Shortly after U.S. troops got into Afghanistan, the Administration announced that suspected terrorists if captured would be treated as “enemy combatants” – meaning, they would have neither the legal protections of criminal defendants (whether U.S. citizens or noncitizens) under American law, nor the legal protections of prisoners of war under international law.
Leaving aside the question of the wisdom or justice of this decision, I see no legal authority for it. Such a momentous innovation should have required an act of Congress, and/or renegotiation of the Geneva Conventions on POW treatment. Neither happened. What exactly was the Administration’s legal rationale for creating a whole new, unprecedented, and legally unprotected category of government detainee? And does anyone on this board care to defend, or refute, that rationale?