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Title: Discourses on wars and conflicts : the discursive construction of Iraq in the US press
Author: Janaby, Dhiaa Kareem Ali
ISNI:       0000 0004 7971 2907
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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This study examines the discourses of US newspapers during the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988) and the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq to see how the themes: i.e., Saddam, Iraqi people, Shiites, Halabja/the use of chemical weapons are discursively represented in these two wars. The research also examines whether there is a shift in the US press stance in its reporting by comparing the treatment of the themes during the two wars in question. To operationalise an interdisciplinary framework for this investigation the study employs corpus linguistics tools: frequency, collocates and concordances, in combination with the Discourse Historical Approach (DHA) to CDA. The investigation reveals that during the Iraq-Iran war, the US press covered the conflicting official statements of all countries involved in the war, while there was an over-reliance on the opinions and statements of US officials during the US-led invasion, with Saddam's voice being muted. In the same vein, although Saddam is portrayed negatively in the Iraq-Iran war, he is much more sharply vilified, Hilterlised and demonised in the US-led invasion, and constructed as a threat that needs to be faced and eliminated. With regard to the Iraqis/Shiites, there is also a shift in reporting in the two wars. In the 2003 US-led invasion they appear as worthy victims, a portrayal that fits in within the propaganda that the war had a humanitarian motive. However, the Iraqis/Shiites are never represented in this way during the Iraq-Iran war. In a similar way, whereas the US press coverage of Halabja and chemical weapons (in 1988) consists mainly of reports of the conflicting opinions and statements of Iraqi, Iranian and US officials during the Iran-Iraq war, this is not the case during the 2003 US-led invasion, when the history of the Halabja gassing and the use of chemical weapons by Iraq is brought back to the surface to serve the aims of demonising and criminalising Saddam in particular and Iraq in general: these events are used to support the claim that Iraq possessed WMDs and that there was a real threat that Saddam would use them. It is hoped that this thesis makes a multifaceted contribution to the field: first, in revealing the US press selective nature of human rights violations with regard to Iraqi social groups and showing how this was in line with US foreign policy; secondly, by contributing to our understanding of the quality of journalistic practices in the US during times of conflict and the way they may function to form the overall characteristics of US press discourses during iv international conflicts, especially conflicts in the Middle East. The study also highlights the mechanisms through which the US press discourses incorporate the official state voices in the processes of legitimising and persuading the public of the necessity for a war.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available