Freedom At War With Fear Speech Analysis

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When George W. Bush delivered his “Freedom at War with Fear” speech at the Congress on Sept 20th, 2001, America has just suffered from the single deadliest terrorist attack on US soil. Apart from the intention of establishing himself as a capable leader in times of crisis, Bush’s speech dealt primarily with how terrorism has trampled the very core of American values and how America should respond accordingly. Knowing that Americans were already raged about being attacked on their homeland (“our grief has turned to anger”) and the fact that many demanded actions (“and anger to resolution”), Bush’s general purposes was “strengthening commitment”; more specifically, to strengthen citizens’ and congressmen’s commitment to a long-term war on terror “until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated”.

Throughout his speech, Bush extensively used common knowledge – universal beliefs and values shared by people of different cultural and religious background1 – to support his argument. He mentioned freedom, a value held highly by most Americans, thirteen times during the speech. He referred to terrorists as “enemies of freedom” and their actions a war on freedom
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He mentioned at the beginning of his speech that “whether we bring enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.” He also emphasized at the ending part of his speech “we’ll meet violence with patience justice”. In this latter sentence, Bush was clearly using “patience justice” in place of “slow revenge”. The notion of justice could be subject to different interpretations by the audience; however, judging from the context of his entire speech, Bush deliberately distorted the meaning of “justice” to fulfill his propaganda. While he seemed to be talking about justice while he meant war and
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