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Published White House Internal Memos: Legal Transparency or Subtle Electoral Canvassing?1

La publication officielle des rapports internes de la Maison Blanche : transparence légale ou subtile stratégie électorale ?
Mounir Triki
p. 260-279

Résumé

Dans quelle mesure la manipulation du « genre » est-elle une stratégie utile  à des fins pragmatiques ? Les rapports internes de la Maison Blanche et les décrets officiels présentent un intérêt d’analyse stimulant : celui de « l’affiliation générique ». D’un côté, ce sont des exemples de discours officiels, d’où leur vocabulaire légal. D’autre part, le fait qu’ils sont publiés et non tenus secrets signifie que le bureau de presse de la Maison Blanche y voit une utilité politique certaine en les rendant public, d’où la présence d’une coloration propagandiste subtile des messages. Afin d’illustrer ce « jeu générique », l’étude des rapports internes de G.W. Bush sur la politique des Indiens d’Amérique est au cœur de notre réflexion. Il est intéressant de noter que la période de publications de ces écrits coïncide curieusement avec des événements politiques de grande importance, servant ainsi des ambitions plus ou moins voilées.

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Entrées d’index

Index chronologique :

20th century, XXe siècle
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Texte intégral

Background to the study

  • 1 Special thanks go to my dear colleagues Jalel Rehayem (for his expert advice on American domestic (...)

1Research on Political Discourse has taken three main directions. The most influential trend is that of Critical Discourse Analysis which draws on social theory and aspects of linguistics in order to understand and challenge dominant discourses (Wilson, 1990; Chilton, 1997; Wodak and Chilton, 2005). Another influential trend in Political Discourse Analysis relies on Pragmatics (Trognon et Larru, 1994; Fetzer, 2004; Hewings and Hewings, 2005) where such questions as the intricacies of meaning assignment, implicatures, slanting and opacity are invoked whereas the third tradition revives time-honoured Rhetorical tools (Young and Harrison, 2004; Cockroft and Cockroft, 2005) that identify various types of appeals and persuasive strategies.

2In this article, these trends will be surveyed, the underlying political question will be briefly presented and the relevance of the techniques and material to the theme of subtle propaganda will be synthesised.

Critical Discourse Analysis

3This section will discuss, first, the definition and scope of CDA, then its agenda and, finally, its methodology.

4Inspired, like other major CDA analysts, by Michael Halliday’s systematic-functional and socio-semiotic view of language, Blommaert (2005) extends the scope of Critical Discourse Analysis to cover the effects of power in discourse produced in the overall context of language use. To have better insights into the dynamics of societies-in-the-world, CDA needs to rely on findings from linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics. Taking as a premise the assumption that communicative events are ultimately influenced by social structures in that they produce such social attributes as authority, power, inequality, and ideology, CDA focuses on the use of language in institutional contexts and the relations between language, power, and ideology. Given this social orientation of CDA, its relevance and utility to the analysis of subtle propaganda becomes most apparent.

5Huckin (1997) synthesises the research and political agenda of CDA practitioners into the following main priorities: 1) the crucial role of context, 2) the historicity of social praxis, 3) the need to change unjust social practices, and 4) the intertextual dimension.

The crucial role of context in CDA

6Blommaert (2005) argues that context is always needed in discourse analysis and that contextualization is dialogical. One major type of context is the complex of linguistic means and communicative skills generally viewed as resources. The context of resources provides an understanding of why some individuals, but not others, have access to these resources and how inequalities result between those who possess them and those who do not. In fact, Blommaert (2005) argues, the existing scope of context must be broadened to include not only transnational and globalized contexts of language use but also the context long before and after the emergence of discourse ‘as a linguistically articulated object’. In the present study, it will be vital to bear in mind that:

  1. The text is initially produced by President G.W. Bush and addressed to his own subordinates

  2. The text is published by the White House Press Office to the whole world, including US voters

  3. This double function results in a complex discourse structure where it is no longer clear who is speaking to whom (Triki and Sellami-Baklouti, 2002).

Historicity of social praxis

7Following the lead of Fairclough and Thompson, Blommaert (2005) points out that human activities represent history in various ways and that the process by which history is represented in discourse imposes restrictions on what participants can say. Discourse producers select certain layers of historicity and synchronize them to the position they take, thus performing an act of power. He further argues that, while discourse takes place within “a real-time and synchronic event,” it simultaneously represents ‘several layers of historicity’ of which discourse participants may or may not be aware.

8The corpus at hand cannot be analysed properly without having access to the history of the American Indian question and without conducting a historiographic sifting of the conflicting statements reflecting the conflicting positions of the various parties involved. These statements are listed in Appendix B as primary sources that represent the background against which the text should be read. In line with the dialogism of CDA, the voices that Bush’s text silences are given expression in the appendix.

Work on social change in different settings

9Widdowson reportedly identifies CDA as ‘Linguistics with a Conscience’ (Huckin, 1997). Describing unjust practices is not enough. Changing them is not only possible but also desirable. In this respect, Young and Harrison (2004) focus on social change in different settings and through a wide range of voices. They explore ways to study social, political, and economic transformations, whilst also examining the effects of social change on national and institutional identities. One major arena has been the fight against various forms of racism. The work of van Dijk and Wodak could be taken as illustrating this orientation. For instance, van Dijk (2005) presents an inventory of elite discourse and racism in Spain and Latin America while Wodak devotes a great deal of her research to uncovering traces of anti-semitism. In Latin America, ethnicism and racism against the indigenous peoples and against Afrolatins has prevailed in elite discourse since colonialism and slavery. The White House Memos should be tackled from a number of analytic angles that attempt to lay bare Bush’s ideological assumptions about American Indians. Such a discussion could be taken as a step in the fight for indigenous rights in the USA.

10Another key concept in CDA is the notion of power. Most CDA analysts pay special attention to language use as an exercise of social power by a dominant group over a dominated one. However, this view is seriously challenged by Grillo (2005) who argues that there are other forms of power relations that may lead to mutual empowerment rather than to mere domination. While the hegemony model reduces power to domination, the participative model equates it with empowerment.  It will be interesting to see whether Bush’s inflated claims over the various rights he has granted American Indians turn out to be a means of empowering them or a means of exerting Federal domination over them.

11One further arena is the language of the media (Fowler, 1991; Aitchison and Lewis, 2003). Research in this field aims to explore the relationship between language and the media from two perspectives: how does media language influence our view of reality, and how do the media affect language itself?  It investigates how the representation of a topic can influence the audience’s perception of it.  The publication of Bush’s internal memos on the internet could be taken to provide a key medium that represents reality from a certain angle, but it is vital to consider how Bush frames the American Indian question and what he wants to achieve through this representation.

Work on intertextuality

12Following Bakhtin’s legacy, CDA puts special emphasis on intertextuality (Allen, 2001). Allusion is one major realisation of this function. According to Lennon, the main characteristic of allusion is the existence of an ‘echo’ between one unit of language in praesentia (the alluding unit) and another unit in absentia (the target). Thus, this device has a primary reference to the present text and a secondary reference to an absent text. Owing to this property, allusion yields a double meaning: “a primary, textual meaning in accord with the context and co-text of the manifest text, and a secondary associational meaning, suggested by the remembered context and co-text of the source text” (Lennon, 2004, p. 5). As such, it is a cover term for a number of language-use phenomena which cannot be described solely with regard to their form. They must also be described with respect to their pragmatic and functional characteristics.

13The present text should be analysed in light of the others that it alludes to or presupposes, namely the US Constitution, the Bible, the various pieces of legislation regulating the American Indian question, and, especially, the various political acts perpetrated by previous American administrations affecting American Indians.

14Fairclough’s research methodology in CDA has a three-way function, namely description, interpretation, and explanation/evaluation. Description is concerned with the analysis of linguistic/textual features of discourse. It answers the ‘what’ question: i.e. what are the most salient linguistic items used in the text? Interpretation, on the other hand, deals with the analysis of the social, ideological, and cognitive resources employed by discourse producers. It answers the ‘How?’ question: i.e. what is the effect of the patterns detected in the descriptive phase? Most important, still, to CDA is the explanatory/evaluative function as it seeks to render discourse analysis ‘critical’ by exposing the underlying ideological perspectives through social theory. These three steps will provide the analytic angles from which the text under study will be tackled.

The Input of Pragmatics

15Since Pragmatics is centrally concerned with language in use, its main contribution has to do with the crucial role of context in meaning assignment, theatricality, and implicitness.

The crucial role of context

16Pragmaticists have examined the connectedness between grammaticality and context, and between context and appropriateness, attempting to explain why it is necessary to change from a sentence grammar to a dialogue grammar, which is where grammaticality meets appropriateness (Asher, 1994; Fetzer, 2004). Similarly, Hewings and Hewings (2005) consider how grammatical choices influence and are influenced by the context in which communication takes place and examine the interaction of a wide variety of contexts, including socio-cultural, situational and global influences. What these are all centrally concerned with is the relationship between the analysis of the formal properties of text and the significance that is assigned to them in discourse interpretation (Widdowson, 2005).

17Moreover, Widdowson (2005) introduces the notion of pretext as an additional factor in the general interpretative process. A public/overt utterance can be merely the pretext for an ulterior undeclared utterance. Following this logic, it will be interesting to question the appropriateness of publishing White House Internal Memos at a time when eyes are set on election platforms for the 2004 Presidential elections.

Research on Self-marketing strategies

18Research on self-marketing strategies follows the legacy of Goffman (1981). The tenor of this research addresses one of the most significant aspects of social life: that of cultural identities and identifications, and of the ways we construct them through our speech and the narrative of ourselves and others (Meinhof and Galasinski, 2005). There is a strong element of theatricality in self- and other- representations, tentatively encapsulated in the Tricky Hypothesis (Triki, 2002; Triki and Sellami-Baklouti, 2002; Triki and Baklouti-Sellami, 2003). How does Bush represent his own self/administration and that of the American Indians? Do we have centripetal signs of identification or centrifugal signs of alienation and distancing? In what light does Bush want to be perceived by American Whites, American Indians, as well as a miscellany of possible overhearers? (Triki and Sellami-Baklouti, 2002)

“Pragmatic Implicit Anchoring” (PIA)

19The intricacy of implied meanings is seen by many pragmatcists as a major feature of political discourse (Trognon et Larru, 1994). In this respect, Östman (2005) illustrates the use of the “Pragmatic Implicit Anchoring” (PIA) toolkit with the corpus study of the persuasive function of collocations in newspaper discourse. In his framework, persuasive communication takes place on an explicit level through linguistic choices that construe the propositional content of messages, and it also simultaneously takes place through implicit choices of how to express ourselves in relation to the demands of the cultural context at hand, in relation to our reader or co-interactant, and our attitude. The PIA toolkit contains three parameters: Coherence (i.e. communicative restraints imposed by a culture and society on linguistic behavior), Politeness (i.e. interactional constraints), and Involvement (i.e. norms of affect and emotion). Analyzing the implicit collocations of ‘propaganda’, ‘persuasion’ and ‘manipulation’, Östman finds that ‘propaganda’ particularly exploits the Coherence parameter, ‘persuasion’ the Politeness parameter, and ‘manipulation’ the Involvement parameter. With regard to the text under study, we shall consider which of these parameters has been exploited most.

The Rhetorical Input

20Rhetoric, in its various ‘new’ versions, is the study of the modalities/strategies used for the ‘engineering of consent’ (Cockcroft and Cockroft, 2005). Two of these strategies will be discussed here, namely the manipulation of genre and the specificity of Official Discourse.

Studies on Genre

21Following Baserman’s ‘Socio-Rhetorical’ view, genres are viewed as social constructs that have persuasive ends. In this respect, Virtanen and Halmari (2005) present the emerging perspectives of “Persuasion across genres”, arguing that each genre provides convincing, persuading arguments with its own combination of ethos, pathos and logos. Persuasion is evaluated in regard to its potential effects on the audience. But, since the audience is changing, then persuasion needs to be considered as a dynamic phenomenon. Basic to this argument is the fact that the process of minimizing the ‘interdiscursive gap’ between genres may lead to the blurring of genre boundaries and result in generic hybrids. When it is not clear to which genre a text belongs (e.g. is it an ad or product information?), it can be argued that implicit persuasion takes place (e.g. an ad is mistaken for product information). The significance of this concept lies in the fact that one kind of text can pose as another. This strategy is arguably the main ploy used in the document to be studied, leading to subtle propaganda.

Work on Official Discourse

22This section will review two related studies on official discourse. The first, by Young and Harrison (eds) (2004), attempts to show “how one could go about ‘unpacking’ bureaucratese through the Phasal Analysis of an e-mail office memo issued within Health Canada (HC), a department of the Government of Canada” (232). The second study, by Partington (2003), looks at the communication between the spokespersons (spin-doctors) and the press (wolf-pack) at White House briefings.  Both studies try to establish principled links between means and their persuasive effects. The relevance of these studies lies in the fact that the text under study is an internal memo to be circulated initially in very closed circles and, later, paradoxically, to be made public through the White House Press Office. The problematics involved are rather similar.

A Brief Historical Survey

23The following is a synthesis of the views of the various primary sources listed in Appendix B. Its relevance lies in the fact that it is the background against which the text must be read contrapuntally in Saiidian terms. It was thought that the 1865 American Civil War would be the last fratricidal armed conflict in the United States, but less than a decade later, America was “divided against itself” again. The 1874-1875 Red River Indian War revealed the incremental degradation in the Red Indian status and reminded historians of the fact that the Western civilization in North America was founded on the ashes of the Aboriginal Indigenous (Ahnishi­nahbæótjibway) people. The brutal war of extermination conducted by Western Europeans against the original people of the Continent was justified by the derogatory unilateral definition by the Euro-Americans, of Aboriginal Indigenous peoples as “Indians”. As a matter of fact, the Western Europeans’ self-justifications were built on a precedent set by Pope Alexander III, in the year 1179, that “outsiders” and “infidels” were not entitled to the same protection as “equals” when vanquished.     

  • 2 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the year 1871, le (...)
  • 3 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1871, Appendix Ae, No. 31, 162.

24The 1874-1875 Red River Indian War took place when American Indians loathed the life of confinement on Oklahoma and Texas in the late 1860s, started breaking out and raiding neighboring white settlements in violation of the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty (Kansas, October 1867) that had placed a number of Southwestern tribes on a number of reservations. 3000 federal infantry under the command of General William T. Sherman were dispatched to quell the uprising. Half of the protesters were slaughtered, and the other half-starved survivors surrendered and returned to their confinement. Red Indians no longer roamed America’s southern plains. General Sherman in an endorsement to the recommendations of the Secretary of the Interior, summarized the federal policy towards the Red Indians which meant “to fix and determine the Reservations within which they may live and be protected by all branches of the executive Government; but if they wander outside they at once become objects of suspicion liable to be attacked by the troops as hostile.2” Thomas S. Williamson had written on June 2, 1871: “I hasten to send you my views as to civilizing the aborigines of our country [...] The hostility between the white and red men of our country is chiefly owing to the fact that the [Indians] are, in our country, everywhere outlaws.  If we would strike from our statutes the words ‘except Indians not taxed’, and punish them for their crimes [... ] they would very rarely molest us.3

  • 4 New York Times, October 11, 13, and 16, 1868, as quoted in The Movement for Indian Assimilation, 18 (...)
  • 5 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the year 1871, Wa (...)
  • 6 Encyclopaedia Americana, vol. 11, 553b.
  • 7 The Movement for Indian Assimilation, 1860-1890, Henry E. Fritz, University of Pennsylvania Press, (...)

25The history of injustice and racism to which Red Indians were subject is not only a de facto but also a systematic de jure discriminatory policy that treated them as third class citizens. General Ulysses Grant during his Presidential Campaign of 1868 declared that “the settlers and immigrants must be protected, even if the extermination of every Indian tribe was necessary to secure such a result.4” Paradoxically, Grant’s presidency is described by The Encyclopaedia Americana as characterized by “his peaceful Indian policy5.” The same source remarks that the “Indian Wars” of that era were “some of the bitterest fighting of American military history, interspersed with massacres [...] the inadequacy of troops available for the ugly job of pacification was not its worst feature6.” In 1865 the United States Government had begun contracting with Christian missionary societies “for the purpose of preparing Indians to adopt Anglo-American culture”7 under similar concepts of peace.

  • 8 Memorandum to Tribal Government Services, to All Area Directors, from Acting Deputy Assistant Secre (...)
  • 9 Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sunday, January 3, 1993, Outdoors/Recreation in the Sports Section.  Inte (...)

26Today, the United States Government continues to maintain what they call the Indian C.F.R. (Code of Federal Regulations) Courts to bring Aboriginal Indigenous peoples under the jurisdiction of the separate structure which the U.S.A. calls Indian law. In 1985, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Tribal Government Services declared that8  employees in courts of Indian offences were “prohibited from wilfully and unlawfully removing, concealing, destroying or falsifying public records”, and “Courts of Indian offences personnel [had to] comply with a request for court records made in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. §552”. But this did nothing to improve the Red Indians’ legal plight as a series of articles in the Minneapolis Star Tribune of January 1986, entitled Indian Courts, Islands of Injustice9, concluded:

Civil rights abuses are occurring virtually unchecked on many of the nation’s Reservations with Indian courts.  A half-million Indians live on those Reservations and could find themselves in courts without rights to bail, jury trials, lawyers, and decisions untainted by politics.

27TheStar Tribune also asked why “the federal government, which [spent] more than $8 million a year to finance courts for about 150 Reservations”, was not doing something to curb the abuses. The paper went on to comment that “Congress gave Indians most of the protections of the Bill of Rights in the 1868 Indian Civil Rights Act.  But 10 years later the U.S. Supreme Court sharply limited the impact of this legislation.”

28In sum, the situation of the Native American is very peculiar. A wide array of terms refer to those who first inhabited the American continent: the Native Americans, Amerindians, Indians, Red Indians, are all terms describing the aboriginal population, the indigenous people of the whole American continent. It seems paramount to briefly go through historical periods and tragic events which have lead to their present situation.

29A whole period of still continuing misrepresentation has shaped these people. The first generation of the western films with their cowboys, sheriffs and other invading white Christian people fighting against the savage, motionless, heartless and heathen Indians who attack the innocent whites are examples and witnesses of this race’s suffering. Besides, a large literary corpus was written about them, from different perspectives at different periods. The renaissance of Indian literature only began in the late 1970s.

30The colonial suffering/strife started with the arrival of Columbus who declared his discovery of this continent. Later on, the proclamation of America as a wild, uninhabited part of the world deepened the sufferings of the indigenous peoples. For, indeed, the term Indians coined by Columbus is a misleading one. We tend to regard them as one people sharing so many aspects of life. Yet they are as different as the people populating Africa and Europe. Testimonials of the early settlers spoke of wandering tribes who roamed the continent and lived from fishing and hunting. Others knew some forms of agricultural activities. Throughout the centuries, invasions, removals, slaughters, massacres were the lot of these people who welcomed the newcomers despite their difference. Treaties which the US governments did not honor or which the succeeding governments broke followed each other all the time obliging the Indians to move and die in hundreds.

31Reservations were and still are the only refuge, yet it is /was not a safe one. With the introduction of alcohol and viruses, the life of the Indians was diminished. Reservations represent Indian governments, but these governments are supported by the federal American one, should also be recognized and accepted by it, and run officially by the bureau / agency of Indian affairs. As the primary sources pertaining to The American Indian movement enclosed in Appendix B show, this movement had its role in boosting this rising awareness.

32What is obvious from this review is the fact that the predicament of American Indians is a hot polemical issue that is not universally agreed upon. The controversies besetting this question are presupposed by the White House Memos which are a blatant attempt at self-congratulation on the success of Bush’s policies and, thus, a retort to dissenting counter-discourses.

Statement of the Problem

33To what extent is the manipulation of “Genre” a useful strategy to achieve Pragmatic ends? The White House Internal Memos and Executive Orders present the interesting problem of generic affiliation: On the one hand, they are an instance of “Official Discourse”, hence their legal colouring. On the other hand, the fact that they are published and not classified means that the White House Press Office sees some political utility in making them public, hence the subtle propaganda colouring.

34Fairclough’s three step methodology, synthesised with the above reviewed approaches, has been applied to one internal memo (see Appendix A). The following are the findings of this research and a discussion of their significance:

Deixis

35There is a recurrent use of the first person pronoun ‘I’, the proximal demonstratives ‘this’ and ‘these’, the adverb ‘recently’ and the present tense. All of these devices are construed as signs of egocentricity whereby the whole world hinges around the speaker’s ego. On the other hand, the American Indians are referred to in the third person (‘they’ not ‘us’) and the distal demonstrative ‘those’. These devices are indicators of distance. Indians are framed in terms of their race, as socio-political entities (Alaska native entities); a homogeneous group that is not us. As for determiners, the predominant pattern is that of indefiniteness (cf. mystification below).

Nominalisation

36The text exhibits a pattern where there is a frequent use of gerunds, compound nouns such as ‘self determination’ and nouns of an abstract nature. Consequently, the text provides an array of imprecise concepts.

Compounding

37Compound structures such as ‘self determination’ and ‘federally recognised government’ present processing difficulty (Triki and Taman, 1994). In view of the provisions of the least effort hypothesis (Brown and Yule, 1983), compounds are strategically sought in the text as they enhance the effect of mystification.

Adjectives

38Text grammars associate predicative adjectives with new information and attributive adjectives with given information. It is most interesting that almost all adjectives in the text are attributive. This reveals a singular frame of mind that tends to take things for granted.

Semantic Ambiguity

39Two types of ambiguity are enumerated in semantics, namely  lexical ambiguity as in ‘sovereignty’ and ‘self determination’ that are vague concepts carrying more than one meaning potential; and structural ambiguity as in ‘government to government basis’. It is not clear on what basis the term government is calculated: federal or state? which turns the claim into a void one.

Speech Acts

40The use of representative and directive speech acts (Searle 1995) is commensurate with executive memos. However, the use of expressive acts as in ‘I take pride’ as well as commissive ones (the text is apparently full of commissive speech acts) is more akin to electoral canvassing. What is more, these commissives are made null and void through a number of subtle provisos: (reference to preceding legal texts which provide a legal context to understand the present text, access to which we do not have. We have no means of checking under what conditions a government is recognised by the federal government).

Genre

41Apparently, this is a memo for internal use, but we find that it is a press release. There is a major difference between the two genres in terms of discourse structure: Because of the power hierarchy governing the relationship between the institutional role of the person issuing the memo and that of the addressees to whom the memo is addressed, there is no need for the issuer of the memo to worry too much about the face wants of his interlocutors or even about polishing his own face. However, the situation changes in a press release as it is apparently the job of the Press Office, being decidedly conscious of the gaze of others, to make sure that both the president’s face and that of his addressees as well as third party referents be saved and polished. As the time of publication coincides with the last months prior to Bush’s election for a second term, it could safely be assumed that it was in Bush’s interest to polish his own image in the eyes of his electorate.

42The last paragraph deserves special attention:

This memorandum is intended only to improve the internal management of the executive branch and is not intended to, and does not, create any right, benefit, or trust responsibility, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity, by a party against the United States, its agencies, entities, or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person.

Both syntactic and lexical features belong to the legal sub-genre of disclaimers. Negative epistemic and deontic modality aims at restricting the scope of the commissive speech acts that have been conveniently performed earlier in the memo to polish Bush’s image. If the addressees of the memo are the agents that it apparently addresses, they should make part and parcel of the system and should not really need these disclaimers. The insertion of these disclaimers would then be gratuitous unless it was inferred that Bush had other over-hearers in mind; i.e. he envisaged the prospect of the publication of this memo. In this case, the text would function as a de facto press release posing as a de jure memo. Moreover, dates have a double function: in a memo, they provide the legal contextualisation of the text; but in a press release, the multiplicity of the dates provides a list of policies and measures that Bush is boasting about. Listing is conducive to the rhetorical strategy of enumeration, which is part of the Logos appeal.

Conclusion

43It transpires from the above findings that a number of patterns are cumulatively conducive to subtle propaganda. First, in terms of the enunciative process, there are conflicting signs of proximity and distance: In view of Bush’s egocentrism, the world is structured around his ego. American Indians are perceived as entities located psychologically away from Bush’s ego. This may be quite reassuring to a significant section of the conservative white voters. Second, in terms of Östman (2005)’s  “Pragmatic Implicit Anchoring” (PIA) toolkit, the parameter of Involvement (i.e. norms of affect and emotion) is the one blatantly used in this text. Thus, its effect is one of ‘manipulation’. On the other hand, there is a tendency to mystify promises; it is not clear what is being exactly promised. Going too far with unequivocal apparently concessive commissives would anger Bush’s allies. Yet, the provisos are equally mystified through nominalisation and compounding. Bush cannot afford to alienate his American Indian supporters, either.

44Another major pattern that has emerged is the phenomenon of generic tension: Is the text a memo that is being released or did Bush not have the prospects of publication in mind when issuing the memo? How to account for the tension in the text? Voters have strong feelings about cultural pluralism and linguistic diversity. How can Bush reconcile the irreconcilable: cultural pluralism, on the one hand, and his own neo-conservative supporters and grass-roots who advocate Christianity, on the other hand?  Bush is camera conscious and needs to polish his image.

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Official Sources on the American Indians

[i].Encyclopedia Americana, article on "War, Laws of," page 328.

[ii].The Encyclopedia Americana, Americana Corporation, New York, 1948, Vol. 27, page 429.

[iii].The Movement for Indian Assimilation, 1860-1890, Henry E. Fritz, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1963, pages 56-57.

[iv].Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the year 1871, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1872, pages 682-685.

[v].Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the year 1871, letter of November 9, 1871, page 93, Op. cit.

[vi].Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1871, Appendix Ae, No. 31, page 162, Op. cit.

[vii].Keeping an eye on the police as they control the underclass, editorial in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, March 27, 1989. 

[viii].Memorandum to Tribal Government Services, to All Area Directors, from Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C., dated November 12, 1985.

[ix].Bylined by Staff writers Sharon Schmickle and Roger Buoen.  In the process of researching the article, the Minneapolis Star Tribune made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Red Lake C.F.R. Court for court records, which the B.I.A. at Red Lake refused to release, using the paper Sovereignty of the I.R.A. Tribal Council.  The F.O.I.A. case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and was decided for the Star Tribune.  Shortly thereafter, the building at Red Lake which was alleged to contain the court records was burned to the ground.

[x].Code of Federal Regulations, Volume 25, Indians.  Revised April 1, 1987, Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington G.P.O., 1987.  (Sold by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 20402).

[xi].November 12, 1985, B.I.A. Tribal Government Services Memorandum, Op. cit.

[xii].Code of Federal Regulations, Title 25, Indians, Chapter 1, §11.1, pages 16-17, Op. cit.

[xiii].Law and Order Provisions, Red Lake Reservation; Red Lake Court of Indian Offenses (photostatic copy of original belonging to former Tribal Court Judge); for example Chapter 2, Section 50.  Many of these "laws," as they are described on the Reservation, follow the boilerplate in the Code of Federal Regulations, Subchapter B, Part 11, §11.3 - Part 17, §17.4.

[xiv].The Red Lake Indian Reservation, Its Resources and Development Potential, prepared by the Planning Support Group, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, Report No. 253, March 1979, [endorsed by the Red Lake Indian Reorganization Act Tribal Council], page 173.

[xv].Codified as U.S. Statutes at Large 23:385.

[xvil].Minutes of the Red Lake Tribal Council, Regular Meeting, motion carried 8 for and 0 against.

[xvii].Revised Red Lake Law and Order Code, Section 1000.02, Ownership of Wild Animals; Wild Rice.

[xviii].E.g., Sections 600.193 ff.

[xix].(Undated) Position paper distributed by Ojibwas for Justice/Minnesota Clergy and Laity Concerned, Rm. 302, 122 W. Franklin, Minneapolis, MN.

[xx].Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sunday, January 3, 1993, Outdoors/Recreation in the Sports Section.  Interview with Indian D.N.R. Commissioner, by staff writer Ron Schara. Zinn, H. (2001)A People’s History of the United States, 1492 – present, New York, First Perennial Classics Edition.

Documents Consulted for the History Review

1) Bylined by Staff writers Sharon Schmickle and Roger Buoen.  In the  process of researching the article, the Minneapolis Star Tribune made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Red Lake C.F.R. Court for court records, which the B.I.A. at Red Lake refused to release, using the paper Sovereignty of the I.R.A. Tribal Council.  The F.O.I.A. case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, and was decided for the Star Tribune.  Shortly thereafter, the building at Red Lake which was alleged to contain the court records  was burned to the ground.

2) Code of Federal Regulations, Volume 25, Indians.  Revised April 1,  1987, Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington G.P.O., 1987. 

(Sold by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 20402).

3) Law and Order Provisions, Red Lake Reservation; Red Lake Court of Indian Offenses (photostatic copy of original belonging to former Tribal Court Judge); for example Chapter 2, Section 50.  Many of these "laws," as they are described on the Reservation, follow the boilerplate in the Code of Federal Regulations, Subchapter B, Part 11, §11.3 - Part 17, §17.4.

4) The Red Lake Indian Reservation, Its Resources and Development Potential, prepared by the Planning Support Group, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, Report No. 253, March 1979, [endorsed by the Red Lake Indian Reorganization Act Tribal Council], page 173.

Appendix A

The Corpus

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies Government-to-Government Relationship with Tribal Governmentshttp://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/09/20040923-4.html

Appendix B

Non-conformist Primary Sources on the American Indian Question:

Ethnic Expression in Western American Literature

http://www2.tcu.edu/depts/prs/amwest/html/wl1330.html

American Indian Fiction, 1968–1983

http://www2.tcu.edu/depts/prs/amwest/html/wl1330.html

Newcomb: On America’s pathological behavior toward Native peopleshttp://www.indiancountry.com/?1094830396

Mohawk: Mythological America is an unjust society

http://www.indiancountry.com/?1094830248

McSloy: “Because the Bible tells me so”, Manifest Destiny and American Indians

http://www.indiancountry.com/?1094830044

Harjo: The Whiteman and the Disease

http://www.indiancountry.com/?1094829740

Lundgren: CERA — The Ku Klux Klan of Indian country

http://www.indiancountry.com/?1087912868

Mohawk: The tragedy of colonization

http://www.indiancountry.com/?1074890415

Harjo: Governor Schwarzenegger and California Indian policy

http://www.indiancountry.com/?1066411626

Mohawk: Despite advances, threats to indigenous peoples abound

http://www.labornotes.org/archives/2003/03/h.html

http://www.tv.oneworld.net/tapestry?/link=3092

http://www.indiancountry.com/?1063642191

Trail of Broken Treaties: A 30th Anniversary Memory

http://www.indiancountry.com/?1036161439

A white man at the door

http://www.indiancountry.com/?1023462158

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Notes

1 Special thanks go to my dear colleagues Jalel Rehayem (for his expert advice on American domestic policy) and Mabrouk Bahloul for their undeniable assistance in providing invaluable documents and primary sources on the American Indian question.

2 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the year 1871, letter of November 9, 1871, 93.

3 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1871, Appendix Ae, No. 31, 162.

4 New York Times, October 11, 13, and 16, 1868, as quoted in The Movement for Indian Assimilation, 1860-1890, Fritz, 71.

5 Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the year 1871, Washington, Government Printing Office, 1872, 682-685.

6 Encyclopaedia Americana, vol. 11, 553b.

7 The Movement for Indian Assimilation, 1860-1890, Henry E. Fritz, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, 1963, 56-57.

8 Memorandum to Tribal Government Services, to All Area Directors, from Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs, Washington, D.C., dated November 12, 1985.

9 Minneapolis Star Tribune, Sunday, January 3, 1993, Outdoors/Recreation in the Sports Section.  Interview with Indian D.N.R. Commissioner, by staff writer Ron Schara.

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Mounir Triki, « Published White House Internal Memos: Legal Transparency or Subtle Electoral Canvassing? », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. IV - n°3 | 2006, 260-279.

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Mounir Triki, « Published White House Internal Memos: Legal Transparency or Subtle Electoral Canvassing? », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Vol. IV - n°3 | 2006, mis en ligne le 23 octobre 2009, consulté le 20 juin 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/2085 ; DOI : 10.4000/lisa.2085

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Auteur

Mounir Triki

Prof. (Sfax, Tunisia)
Mounir TRIKI is full Professor of Pragmatics and Critical Discourse Analysis at the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, Sfax, Tunisia. He studied at the University of Lille III in France & the University of Essex in England. Currently, he is co-ordinator of the Masters & Agrégation Programmes (English Department, Sfax) and Director of the Research Unit in Discourse Analysis (GRAD) at the same faculty. He is the member of many National Recruiting Committees (especially for Maitres Assistants & Maitres de Conférences), of Examination Boards (especially the Agrégation board) and of Doctoral & Habilitation Committees at Mannouba, ISLT & Sousse. His research interests are: (Literary) Pragmatics, Critical Discourse Analysis, Forensic Linguistics, Media Studies, Advertising Strategies, Translation Studies, etc.

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