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Thus, Bush has adopted the Code of the West, i.e. cowboy ethics, as a means to

legitimize U.S. foreign policy by disassociating it with imperialistic desires. “I do

believe there is the image of America out there that we are so materialistic, that we’re

almost hedonistic, that we don’t have values,” the president noted (quoted in Woodward

2002, 38-39). By implementing the codes of the cowboy, a symbolic figure representing

the myth of the West, the Bush Doctrine attempts to go against the impression of

imperialism.64

IV. The Man of Action

Additionally, cowboy ethics can be a useful instrument of policy for its use of

decisive action by rationalizing acting proactively. “In popular entertainments there is

seldom doubt about what his responses will be in a given situation,” wrote Savage about

the cowboy (Savage 1979, 4). This response of the mythic cowboy is dictated by cowboy

ethics. For while the cowboy’s gun is “the symbol of quick and decisive action”

(Fishwick 1952, 81), as Cawelti pointed out, one of the most important rules of the

Western was that the hero could not use violence without certain justifications (Cawelti

1974, 124).

Bush justifies his “call to action” by demonstrating that America had a duty to

protect democracy and freedom (The White House 2002, iv). America was willing to

stand tough against all foreign enemies.65 The set of codes brought forth by cowboy

64 This of course is not always the case. For instance, Slotkin calls such use of the cowboy mythology as “destructive.” It appears that he frowns upon Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan, three presidents whom selectively rewrote the Western myth “for their own needs, desires and political projects” (Slotkin 1998, 652-658).

65 Bush’s decisiveness action to remove Saddam Hussein had conservative scholars like William F. Buckley and Jonah Goldberg from the National Review comparing him to other political

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