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A political action against popular opinion: Aznar's final speech before the Spanish Parliament justifying the war in Iraq (December 2003)

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This paper analyses the last speech delivered in the Spanish Parliament (on 2 December 2003) by Prime Minister Aznar, in which he attempts to discursively uphold the reasons for his decision to support Bush's Administration (although with a small number of troops), and prove his interpretation of events. This speech is the richest in symbolism: it was made after the end of the war and no weapons of mass destruction were found, and also because it took place several hours after the funeral service for seven Spanish intelligence agents, murdered in Iraq.

Our theoretical and methodological background is an eclectic position based on different approaches such as Critical Discourse Analysis, International Sociolinguistics, and Rhetoric (mainly a theory of argumentation), among others. However, in order to analyse a particular type of discourse, it is the text itself which guides the direction of this analysis and leads us to rely to a greater or lesser extent on a specific theoretical or methodological approach.

The analysis reveals that Aznar builds three ideological meanings (or frames) in order to justify his ideological positioning given the socio-political situation of the moment: (1) Terrorism currently represents a global threat of which ETA is just one of many examples; (2) The mission carried out by Spanish troops in Iraq is part of a universal mission, led by the United Nations; and (3) The Partido Popular Government has the clearest insight into our destiny as a nation, and will lead us unequivocally towards it (the return to Spanish nationalism).
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Keywords: PARLIAMENTARY DISCOURSE; POLITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS; POLITICAL STRATEGIES; RHETORICAL DISCOURSE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2008

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