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Detained in Occupied Iraq: Deciphering the Narratives for Neocolonial Internment

NCJ Number
Punishment and Society Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: April 2010 Pages: 123-146
Michael Welch
Date Published
April 2010
24 pages
This article discusses human rights in the war in Iraq and the detainees at Abu Ghraib.
The war in Iraq has prompted some criminologists to examine such matters as the illegality of the invasion and subsequent occupation, controversial economic transformations, and the abuse torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib. For the most part, criminologists have neglected the problem of mass detention aimed at the civilian population: by 2007, the US military held more than 26,000 Iraqis in a network of large camps. Those civilians remained in long-term custody because the American commanders deemed them 'imperative threats' but not criminal nor terrorist. In an effort to shed critical light on that aspect of the occupation, this work interprets the official narratives used to justify the detention process and the role of American-styled reintegration programs. By doing so, the analysis draws on colonial theory in ways that deepen our understanding of social control and discipline in the new Iraq. Mindful of human rights, the discussion confronts important facets of enduring domination inherent in modern colonial projects. Notes and references (Published Abstract)