Award Date

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies

First Committee Member

David Henry

Second Committee Member

Sara VanderHaagen

Third Committee Member

Tara Emmers-Sommer

Fourth Committee Member

John Tuman

Number of Pages



On the issue of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, many in the public view President George W. Bush as the primary actor in its execution. Yet Bush explicitly sought congressional approval before employing military force. In doing so, he elevated Congress’ role in the Iraq crisis. A plethora of academic research exists on how Bush attempted to persuade the public that invading Iraq was the correct choice. However, a dearth of scholarship exists on how Congress, specifically the Senate, deliberated on this decision. As a chamber often labeled the “World’s Greatest Deliberative Body,” the Senate carries constitutionally-unique responsibilities in matters of foreign affairs. The 107th Senate and the debate on the 2002 Iraq resolution constitute the focus of this thesis. Often viewed by scholars as highly influential in foreign policy matters, the Senate only dedicated five days to debate one of the most expansive military authorizations in recent American history. A close textual analysis of Senate's speeches, selected from the Congressional Record, was conducted so as to trace the arguments that the Senators made. This analysis yielded three metaphorical clusters that help illuminate the Senators’ speech structure: FORCE, TIME, and STATUS. As federal representatives of the American public, it is crucial to understand how our Senators argued, and ultimately passed, a momentous resolution costing more than one-and-a-half trillion dollars and resulting in the third longest war in American history.


107th Congress; deliberation; invasion of Iraq; rhetoric; Senate; Senate Joint Resolution 46


Communication | Public Policy | Rhetoric

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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