Date of Award


Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Mary E. Stuckey - Chair

Second Advisor

Michael Binford

Third Advisor

James Dearsey

Fourth Advisor

David Cheshier

Fifth Advisor

Carol K. Winkler


This is a rhetorical study of President George W. Bush’s use of the - ideographic dialectic in his appeals for support for war in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as reelection in 2004. I argue that President Bush’s use of the - dialectic in each case provided him with specific rhetorical resources that enhanced his ability to seek support from the four discourse communities that constitute the foreign policy public: unilateralists, multilateralists, regionalists and coalition builders. The terministic flexibility of the ideographic dialectic worked well enough to encourage meanings in each foreign policy discourse community that were consonant with that group’s worldview. This allowed Bush to appeal to the disparate groups and appear as though he advocated their desired policies, when in fact, he did not promote any specific policy. This project contributes to the theoretical understanding of the ideograph by complicating the concept of the public. Further, it adds credence to claims that the War on Terror is a never-ending war.