The Biopolitics of Soldiering and Torture in the British Armed Forces A Paper Prepared for Presentation at the ISA Annual Convention 2009, New York City, 15-18 February 2009. Dr Victoria Basham Research Fellow, Department of Politics, University of Bristol & External Affiliate, Centre for International and Security Studies, York University Victoria.Basham@bristol.ac.uk Abstract: In 2008, the British Army published its response to human rights abuses and killings of Iraqi civilians perpetrated by its soldiers between 2003 and 2004. The report quickly moves to a âbad appleâ explanation, suggesting only âendemicâ abuse would be sufficient grounds for organisational change. Blame is thus located solely in those directly involved. These soldiers, the British Army claims, must have deviated from core values and standards, lacked psychological strength, or wrongly applied treatment they could be subjected to by the âenemy otherâ to civilians they confused with that âenemy otherâ. These explanations constitute the perpetrators are sovereign individuals, whose violence relates to the exceptional, the emergency and the spectre of the protean terrorist enemy. However, by undertaking a biopolitical analysis of these claims, this paper explores how wider relationships of power, in which the state of exception, emergency and siege have become routinised grounds for violence, enable these acts to be constituted as individual. Seen this way, torture is no longer beyond the control or culpability of the Army as institution. However, neither can it be removed from the political-spatial dimension in which it took place; in the context of the so-called âwar on terrorâ. The paper concludes by theorising the implications of this reading for the resistance of torture. You can read the whole thing by following the links at the top or on this site here. It would be glib to say that Dr Basham has tortured our language far more than any prisoner at the hands of the brutal soldiery but I warn you that its pretty hard going and mostly drivel. I wish I could get someone to pay me to come up with tosh like this.