Obama Ending the War in Iraq: a Critical Discourse Analysis

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Doaa Taher AL-Dihaymawee, Shahla Sharifi, Ali Alizadeh


      The unique thing about America war on Iraq is that this war ended twice. The first time on 1 May 2003 by President George W. Bush on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln "mission accomplished". And later by Barack Obama in December 2011. Because of its importance which Obama describes as "The Iraq war has lasted longer than World War I, World War II, and the Civil War." Thus, the researchers apply Wodak's (2001; 2009) discourse-historical approach and van Leeuwen's (2008) sociological categories of actor representation approach to uncover the linguistic strategies in both the micro and macro level that President Obama uses in two of his speeches about ending the war in Iraq. The first speech was delivered in August 2010, while the second speech was delivered in December 2011. According to Obama, this war has achieved its aims as the American troops succeeded in toppling Saddam Hussein and fighting AQI (Al-Qaeda in Iraq) for nine years and killing the head of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden. Therefore, America and its allies are safe now from any terrorists' threat from Saddam or bin Laden. Obama also mentions that the American troops supported the Iraqis to have a democratic government elected by its people in a free election which is American's aim for establishing democracy in the Middle East. All these achievements support Obama's opinion that the war should end now since Iraqis have a free government and they also win the civil war by rejecting the sectarian's ideas. These topoi of achievement lead to the topoi of ending the war and topoi of sacrifices. Therefore, Obama declares the necessity of ending the war as more than 1.5 million US troops have participated in making these achievements and many of them have either lost their lives or wounded for the sake of Iraq freedom.

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