Why propaganda should be considered a strategy to obscure the right of rational decisions

Dialogue is the centerpiece of advancement of a political agenda in a
democratic system. The key channels for politicians to share their ideas
include political speeches, political advertisement, broadcast news, and
public debates. Despite the wide range of means of political
communication, the majority of the target audience rarely articulates
the issues discussed. This is because politicians only present one side
of the argument with the sole intention of influencing the attitude of
the audience, a technique referred to as political propaganda (Institute
for Propaganda Analysis). Effectively applied propaganda, which
combines the techniques of advertisements and public relations, shapes
the perception of the audience towards a given issue of national or
international concern. According to the Institute for Propaganda
Analysis political leaders use propaganda to selectively present facts
to their audience in order to arouse their emotions and prevent rational
response towards an issue of concern. George Bush, the former president
of the United States of America are one of the politicians who
successively applied propaganda to win the hearts of Americans and
obscure their rational responses towards issues of national and
international significance as considered in this essay. Propaganda is
an unworthy technique that thwarts capacity of the people in making
rational decisions on controversial issues by arousing their emotional
feelings.
Bush’s speech at the start of war against the leadership of Iraqi
Following the terrorist attack of the Unite States on September 2001,
George Bush, who was the president of the United States, started the war
against terrorism. George Bush aimed at sealing the security gaps within
the United States and demolishing the threat groups outside of the
United States. George Bush made the speech analyzed in this paper in
2003, when the war against terrorism was in the mind of everyone who
love peace (Relyea 2-5). The speech was titled “George Bush’s
Address on the Start of War”. Although the opening remarks of the
speech seem to be addressing the citizens of the United States, it is
clear that George Bush also targets to reach the citizens of Iraq and
the world at large. The goal of the speech was to inform and convince
the audience about the significance of military interventions in
reducing the security threats posed by the leadership of Iraq, which
held weapons of mass destruction. The main opponents in this operation
are Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi troops (Bush 1).
Aspects of propaganda in Bush’s speech
It is clear that propaganda, which was used to lure Americans to agree
with the idea of military attack against the government of Iraq, was the
centerpieces of the Bush’s speech. The speech clearly indicates that
Bush was aware that the war against Iraqi would have negative impacts
(such as loss of the lives of the armed force members) on the lives of
the people of the United States of America. This is illustrated where
Bush states that millions of Americans have joined the families of the
military officers in prayers for their safety. The main goal of
applying propaganda in the speech is to arouse the emotions of Americans
about the security threats they face and the oppressions subjected to
the Iraqis by Saddam’s leadership (Bush 1). There are three techniques
of propaganda that dominated the Bush’s speech.
First, Bush attempts to present the war against the leadership of Iraq
as an all inclusive effort against security threats. In several
instances, Bush states that the operation to disarm Iraq resulted from
the concerted efforts of different nations and would be carried out by
coalition forces (Bush 1). Bush empathizes this by stating that more
than 35 nations had agreed to participate in operation by providing
support to combat forces and taking specific duties (Bush 1). This was a
bandwagon strategy that was intended to convince the People of the
United States that their forces needed not be excluded from the war
against terror, given that other nations were for it. This was
reiterated by the statement that the operation was a broad and concerted
campaign. The speech illustrates that the nations that had joined the
operation were delighted to honor as ambassadors of peace, freedom of
the people of Iraq, and the world at large. This aims at showing the
Americans that they would lose the honor if they disregarded the
operation.
Secondly, in his speech, Bush applies card stacking technique to
communicate the facts and falsehoods that support the decision to
command the armed forces of the United States of America to attack Iraq.
One of the facts that were communicated through the speech is the issue
of Saddam’s dictatorship and oppressive regime. The leadership of
Saddam was associated with inhuman acts such as rape, hatred of America,
and imprisonment without trial (Tomlin 1). These were sufficient
evidence to arouse the emotions of Americans and persuade them to
support the operation without any rational response. Moreover, Bush
applied falsehood by stating that Saddam had weapons of mass murder,
which was a security threat to America and the entire world (Bush 1).
This was a technically designed statement, which could guarantee the
emotional response of Americans given that America had experienced a
terrorist attack in 2001. However, subsequent research and
investigations revealed that Saddam had already destroyed all the
weapons of mass destruction as required by the international community
before the American attack. Bush instead wanted to achieve personal
goals of strong government, influence, power, and money (Marie 1).
Third, Bush successively applied glittering generalities by illustrating
how the spirit of the operation would uphold the Americans esteemed
values of freedom, justice, and peace. Bush states that the objective of
the operation is to eradicate security threats and refurbish the
Iraq’s control of its people. The statement appears to uphold the
belief and desires of both the United States and the oppressed Iraqis.
However, the question on how the military interventions would achieve
this has not been answered. The America’s attack in Iraq resulted in
property destruction, loss of lives, and small arms in the hands of
civilians (Tomlin 1). This has been a significant security concern for
Iraq citizens up to date, thus raising doubts about the promised
freedom, peace, security, and control. Moreover, Bush was aware of the
fact that America had become a key target of terrorism following its
efforts to advocate for democratic leadership and destruction of
terrorist groups. To this end, Bush was assured of emotional support of
the Americans by promising them that by overthrowing Saddam, the
security dangers would be overcome, and American would attain peace and
freedom. This was targeted at making the idea of operation appear
necessary and an intelligent decision (Ryan 1)
In conclusion, use of propaganda has been proven to be an effective
technique to win the support of the audience. The choice of words in
political speeches determines the success of the speaker in convincing
the target audience to support the idea even without rational
evaluation. In addition, the selection of ideas to advance in the given
set of propaganda requires prior research and planning. This gives the
speaker the wit to approach the issues of concern with full knowledge of
the negatives and the positive side, the falsehood and the truth. The
speaker can selectively advance the concepts that guarantee success. The
speaker is capable of lying by omitting one side of the argument that
would deny victory.
Works cited
Bush, George, G. George Bush address the start of the war. The guardian.
20 March 2003. Web. 27 February 2013. Available
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/mar/20/iraq.georgebush
Institute for Propaganda Analysis. The seven devices. 2012. Web. 27
February 2013. Available
http://www.physics.smu.edu/pseudo/Propaganda/ipatypes.html
Marie, A. Do you speak presidential? Macneil / Lehrer productions. 2005.
Web. 27 February 2013. Available
http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/standardamerican/presidential/
Relyea, C. Terrorist attacks and national emergencies act declarations.
Congressional Research Service. 7 January 2005. Web. 27 February 2013.
Ryan, M. Reading response: Doubts about doublespeak. E-portfolios
Directory. 3 October 2011. Web. 27 February 2013. Available
https://depaul.digication.com/maggies_portfolio2/Doubts_About_Doublespea
k_by_William_Lutz
Tomlin, L. Strike the root: why the US attacked Iraq. Weebies. 13 April
2005. Web. 27 February 2013. Available
http://www.strike-the-root.com/51/weebies/weebies11.html
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