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Home > War On Terror

Wrong Wrong Wrong

Why don't they just gas them? It would be so much easier for everyone.

5 December 2003

An official statement has just been published, signed by The US Solicitor General, Theodore B. Olson, which defends the whole ungodly mess. One of the "enemby combatants" has finally been granted access to a lawyer - but, the statement makes clear, the fact that Yaser Esam Hamdi, a US-born suspect, has been allowed legal counsel "is not required by domestic or international law and should not be treated as a precedent."

Happy Christmas Hamdi.
Bad luck everyone else.

The Pentagon are standing firm. The justification for the Guantanamo Bay detentions is founded upon "the president's authority to capture and detain combatants in wartime, Congress's express statutory backing of the president's use of all necessary and appropriate military force in connection with the current conflict, and the time-honored laws and customs of war."

The current conflict. Even though the US isn't officially at war.

Or is it?

Well - sort of - even though Congress hasn't formally declared that to be so. Because it can't really. Because the "war" that the US currently is/isn't waging is not against another nation. It's against Terror. But it's still a war. Why? Because they *say* it is.

...I have said it thrice:
What I tell you three times is true.

It wouldn't be going to far to say that these people are locked in a metaphor. They're being held as "enemy combatants" in a "war" (where "war" = "a situation which is a bit like a war").

So how long are they going to be held...? According to the Pentagon: "It is well-settled that the president's war powers include the authority to capture and detain enemy combatants at least for the duration of a conflict."

Right... "at least for the duration of a conflict."

This is the clincher. In the words of Lyle Denniston of the Boston Globe:

Hamdi and others declared to be "enemy combatants" have no guarantee that they will be released at any specific point, since the government says the war on terrorism will have no identifiable end.

War without end.


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