Drawing on psychoanalytic and semiotic perspectives, this book examines discourses mediating the global War on Terror, including governmental speeches, legal documents, print and broadcast journalism, and military memoirs. The book argues that these discourses motivate, and are motivated by, a myth of imminent harm that purportedly justifies a series of "preemptive" measures such as war, torture, and targeted killing, as well as an array of intrusive domestic security procedures such as profiling and mass surveillance. Dominant themes include selective compassion in the mainstream media, the language of war and the sacrificial sublime, asymmetrical warfare and the nostalgia for total war, weaponized drones and just war theory, and the role of American exceptionalism in normalizing endless war. Scholars and students alike will take interest in this original contribution to the fields of cultural studies, psychoanalysis, media studies, rhetoric, critical international relations, and international humanitarian law and ethics.
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