In the Name of Terrorism

Presidents on Political Violence in the Post-World War II Era

By Carol K. Winkler

Subjects: Presidency, The
Series: SUNY series on the Presidency: Contemporary Issues, SUNY series in the Trajectory of Terror
Paperback : 9780791466186, 270 pages, June 2006
Hardcover : 9780791466179, 270 pages, October 2005

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Table of contents

1. What’s in a Name?

Presidential Discourse and Terrorism
Terrorism and Ideology


2. The Vietnam War and the Communist Terrorists


Labeling the Threat
The Terrorist Narrative in the Vietnam War
Terrorism and Ideology


3. The Iranian Hostage Crisis: An American Tragedy


Labeling the Captors
The Narrative of the Iranian Hostage Crisis
Ideology and the Iranian Hostage Crisis


4. Origins of Terrorism as an American Ideograph: The Reagan Era


Labeling the Threat
The Terrorist Narrative in the Reagan Era
Terrorism and Ideology


5. The Persian Gulf Conflict of 1991: The Cold War Narrative in the Post-Cold War Era


Labeling the Crisis
The Narrative of the 1991 Persian Gulf Crisis
Ideology and Persian Gulf Terrorism


6. Terrorism and the Clinton Era: A Prophetic Moment


Labeling the Threat
Clinton’s Terrorist Narrative
Terrorism and Ideology


7. America under Attack: George W. Bush and Noncitizen Actors


Labeling the Crisis
The Terrorist Narrative
Terrorism and Ideology


8. Terrorism and American Culture
Works Cited

Traces the shifts in presidential discourse on terrorism since World War II.


Winner of the 2008 Outstanding Book Award presented by the Political Communication Division of the National Communication Association

The topic of terrorism has evolved into an ideological marker of American culture, one that has fundamentally altered the relationship between the three branches of government, between the government and the people, and between America and countries abroad. In the Name of Terrorism describes and analyzes the public communication strategies presidents have deployed to discuss terrorism since the end of World War II. Drawing upon internal administration documents, memoirs, and public papers, Carol K. Winkler uncovers how presidents have capitalized on public perceptions of the terrorist threat, misrepresented actual terrorist events, and used the term "terrorism" to influence electoral outcomes both at home and abroad. Perhaps more importantly, she explains their motivations for doing so, and critically discusses the moral and political implications of the present range of narratives used to present terrorism to the public.

Carol K. Winkler is Department Chair and Professor of Communication at Georgia State University. She is the coauthor (with William Newman and David Birdsell) of Lines of Argument for Policy Debate.