Evidencing international threat
Examining Iraq Survey Group’s post-invasion verification of Iraq’s WMD threat
By studying the discourse utilized by the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) and its chief officers during 2003–2004, we show the methods by which U.S. government-appointed experts helped to affirm the existence of an Iraqi threat even in the absence of physical evidence for weapons of mass destruction (WMD) stockpiles or active weapons programs found in Iraq during U.S. ground search. Their data collection and interpretation work illuminates the principle that the claims and calculations of international threat can be primarily constructed by language and discourse processes rather than by direct/concrete material referents. It also points to the need for institutions and a lay audience to apply a higher evidentiary threshold to ascertain the existence of an international threat.
Published online: 13 May 2013
Chang, Gordon C., and Hugh B. Mehan
2008 “Why We Must Attack Iraq: Bush’s Reasoning Practices and Argumentation System.” Discourse and Society 19 (4): 449–478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0957926508089939.
Fairclough, Isabela, and Norman Fairclough
2011 “Practical Reasoning in Political Discourse: The UK Government’s Response to the Economic Crisis in the 2008. Pre-Budget Report.” Discourse and Society 22 (3): 243–268. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0957926510395439.
1989 “When Talk Isn’t Cheap.” American Ethnologist 16 (2): 248–267. http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/ae.1989.16.2.02a00040.
Lazar, Annita, and Michelle Lazar
2004 “The Discourse of the New World Order: ‘Out-Casting’ the Double Face of Threat.” Discourse and Society 15 (2–3): 223–242. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0957926504041018.
Leudar, Ivan, Victoria Marsland, and Jiri Nekvapil
2004 “On Membership Categorization: ‘Us’, ‘Them’ and ‘Doing Violence’ in Political Discourse.” Discourse and Society 15 (2–3): 243–266. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0957926510382840.
Leudar, Ivan, and Jiri Nekvapil
Rawls, Anne Warfield
Schutz, Alfred, and Thomas Luckmann
Toulmin, Stephen E
. 2003 The Uses of Argument. New York: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511840005.
Van Eemeren, Frans H., Rob Grootendorst
Van Dijk, Teun A
(2008) Discourse and Context: A Sociocognitive Approach. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511481499.
(2009) Society in Discourse: How Social Contexts Influence Text and Talk. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511575273.
Van Dijk, Teun
Wilson, John, Ahmed Sahlane, and Ian Somerville
2012 “Argumentation and Fallacy in Newspaper: Op/Ed Coverage of the Prelude to the Invasion of Iraq.” Journal of Language and Politics 11 (1): 1–30. http://dx.doi.org/10.1075/jlp.11.1.01wil.
(2009) The Discourse of Politics in Action: Politics as Usual. Houndmills, UK and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/9780230233683