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Fighting the Bad Fight: The War on Terror Revisited


Twelve years have passed since President George W. Bush declared before a nation traumatized and enraged by the events of 9/11 the start of a “crusade . . . on terrorism,”[1] a so-called war on terror, after which he authorized the invasion of Afghanistan, where al Qaeda was known to have established itself.  The War in Afghanistan, which still rages unabated, presaged a greater U.S. military presence in the Middle East, and was eventually followed by the Iraq War in 2003.  Today, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, combined, have cost the U.S. a staggering $6 trillion, nearly a third of the nation’s $17 trillion national debt, and the lives of 6,772 of its soldiers.  To what end? Read the rest of this entry

A Rhetorical Analysis of Krauthammer’s “The Truth about Torture”


In “The Truth about Torture,” first published circa December 2005 in The Weekly Standard, syndicated columnist and conservative political commentator Charles Krauthammer argues for a concession to the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA). Introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the DTA effectively prohibited any and all forms of “cruel, inhuman, or degrading” treatment of those in the custody of the United States (Krauthammer 1). However, Krauthammer asserts that, in “two very circumscribed circumstances”––(1) the ticking time bomb and (2) the slower-fuse high-value terrorist––exceptions to the McCain amendment’s no-torture dictum should be allowed (7). Throughout his essay, Krauthammer rarely makes use of pathos, since his target audience of government policymakers and The Weekly Standard’s readership––which consists of the elderly, affluent, and politically active––tend not to be receptive to arguments that cater to the tender-of-heart, preferring instead the educated, empirically permissible conclusions of men of logic and science. Read the rest of this entry

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