Legitimization of War on Terror in US Foreign Policy Discourse

Document Type : Research Paper


PhD Student University of Tehran


Following the 9/11 attacks, the US, as a part of its "war on terrorism", attacked Afghanistan and Iraq to lead what was called a campaign to liberate all the people from terrorism and direct them towards freedom and democracy. In the years that followed, thousands of people were killed, injured, and lost their homes; thousands of people tried to find refuge in other countries; and incalculable losses were incurred. Terrorism, however, was not stopped and terrorist activities spread all over the world. This costly and damaging policy with all its negative consequences was made possible by legitimizing strategies of US administration. This article seeks to analyze the legitimizing discourse of the Bush administration through metaphor and predicate analysis. The findings show how American officials and in particular President Bush, by relying on hegemonic discourses such as liberalism and American exceptionalism, constructed a new representation of the self and the other through which US practices and policies could be justified.


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Volume 49, Issue 4
January 2020
Pages 1155-1174
  • Receive Date: 23 September 2018
  • Revise Date: 17 March 2019
  • Accept Date: 17 March 2019
  • First Publish Date: 22 December 2019