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Cultural Rhetorics of American Exceptionalism and the bin Laden Raid


Marouf A. Hasian Jr. and Megan McFarlane

The stories that are told about the death of Osama bin Laden are interculturally significant as a reminder of the many culturally contested junctures, fissures, and ruptures that circulate in the «true» stories that are told about Operation Neptune’s Spear. This book’s critical intercultural approach investigates what U.S. and international audiences were saying about other cultures while they wrote and talked about the bin Laden raid.
The book explains why so many elite and public cultural communities have a vested interest in telling the story of «what happened» during the famous raid. The authors argue that these mediated debates have become inextricably entangled in political, military, cultural, and legal rhetorics of «American exceptionalism», where various U.S. and international audiences defend or attack particular interpretations of the raid and comment on the unique values and characteristics of America’s Way of War. This important book gives readers a sense of what these exceptionalist rhetorics look like when they circulate in different cultural and military contexts.
Contents: Intercultural Rhetorics and the Nature of American – American Myths, the Beginning of the Global War on Terrorism, and the Decade-Long «Manhunt» for bin Laden – Cosmopolitanism and International Reactions to the bin Laden Raid – Presidential Politics, Imperial Presidencies, and the Early Strategic Usages of «The Situation Room» – Liberal Exceptionalism and Ambivalent American Critiques of the bin Laden Raid – No Easy Day: Mark Owen’s Raiding Tale, Presidential Appearances, and the New American Exceptionalism – The bin Laden Raid at the Cineplex: Zero Dark Thirty, Intertextuality and the Future of America’s Overseas Contingency.