134 RHETORIC & PUBLIC AFFAIRS
the speech, Bush, like the Achaemenian kings, asserts his nation’s role in God’s
plan. And his dramatic Top Gun landing, although completely unnecessary,
served the purpose of representing Bush as a “warrior president and a trium-
phant hero descended from the clouds, master of air, land, and sea” (99).
Lincoln goes on to perform a short, but meaningful, analysis of the equally
staged pull down of the Saddam Hussein statue in Firdos Square, before
moving into an all-too-brief analysis and commentary of the infamous Abu
Ghraib photographs. Considering that his book has been leading up to this
case study, it is a woefully short section. Lincoln makes a provocative asser-
tion by arguing that the events at Abu Ghraib “were not designed to degrade
the Iraqi prisoners,” rather “[t]he point was to establish that such people got
what they deserved and deserved what they got, being exactly what ‘we’ always
knew them to be” (103). Because Lincoln cuts his analysis short, he does not
explain why the motives behind the photographs cannot be both to degrade
and to punish, or why, ultimately, the motives of the abusers are important.
After spending so much time setting up Achaemenian rulership as a model for
the abuses of empire, he leaves the reader wanting much more.
This unsatisfactory conclusion does not take away from the exceptional
scholarship and insightful criticism of the book as a whole. It is unnecessary
for the reader to be a student of ancient history to ﬁnd Lincoln’s work acces-
sible as he walks the reader through a world that is unfamiliar, yet exceedingly
familiar. Rhetorical scholars will recognize a ﬁne piece of textual and visual
rhetorical analysis, and political scholars will not fail to see the comparisons to
twenty-ﬁrst-century imperial America that Lincoln highlights in his scrutiny
of pre-Islamic Persia.
Marita Gronnvoll Eastern Illinois University
Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics. By Michael J. Sandel.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005; pp. 292. $25.95 cloth;
In 1996, the Harvard University Press published Sandel’s Democracy’s Discontent:
America in Search of a Public Philosophy, which explores the demise of America’s
sense of community and morality in politics and examines the interplay of each
within contemporary debates over issue