Considerable public debate surrounded the Bush Administration's policy to invade Iraq if it did not dismantle its purported stockpile of 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' and the wisdom of Australian participation in such an attack. This paper invokes Albert Hirschman's well-known 'rhetoric of reaction' taxonomy to examine the patterns of persuasive discourse embodied in the Australian debate over the desirability of Australian involvement in a war with Iraq. We seek to establish whether the Hirschmanian typology does indeed adequately describe rhetorical patterns in the Australian debate and we attempt to identify shortcomings in the analytical system proposed by Hirschman.
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