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This essay explores the relationship between epideictic discourse and war through the analysis of George W. Bush's August 20, 2005, address at the Naval Air Station near San Diego, ostensibly to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Allied victory over Japan. The case also serves as an exemplar for how Bush routinely interwove epideictic appeals with collective memories of World War II in order to promote the Iraq war and deflect criticism of his policies there. Bush praised the greatest generation and linked it to the current generation; blamed and dehumanized enemies of the past and present; advocated for war based on "lessons" from the past; and reinforced a shared identity to instill both obligation and confidence. © 2011 National Communication Association.


Collective Memory, Epideictic Rhetoric, George W. Bush, Iraq, War, World War II

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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Communication Monographs on 25 Jul 2011, available online at:

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