Item Details

A critical discourse analysis of George W. Bush’s ‘War on Terror’ speech: the rhetoric of (counter)terrorism and the logic of Islamophobia

Issue: Vol 2 No. 1 (2018)

Journal: Journal of Language and Discrimination

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/jld.34307


In this article, I dissect an excerpt from George W. Bush’s address to a joint session of Congress and the American people wherein the former President of the United States (POTUS) uttered the (catch)phrase the ‘war on terror’ (WOT). To accomplish this dissection, I apply Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) together with Lacanian psychoanalysis among other critical tools. My aim here is to deconstruct/recode the WOT discourse in the hope of opening up possibilities for alternative, and more constructive, counter-discourses on the social problem of ‘terrorism’ that afford multiple subject positions beyond the (counter)terrorism binary. As an Orientalist ideology, the WOT indexes the larger archive of Americanexceptionalism and can be traced back to the rise of the neo-conservative movement in the 1980s. This analysis is particularly relevant in the context of the current political climate in the United States, where the WOT rhetoric continues to normalise the logic of Islamophobia.

Author: Robert K. Beshara

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