According to the researchers, whose findings appear in a new book,
"Globalization and Empire: The U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Free Markets,
and the Twilight of Democracy" (University of Alabama Press), the
Bush presidency has built a verbal "operation of deception"
characterized by fabrications and lies, disinformation and
propaganda, posturing and threats, and an arsenal of rhetorical
tricks, chief among them what rhetoricians call logical fallacies.
The researchers also say that the public statements and policies of
the Bush White House generally have clashed with each other. The
authors say irregular but common practices of the administration --
what the researchers call "crony capitalism," "patriotic
provincialism," "privatizing globalism" and "institutionalized
privateering" -- are not only ruining Iraq, but cheating U.S.
taxpayers out of billions of dollars and potential social services,
threatening to send the United States into a "numbing economic
morass," and undercutting democracy.
Collectively, the deceptions and policies constitute "a massive
campaign to change the ways Americans think about democracy,
globalization and empire," wrote authors Stephen Hartnett, a
professor of speech communication, and Laura Ann Stengrim, a
doctoral candidate, both at the University of Illinois at
Looking at the relationship between the Bush administration's
public statements and its policies on many issues -- weapons of mass
destruction, waging war on Iraq, the reconstruction of Iraq, Sept.
11, Abu Ghraib and the CIA leak incident -- Hartnett and Stengrim
found "a powerful bond between fraying and increasingly deceptive
norms of public discourse and post-9/11 political and economic
Their analysis, which uses case studies based on historical
research, evidence-based arguments and detailed rhetorical
criticism, illustrates, among other things, "the remarkably
complicated ways the Bush administration has used 9/11 as an elastic
justification for waging wars of globalization and empire under the
banner of free trade and democracy."
Regarding the rationales used for going to war in Iraq, the
authors determined that the president's arguments were "fabrications
spun from evidence that was shaky at best, outright nonsense at
worst, and that the labyrinthine coverups following these initial
fabrications amount to a second, equally dangerous series of lies."
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"Although it is not the first time deceptions have been foisted
on the world by a dissembling president, we demonstrate that
President Bush's WMD (weapons of mass destruction) rhetoric amounts
to a pattern of lying that poses a serious threat to the
foundational principles of democracy," the authors wrote.
There also is a "yawning abyss" between Bush administration
statements and the facts regarding reconstruction in Iraq.
The president, facing criticism from Canada and pressure from
Britain regarding the administration's country-limited bidding
process for reconstruction work in 2003, agreed to open the process
on $18.6 billion in projects. As of April 2004, the authors wrote,
the companies that had received contracts still were overwhelmingly
based in the United States.
And contrary to the president's statements that the oil flowing
again in Iraq is "Iraqi oil, owned by the Iraqi people," the oil,
the authors wrote, is owned by the international consortium of
creditors behind the Trade Bank of Iraq, which, in turn, is managed
by U.S.-based banking giant JP Morgan Chase.
Iraqi oil thus "belongs to JP Morgan Chase and the international
consortium of bankers behind the TBI, those parties benefiting from
the U.N.-created Compensation Fund, and international fossil-fuel
elites running the Development Fund for Iraq."
Although Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld claimed in 2003
that the war had "literally nothing to do with oil," he repeatedly
traveled to Baghdad in the mid-1980s to negotiate with Saddam
Hussein for the construction of a U.S. pipeline that would have
shipped Iraqi oil through Jordan to the port of Aqaba, where it
would be put on ships for America, the authors wrote. Fearing
Israeli air strikes on the pipeline, Saddam turned down the deal in
The authors wrote that they offer their book "from positions of
deep sadness and unflagging hope, for although we are not proud of
our nation's actions in Iraq, and although many of the stories and
facts conveyed here can only be called shameful, we continue to
believe in the promises and practices of American democracy."
[News release from the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign]