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Covering Bin LadenGlobal Media and the World's Most Wanted Man$
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Susan Jeffords and Fahed Al-Sumait

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038860

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038860.001.0001

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Bin Laden’s Ghost and the Epistemological Crises of Counterterrorism

Bin Laden’s Ghost and the Epistemological Crises of Counterterrorism

(p.3) 1 Bin Laden’s Ghost and the Epistemological Crises of Counterterrorism
Covering Bin Laden

Richard Jackson

University of Illinois Press

This chapter argues that despite all the media attention, punditry, scholarly analysis, and official commentary, Osama bin Laden's death remains an essentially meaningless (non-)event. His death is meaningless or without consequence in two main senses of the word. First, it is meaningless in real-world strategic and material terms. For example, as a direct consequence of bin Laden's death, no counterterrorism programs have been scaled back or ended, counterterrorism laws repealed, military or security funding reduced, security agencies scaled down or closed, foreign training programs ended, overseas military forces withdrawn, or military bases closed. Instead, the global counterterrorism effort remains completely unchanged by his death and continues on as it has for the past ten years. Second, and perhaps more importantly, bin Laden's death has generated so many divergent meanings that it has been rendered ultimately meaningless in terms of its analytical consequences, symbolism, and epistemological significance.

Keywords:   Osama bin Laden, death, media coverage, global counterterrorism, anti-terrorism

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