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For this task, I choose to review Senator Robert Byrd's speech "Today I Weep for My Homeland" and Senator McCain's response. Senator Byrd delivered the speech on the floor of the American Senate on March 19, 2003, protesting America's plan to invade Iraq, and Senator McCain responded by defending the government's decision to attack Iraq.
Senator Byrd's speech was intended to express his belief that America's invasion of Iraq was an "option war" (Par. 5). Senator Byrd's point was reiterated in his speech, in which he argued that the United States cannot persuade the rest of the world that its invasion of Iraq was justified. However, both Senator Byrd and McCain’s speech were characterized by emotions and ethos. Their speeches were emotionally charged, and both the speakers were experts in discussing international and foreign affairs, and therefore their arguments were characterized by strict ethos.
The Toulmin method of argumentation was used by both Senator Byrd and Senator McCain to support their views and opinion on America’s invasion of Iraq. For instance, Senator Byrd warrants his argument by stating that the September 11 attack on the USA and other terrorist attacks witnessed globally were desperate attacks by extremists who were seeking to stop the western influence on their cultures. Byrd further supports this warrant by stating that terrorism is not confined to specific borders but rather a global challenge. (par. 7). However, in dispelling Senator Byrd’s arguments, Senator McCain warranted America’s decision to invade Iraq by stating that America’s invasion of Iraq would have liberated the people of Iraq and that America would have written another chapter in its history for fighting for the rights of other citizens (par. 17, 18).
However, Senator McCain mostly used the Rogerian method of argumentation where included some understanding and opposing views in his arguments. For instance, Senator McCain states that the government’s primary consideration is the welfare of the American soldiers but further concedes that the Invasion of Iraq is a dangerous mission and therefore some American soldiers will be killed (par, 14, 17).
The arguments between Senator Byrd and Senator McCain on the floor of the Senate were emotional, argumentative and partisan due to the sensitivity of the topic. Both opposing sides were aggressively mentioned since each party strictly held to its beliefs and ethos.
Byrd, Robert. “Today I Weep for My Country.” Information Clearing House. n.d. Web. 11 May
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