Unfortunately, this announcement had no impact on the actual practices surrounding what had been the process of holding on to those formerly so-named.
The Obama administration on Friday said it was abandoning the use in court proceedings of the Bush administration's term "enemy combatant" as it argues for the continued detention of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, symbolically separating itself from Bush detention policies.Sounds good, separating from the Busheviks on this highly contentious matter.
Unfortunately (there's that word again; it seems to come up a LOT in discussing Obamista 'reforms'), this was mainly a semantic alteration, rather than a change in policy, as the NYTimes pointed out later in the same piece:
But in a much anticipated court filing, the Justice Department argued that the president has the authority to detain terrorism suspects there without criminal charges, much as the Bush administration had asserted. It provided a broad definition of those who can be held, which was not significantly different from the one used by the Bush administration.SO they're not going to be called 'enemy combatants," but whatever they're called, they're still subject to indefinite detention without charge.
The filing signaled that, as long as Guantánamo remains open, the new administration will aggressively defend its ability to hold some detainees there.
“The president has the authority to detain persons” who planned or aided the 2001 terrorist attacks as well as those “who were part of, or substantially supported, Taliban or Al Qaeda forces,” administration lawyers wrote.
I said at the time, and I continue to repeat at every opportunity: No President other than Washington has ever ceded back to the State powers they arrogated for the exigent emergency. Obama will be no exception.
This has relevance to Obama's other main pledge regarding ending the occupation of Iraq, and withdrawing "combat" troops. This could have proved difficult without the semantic sleight-of-hand made possible by rebranding the prisoners we now hold illegally. They went to Iraq as "combat troops," but they'll stay there as "force protection, training and anti-insurgent" forces.
Anybody who actually thought anything in international policy, at any rate, was going to change with the new regime fundamentally misunderstands the synonymy of the two 'parties' in regard to USer "security" and international 'force projection.'