Though President Obama has signed a deal to keep US troops in Afghanistan well beyond 2014, potentially through 2024, the official line is that the war will “end” in 2014 and the occupation will transform into something else, short of war.
It’s all a semantic argument, aimed at placating a war-weary public by arguing that though the combat continues the “war” as such is over. But it also throws a wrench into the already flimsy legal pretext surrounding Guantanamo Bay.
The detentions without trial at Guantanamo Bay, and the whole conceit of “military tribunals” rest on the notion that the detainees are “enemy combatants.” But without an open-ended war, how can they sustain open-ended detention?
In the near term, the argument is likely to be that since Congress has banned letting the detainees go, the lack of any legal basis to hold them is irrelevant. Don’t expect that to hold up in court, however, and don’t expect the administration’s attempts to defer the inevitable legal battles to carry much weight without a war to lash the executive branch’s excesses to.
Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz
- Catalans Rally at Barcelona Parliament, Push for Independence - October 21st, 2017
- Turkey: Kurdish Banner in Raqqa Proves US Sided With Terrorists - October 20th, 2017
- Many Afghan Troops Run Away While in US to Train - October 20th, 2017
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- Niger Deaths Highlight Growing US Involvement in Africa - October 20th, 2017