Chapter 7. Legitimizing the Iraq War through the genre of political speeches

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In Albert Camus’ novel The Fall, the main character Jean-Baptiste Clamance introduces himself as a judge-penitent, following the motto “[t]he more I accuse myself, the more I have a right to judge you”. In this chapter, I operationalize such behavior in order to understand the strategy of persuasion used by Denmark’s then Prime-Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen when he legitimized the Iraq-invasion in 2003. In contrast to self-righteous myths, Rasmussen did so by self-critically addressing the policy of Danish collaboration with Nazi-Germany during World War Two. He thereby became able to claim, like Clamance, to have learnt the lessons from history, thus occupying the moral high ground from which he discursively constructed the opponents of the invasion as being morally inferior.


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