President Bush used the word “weapons” several dozen times last night to make the case for possible military action against Iraq. His speech in Cincinnati came one year after Bush ordered the first military strikes in Afghanistan.
The roughly 3,300-word speech lasted 30 minutes.
Bush used some form of the word “weapon” about 42 times during the speech, typically referring to Iraq’s alleged nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, or “weapons of mass destruction.”
He also used the word “regime” 28 times, emphasizing “the nature” of Iraq’s regime often and the demands the “civilized world” was placing on it:
“The Iraqi regime has an opportunity to avoid conflict. Taking these steps (to meet U.N. resolutions) would also change the nature of the Iraqi regime itself. America hopes the regime will make that choice.”
Bush referred to Saddam Hussein as a “dictator” at least five times, one time calling Iraq’s leader “a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction.”
Bush also turned alliterative at several points, most notably when he said:
“The time for denying, deceiving, and delaying has come to an end. Saddam Hussein must disarm himself—or, for the sake of peace, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.”
That passage also included Bush’s only reference to a “coalition.”
Bush used the word “peace” 10 times, emphasizing it in the following passage:
“As Americans, we want peace—we work and sacrifice for peace. But there can be no peace if our security depends on the will and whims of a ruthless and aggressive dictator. I’m not willing to stake one American life on trusting Saddam Hussein.”
The president used the word “war” several times, but mainly in the context of either a “war on terror” (roughly three times) or the Persian Gulf War (roughly five times).
At no point did Bush use the term “just war,” nor did he use the terms “moral,” “ethics” or “justice.”
The president had reportedly worked on the speech over the weekend at his parents’ home in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Cliff Vaughn is BCE’s associate director.
Click here to read a transcript of President Bush’s remarks.
Click here to read an analysis of President Bush’s Sept. 21, 2001, address to Congress and the nation.