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Dangerous Supplements, Inventive Dissent, and Military Critiques of the Bush Administration's Unitary Executive Theories


Marouf Hasian, Jr. is a professor of communication at the University of Utah. His areas of interest include rhetoric and law, modern contemporary rhetorical theory, and postcolonial studies, and he is the author of In the Name of Necessity: Military Tribunals and the Loss of American Civil Liberties and Rhetorical Vectors of Memory in National and International Holocaust Trials.


Given the growing resonance of presidential rhetorics that are filled with tales of “unitary executive” power, wartime necessities, and unlawful combatants, critics of the administration need to find novel ways of dissenting. In recent years, several generals and other soldiers have assiduously avoided using frontal assault strategies in their critiques of Bush administration policies. Instead, they have used dangerous supplements, strategies of mythic reappropriation, where detractors have claimed that the Vulcans of the Bush administration have betrayed their masculine duties. Several case analyses of military tribunal debates and the generals' ouster of Donald Rumsfeld show us both the rewards and costs that have attended the embrace of some of these martial rhetorics.