'I know for certain . . . that these are bad people': The Intractable Problem of Guantánamo

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In 2003 George W. Bush offered a black and white depiction of the detainees held within Guantánamo Bay. Having removed all their legal and constitutional protections and imposed an absolute executive authority, Bush baldly asserted that they were 'bad people'. Yet, ironically, by taking these measures, Bush also visited upon the US problems and threats that Barack Obama still struggles to resolve. Bush's solution created a new set of dilemmas, since the detainees, cast into the position of 'bare life', in Giorgio Agamben's phrase, stripped of their legal rights, were in a situation where they also collectively situated the Guantánamo Bay camps as a hub at the centre of a hybrid network — one arguably possessing both weak ties and 'small world' hub-centeredness. This hub has weak ties, in that the network has been randomized in the node's multinational assemblage of detainees, linking all over the world, so generating a network which has the potential for high connectivity, yet it is also a network that has the robust compactness of a small world network, in that it is defined around the GiTMO camps. This makes it a particularly potent source of networked resistance to the camps and of terrorist collaboration via a process of network densification


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-184
JournalComparative American Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2010