Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been detained by the US, one and a half million have had an immediate family-member detained, almost every Iraqi knows someone who has been through the US detention system. Few American institutions affect the lives of ordinary Iraqis more directly and profoundly than the US detention system.
At one point during "the Surge" the US was holding 27,000 Iraqis. Today it holds 17,000.
They have not been charged with crimes, but are being held as "security detainees" - a legal classification that will cease to exist on January 1st, when the US military's UN mandate expires.
But for these 17,000 swept up in the American system, there is no clear way out.
In association with Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Big Noise Films
Begins airing Friday, December 12th, 2008 on public television's Foreign Exchange with Daljit Dhaliwal