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Abu Musab al Zarqawi: the making and unmaking of an American monster (in Baghdad)
journal contributionposted on 2012-02-01, 00:00 authored by Peter Chambers
On June 7, 2006, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the United States’ ‘public enemy number two’, was killed by two 500lb bombs, dropped by US forces on the safe house in which he and others were hiding. This paper is about the making and unmaking of Al Zarqawi as a monster, and his curious afterlife as a governmental technology. As we pass the fifth anniversary of his death, this detailed study of Al Zarqawi offers an invaluable general lesson for the political analysis of terror. Zarqawi’s monstration – his making and unmaking as monster – tells us about the powers of naming and linking that characterize executive power in the age of globalized media systems, and the productive relation between diurnal practices of security work and the nocturnal phantasms of cultural memory carried by media which, this paper argues, drive and sustain wars in the twenty-first century.