Use of False Analogies in Public Discourse Concerning the Iraq War

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" Iraq is no diversion. It is a place where civilization is taking a decisive stand against chaos and terror, we must not waiver," said President George W. Bush in favor of the Iraq War of 2003. When considering the rhetoric used by those to gain support for the war and by those to oppose the war, it is clear that both sides tried to use historical analogy to argue for their side. While the proponents of the war argued that the Iraq War was comparable to World War II, the opponents argued that it was comparable to Vietnam. Both of these sides used this kind of rhetoric among many other tools, to persuade people to support their side by asserting that if they want to avoid another Hitler, or another Vietnam, then they should support their side. However, both of these sides have used false analogies. When considering the historical facts of both World War II and Vietnam, neither of these conflicts compare to pre-war Iraq. Nevertheless, this kind of argumentation provides many implications about war and American society. In order to understand the basis of these implications, the idea of the analogy will be examined, then the World War II and Vietnam comparisons will be scrutinized, and finally, the implications of this rhetoric will be explained. Arguments from analogy seek to establish that two situations X and Y are alike (Trenholm, 2001). For example, the statement, "It worked for Canada, so it must work for the United States," is an analogy. The validity of this analogy, however, is determined by two criterion. The first criteria is that the two cases compared must be alike in all important respects. The other criteria is that any differences between the cases must be insignificant. When looking at the argument, "It work... ... middle of paper ... ...ton Gazette ( West Virginia). 4 April 2003: Pg. P5A. Academic Universe. Lexis Nexis. Washburn University Library, Topeka, Kansas. 13 February 2005. Dunham, Charlotte Chorn. "Generation units and the life course: A sociological perspective on youth and the anti-war movement." Journal of Political and Military Sociology. Winter 1998. 4 April 2005. http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3719/is_199801/ai_n8759989/print Rieger, Cheryl. Schuman, Howard. "Historical Analogies, Generational Effects, and Attitudes Toward War." American Sociological Review. June 1992: pg. 315(12). Academic Universe. Lexis Nexis. Washburn University Library, Topeka, Kansas. 13 February 2005. Barone, Michael. "The Long Shadow of Vietnam." US News and World Report. 12 April 2004: pg 21. Academic Universe. Lexis Nexis. Washburn University Library, Topeka, Kansas. 13 February 2005.

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