The Rhetoric of Terror

Powerful Essays
The Rhetoric of Terror

From the writer: In the wake of September 11, the United States retreated into intense patriotism. However, love for this country is something more than hanging an American flag outside your home. True love of America is something more; it is civic virtue, practicing good citizenship. Vote on Election Day, read the newspaper and write letters to members of Congress. Failing to take advantage of freedom and democracy may lead to the rise of evil.

From the teacher, Vivian Rice: The events of September 11, 2001, dramatically affected the work in many of our writing classes during the 2001-2002 academic year. For many students from that morning on, the semester was an emotional time of worry, grief, and finally questioning. Joshua Lax’s essay was written in response to a research argument assignment. Lax used the opportunity to consider why and how Osama bin Laden was able to inspire his followers to accept his vision of the world. Lax draws on his understanding of the theory of media and propaganda from his Newhouse classes as well as our class’s activities in writing this piece.

From the editor, Patrick Dacey: Joshua Lax rips through the images that have plagued Americans since September 11th. But he does not antagonize the media; instead he focuses on how propaganda, rhetoric, and language are used to produce social change. The piece reveals reasons why America has become a target for war through the power of an outspoken, persuasive leader. Whether your opinions on the war are different, based on fear, or just hidden; Lax does not shy away from his views and uses powerful research to make his opinions known, and in a sense, justified.

The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in ...

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....S. Department of State. Bureau of Public Affairs. 25 November 2001

"Encyclopedia Britannica: Lebanon." Encyclopedia Britannica Online. 25 November 2001

Finch, Lynette. "Psychological Propaganda: The War of Ideas During the First Half of the Twentieth Century." Armed Forces & Society: An Interdisciplinary Journal 26.3 (2000): 367.

Plato. "Gorgias." The Collected Dialogues of Plato. Ed. Edith Hamilton and Huntington Cairns. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961. 229-307.

Ranstorp, Magnus. "Terrorism in the Name of Religion." Journal of International Affairs 50.1 (1996): 41-63.

Shomar, David. "United States and the Muslim World: How We See Each Other." The University Forum: The Global Response to Terrorism. Byrd Library, Syracuse. 18 October 2001.
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