Obama Gets Rid of “Enemy Combatant” Designation

By Alan Stewart Carl | Related entries in Barack, Bush, The War On Terrorism, War

President Obama has decided to relegate the term “enemy combatant” to the waste bin of the Bush era.

The Obama administration is abandoning one of President George W. Bush’s key phrases in the war on terrorism: enemy combatant In court filings Friday, the Justice Department said it will no longer use the term to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.

Obama still asserts the military’s authority to hold detainees at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. But his Justice Department says that authority comes from Congress and the international laws of war, not from the president’s own wartime power as Bush had argued.

This appears to be an attempt by the new administration to rid our nation of some of the gray areas the Bush administration created in the years after September 11th. While many of Bush’s supporters thought the threat of terrorism necessitated the president having the power to operate outside of congressional authority and international laws of war, many felt Bush was overreaching and creating powers that could be too easily abused. In a conflict which could continue for generations, our nation needs to operate under policies more exact than “because the president says so.”

Today, Obama took an important step in reconfiguring how we pursue the war on terror. While the move doesn’t change current realities such as specific incarcerations, the effect of the change is to remove some of the executive branch’s power. For those of us who never felt uncomfortable with the level of presidential power Bush wielded, this is a welcome change.


This entry was posted on Friday, March 13th, 2009 and is filed under Barack, Bush, The War On Terrorism, War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “Obama Gets Rid of “Enemy Combatant” Designation”

  1. ExiledIndependent Says:

    Reduce executive power? This administration? Have you been counting the number of executive orders? The 180 on the 5-day sunshine promise for bills? Alan, I know you’re searching for *something* good out of the first fifty-odd days, but this ain’t it. This is political theater. “Remember how bad Bush was? Aren’t I so much better?” Blech.

  2. SD3 Says:

    For those of us who never felt uncomfortable with the level of presidential power Bush wielded, this is a welcome change.

    For those of us who like not being murdered by fanatical Islamic jackasses, this is a bad sign.

  3. gerryf Says:

    OK, Snoop, I know you are often pretty flippant when posting, but it scares me when people may actually think like that.

    Exiled, 10 so far. Only 252 more to go to catch up to George Bush. But he will never catch Bush on signing statements….that’s like a modern day pitcher catching Cy Young in wins

  4. SD3 Says:

    …it scares me when people may actually think like that.

    Think like what?!?
    Like they don’t want to be exploded with some suicide bomber? Is that your big dream?

    Do you read? Watch the news? Do it mean anything to you that the only people on Earth who stone women & homosexuals to death, who hand people for slander against God, who kidnap mentally retarded children for suicide bombing operations, are Muslims?

    Why don’t Bhuddists do these things, gerry? Why isn’t it ever Taosists? Or Jews? Or Christains or Zoroastrains or athiests?

  5. gerryf Says:

    I can’t decide if you’re serious or putting me on…..you’ve got to be baiting me, because you really cannot be so unaware as to not know the numerous attrocities committed by all of those groups (well, except for Zoroastrains….can’t think of any Zoroastrian attrocities off the top of my head……..)

  6. Jeremy from Oregon Says:

    “For those of us who like not being murdered by fanatical Islamic jackasses, this is a bad sign.”

    Yes, because the designation “enemy combatant” has deterred those same Islamic radicals in the past by it’s sheer shamefulness? Yeah! not very likely.

    They could give a crap what we call them. For the sake of decency or at least the appearance of decency it’s in our best interests to behave professionally rather than behave bitterly. You can call your enemy whatever you like, but it doesn’t win the final battle. Call him kind, and destroy him at the same time. Then when it’s all said and done you can quip that you not only defeated your enemy but had it within your heart to show him the respect. Those that deride their enemies often lose sight of their capabilities as thinking human beings. These are men we are fighting, not simpleton “enemy combatant.” The day we forget that we are in trouble.

  7. Trescml Says:

    I think that Obama’s direction will help from a PR standpoint and won’t do little if anything to weaken finding and dealing with terrorist. The problem with the “anything to keep us safe” argument is where does it stop? What is allowed fo someone suspected of terrorism can be done for anyone for anything if there is no rule of law.

  8. Claudia Says:

    It would interesting to know what the discussion was behind the decision of abandoning the term “enemy combatant”. If this term is no longer used to justify holding prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, what still constitutes imprisonment at this location? I do think that it is a great idea on President Obamas’ part to attempt to rid the nation of the gray areas because they were abused; Bush held too much power.

  9. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    I do think that it is a great idea on President Obamas’ part to attempt to rid the nation of the gray areas because they were abused

    The Obama administration is no longer referring to that color as “gray.” In a break with the Bush administration, President Obama has promised to review the color and return after 200 days with a full report on other possible names for the black/white combination.

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