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Unformatted text preview: ords, the vagueness of political speech acts may lead
to misunderstanding and conflict.
In some cases the mercantile approach to human life is contrasted
with the ‘calamity of war’ approach, as in (50):
(50) Since everybody believes that negotiations will have to take place in
the end, how many more lives does the Government think it is sensible to lose before they go to the United Nations for some sort of
ceasefire to permit these negotiations to take place, or is it the Government’s intention in pursuing an ultimate military victory that this
appalling tragedy which is now unfolding should be continued to its
Here the sensibility of losing any more lives is invalidated by reference to
the Clausewitzian theory of war, where war is a necessary procedure before peace talks, and before a renegotiation of the pre-war status can take
place. The questionable sense of this procedure is undermined by the use
of a rhetorical question (How many more lives…) and highly emotionally
loaded vocabulary (this appalling tragedy), which, together with the word
unfolding, can be considered as originating in the lexical field of theatre.15
An extreme case of the rhetorical argumentation is represented by
a journalist supporting the war, who attributes the following words to a
simple seaman on board the royal navy fleet in the South Atlantic:
(51) And as a colour-sergeant remarked to me on the Canberra on the
way down here, “If a place is worth dying for, it’s got to be worth
keeping”. 15 I would like to thank Jacek Fabiszak for this suggestion. A qualitative analysis of war news 131 The metonymy EFFECT FOR CAUSE used here in combination with the conceptual metaphor WAR IS BUSINESS reverses the hierarchy of values, so that
a few mostly barren islands become valuable, not because of any inherent
value, but because people kill each other to keep or ‘repossess’ them.
The Clausewitzian teaching, echoed in (50), can also be discerned
in such phrases as those in (52):
(52) Mr James Hill (Southampton, Test, C) said the task force, when it
went into action, should not be in leg irons. It should be given complete freedom of movement once the political decision was made.
the task force is and was clearly under political control
These two quotes refer to Clausewitz’s demand for a civilian control of
the army. The example below rings of the famous Clausewitzian aphorism
that war is politics conducted by other means:
(53) Lord Gladwyn (L) said it was hoped that diplomacy would succeed
in solving the dispute. In the event of diplomacy failing (he went on)
we must all assume that the Government has contingency plans, if
necessary, for settling the dispute by other means.
A number of metaphors seemed to turn up ad hoc, without any major impact on discourse patterns. They are listed below together with their exemplifications:
(54) FALKLANDS WAR IS A CRUSADE: Mr Peter Viggers (Gosport, C)
said later: There is no better place for the beginning of a crusade
for freedom than in the South Atlantic, where the sovereign territory
of a democracy has been attacked by...
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