'We have a just cause to guide us'

presidential rhetoric and the just war tradition

Rhondda Fahey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


George W Bush, President of the USA, used these words in Philadelphia eleven days into the war against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. This was not the first time he had used them. They are one of the rhetorical patterns that began just after the destruction of the World Trade Centre towers in New York on September 11 2001. They provide an entry point and a summary of this paper in which I look at the language of the war in Iraq as a linguist and as a Christian. The brief introduction outlines some Old and New Testament attitudes to war. The second part of the paper looks at the rhetorical motifs of good and evil used by President Bush as he moved America and its willing allies towards the 'just' war. The third section demonstrates how the President has fitted his rhetoric into the just war tradition as it is summarised in the Catholic Catechism and elsewhere. The paper concludes by asking where God fits into the discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-82
Number of pages15
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of ''We have a just cause to guide us': presidential rhetoric and the just war tradition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this