotic elements of

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5 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

discourse1 in particular articulations to achieve their individual goals (Fairclough

2010: 166). If the goal of neo-conservative foreign policy goals has been to maintain

US global supremacy in the world since the early 90’s this has been aided by an

unabashed use of language loaded with words like pride, anger, fear, hope, terror,

hero, freedom since 9/11, as proved by Frederica Ferrari (Ferrari 2007: 16).

Dunmire (2009) and John Oddo (2011) go onto demonstrate how vague US

governmental documents are when defining ‘threat’, especially in the National

Security Strategy document released in 2002. The purpose of this loosely defined

language is to legitimise action against any perceived or later identified enemies

allowing the US to act preventively against a great range of threat where they deem

fit (Dunmire 2009, Oddo 2011). John Oddo (2011) provides a working analysis for

Fairclough’s tenant of CDA by demonstrating how political leaders can create an

Us/Them binary through a semantic macro-strategy of positive self-image and

negative image of the other to legitimise action for war. Oddo (2011: 289) writes, by

‘representing an enemy that is completely evil and ready to strike, the discourse

practically necessitates only one course of action: wipe them off the face of the

planet’. Thus, to quote the former Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton2 in 2008, ‘at

whatever stage they [Iran] might be at their nuclear weapons programme…we would

be able to totally obliterate them’ (Veracifier 2008). Therefore, Fairclough (2010)

would argue that once ideologically loaded language such as above is reified into a

‘war on terror’ discourse, the language used can be ‘recontextualised’ into a

discourse towards Iran due to the effects of ideology unconsciously occupying areas

1 See Methodology below for further explanation of the use of ‘semiosis’ 2 Hilary Clinton held office as the Secretary of State between January 2009 and February 2013

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6 Introduction

of national foreign and security policy. One need only refer back to the similarities in

Bush and Obama’s language3 to see how it is possible that such discourses have

indeed permeated American society and governmental ideology. Subsequently,

according to Fairclough (2010: 163), this gives CDA a dual focus; firstly, on the

structure of social practices4, and secondly, on the strategies that social agents

employ when attempting to achieve certain outcomes.

Van Leeuwen (2009) explores the strategies that agents employ in ‘Discourse as the

recontextualization of social practice: a guide’, he discusses how social actions can

be broken down into constitutive elements that actors are able to recontextualise into

specific discourses. One of these elements is described as ‘addition’, formed of two

parts; ‘reactions’ and ‘motives’. Reactions are the mental processes that accompany

actions such as interpretation, and motives detail purposes or legitimations (Van

Leeuwen 2009: 150-151). It is these legitimations that ‘provide reasons for why

practices (or parts of practices) are performed’ (Italics in original Van Leeuwen 2009:

151). Furthermore, according to Van Leeuwen, reasons for social action need not

be explicitly brought out in discourse but can be communicated through a ‘moral

evaluation’ (2009: 151). Van Leeuwen (2007) has developed a framework to use as

a tool in identifying these legitimising strategies. It is made up of four categories of

legitimisation: ‘authorisation’ through reference to tradition, law or an individual

holding institutional authority; ‘moral evaluation’ by using discourses linked to values;

‘rationalisation’ which points to the capability of institutional action based on social

knowledge as a form of validity and; ‘mythopoesis’ to create narratives of legitimation

that benefit ‘legitimate’ agents and conversely punishing ‘non-legitimate’ agents.

3 See page 1 - Introduction 4 The structure of social practices will be discussed in Methodology below

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7 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

Antonio Reyes (2011) has largely adapted this model to analyse speeches from

George W. Bush and Barack Obama on conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan positioned

within the wider ‘war on terror’. He conducts his analysis based on 5 strategies of

legitimisation: 1) emotions (particularly fear); 2) a hypothetical future; 3) rationality; 4)

voices of expertise, and; 5) altruism. His work highlights how agents can more easily

legitimise seemingly separate, individual events because the discursive tools needed

in any given area can be called upon because they are already pervasive in society

(Reyes 2011: 781).

Therefore, in the historical context set by Dunmire (2009) and Oddo (2011) amongst

others, I will take Fairclough’s (2010) model as my starting point for the use of CDA

in this dissertation. Thereafter, frameworks for the analysis of speeches from Van

Leeuwen and Reyes will greatly inform my own examination, in order to discover

how a ‘war on terror’ discourse can be operationalised into international social action

against Iran.


I will employ Norman Fairclough’s (2010) Dialectical-Relational approach of Critical

Discourse Analysis (CDA) as my methodology for this research. In this model,

Fairclough’s endeavour is to identify a semiotic ‘point of entry’ to overcome the

obstacles that are preventing change to ‘social wrongs’ (2010: 239). Namely, these

obstacles are the hegemonic struggle by ‘orders of discourse’ that dominate and

integrate (dialectically) competing discoursal ideologies to maintain prominence in

social and political life. Within this framework a point of entry into the hegemonic

cycle can be created by a new discoursal practice, which will be discussed below.

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8 Introduction

In his approach, Fairclough (2010) uses ‘semiosis’ as a more accurate term for

‘discourse’. He emphasises that semiosis is one part of any particular social process

in society as they also constitute non-discursive elements such as visual imagery

and body language. So it follows that a specific catalogue of these aspects is

required to develop or cause action in society in the form of social practices. An

example of a social practice is the US government’s response through sanctions to

Iranian nuclear proliferation; therefore, practices are bound to social institutions and

social events. Social structures are broadly defined as institutions, such as the

executive office of the United States, the White House, British Government etc. and

serve to mediate between social practices and ‘particular and concrete social events’

(Fairclough 2010: 164). For example, the White House acted as an intermediary in

the abstract concept of American liberal democracy and the interpretation of 9/11 as

an international social event. The use of ‘semiosis’ also serves a practical purpose

as Fairclough distinguishes certain elements of semiosis, one of which being

‘discourse’, the others ‘genres’ and ‘styles’. These elements then correlate to three

areas of semiosis:

Discourse   rela.on  to  construals  of  aspects  of  the  world  

Genre   rela.on  to     facets  of  ac.on  

Style   rela.on    to     cons.tu.on  of  iden..es    

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9 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

How these elements interact and contest against one another forms the particular

discoursal nature of the social practice. The social practice can be changed by

ideological shifts in any one of the elements because this will affect its relation to the

other elements and areas of the practice. Where the social practice changes, this

has a wider effect on social structures and so, the interpretation of social events


Subsequently, the semiosis of the social practice can be ‘operationalised’, or

ideologically accepted, in and across societal institutions because an ‘order of

discourse’ is created as ‘networks of social practices’ are established. This is

because the interaction of the semiotic elements in the social relations between

institutions across time and space, allows ideology to be accepted and remain in

action (Fairclough 2010: 163). Correspondingly, networks of social events produce

particular discoursal ‘texts’. Where texts develop intertextuality can be found, which

is an aspect of ‘interdiscursivity’ that shows how texts are made up ‘of diverse

genres and discourses’, and it ‘highlights a historical view of the past… in the

present’ (2010: 232, 95). Texts refer to the, ‘written or spoken language produced in

a discursive event’, with a ‘discursive event’ being an, ‘instance of language use’

(Fairclough 2010: 95).

In other words, it was possible to create a specific social practice (invasion of Iraq,

Afghanistan, special rendition) after 9/11 by using a neo-conservative ideology to

shift the relations of the semiotic elements that produce certain texts in relation to

America’s ‘enemies’ based on particular combinations of texts from the past into the

present. Thereafter, the attempt to transfer this discourse onto the Iranian issue is

defined as ‘recontextualisation’ (Fairclough 2010: 163-164, 232-234).

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10 Introduction

Recontextualisation takes on an ambivalent nature because social agents attempt to

colonise certain fields and institutions with discourse from other areas in line with a

particular strategy. The place at which recontextualisation occurs creates

legitimation for action and forms the crux of this research as we attempt to uncover if

a post-9/11 discourse is being employed by politicians internationally to legitimate

action against Iran.

Once the original ‘war on terror’ discourse is created in 2002, Fairclough warns that it

can become unconsciously accepted and employed throughout the US executive

into policy options through obtaining dominance over other discourses. The order of

discourse competes for hegemony because social agents attempt to advance its

particular ideological position, which is defined as a ‘discoursal practice’ (Fairclough

2010: 62). Subsequently, an order of discourse becomes dominant as it is taken on

unconsciously and is difficult to change because the discourse maintains itself by

reproduction into other areas of society (Fairclough 2010: 41-43). Therefore, it could

be argued that demonstrating the recontextualisation of a ‘war on terror’ discourse

towards Iran will give us a point of entry into breaking the hegemonic cycle that

reproduces and creates a preponderance for military policy options in Washington

and the rest of the world. This will create a new discoursal practice that presents a

more complete picture of the Iranian issue, allowing us to overcome the obstacle of

an incomplete truth.


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11 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

Chapter Plan

Objective Research Question Chapter

Objective 1

Assess whether a US executive 9/11 discourse has been used in diplomatic matters with Iran.

Research Question 1

What semiotic (discourse) elements are created in the State of the Union Address (SUA) 2002?

Research Question 2

Have these semiotic elements been used in diplomatic ‘orders of discourse’ towards Iran?

Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

Objective 2

Analyse if the ‘war on terror’ discourse used towards Iran by the US executive has been adopted in the international community.

Research Question 3

Has there been contemporary, specific establishment in the international community of semiosis towards Iran developed from the ‘war on terror’ order of discourse?

Research Question 4

What action, military or non-military, has been/could be taken against Iran?

Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse in the international community

Chapter one: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

This chapter analyses the State of the Union Address 2002 through a discursive

Fanalytic framework to identify what semiotic elements were created. This is then

directly compared against Obama’s State of the Union Address 2012, and American

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12 Introduction

Israeli Public Affairs Committee speech in March 2012, to establish how the ‘war on

terror’ discourse has been recontextualised towards the semiotic construction of Iran.

Chapter two: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse in the international


The conceptual linkage of interdiscursivity and hegemony of discourse is discussed,

with evidence presented to suggest the ‘war on terror’ discourse has been

operationalised in the international community through this process. It is then shown

how the order of discourse has developed to convey main concerns about nuclear

proliferation combined with an increasingly ambivalent tone towards Iran. Analysis

then briefly introduces other international discourses that are contrary to the

presented norms of the ‘war on terror’ discourse in an attempt to demystify shared

beliefs and offer a new discoursal practice in the debate over Iran.

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13 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

The process of ‘recontextualisation’ as described by Fairclough and Van Leeuwen is

the procedure by which semiosis in a ‘war on terror’ discourse can be

operationalised into political discourse specific to Iran. It is in this light that we

approach the objectives of this chapter. Firstly, through the application of a

discursive analytical framework onto G.W. Bush’s State of the Union Address 2002

(SUA02)5 the semiotic elements that are used to develop a ‘war on terror’ discourse

were identified. Secondly, the results6 from this process were compared with

President Barack Obama’s SUA in January 2012 (SUA12)7 and his speech to the

American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)8 in March 2012. Obama’s

SUA12 was chosen as a key Presidential speech to the American public, where he

addresses foreign policy issues and, the AIPAC speech as a key Middle East foreign

policy speech.

The framework applied to Bush’s SUA02 is largely an adaptation of the strategies

identified by Antonio Reyes, introduced in the literature review9 above. My

framework demonstrates three key strategies that actors employ to legitimise action:

1) an appeal to emotions that evoke a sense of fear; 2) speech proposals of a

hypothetical future, and; 3) rationality of the decision process. This was also

5 See Appendix 1

6 See Appendix 2 7 See Appendix 3

8 See Appendix 4 9 See page 7 - Literature Review

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14 Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

informed by Van Leeuwen’s (2007) four categories of legitimisation – ‘authorisation’,

‘moral evaluation’, ‘rationalisation’ and ‘mythopoesis’10.

By identifying direct utterances from the SUA02 to Obama’s language from a strict

list of findings could lead me to overlook occurrences of recontextualisation that may

inform my wider evaluation. However, I have chosen this process because it denies

any extra interpretation on my part as the researcher that may lead me to more

subjective conclusions. In any case, as is shown in the analysis that follows, there is

substantial evidence to suggest recontextualisation has occurred.

Strategy 1: an appeal to emotions that evoke a sense of fear

In the first strategy, speakers evoke certain feelings by making reference to emotions

through their speech. By appealing to emotions that give the audience a sense of

fear, action is legitimised as a necessary precaution to avert the consequence the

speaker is proposing (Reyes 2011) – live or die may present equally strong feelings

but they are at quite different ends of broad spectrum. A key feature to achieving

this strategy is the construction of the adversary, ‘them’, in relation to the familiar

group, ‘us’11 (Wodak, Meyer 2001). Wodak (2001, 2002) describes how this

distinction is created through three speech strategies – referential, nomination, and

predicative – to construct the other.

Firstly, ‘referential’ strategies develop systems for referring to the enemy, i.e.

terrorists, extremists, regimes etc. as can be seen in Bush’s language in (1):

10 See page 6 - Literature Review

11 For an interesting study see ODDO, J., 2011. 'War legitimation discourse: Representing 'Us' and

'Them' in four US Presidential speeches'. Discourse and Society, 22(3), pp. 287-314

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15 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

(1) [T]he terrorists and regimes who seek chemical, biological or nuclear

weapons (Bush 2002).

In (1), the referential strategy used to identify ‘terrorists and regimes’ is bound to the

pursuit of weapons that evokes a sense of fear. Therefore, they become

intertextually linked to the language in (2) and (3) from Obama:

(2) The regime [Iran] is more isolated than ever before (Obama 2012a).

(3) No Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a

regime [Iran] that denies the holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map,

and sponsors terrorists groups committed to Israel’s destruction (Obama


Furthermore, a dramatisation of the enemy’s actions appeals to fear responses

through a tactic, introduced by Reyes (2008: 34), called ‘Explicit Emotional

Enumeration’ (EEE). ‘Politicians state the threat enumerating the negative actions of

the enemy (EEE) and they provide the solution (war) to eliminate that threat’ (Reyes

2008: 35). This strategy is realised by breaking the object under discussion into a

descriptive list, whilst presenting no new information to the listener. It is purely used

as an appeal to emotions (Reyes 2008). Excerpt (1) above demonstrates the

breakdown of weapon types, where (4) shows EEE in reference to terrorist groups:

(4) A terrorist underworld – including groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic

Jihad, Jaish-i-Mohammed (Bush 2002).

The EEE in this case, then, allows simplified reference through intertextuality to

these groups as they have been explicitly named beforehand. This is seen in (5) by

using the referential phrase ‘Iran’s proxies’:

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16 Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

(5) [I]t would embolden Iran’s proxies, that have carried out terrorists attacks

from the Levant to Southeast Asia (Obama 2012b).

This strategy can also be used to define the victims of terrorism, demonstrating that

the ‘other’ does not discriminate in their attacks. In (6), Bush describes events in

Iraq to demonstrate his point. In (7), Obama recontextualises this to Iran:

(6) This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its

own citizens – leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead

children (Bush 2002).

(7) We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings – men and

women; Christians, Muslims and Jews (Obama 2012b).

The joint effort of referential strategies in describing what the ‘other’ is, and the

appeal to emotion that the speaker can achieve through EEE, provides the initial

building block towards constructing the adversary. This image can then be brought

to life by the second strategy of ‘nomination’.

‘Nomination’ strategies, refer to, ‘[w]hat traits, characteristics, qualities, and features

are attributed to them?’ (Wodak, Meyer 2001: 73), i.e. killers, murderers. Essentially,

this constructs what threat the ‘other’ presents to the listener:

(8) We have seen the depth of our enemies’ hatred in videos, where they

laugh about the loss of innocent life (Bush 2002).

(9) Thousands of dangerous killers, schooled in the methods of murder (Bush


As part of my discursive framework, I applied a Transitive Model from Systemic

Functional Grammar (SFG) as developed by Michael Halliday (Halliday, Matthiessen

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17 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

2004), to outline verbal, mental and material verb-types. Specifically chosen verbs

are linguistically linked to the nouns that ‘nomination’ strategies wish to highlight. In

(10), the noun ‘regime’ becomes linked to material verb-type ‘brutalised’ and in (11)

‘Iran’ is linked to mental verb-type ‘threaten’. Both examples below are from Obama:

(10) … a regime that has brutalised its own people (Obama 2012b).

(11) And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten

our citizens, our friends, and our interests. Look at Iran (Obama 2012a).

This is not dissimilar to Bush in 2002, where in (12) ‘Iran’ is linked to both ‘pursues

these weapons’, ‘exports terror’ and ‘repress’, which are certainly material but also

mental verb-types, and (13) links ‘regimes’ with ‘sponsor’, ‘threatening’ also as

material and mental:

(12) Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an

unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom (Bush 2002).

(13) Our goal is to prevent regimes that sponsor terror from threatening

America or our friends and allies with weapons of mass destruction (Bush


Halliday’s (2004) work demonstrates how particular nouns that have pre-existing

ideological meanings are distinguished for reoccurring use in certain discourses.

This means speakers can use these words efficiently when constructing discourse

as they do not need to explain their disagreement towards them at each use.

Furthermore, Bush’s use of ‘aggressively’ in excerpt (12) demonstrates the third

‘predicative’ strategy.

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18 Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

In order to cement an appeal to the listener’s emotions, ‘predicative’ strategies attach

particular attributes to the ‘other’ in order to emphasise the extent of the threat. This

is achieved by using a clause or adjective to state something about the subject

beyond the initial understanding of a verb or noun (Halliday, Matthiessen 2004). Key

to our study is the recontextualisation from the predicates Bush attaches to the

general nouns ‘regimes’ and ‘weapons’ in (14), to the specific case of Iran in

Obama’s speech in (15):

(14) The United States of America will not permit the world’s most dangerous

regimes to threaten us with the world’s most destructive weapons (Bush


(15) Iran’s nuclear program – a threat that has the potential to bring together the

worst rhetoric about Israel’s destruction with the world’s most dangerous

weapons (Obama 2012a).

Furthermore, once the predicative strategy has been employed, and the predicate

accepted by the listener, an argumentation tactic is used to build a scenario where

this may become reality for the listener.

Argumentative strategies allow ‘specific persons or social groups [that] try to justify

and legitimise the exclusion, discrimination, suppression and exploitation of others’

(Wodak, Meyer 2001: 73, Wodak, Pelinka 2002). This can allow the speaker to

achieve highly persuasive utterances to legitimise actions that become naturalised

into social practices of exclusion and discrimination through a description of what the

‘other’ has done (Reyes 2011). In (16), Bush is describing Iraq’s actions towards

weapons inspectors that ultimately constituted the main argument for the US

invasion in 2003:

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19 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

(16) This is a regime that agreed to international inspectors – then kicked out

the inspectors (Bush 2002).

Essentially, where the ‘argument’ of the speaker succeeds, some form of social

action will transpire because this is microcosm of the struggle for predominance

between orders of discourse as described by Fairclough12. The predominance of the

‘war on terror’ order of discourse in American political and military institutions gives

Obama’s recontextualisation of nuclear proliferation issues with Iran in (17) added


(17) But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if

Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the

community of nations (Obama 2012a).

This is of great pertinence here because it would seem that the revelations of not

finding WMD’s in Iraq should create a reluctance of the public to accept any actions

towards Iran on the same basis. However, this feeling is anesthetised because of

the perennial emotional appeal of what Iran represents that is constructed in the ‘war

on terror’ discourse, which has been recontextualised to the Iranian issue.

Therefore, an appeal to emotions in the Iranian case is cemented by the employment

of referential, nomination and predicative strategies, supported by an argumentative

strategy to show what they have actually done. This evokes a sense of fear in the

audience as ‘they’ are distinguished from ‘us’, and so the next stage to gaining

acceptance for action is the hypothetical circumstances this situation may lead us to.

12 See Methodology

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20 Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

Strategy 2: speech proposals of a hypothetical future

The second strategy proposes circumstances that may transpire if the speaker’s

warnings or suggestions are not heeded. This is most effectively achieved through a

linkage of problems in the past with the future to develop intertextuality13, allowing

the speaker to suggest immediate action in the present (Reyes 2011).

Key to accomplishing legitimisation here are conditional structures that employ

‘markers of modalisation’ such as would and could, to allow speculation on future

events (Reyes 2011: 794). Bednarek (2006: 21-23) describes this as ‘epistemic

modality’ that ‘conveys the speaker’s degree of confidence in the truth of the

proposition’. Excerpt (18) and (19) demonstrate how general hypothetical future

structures constructed by Bush have been recontextualized specifically to Iran by

Obama. Interestingly here, Obama gives a detailed scenario of what could happen,

which further appeals to the listeners emotions:

(18) By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and

growing danger. They could provide these to terrorists, giving them the

means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to

blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference

would be catastrophic (Bush 2002).

(19) There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands

of a terrorist organisation. It is almost certain that others in the region could

feel compelled to get their own nuclear weapon, triggering an arms race in

one of the world’s most volatile regions (Obama 2012b).

13 See page 9 - Methodology

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21 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

Furthermore, actors can propose a hypothetical future without epistemic modality,

which suggests complete confidence in the proposition to give the statement added

significance. Again, Bush’s general words about terrorism are recontextualized by

Obama to Iran:

(20) So long as training camps operate, so long as nations harbour terrorists,

freedom is at risk (Bush 2002).

(21) A nuclear armed Iran is completely counter to Israel’s security interests.

But it is also counter to the security interests of the United States

(Obama 2012b).

Over the course of my analysis it became clear that Obama presents statements

without epistemic modality much more frequently than Bush. This suggests

something about his personal oratory style and shows that when this is constructed

as part of a fearful scenario, the future becomes a place where political actors can

situate ideological utterances in order to exert power and control (Dunmire 2009).

Another element of the hypothetical future strategy is reference to altruistic

motivations. A hypothetical future that benefits others through proposed action,

allows the speaker to avoid suggestions that their wider motives are self-interested

(Reyes 2011). Bush refers to the invasion of Afghanistan that happened shortly

before his SUA02 in (22):

(22) The last time we met in this chamber, the mothers and daughters of

Afghanistan were captives in their own homes, forbidden from working or

going to school. Today women are free, and part of Afghanistan’s new

government (Bush 2002).

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22 Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

Many of the same themes can be seen in (23) from Obama, relating to rocket fire

from Palestinian militants in Gaza:

(23) [A]s President, I have provided critical funding to deploy the Iron Dome

system that has intercepted rockets that might have hit homes and

hospitals and schools in that town and in others. Now our assistance is

expanding Israel’s defensive capabilities, so that more Israelis can live free

from the fear of rockets and ballistic missiles (Obama 2012b).

In both (22) and (23) EEE can be identified – Bush refers to the victims whilst

Obama makes reference to civilian buildings. What is interesting in Obama’s speech

is the connection to ballistic missiles that relates to wider discourses linked to

Saddam Hussein’s scud missile attacks on Israel in the 1991 Gulf War. This

technology is outside the capability of Gaza militants such as Hamas but is still

referred to here as it becomes intertextually linked to Obama’s words as he identifies

‘Iran’s proxies’ shown in excerpt (5)14, above.

Further to altruistic references, the protection of values is presented as a legitimising

tactic, which is described by Van Leeuwen (2009) as ‘moral evaluation’. The

speaker uses a threat to value systems as a reason for social action (Reyes 2011).

Excerpts (24) and (25) show how many of the themes in Bush’s language are picked

up by Obama as he makes reference to Iran, showing recontextualisation:

(24) America will stand firm for the non-negotiable rights of human dignity: the

rule of law; limits on the power of the state; respect for women; private

property; free speech; equal justice; and religious tolerance (Bush 2002).

14 See page 15

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23 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

(25) The United States and Israel share interests, but we also share those human

values Shimon spoke about: a commitment to human dignity, a belief that

freedom is a right that is given to all of God’s children (Obama 2012b).

The semiosis here demonstrates the pervasiveness of the hypothetical future

strategy because, as Reyes (2011: 795) states, ‘[t]hese legitimisations do not

respond to an ideological position, nor are they idiosyncratic characteristics of a

particular political actor’ (democrat, republican, liberal, or realist), they are simply

presented as American. This greatly facilitates the process of recontextualisation as

it allows the actor to extend the demonization of the abstract ‘other’ to real perceived

threats, such as Iran (Reyes 2011).

Therefore, it can be seen how recontextualisation from a ‘war on terror’ discourse

can aid the construction of Iran as the enemy in strategy 1, and the hypothetical

threats they pose suggested in strategy 2 can make an audience accept the

challenges Iran presents. However, the break between the threat and the proposed

action against it still needs to be traversed in order to legitimise action. This is done

by demonstrating rationality of the actions taken against those threats.

Strategy 3: rationality of the decision process

The third strategy presents the decision to conduct social practices as rationally

considered, in order to present them as the right thing to do (Reyes 2011). This

process can only occur within a shared belief system of society that defines what is

‘right’. Therefore, actors can identify what is culturally considered as an acceptable

approach to decision making and situate their actions within this operating system to

legitimise action (Reyes 2011).

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24 Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

A key element to this strategy is the process of naturalisation that occurs, especially

once a demonisation of the ‘other’ is complete via strategy 115. If a context is

constructed where the threat of the ‘other’ is just ‘the way things are’, this belief

system can be naturalised in society (Reyes 2011: 798). This allows the actor to

provide a limited catalogue of the options for action whilst presenting it as complete.

Furthermore, a greater effect is to demonstrate that these options have been

produced through a diligent process of wider consultation. This allows the

reinforcement of the Us/Them binary by reassuring listeners that there is support for

proposed actions. The similarities between Bush’s words in (26) and Obama’s in

(27) as he talks about economic sanctions against Iran, are stark:

(26) America is working with Russia and China and India, in ways we have

never before, to achieve peace and prosperity…. Together with our friends

and allies from Europe to Asia, and Africa to Latin America, we will

demonstrate that the forces of terror cannot stop the momentum of freedom

(Bush 2002).

(27) Some of you will recall, people predicted that Russia and China wouldn’t

join us to move toward pressure. They did…. Many questioned whether we

could hold our coalition together as we moved against Iran’s central bank

and oil exports. But our friends in Europe and Asia and elsewhere are

joining us (Obama 2012b).

Support can be stated but does not necessarily generate support in itself, so an

important discursive device is to back up the legitimation of social action through

stating the outcome to the listener. Obama follows his statements in (27) with:

15 See Strategy 1: an appeal to emotions that evoke a sense of fear

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25 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

(28) That is where we are today – because of our work. Iran is isolated, its

leadership divided and under pressure (Obama 2012b).

Excerpt (28) demonstrates rationality based on success of the action to show that

the social practice produced an intended outcome. This is described as

‘instrumental rationality’ by Van Leeuwen (2007) and, gives the purpose of the social

practice to the listener. However, purposes are not synonymous with legitimations16,

so to achieve such acceptance a moralisation can be attached to the purpose to fully

take advantage of the legitimation strategy. In both Bush’s and Obama’s language,

this moralisation is stated as defence of the nation:

(29) We will work closely with our coalition partners to deny terrorists and their

state sponsors the materials, technology and expertise to make and

deliver weapons of mass destruction…. All nations should know: America

will do whatever is necessary to ensure our nation’s security (Bush


(30) I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I

have made clear time and time again during the course of my presidency, I

will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United

States and its interests (Obama 2012b).

This is clear recontextualisation from Bush’s words that vaguely identifies ‘state

sponsors’ with the production of WMD’s, with Obama’s words that simply sketch this

scenario directly onto Iran. The turn towards military action is representative of an

ideological position that, it can be argued, has infiltrated the US executive. Excerpts

16 See page 6 - Literature Review

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26 Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

(29) and (30) show how morally acceptable rationalisations can legitimate action

because the possession of, or the progress towards, a nuclear weapon is now

linguistically linked to the US ‘use of force’. What ‘necessary’ action entails is

withheld from the listener, but the practice is legitimised because society accepts it

on the basis of its morality, i.e. to defend the United States, which naturalises it as

just the way things must be.


The analysis above demonstrates the recontextualisation of Bush’s wider ‘war on

terror’ discourse towards Iran by Obama in 2012. Furthermore, the linkage of the

three strategies is clearly evident. The construction of the enemy in strategy 1

appeals to the listener’s emotions, allowing the development of hypothetical futures

in strategy 2 based on the enemies identified characteristics. This picture of the

‘other’ is bridged into the reality of social practices by strategy 3, which demonstrates

rationality of the decision making process. The analysis in this chapter shows that

where particular reference to emotions exists, as we would expect to see in

discourse relating to the September 11 attacks, highly persuasive textual structures

have the potential to legitimise many forms of social action. This is made possible

by changes in the semiosis that corresponds to social practices by altering one, two,

or all three of its elements17.

9/11 is a clear example of how a social event caused the elements of the existing

order of discourse to shift by altering society’s perception of the world. This

facilitates new forms of social action so that, where recontextualisation occurs onto

17 See Methodology

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27 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

the Iranian issue, the practices legitimised by reconfiguration of the order of

discourse in 2002 would be expected to reoccur where the same discourse informs

the social events of 2012 and beyond. Where changes were indeed achieved in

2002, a ‘war on terror’ discourse would be naturalised as part of specific social

practices into a linkage of, ‘the world’s most dangerous regimes…pursue…weapons

of mass destruction…’ (Bush 2002), ‘I will take no options off the table…aimed at

isolating Iran…and, yes, a military effort to be prepared for any contingency’ (Obama

2012b). However, in the case of a move towards military action against Iran, if the

‘war on terror’ discourse can be ‘operationalised’ in the international community such

action could achieve greater support and legitimation.

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28 Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse

Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse in the

international community18

In order to gain international support for any proposed action towards Iran, the

ideology19 has to be accepted and reproduced in the international community

through the process of ‘operationalisation’20. Firstly, international support against

Iran will further solidify the Us/them polarisation. Secondly, it will allow the

demonstration of wider support and diligent process that satisfies legitimation

strategy 321. And thirdly, it could generate authorisation for action through such

institutions as the United Nations (UN).

In order to explore this process, this chapter will discuss the concepts of

interdiscursivity and hegemony, and their linkage as the two key facets in the

process of operationalisation. The analysis will then turn to direct examples of the

‘war on terror’ discourse through speeches to the UN General Assembly in 2012

from President Obama22 and Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu23, with

further examples from press conferences with the Prime Minister of the United

Kingdom, David Cameron, and other foreign ministers from Europe. Speeches from

the UN General Assembly were specifically chosen, as the UN is an international

18 The use of the ‘international community’ is used cautiously by many social agents that are part of creating and reproducing the us/them binary in discussions on Iran, and ultimately falls into associated semiosis of the ‘war on terror’ discourse.

19 The ideology, upon which, the recontextualisation that was demonstrated in chapter 1 occurs. See Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

20 See Methodology 21 See Strategy 3: rationality of the decision process

22 See Appendix 5 23 See Appendix 6

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29 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

body that all parties in this discussion recognise through the UN Charter and actively

use as a mediator for debate (United Nations ). Furthermore, the UK, France and

the US are all permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC),

and so have the opportunity to significantly affect the topics for discussion and

decisions within this body (United Nations Security Council 2012). Following the

analysis proposed above, I will present other contemporary professional voices that

oppose the ‘war on terror’ discourse such as the Political and Academic Delegation

to the European Union (EU), leading US policy experts Colin Khal, Gary Sick, and

Mark Fitzpatrick, along with former UN Chief Weapons Inspector, Hans Blix.

However, these discourses seem to have been left out of popular discussion on the

Iranian issue and so I present them below as an attempt to ‘demystify’24 common

belief by presenting a broader picture of the issues at hand.

Operationalising Discourse: Interdiscursivity and Hegemony

Norman Fairclough’s work makes it clear that interdiscursivity and hegemony25 form

the two key concepts in the operationalisation process (2010: 95). Interdiscursivity

demonstrates the limitless configurations of genres and discourses that are possible

based on a myriad of interpretations of the world – but these alternate

understandings of the world are limited in practice by the hegemonic struggle of

dominant orders of discourse for prominence in societal institutions. The concept of

hegemony is defined by Fairclough as ‘a contradictory and unstable equilibrium’ and

24 See Literature Review (page 5) 25 See Methodology

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30 Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse

is taken from the Gramscian concept26 of ideology as a composite of past struggles

between competing interpretations of the world (Fairclough 2010: 62). For our

purposes, it is these shifts in hegemonic forces that are of interest. If we can

determine where we can change our interpretation of the Iranian issue, we can invite

a marginalised discoursal practice to revaluate our opinion on policy options by our

governments. This can engage in the struggle with the dominant discourse to

hopefully tip the unstable equilibrium to reveal a clearer representation of the world.

It is the possible effects of a discoursal practice and interpretation on the dominant

discourses that are of importance in this endeavour. A discoursal practice can

reproduce the existing order of discourse, but it can also transform it by presenting

new texts produced from social events. This is made possible by shifting semiotic

elements (discourse, genres, and styles27) through a re-interpretation of social

events. However, the extent to which these texts’ meanings can fluctuate is greatly

controlled by ‘particular configurations’ of the semiotic elements that social agents

and institutions call upon to interpret events (Fairclough 2010: 63). Although, an

agent’s particular use of discoursal elements in interpretation does not counter all the

possible configurations of discourse that interdiscursivity allows from a new

discoursal practice. Therefore, hegemonic struggle, in the Gramscian sense, follows

as dominant groups continuously compete against such changes by forming

alliances with rival discourses through small concessions and integration rather than

merely domination (Fairclough 2010: 63). Subsequently, it can be seen that a

reticulated ideological milieu is formed to maintain and reproduce the dominant order

26 For further reading into Gramsci's ideas on international relations see GILL, S., 1993. Gramsci, historical matieralism and international relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 27 See Methodology

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31 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

of discourse across institutions, which is contradictorily weakened over time through

the same process.

It is in this light that we should undoubtedly turn our attention to the links between

international institutions to reveal the hegemonic and interpretative processes and

attempt to create room for challenge from a new discoursal practice.

The international community

The ‘war on terror’ discourse has developed through hegemonic struggle against

discourse in the international arena. However, it originated locally in the United

States after the 9/11 attacks, as demonstrated in the SUA02. The discourse

achieved dominance across the US through the formation of an ideological matrix of

institutions as they began to share and reproduce the ‘war on terror’ discourse by

way of the hegemonic struggle described above. Thereafter, the US, as a state,

began to integrate and disintegrate international institutions in the same way,

facilitated by a world of increased interconnectedness and interdependence between

governments. To show this, I would like to demonstrate the recontextualisation of

the ‘war on terror’ discourse in the UN General Assembly speech by Benjamin

Netanyahu on 27 September 2012.

This speech is overtly situated in the ideology of the ‘war on terror’ discourse and

shows numerous features that can be determined in line with the application of my

framework discussed in Chapter 128. Here, referential strategies can be seen in (31)

that support emotional images of what the ‘other’ is and the threat that they present

to ‘us’:

28 See Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

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32 Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse

(31) Now, militant Islam has many branches, from the rulers of Iran… to al-

Qaeda terrorists, to the radical cells lurking in every corner of the globe

(Netanyahu 2012).

Excerpt (32) displays hypothetical future strategies and demonstrates the use of

modality markers such as ‘could’ and ‘would’:

(32) [N]othing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran

with nuclear weapons. To understand what the world would be like with a

nuclear armed Iran, just imagine a world with a nuclear armed al-Qaeda

(Netanyahu 2012).

Finally, rationality strategies are used by Netanyahu to demonstrate support for

social action, and the instrumental rationality shown in their success:

(33) Under the leadership of President Obama, the international community

has passed some of the strongest sanctions to date. I want to thank the

representatives of governments that have joined in this effort, it has had

an effect – oil exports have been curbed and the Iranian economy has been

hit hard (Netanyahu 2012).

These aspects demonstrate that the same strategies as those in Chapter 129 are

being employed by Netanyahu in international institutions and are linked

intertextually to semiosis displayed through Obama’s speeches. In this instance,

Netanyahu uses intertextuality to support his statements in this UN speech as he

states, ‘[t]wo days ago from this podium, President Obama reiterated that the threat

of a nuclear armed Iran cannot be contained’ (Netanyahu 2012). The Obama

29 See Chapter 1: Sketching the ‘war on terror’ discourse onto Iran

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33 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

speech that Netanyahu refers to does indeed reiterate these opinions, and also

demonstrates the operationalisation of the ‘war on terror’ discourse in the

international institution of the UN General Assembly:

(34) In Iran… a violent and unaccountable ideology leads… continues to prop

up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad (Obama


(35) [A] nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would

threaten the elimination of Israel…. It risks triggering a nuclear-arms race

in the region (Obama 2012c).

(36) A coalition of countries is holding the Iranian government accountable

(Obama 2012c).

Furthermore, the specific use of discoursal semiosis displayed by Netanyahu is

evidence of the operationalisation into the Israeli government, which is thereafter

representing these opinions in the UN to other governments. It could be argued that

Israel is just one government and is not supported by others, therefore it is

necessary to explore whether operationalisation through the processes of discoursal

hegemonic struggle can be seen across other governments, to determine the

limitation of interdiscursivity and the employment of intertextuality.

The discoursal examples from politicians of France, Germany, and Britain that I will

demonstarte below represent the key negotiators in the Iranian nuclear talks since

January 2011, led by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness

Catherine Ashton (Reynolds 2011). The importance of the EU’s role is shown in

David Cameron’s statement in a joint press conference on 14 March 2012:

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34 Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse

(37) Britain has played a leading role in helping deliver an EU-wide oil embargo.

Alongside the financial sanctions being led by America, this embargo is

dramatically increasing the pressure on the regime (Obama, Cameron


Firstly, Cameron’s words suggest his support for the EU actions. Secondly, his use

of the term ‘the regime’ demonstrates referential elements as this becomes

intertextually linked with semiosis in past speeches from Bush and Obama. And

finally, rationality can be seen by reference to the action being EU-wide to show

support, and more so, that it is instrumentally rational as they are ‘increasing the

pressure’ on Iran. Obama, from his position of high international status, then goes

on to directly support Cameron’s statements, raising Cameron’s profile in the eyes of

the British public by the processes of ‘mythopoesis’ and ‘rationalisation’ presented by

Van Leeuwen30 (2007). Joint press conference settings such as these demonstrate

an interesting tactic which Fairclough names ‘synthetic personalisation’ (Fairclough

2010: 65). In this way, meetings between leading politicians are presented as

personal affairs involving the audience, where access would otherwise be

unavailable. This phenomenon demonstrates one of the other facets of the

overarching definition of ‘discourse’ offered by Fairclough31, which describes how

semiosis and these other elements together form the ways individuals communicate

with each other. So, synthetic personalisation can be seen as an attempt by social

agents to overcome the distinction between public and private realms, and

subsequently, between political and civil society to generate consent in private social

circles and alleviate anxiety linked to conflict (Fairclough 2010).

30 See Literature Review 31 See Methodology

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35 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

The next example that I will present is a meeting between Netanyahu and the

German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, on 9 September 2012. The ‘war on

terror’ discourse is echoed in this meeting as we saw in the intertextuality of

Netanyahu’s words above. The encounter between Westerwelle and Netanyahu

also demonstrates the use of ‘synthetic personalisation’ as their meeting was staged

in front of a large press audience (IsraeliPM 2012). At their meeting, Westerwelle


(38) [W]e condemn every kind of terrorist attack against Israel. We stand

together with Israel, which means of course that we share also the concern

about the Iranian nuclear programme. For us, any kind of nuclear

option… in the hands of the Iranian government is not an option and we

will not accept this (IsraeliPM 2012).

This statement intertextually links terrorist and nuclear weapons with Iran, as before,

and now attacks against Israel also, that were suggested in Obama’s UN General

Assembly speech shown above in excerpt (35)32. The symbolic statement in

refusing to accept the reality of Iran with a nuclear weapon made here by

Westewelle can be seen in the French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius’ words in


(39) According to me, we cannot accept a nuclear proliferation which can

result for Iran in weaponry, and which could be used in an apocalyptic way

(inforlivetvenglish 2010).

32 See page 33

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36 Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse

Intertextuality can be seen in the use of ‘apocalyptic’ in this example. Firstly,

because this is a highly emotively charged adjective, but secondly because this

echoes Obama’s words ‘the world’s most dangerous weapons’ in (14) of Chapter 133.

This hypothetical future of a threat that could harm the entire world can be

intertextually linked to the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague in February

2012. He said that:

(40) Clearly Iran has been increasingly involved in illegal and potentially terrorist

activity in other parts of the world…. This is part of the danger Iran is

currently presenting to the peace of the world (BBC News 2012d).

Again, referential aspects can be seen with mention of illegal and terrorist activity.

Furthermore, Hague develops a hypothetical future without modality by stating the

danger Iran poses to the world, conveying a sense of certainty in his words to the

audience, as discussed in Strategy 2 of Chapter 134. This evidence in comparison to

the other foreign ministers from France and Germany shows a somewhat unified

stance towards Iran. Placed in the context of the ‘war on terror’ discourse these

opinions may appear rational and well founded. However, this united attitude from

Europe, and even the UNSC, has emerged much more recently than 2001.

A new discoursal practice: other contemporary political discourse

The evidence above suggests that the ‘war on terror’ discourse was operationalised

by the US executive in American political institutions locally in the aftermath of 9/11,

and then globally sometime afterwards. This time delay is not coincidental, as it

33 See page 18 34 See page 19 - Strategy 2: speech proposals of a hypothetical future

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37 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

represents the process of hegemonic struggle by the dialectical35 process overtime.

This analysis presents us with a ‘point of entry’ into the ‘social wrong’36 that is an

incomplete picture of the Iranian issue; which then requires a new discoursal practice

to change the semiosis that ultimately shapes social practices in civil and political

society. Therefore, I will present other contemporary professional voices that

counter the ‘war on terror’ discourse, in an attempt to expand the semiotic capacity

of the Iranian debate.

It is important to emphasise that all internationally recognised action against Iran by

the US, UN, the EU and its member states has been non-military and solely

focussed on sanction action, to date37. The UNSC first adopted resolutions against

Iran in July 2006 through Resolution 1696 but did not take any formal sanctions

action against Iran until December 2006, Resolution 1737, that restricted sales of

certain weapons and nuclear technology, and froze Iranian financial assets abroad

(United Nations Security Council 2006a, 2006b). The EU-wide oil embargo that

David Cameron refers to in excerpt (37)38 was only introduced as recently as

January 2012, as an addition to lower impact sanctions in June 2010 (The Iran

Primer 2012, BBC News 2010). Cameron’s statements in that March 2012 joint

press conference with Obama, present an image of complete support for sanction

efforts against Iran. However, as the time period between 2001 and UN or EU

sanction action suggests, this agreement has not always been so uniform.

35 See Methodology 36 See Methodology

37 This statement is not without considering accusations that the US has covertly launched cyber-attacks against Iranian nuclear facilities and has had some part in the assignations of Iranian nuclear scientists (BBC News 2012e, Gardner 2012, Hasan 2012b).

38 See page 32

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38 Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse

This can be seen in a meeting between European and American diplomats and

Middle Eastern policy experts in June of 2001. In this meeting Fraser Cameron, the

leader of the Political and Academic Affairs Delegation to the EU, strongly opposed

sanction action against Iran. About the international legality of such action, he said:

(41) We would argue that it [sanction plan] is counterproductive as well as

against the tenets of international law (Katzman, Murphy et al. 2001).

Furthermore, he presented an argument against the instrumental rationality for


(42) We’ve had experience of 40 years in the case of Cuba where they simply

have not worked… we have looked over the years at how regimes have

changed… by and large it has been through a policy of engagement

(Katzman, Murphy et al. 2001).

The effectiveness of sanctions towards major change in non-liberal-democratic

societies has been questioned extensively in this manner. Mark Amstutz (2008)

developed a Just-Sanction doctrine in line with Just-War theory that analyses the

justification for action based on seven categories of result or affect (Ridout 2012).

Using this model, Scott Ridout (2012) concluded that sanctions will only have a

severe effect on those in the Iranian population with little ability to pressure the

government to change, due to autocratic nature of their political system. Ridout goes

on to argue that targeting a state like Iran will only likely cause them to resist the

sanctions. In the 2001 meeting, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) senior fellow,

Richard Murphy, referred to an Atlantic Council report on US-Iranian relations, which

concluded that:

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39 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

(43) [O]ur overall interests are not well served by over 20 years of

adversarial relations. It lays out a program of action, not extremely dynamic,

emphasizing – when the time is right – how to overcome obstacles to a

normal relationship. Any such movement at this time obviously would not be

well received in many quarters of the capital (Katzman, Murphy et al. 2001:


Furthermore, no speakers in this meeting mention nuclear weapons in their

professional discussion on the topic, although it is clear that by Bush’s SUA02 the

linkage is firmly made.

Iran’s development or possession of nuclear weapons has been central to the

debate of what action should be taken against it by the international community.

Netanyahu has already called for pre-emptive air strikes against Iran’s nuclear

facilities along with American policy analysts. Foremost amongst them is CFR

international affairs fellow, and former US Office of the Secretary of Defense

strategist, Matthew Kroenig (2012a). In a Foreign Affairs article titled ‘Time to Attack

Iran’ (2012b), Kroenig argues that we have, ‘little choice but to attack Iran’ because

it is the least bad option, and the only thing worse would be nuclear-armed Iran. His

argument is that, based on International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports, Iran

is at the stage of producing a nuclear weapon within six months, and is attempting to

move nuclear facilities underground where they cannot be targeted (Traynor, Borger

et al. 2009, Kroenig 2012b). However, in a direct response to ‘Time to Attack Iran’,

the former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, Colin

Kahl (2012), contradicts Kroenig’s view in ‘Not Time to Attack Iran’.

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40 Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse

Kahl’s (2012) argument is that this six month timeframe over-exaggerates

hypothetical timelines to make weapons grade uranium, let alone develop a testable

device and delivery system – which could take a year for each step. In a Foreign

Affairs interview with Gary Sick (2012), (member of the National Security Council

under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan) he puts forward the view that Iran’s

nuclear weapons policy is to reach a ‘surge’ capability towards making a nuclear

weapon if desired. Sick (2012) says that Iran’s policy today is no different than that

of the Shah before the Iranian revolution of 1979. However, back then the policy

was ignored due to friendly relations between the U.S. and Iran. He goes on to point

out that we are at the point at which Iran can make a surge towards ‘the bomb’

today, and therefore, ‘what we should be negotiating, is how do we negotiate it that

they’re as far away from that as possible’ (Sick 2012) – in other words, ‘through a

policy of engagement’ as stated by Fraser Cameron (Katzman, Murphy et al. 2001)

above in (42)39. Therefore, Kahl (2012) argues that attacking Iran could push them

towards making a surge for a nuclear weapon, despite widely quoted IAEA reports

that are themselves argued to be misrepresented (Hasan 2012c).

This version of events is backed by Mark Fitzpatrick (2012), director of the Non-

Proliferation and Disarmament Programme at the International Institute for Strategic

Studies and former Non-Proliferation advisor to the U.S. Department of State, in a

Prospect magazine piece titled ‘Iran can be stopped’. Fitzpatrick (2012: 30) argues

firstly, that Iran has insufficient technological materials to build nuclear centrifuges,

and secondly, that an IAEA working paper from 2009, suggesting Iran has all the

information needed to make a nuclear weapon, was unvetted and unreleased, and

39 See page 36

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41 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

most of the research that informed that paper was conducted before 2004.

Fitzpatrick goes on to quote a leaked US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) from

2007, which states confidence that Iran had stopped work on nuclear proliferation by

the end of 2003. These admissions generate some enquiry into why the UN, and

later EU, joint effort is only witnessed after 2006 as detailed above.

To date, the IAEA remains unable to confirm that Iran has advanced towards a

nuclear weapon since 2004 (Hasan 2012a, Fitzpatrick 2012, Katzman, Murphy et al.

2001). In an interview with Al-Jazeera, Hans Blix, the former head of the IAEA and

chief weapons inspector of the UN between 2000 and 2003, said with regards to his

experiences in the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq that:

(44) The western states, and Russia and China, they could also be less

menacing, less threatening; and say that, look here ‘we want a dialogue’…

such as supporting Iran to get into the world trade organisation, supporting

Iran’s civilian nuclear programme, and so forth (Al Jazeera 2012).

This again is profiting an argument for engagement with Iran, and not simply

coercion through sanctions and demands. Blix goes on to discuss how the use of

IAEA reports can be misleading in (45) and (46):

(45) I think you have to look into what they [IAEA] really examined. I think the

IAEA receives a lot of intelligence from various countries, mostly perhaps

from the US and from Israel… but then when it comes to assessing

information that is given, they have to see if there is really evidence, or if it’s

only information (Al Jazeera 2012).

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42 Chapter 2: Operationalising the ‘war on terror’ discourse

(46) If they [US] use it [IAEA reports] in their own advantage then they will cite

them, but not otherwise (Al Jazeera 2012).

I do not believe the point needs to be laboured any further here. However, I do

believe that one’s attention should be drawn back to the words I have highlighted in

bold in this section as examples of discourse not normally associated with Iran in

contemporary political language. If the ‘war on terror’ discourse was to take on some

of these wider viewpoints it may be possible to change current social practices

towards Iran and seek a different resolution.


The evidence provided in this chapter suggests that we are currently witnessing the

operationalisation of the ‘war on terror’ discourse in the international institutions of

Europe and Israel. This has reified the ‘us/them’ polarisation by presenting the

debate as that of many against the sole entity of Iran. The success of this tactic can

be seen through the authorisation of sanctions by the UN that began in 2006, and

later the EU in 2010 – post-dating the last IAEA reports of weapons development in

2004. More specifically, this time-delay suggests the process of hegemonic struggle

is occurring, where orders of discourse compete through a dialectical process over

time to achieve and maintain prominence over competing discourse internationally.

What is therefore of particular concern in this regard, is whether the sanctions effort

is merely a part of that operationalising process to legitimise action against Iran, by

presenting the rational process of all possible avenues being explored. Thus leading

to an end state of hard kinetic action in whatever form it may be. However, the

endeavour of this chapter has been to highlight where a new discoursal practice can

be engaged into the debate on Iran. This gives the opportunity to produce texts

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43 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

which can change the ‘war on terror’ discourse to incorporate possibilities for

engagement and cooperation, rather than coercion and conflict.

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44 Conclusion


The evidence presented through the course of this study demonstrates the

recontextualisation of semiotic discoursal elements from a ‘war on terror’ discourse

(originating in George W. Bush’s January 2002 State of the Union Address) into US

and international foreign policy language towards Iran (since Barack Obama’s State

of the Union Address in January 2012). Subsequently, as dominant discourses

subordinate and integrate competing discourses in the international arena, the

ideology that forms the ‘war on terror’ discourse has been operationalised in

international institutions. This operationalisation occurs at the national level, as seen

in the discourse of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu and UK Prime

Minister, David Cameron in 2012. And also at the supra-national level, as seen in

the imposition of European Union sanctions against Iran since 2010 and the

representation of these prevailing views in the General Assembly of the UN, along

with UN sanctions since 2006. This action is despite the last IAEA confirmation of

Iranian nuclear weapons development being in 2004. Furthermore, although there

are wider discoursal practices available to inform our judgement of foreign policy

options by our governments, the discoursal elements that these marginalised

discourses proffer are seldom seen in discussions on Iran.

Competing discourses have been brought forward in this research, in line with my

methodological choice to employ Norman Fairclough’s ‘dialectical-relational’

approach of CDA. This has shown how dominant discourses such as the ‘war on

terror’ discourse achieve predominance by a dialectical process against competing

discourses, but also, how this gives new discourses an opportunity to create new

texts linked to social events that can allow change to become prevalent opinions in

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45 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

society. This analysis has led me to concur with Fairclough’s conclusion that CDA

has a dual focus40 both on the structure of social practices and the discoursal

strategies that social agents employ to achieve ideological goals. The construction

of the social practice is crucial, as this is where the ideology is most fixed, but the

‘dialectical-relational’ approach can have greatest effect by attempting to change any

one of the three semiotic elements (discourse, genre, style) of a social practice.

What has been demonstrated is that the strategies employed by the Bush

administration after 9/11 to create the ‘war on terror’ discourse have subsequently

been recontextualised towards Iran by Obama. The maintenance and reproduction

of this discourse rests primarily on the construction of an ‘us/them’ distinction built on

emotional references across numerous speech strategies used by political actors.

The emotional construction of the enemy is complimented by the development of

hypothetical futures and reassurance of the rationality of decision making by our

governments. Together, these form powerful legitimating strategies that act to

present the world as unchangeable, but fraught with possible dangers that

governments have accounted for rationally, including options for the use of military

force. It has been shown that these are limited policy options that are presented as

though there has been a complete exploration of the available routes to policy


To date, all internationally recognised action against Iran has been in the form of

sanctions. However, can it be seen that the sanctions programme is in fact a part of

the hegemonic struggle between opposing discourses? If this is the case, then it can

be argued that this will lead to international military action in one form or another.

40 See page 9 - Literature Review

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46 Conclusion

This would be made possible by the operationalisation of an American neo-

conservative ideology through the ‘war on terror’ discourse. As Patricia Dunmire

argues, this stretches back to the 1990’s and calls for the neutralisation of Iran, or at

least their suspected weapons programme through preventive strikes, as a

perceived threat to the US. Just as 9/11 is said to have created a disjuncture in

history that allowed the operationalisation of the ‘war on terror’ ideology in America,

a new international social event could similarly create an opportunity for such

ideology to become more widely accepted internationally. Such an example could

be the intensification of the disputes over the Strait of Hormuz, which is the only oil

route from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea from producing countries in the

region. Iran has frequently threatened to blockade the Strait in retaliation against

international sanctions, and the US has responded by increasing patrols and military

exercises in the Persian Gulf (Aboudi, Fineren 2012, BBC News 2011, BBC News

2012e). Disruption to oil routes in that region would have an impact on global oil

prices, which could be used in discursive strategies by politicians to legitimise action

due to the direct effect it would have on world populations.

However, this research is not complete. The first place to continue this study would

be through a comparative investigation of the effect that these discursive strategies

have had on public opinions of Iran across populations. Such a study should

analyse data from public opinion polls over the 10 year period between 2002 and

2012, and the findings would give a better indication of the extent to which

legitimation strategies win consent in society. Also, an examination of the extent to

which various forms of media facilitate the transmission and reinterpretation of the

‘war on terror’ discourse should be conducted, considering the degree to which

competing discourses are available in mainstream media outlets. Norman

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47 A Discourse of Legitimation: Beyond the ‘war on terror’ and towards Iran

Fairclough (2010: 146) has engaged with the issue of identity construction in political

television in an essay titled, ‘Ideology and identity change in political television’.

Research into the opportunity that modern media channels give competing,

subordinate discourses to achieve recognition has also been conducted by Innocent

Chiluwa (2012). The global audience that can be reached through online forms of

media, subverting and undermining official channels, is a tactic that has long been

used by militant and non-violent protest groups alike to promote specific causes

(Martin 2013). These channels are similarly being utilised by Iranian commentators

such as New Spokesman writer Mehdi Hasan (2012), amongst many others.

Mainstream political institutions, too, are increasingly using online media in an

attempt to engage with a wider audience, because the visual imagery of meetings

between heads of state and governments that can be conveyed here is key to

translating desired issues to populations. Fairclough’s concept of ‘synthetic

personalisation’41 reminds us that discourse is only one part of the construction of

social practices and these visual aspects remain important to the development and

reproduction of ideology in society.

Therefore, this dissertation is a starting point into the investigation of legitimating

strategies towards future military action, especially in the Middle East region as vital

oil resources become more sought after. It has been shown how discourses can be

used in different contexts by political actors and, thereafter, how these can be

accepted internationally to allow the possibility for military action, in order to meet the

objectives of this research42. However, the wider geo-strategic picture, in which Iran

41 See page 30 - The international community 42 See page 2 - Introduction

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48 Conclusion

will undoubtedly play a leading regional role, must be realised seriously by world

leaders – and certainly cannot be dealt with by ideological discursive practices from

2001. In this light, the public can become more aware of the ideology that is locked

into political institutions and how this permeates society through the use of CDA.

This will allow greater inquiry into the social practices of our governments and offer

us greater options outside of conflict.


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49 Appendix 1

Appendix 1

(Full colour photocopy of original attached overleaf – titled: ‘AmericanRhetoric.com; George W. Bush 2002 State of the Union Address’.)


David Morgan B011513

50 Appendix 2

Appendix 2

George W. Bush January 2002 State of the Union Address - discourse findings

Emotions Referential

• Terrorists Ø Underworld Ø Training camps Ø Leaders

• Terror Ø States

• Enemies • Extremists • Regimes

Ø Outlaw Ø Outlawed Ø Unelected

• State sponsors • Tyranny • Evil

Ø Axis of evil • International inspectors • Cynicism • Tragedy • Al Qaeda • Parasites • Ticking time bomb • Missiles • Explosives • 19 men • Innocents – Explicit Emotional Enumeration (EEE)

Ø Civilian Ø (Bodies of)

o Men, women and children o Mothers o Sons (who died) and daughters

Ø Victims

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51 Appendix 2

Ø Lives • Weapons of mass destruction

Ø Chemical Ø Biological Ø Nuclear Ø Poison gas Ø Destructive

• War Ø Battlefield Ø On/against terror Ø Violence


• Killers • Murder • Hostility • Destruction they design


• Their hatred • They hijacked • Trained • They executed • Kicked out inspectors • Terrorists and regimes

Ø Seek/pursues (weapons) Ø Arming (WMD) Ø Starving (citizens) Ø Harbour (terrorists) Ø Threaten (peace/security) Ø Operates Ø Hides Ø Hold hostages Ø Plotting to bomb Ø Plotted to develop Ø Sponsor(s) Ø Support terror Ø Armed with explosives Ø Repress Ø Plotting Ø Embrace tyrant

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52 Appendix 2


• Depth of their hatred • Madness of destruction • Most destructive weapons • Dangerous killers • Dangerous regimes • Trained terrorists

Construction – Transitive

• Mental Ø Death as cause and creed Ø Believed America was weak and materialistic Ø View the entire world as a battlefield

• Verbal Ø Laugh at innocent deaths

• Material Ø Hold hostages, repress , murder, suicide


• Ticking time bombs • Parasites

Hypothetical Future

Protecting Values – ‘moral evaluation’

• Saved from starvation • Freed (free) a country

Ø Poverty Ø Violence

• Allies against terror • Rebuilding (country) • Justice

Ø Of the United States Ø Equal Ø Just world

• Security • Nation • Country • New ethic and a new creed • Free market/trade/societies • (History of) liberty

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53 Appendix 2

• Right and true • Human dignity • Rule of law • Respect for women • Private property • Honour • Free speech • Tolerance

Ø Religious • Peaceful world • Our cause is just, (and it continues)

Conditional Structures

• Pose a grave and growing danger • Has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens • They could provide these arms to terrorists • They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the US • The price of indifference would be catastrophic • Peril draws closer and closer • Danger gathers • On-going threat of attack

Ø Hamas Ø Hezbollah Ø Islamic Jihad Ø Jaish-i-Mohammed

• If we stop now… our sense of security would be false and temporary • (Believed) that we would splinter in fear

Hypothetical statement without modality

• So long as training camps operate… freedom is at risk • [Other] governments will be timid • Regimes that sponsor terror from threatening American or our allies with

WMD • Consequential


• Do whatever is necessary to ensure our nation’s security • Cost a lot to fight this war… we must be prepared for future operations • Price of freedom and security is high, it is never too high • Whatever it costs to defend our country

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54 Appendix 2

• Priority of my budget is to do everything to protect our citizens


• Extend the compassion of our country to every part of the world • Lead the world toward values that will bring lasting peace • Father and mothers in all societies want their children to be educated • No people on Earth want to be oppressed, or aspire to servitude • Afghanistan… the Islamic ‘street’ greeted the fall of tyranny with song and

celebration • The last time we met in this chamber, the mothers and daughters of

Afghanistan were captives in their own homes, forbidden from working or going to school. Today women are free, and part of Afghanistan’s new government

• [Values] unchanging for all people everywhere • Power to lift lives • Facing danger together • Philippines, helping to train that country’s armed forces • My hope is that all nations will heed our call


Theoretical – Absolution

• None of us would ever wish the evil that was done on September 11. Yet after America was attacked


• America and our allies • Our soldiers, working with the (Bosnian) government • Many nations are acting forcefully

Ø Pakistan Ø Admire the strong leadership of President Musharraf

• Working closely with our coalition • We will work closely • Erasing old rivalries. America is working with Russia and China and India • Friends and allies from Europe to Asia, and Africa to Latin America • Facing danger together • Work of our law enforcement officials and coalition partners • Spirit of cooperation we’ve applied to our war on terrorism

Considered consequences

• Rarely has the world faced a choice more clear or consequential

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55 Appendix 2

• We must pursue them • Be steadfast and patient and persistent • We are protected from attack only by vigorous action abroad, and increased

vigilance at home

Procedure: review, options and (joint) decision and plans

• First, second • (Great) objectives

Ø Shut down terrorist camps Ø Disrupt terrorist plans Ø Bring terrorists to justice Ø Prevent the… who seek… from threatening the US

• Goal Ø Prevent regimes that sponsor…from threatening

• We’ll be deliberate

Instrumental: Relation to failure and success

• Thanks to them [troops], we are winning the war on terror • What we have found in (Afghanistan) confirms… • Price of indifference would be catastrophic • Will do what is necessary to ensure our nation’s security • Whatever it costs to defend our country • Price of freedom and security is high, it is never too high • First priority must be the security of our nation • Navy is patrolling the coast of Africa to block the shipment of weapons and

the establishment of terrorist camps in Somalia  

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56 Appendix 3

Appendix 3

(Full colour photocopy of original attached overleaf – titled: ‘AmericanRhetoric.com;

Third Presidential State of the Union Address’.)


David Morgan

57 Appendix 4

Appendix 4

(Full colour photocopy of original attached overleaf – titled: ‘The White House, Office

of the Press Secretary; For Immediate Release March 04, 2012 Remarks by the

President at AIPAC Policy Conference’.)


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58 Appendix 5

Appendix 5

(Full colour photocopy of original attached overleaf – titled: ‘Remarks by the

President to the UN General Assembly’.)


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59 Appendix 6

Appendix 6

Transcript of Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Address to the General Assembly of the UN on Iran’s nuclear programme

Thank you very much Mr President it is a pleasure to see the general assembly presided by the ambassador for Israel and it’s good to see all of you, distinguished delegates.

Ladies and gentlemen, 3000 years ago King David reigned over the Jewish state in our eternal capital, Jerusalem. I say that to all those who proclaim that the Jewish state has no roots in our region and that it will soon disappear. Throughout our history the Jewish people have overcome all the tyrants who have sought our destruction. It’s their ideologies that have been discarded by history. The people of Israel live on, we say in Hebrew [speaks in Hebrew] and the Jewish will live forever. The Jewish people have lived in the land of Israel for thousands of years. Even after most of our people were exiled from it, Jews continue to live in the land of Israel throughout the ages and the masses of our people never gave up the dream of returning to our ancient homeland. Defying the laws of history, we did just that. We ingathered the exiles, restored our independence, and rebuilt our national life. The Jewish people have come home; we will never be uprooted again.

Yesterday was Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year. Every year for over 3 millennia we have come together on this day of reflection and atonement. We take stock of our past; we pray for our future; we remember the sorrows of our persecution; we remember the great travails of our dispersion; we mourn the extermination of over a third of our people – 6 million in the holocaust. But at the end of Yom Kippur we celebrate. We celebrate the rebirth of Israel; we celebrate the heroism of our young men and women who have defended our people with the indomitable courage of Joshua, David, and the Maccabees of old. We celebrate the marvel of the flourishing modern, Jewish state. You see in Israel, we walk the same paths tread by our patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But we blaze new trails in science, technology, medicine, agriculture. In Israel, the past and the future find common ground.

Well unfortunately that’s not the case in many other countries. For today a great battle is being waged between the modern and the medieval. The forces of modernity seek a bright future in which the rights of all are protected, in which an ever expanding digital library is available in the palm of every child, in which every life is sacred. The forces of medievalism seek a world in which women and minorities are subjugated, in which knowledge is suppressed and in which not life, but death is glorified.

These forces clash around the globe but nowhere more starkly than the Middle East. Israel stands proudly with the force of modernity. We protect the rights of all our citizens, men and women, Jews and Arabs, Muslims and Christians – all are equal before the law. Israel is also making the world a better place – our scientists win

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60 Appendix 6

Nobel prizes; our know-how is in every cell phone and computer you are using; we prevent hunger by irrigating arid lands in Africa and Asia. Recently, I was deeply moved when I visited Technion, one of our technological institutes in Haifa, and I saw a man paralysed from the waist down climb up a flight of stairs fairly easily, with the aid of an Israeli invention. And Israel’s exceptional creativity is matched by our people’s remarkable compassion. When disaster strikes anywhere in the world – in Haiti, Japan, Indian, Turkey, Indonesia, and elsewhere – Israeli doctors are amongst the first on the scene performing lifesaving surgeries.

In the past year I lost both my father and my father in law. In the same hospital wards where they were treated, Israeli doctors were treating Palestinian Arabs. In fact every year, thousands of Arabs from the Palestinian territories and Arabs from throughout the Middle East come to Israel to be treated in Israeli hospitals by Israeli doctors. I know you’re not going to hear that from speeches around this podium, but that’s the truth.

It’s important that you’re aware of this truth. And it is because Israel cherishes life, that Israel cherishes peace and seeks peace. We seek to restore historic ties and historic peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan. We seek to forge a durable peace with the Palestinians. President Abbas just spoke here, I say to him and I say to you, we won't solve our conflict with libellous speeches at the UN. That’s not the way to solve them. We won’t solve our conflict with unilateral declarations of state hood. We have to sit together, negotiate together and reach a mutual compromise, in which a demilitarised Palestinian state recognises the one and only Jewish state.

Israel wants to see a Middle East of progress and peace. We want to see the three great religions that sprang forth from our region – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – coexist in peace and in mutual respect. Yet the medieval forces of radical Islam, whom you just saw storming the American embassies throughout the Middle East, well they oppose this. They seek supremacy over all Muslims. They’re bent on world conquest. They want to destroy Israel, Europe, and America. They want to extinguish freedom. They want to end the modern world.

Now militant Islam has many braches, from the rulers of Iran with their revolutionary guards, to al-Qaeda (AQ) terrorists, to the radical cells lurking in every corner of the globe. But despite their differences they’re all rooted in the same bitter soil of intolerance. That intolerance is first directed to their fellow Muslims, and then to Christians, Jews, Buddhist, Hindus, and secular people - anyone who doesn’t submit to their unforgiving creed. They want to drag humanity back to an age of unquestioning dogma, unrelenting conflict. I’m sure of one thing, ultimately they will fail. Ultimately, light will penetrate the darkness. We’ve seen that happen before. Some 500 years ago the printing press helped pry a cloistered Europe out of a dark age and eventually ignorance gave way to enlightenment. So too a cloistered Middle East will eventually yield to the irresistible power of freedom and technology, and when this happens our region will be guided, not by fanaticism and conspiracy but, by reason and curiosity. I think the relevant question is this; it’s not whether this fanaticism will be defeated, it’s how many lives will be lost before it’s defeated. And we’ve seen that happen before too. Some 70 years ago the world saw another fanatic ideology bent on world conquest. Now it went down in flames. But not before

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it took millions of people with it. Those who opposed that fanaticism waited too long to act. In the end they triumphed, but at a horrific cost. My friends, we cannot let that happen again.

You see, at stake is not the future of my country. At stake is the future of the world, and nothing could imperil our common future more than the arming of Iran with nuclear weapons. To understand what the world would be like with a nuclear armed Iran, just imagine a world with a nuclear armed AQ. It makes little difference if these weapons are in the hands of the world's most dangerous terrorist regime or the world’s most dangerous terrorist organisation. They're both fired by the same hatred; they're both driven by the same lust for violence. Just look what the Iranian regime has done up until now without nuclear weapons. In 2009, they brutally put down the protest, the mass protests, for democracy in their own country. Today their henchmen are participating in the slaughter of tens of thousands of Syrian civilians, including thousands of children - directly participating in this murder. They abetted the killing of American soldiers in Iraq and continue to do so in Afghanistan. And before that, Iranian proxies killed hundreds of American troops in Beirut and in Saudi Arabia. They’ve turned Lebanon and Gaza into terrorist strong holds, embedding nearly a hundred thousand missiles and rockets in civilian areas. Thousands of these rockets and missiles have already been fired at Israeli communities by their terrorist proxies. In the last year they have spread their international terror networks to two dozen countries across five continents – from India and Thailand to Kenya and Bulgaria. They even plotted to blow up a restaurant a few blocks from the White House in order to kill a diplomat and, of course Iran’s rulers repeatedly deny the holocaust and call for Israel’s destruction, almost on a daily basis as they did again this week from the UN.

So I ask you, given this record of Iranian aggression without nuclear weapons, just imagine Iranian aggression with nuclear weapons. Imagine their long range missiles tipped with nuclear warheads; their terrorist networks armed with atomic bombs. Who among you would feel safe in the Middle East? Who’d be safe in Europe? Who’d be safe in America? Who’d be safe anywhere? Now there are those who believe that a nuclear armed Iran can be deterred like the Soviet Union. That’s a very dangerous assumption. Militant jihadists are not secular Marxists. Militant jihadists behave very differently to secular Marxists. There were no Soviet suicide bombers yet Iran produces hoards of them. Deterrence worked with the Soviets because every time the Soviets face a choice between their ideology and their survival, they choose their survival. But deterrence may not work with the Iranians once they get nuclear weapons. There’s a great scholar of the Middle East, Professor Bernard Lewis, who put it best. He said that for the Ayatollahs of Iran, ‘mutually assured destruction is not a deterrent, it’s an inducement’. Iran’s apocalyptic leaders believe that a medieval holy man will reappear in the wake of a devastating holy war; thereby assuring their brand of radical Islam will rule the earth. Now that’s not just what they believe, that’s what is actually guiding their policies and their actions. Just listen to Ayatollah Rafsanjani who said, I quote ‘The use of even one nuclear bomb inside Israel would destroy everything, however it would only harm the Islamic world’, Rafsanjani said ‘it is not irrational to contemplate such an eventually’. Not irrational. And that’s coming from one of the so called moderates of Iran. Shockingly, some people have started to pedal the absurd notion that a nuclear armed Iran would

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actually stabilise the Middle East. Yeah right. That’s like saying a nuclear armed AQ would usher in an era of universal peace.

Ladies and gentlemen, I've been speaking about the need to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons for over 15 years. I spoke about it in my first term in office as Prime Minister and then I spoke about it when I left office. I spoke about it when it was fashionable and I spoke about it when it wasn’t fashionable. I speak about it now because the hour is getting late, very late. I speak about it now because the Iranian nuclear calendar doesn’t take time out for anyone or for anything. I speak about it now because when it comes to the survival of my country it’s not only my right to speak, it’s my duty to speak. And I believe this is the duty of every responsible leader who wants to preserve world peace.

For nearly a decade the international community has tried to stop the Iranian nuclear programme with diplomacy, well that hasn’t worked. Iran uses diplomatic negotiations as a means to buy time to advance its nuclear programme. For over 7 years, for over 7 years, the international community has tried sanctions with Iran. Under the leadership of President Obama the international community has passed some of the strongest sanctions to date, I want to thank the representative of governments that have joined in this effort, it has had effect – oil exports have been curbed and the Iranian economy has been hit hard. It’s had an effect on the economy but we must face the truth – sanctions have not stopped Iran’s nuclear programme either. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), during the last year alone Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges in it’s under nuclear facility in Qom. So at this late hour, there is only one way to peacefully prevent Iran from getting atomic bombs, and that’s by placing a clear red line on Iran’s nuclear weapons programme.

Red lines don’t lead to war, red lines prevent war. Just look at NATO’s charter, it made clear that an attack on one member would be an attack on all and NATO’s red line helped keep the peace in Europe for nearly half a century. President Kennedy set a red line during the Cuban missile crisis, that red line also helped prevent a war and preserved peace for decades. In fact, it’s the failure to place red lines that’s often invited aggression. If the Western powers had drawn clear red lines during the 1930’s, I believe they would have stopped Nazi Aggression and World War Two might have been avoided. In 1990, if Saddam Hussein had been clearly told that his conquest of Kuwait would cross a red line, the first gulf war might have been avoided. Clear red lines have also worked with Iran, earlier this year Iran threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz, the US drew a clear red line and Iran backed off. Now, red lines could be draw in different parts of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, but to be credible a red line must be drawn first and foremost, in one vital part of their programme – on Iran’s efforts to enrich uranium.

Now let me explain why, basically any bomb consist of explosive material and a mechanism to ignite it. The simplest example is gun powder in a fuse - that is you light the fuse and you set off the gun powder. In the case of Iran’s plan to build a nuclear weapon, the gun powder is enriched uranium; the fuse is a nuclear detonator. For Iran, amassing enough enriched uranium is far more difficult than producing the nuclear fuse. For a country like Iran, it takes many, many years to

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enrich uranium for a bomb - that requires thousands of centrifuges spinning in tandem in big, very big, industrial plants. Those Iranian plants are visible, and still vulnerable. In contrast, Iran could produce the nuclear detonator in a lot less time – maybe under a year, maybe only a few months. The detonator can be made in a small workshop the size of a classroom. It may be very difficult to find and target that workshop, especially in Iran that’s a country bigger than France, Germany, Italy and Britain combined. The same is true for the small facility in which they could assemble a nuclear warhead or a nuclear device that could be placed in a container ship. Chances are you won’t find that facility either. So in fact, the only way that you can credibly prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is to prevent Iran from amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb.

So how much enriched uranium do you need for a bomb? And how close is Iran from getting it? Well, let me show you. I brought a diagram for you. Here’s the diagram. This is a bomb, this is a fuse. In the case of Iran’s nuclear programme to build a bomb, this bomb has to be filled enough enriched uranium. And Iran has to go through three stages: the first stage they have to enrich enough low enriched uranium; the second stage they have to enrich enough medium enriched uranium; and the third stage, and final stage, they have to enrich enough high enriched uranium for the first bomb – where’s Iran? Iran’s completed the first stage, took them many years but they completed it, and they are 70% of the way there. Now they’re well into the second stage and by next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates, they will have finished the medium enrichment and move onto the final stage. From there it’s only a few months, possibly a few weeks before they get enough enriched uranium for the

first bomb. Ladies and gentlemen, what I’ve told you now is not based on secret information, it’s not based on military intelligence. It’s based on the public reports if the IAEA, anybody can read them, they’re online. So if these are the facts, if these are the facts and they are, where should a red line be drawn? A red line should be drawn right here [Mr Netanyahu proceeds to draw a red line across his bomb diagram just below the 90% enrichment line].Before, before Iran completes the second stage of nuclear enrichment necessary to make a bomb, before Iran gets to a point where Iran is a few months away or a few weeks away from amassing enough enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon.

Now each day that point is getting closer and that’s why today I speak with such a sense of urgency, and that’s why everyone should have a sense of urgency. Now there’s some that claim, even if Iran completes the enrichment processes, even if it

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crosses that red line that I just drew, our intelligence agencies will know when and where Iran will make the fuse, assemble the bomb and prepare the war head. Look, no one appreciates our intelligence agencies more than the prime minister of Israel; all these leading intelligence agencies are superb, including ours. They’ve foiled many attacks, they’ve saved many lives, but they are not fool proof. For over 2 years our intelligence agencies didn’t know Iran was building a huge nuclear enrichment plant under a mountain. Do we want to risk the security of the world on the assumption that we would find, in time, a small workshop in a country half the size of Europe? Ladies and gentlemen, the relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb. The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb? The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme because these enrichment facilities are the only nuclear installations that we can definitely see and credibly target. And I believe, faced with a clear red line Iran will back down. And this will give more time for sanctions and diplomacy to convince Iran to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme altogether.

Two days ago from this podium, President Obama reiterated that the threat of a nuclear armed Iran cannot be contained. I very much appreciate the President’s position, as does everyone in my country. We share the goal of stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, this goal unites the people of Israel, it unites Americans, Democrats and Republicans alike, and it is shared by important leaders throughout the world. What I have said today will help ensure this common goal is achieved. Israel is in discussions with the United States over this issue and I’m confident that we can chart a path forward, together.

Ladies and gentlemen, the clash between modernity and medievalism need not be a clash between progress and tradition. These traditions of the Jewish people go back thousands of years; they’re the source of our collective values, the foundations of our national strength. At the same time the Jewish people have always looked towards the future. Throughout history we have been at the forefront of efforts to expand liberty, promote equality, and advance human rights. We championed these principles not despite of our traditions, but because of them. We heed the words the Jewish prophets, Isaiah, Amass and Jeremiah, to treat all with dignity and compassion, to pursue justice and cherish life, and to pray and strive for peace. These are the timeless values of my people and these are the Jewish people’s greatest gift to mankind. Let us commit ourselves today to protect these values so that we can defend our freedoms and protect our common civilisation. Thank you.

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