Sunday, February 03, 2008

Iraq: The War Card

The American 'Center for Public Integrity' has just launched its remarkable and very detailed database called The War Card, the first analysis of what they call "935 false statements in the two years following September 11, 2001, about the national security threat posed by Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Nearly five years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an exhaustive examination of the record shows that the statements were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." The database is fully searchable. There's also a multi-media archive.

Whatever your politics, this is a fascinating resource for English teachers, particularly when teaching the language of persuasion or argument for the Leaving Certificate. See also Steven Poole's Unspeak blog (linked in our sidebar), an extension of his book of the same name (subtitled 'Words are Weapons'), analysing "state-of-the-art rhetorical weaponry, from community through sound science and ethnic cleansing to the war on terror." There's an extract from the book on the blog analysing the phrase 'intelligent design' here.

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