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Obama abandons term 'enemy combatant'

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dick cheney's name to avoid the true term that they are, POWs. And avoiding to treat them as they are, POWs. < :-)

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Unfortunately, a whole lot of English terminology has been altered in meaning thanks to GWB and his misuse and destroying of it. 'Democracy', 'freedom', and 'evil', 'terror', etc. come to mind immediately, but also all of bush's buzz words and phrases ("mission accomplished!", "war on terror", and now "enemy combatant") are also necessary to rethink.

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Don't know if I would go so far as to call these prisoners POWs, which is a term that has some linkage with the Geneva Convention. Also, you have to wonder if there is any association with Prisoners of War and the concept of the nation state? These people in Gitmo carry a number of nationalities with whom the United States is not formally at war with, as such POW might be a incorrect term. At the same time, what are the other options, I suppose you could call them prisoners of conscience, however, this sort of labeling gives them a level of legitimacy that they don't deserve.

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"But that won't change much for the detainees at the naval base in Cuba - President Barack Obama still asserts the military's authority to hold them."

Change!

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The hyperbole continues. Really now, in the history of the planet, is an American presidents choice of vocabulary so important ? obama would make better use of his time by announcing concrete plans to put Americans back to work rather than this silliness in differences with the former president. Again, does Obama realize the campaign is over and he won ?

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Change!

Yes! Yes, Sarge! Every single molecule must be different, or else the word "change" is ironic!

There's a reason you're not taken seriously, and it had very little to do with the left.

We already had rules to deal with this situation, and they were openly perverted. Removing the term "enemy combatant" is a tiny step, but a psychologically significant one. Why else would Bush and Co. have come up with the new term in the first place?

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Don't know if I would go so far as to call these prisoners POWs, which is a term that has some linkage with the Geneva Convention.

Correct. For example, those who volunteered to fight with the Nazi's against the Soviets -Belgians, Russians, Frenchmen, etc (many formal members of the volunteer S.S. corp)- were not covered by the Geneva Convention after the war ended. This proved very costly, especially to the Russians who found nowhere to hide in Western Europe after the conflict was over.

The solution is to not let them leave the battlefield.

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People held without charges may not even be POWs. They may simply be innocent victims. Good for Obama.

The Bush gang ought to be put on trial for crimes against humanity.

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Unfortunately, a whole lot of English terminology has been altered in meaning thanks to GWB and his misuse and destroying of it. 'Democracy', 'freedom', and 'evil', 'terror', etc. come to mind immediately, but also all of bush's buzz words and phrases ("mission accomplished!", "war on terror", and now "enemy combatant") are also necessary to rethink.

smith, I can think of another English terminology that has been changed by a U.S. President: the definition of what "is" means (ala Clinton); or the "no sexual relations with that woman (for that matter).

Bush and his advisers used those terms, because quite frankly the US public opinion would not let the terms POW be used since, they did not want war. Funny though how times have changed. When McCain was a "POW" we were not in a declared war with North Vietnam, but the term stuck because people realized that is what they were. As a matter of fact, that was what kept the whole cease fire process being stalled was the so called "POW" issue (again a non-declared war on the US part, but we fought it like a war).

I fault both sides in this case. The Bush Admin. for nt just saying we were (and still are) at war, and the ideolog driven media (I am not some far right kook) that would rather fuel their own agenda than and stroke discontent than see things for what they really are. The media was against the war in Vietnam, I have no problem with that, that is their job to present issues of the day. But today's far left (and far right too)ideologs try to sway public opinion with "plays on words" and we the American people fall for it rather than try to find out for ourselves by looking at both sides of the picture, instead of just blindly following who we are told.

Just my thoughts.

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People are on to the Fraud from Chicago:

“There’s absolutely no change in the definition,” Abraham said in a telephone interview. “To say this is a kinder more benevolent sense of justice is absolutely false. ... I think the only thing they’ve done is try to separate themselves from the energy of the debate” by eliminating Bush’s phrasing.

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We already had rules to deal with this situation," We did, we had rules for dealing with people like the ones in gitmo - people not representing a country, but an organization?

What would be done with a person like a mercenary working for a private firm then?

But today's far left (and far right too)ideologs try to sway public opinion with "plays on words" and we the American people fall for it rather than try to find out for ourselves by looking at both sides of the picture, instead of just blindly following who we are told."

thank you for those words. If you don't mind, I'd like to use these once in a while.

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skip: "We did, we had rules for dealing with people like the ones in gitmo - people not representing a country, but an organization?"

I think you should ammend your comment to read, "...people like the ones in Gitmo who are BELIEVED BY A FEW to represetn an organization". A few are self-admitted members of AQ, the rest were simply 'kidnapped' (according to the definition of the word!) and told they were 'enemy combatants' and could be held without trial, proof of guilt, etc. The only group those poor people represent is a group of people who have had their human rights trampled on for no reason.

There is nothing at all wrong with eliminating the phrase 'enemy combatants' in relation to the people in question. As has been said, they are more POWs than anything else, and only if proven to be guilty of fighting, etc.

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the rest were simply 'kidnapped' (according to the definition of the word!)"

do you have realistic numbers? Kidnapped by who, the CIA? What were the reason they were picked out?

Look, the words are starting to get confusing.

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Poses a bit of a problem for countries like Canada and the European nations that still refuse to repatriate Gitmo detainees.

So among the detainees are young men originally from places like Toronto, London, Paris, etc., who just happened to be hanging out with the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001. That is only five years after the Taliban took control of the country and with its six man council (not one Afghani) ruled from Kabul.

What's the problem? The US gov't no longer considers them enemy combatants.

Now is the time for Canada, the UK, France and company to show they do not share the Wild West mentality of them Neo Cons, nor do they believe in the kind of cowboy justice that Dubya liked to mete out.

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A shame you posters do not understand what a POW is or whom the Geneva convention was designed to protect, but then ignorance is bliss.

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Obama abandons term 'enemy combatant'

Obama prefers the term 'freedom fighter'.

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Kind silly, it's still lipstick on a pig but with a different name now. Actually I prefer the term 'Alleged Militant Jihadist' as a more accurate term for em.

But I've never really been a P.C type of guy. I hear Obama's team is mulling over the term, 'possible innocent little sweeties' to make holding them without charges a tad more palatable then holding without charges was under Bush.

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"Lipstick on a pig" is too kind.

In the south shores of Hawaii we call that puttin' "perfume on sh..."

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The problem is that all this Gitmo stuff has been so tied up in rhetoric and ideologies and such that untangling it will take time. GWB and co. where big on emotive labels. These sorts of small steps should help in working out what the actual legal status of these people are. Anyone with half a brain would know that the U.S. keeping people without charge for 7 years is not right. It makes you think of those sorts of regimes that make people "disappear", if you know what I mean.

The term "enemy combatant" was one way of blurring the legal status of those currently at Gitmo. Right now we don't know if these people are innocent or guilty, as they haven't had their day in court. Without doubt there are some there that are very guilty. One of the foundations of a good democracy is the rule of law and the rights of the individual. Gitmo is the one main blip on the U.S.'s radar in this area, and the sooner it's closed down and the prisoners are charges and taken to trial, the better.

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The only thing that changes is that they'll call them something else instead.

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Those against whom we have evidence will be tried. Those against whom sufficient evidence does not exist will be set free. And so this huge wrong will be righted.

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Obama abandons term 'enemy combatant'

Instead, Obama will begin referring to them as, 'Democrat paty campaign contributors'.

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Tex - Har!

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Anyone with half a brain would know that the U.S. keeping people without charge for 7 years is not right.

And what would be right? Giving them constitutional rights, that even citizens don't enjoy? Freeing them to go back and do like so many of their brothers have done, commit more acts of terrorism? Honestly, this is one of those things that I view as being just too damn bad. As long as the war goes on, the government should prevent those it captures from fighting any more. Either that or instead of capturing them, it should just kill them. Doesn't matter if the war lasts 5 years, or 20, as long as it continues, as long as the Islamic Jihadists continue to attack, then those captured should remain prisoners. Is just too damn bad. Life's a bitch like that sometimes.

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there is no need for the term "enemy combatant" when you can just label them "terrorist." The word "terrorist" stirs up more irrational fear and can be used in a more general sense.

Anyway it make take many more years to get these people out of G-Mo and properly prosecuted = they should be thankful since the wait time for execution is short in many of their home countries. But we need the jail space for Madoff and other corrupt financial CEOs = The U.S. Is willing to bargain on these "toxic assets"

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They will be called POWs. Exactly what they are. <:-)

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Legally they are not POWs: not official military when they were caught.

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They didn't have to be dressed in military uniforms or be given a rank. They were a portion of the fighters (supposedly) when they were captured. That makes their arrest a result of war.

Thus,Prisoners of War (POW).

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This is the first time I have head anyone claim that these people are POWs. Of course historically the ones capturing them usually make that claim first.

I believe you are doing a disservice to real POWs, the Military, and War in general by calling these captured enemy combatants POWs. Even in War protocol must be followed otherwise you just have chaos.

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Being the appeasement specialist that I am (and doing my very best to stay out of war!) I am willing to negotiate and call these people POJs. Prisoners of Jihad.

But as POJs they are entitled to nothing (they are not POWs). = In jihad sometimes you lose.

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Badsey maybe you need to read the definition of a POW. I've stated many times on here,not recently because the discussion wasn't brought up, that the captured ones in Gitmo were POWs. <:-)

http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/91.htm

A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) That of carrying arms openly;

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

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http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/91.htm <:-)

A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces.

Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions:

(a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates;

(b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance;

(c) That of carrying arms openly;

(d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.

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A. Prisoners of war, in the sense of the present Convention, are persons belonging to one of the following categories, who have fallen into the power of the enemy:

Members of the armed forces of a Party to the conflict as well as members of militias or volunteer corps forming part of such armed forces. Members of other militias and members of other volunteer corps, including those of organized resistance movements, belonging to a Party to the conflict and operating in or outside their own territory, even if this territory is occupied, provided that such militias or volunteer corps, including such organized resistance movements, fulfil the following conditions: (a) That of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) That of having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance; (c) That of carrying arms openly; (d) That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. < :- )
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ADayDream, I don't need someone who's tryin' to wipe me and my civilization out to be wearin' a uniform. Your 'convention' needs to catch up with the times.

It's slammer time.

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By your statement maybe we should have never allowed the Japan POWs out of POW Camps after the war was over.

So you are advocating that we hold them in prison till when?

If they aren't POWs what are they? Can you dream up a new name for them like dick cheney did? < :- )

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Apples and oranges, chief.

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These are POJs--> Prisoners of Jihad.

Not from an organized militia. Don't meet conditions of #2 A+B+C+D (and logic = must meet all four conditions, if it was or logic they would meet it on any (or more) of the 4.

These are POJs.

Went to terrorist schools. Incite chaos in the name of Jihad
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What about this portion of the post? Just picking your mind. <:-)

So you are advocating that we hold them in prison till when?

If they aren't POWs what are they? Can you dream up a new name for them like dick cheney did? < :- )

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So you are advocating that we hold them in prison till when? If they aren't POWs what are they? Can you dream up a new name for them like dick cheney did? < :- )

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ADayDream, I don't know which portion you're referri' to if you're talkin' to me. Are you talkin' to me? ... ... Are you talkin' to me?

Anyhoo, another plan might be to release them on to the streets of London until they come in for trial. I understand they have a lot of family support there for them. This is nice.

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I was talking to you USARonin. JT broke up my post. Thanks. < : - )

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(Anyone with half a brain would know that the U.S. keeping people without charge for 7 years is not right.) Molenir: And what would be right?

Charge them. Find them guilty. Send them to jail forever or to death row.

Giving them constitutional rights, that even citizens don't enjoy?

I didn't know that U.S. citizens didn't have the right to a trial after they are arrested. Makes me glad I don't live there, but rather live in a free country (yes, that was sarcasm). Molenir, are you seriously trying to suggest U.S. citizens don't have the right to a trial by a jury of their peers? Wow, things must have deteriorated a lot more under Bush than I realised. What other rights have you lost during the last 8 years?

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DonKusai, yes, let's have trials.

They must all be presumed innocent until found guilty by a jury of their peers.

Bail should not be out of their reach. Because of the presumption of innocense they should be released on to the streets of London, Paris, Lisbon, Amsterdam and Munich until their court dates come up.

Americans are less tolerant so we'll have to count on the Euros to step up and do the right thing.

DonKusai, I'm not missin' any rights; Americans get trials if they demand them. The courts move as fast as the dockets and appeal cases allow.

Strange...

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It's not about right or wrong in a case like this = it's about legal precedence and definition. You need to do things by the book of law.

Thankfully politicians are getting involved so it will hopefully only take a few more years or until the American economy turns around = it's gonna be awhile.

=Don't be a terrorist!! (lesson learned)

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It's a new world that requires brave men.

-And initiative and innovation.

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bebert at 10:58 AM JST - 14th March

“The solution is to not let them leave the battlefield.”

In a limited sense I agree with you, but if you want to keep hold of somebody because they have (or might have) information the “no prisoners” policy isn’t going to help.

marklie at 10:08 PM JST - 14th March

“Those against whom we have evidence will be tried. Those against whom sufficient evidence does not exist will be set free. And so this huge wrong will be righted.”

Have you given any thought to what those that are set free will do after they are set free? Some might in truth be guilty & go back to the “fight”. Others however might just join in the law suit against the US & that will not only be very expensive for the US but also very, very embarrassing.

adaydream at 04:40 AM JST - 15th March

“That of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war”

Not POWs then.

donkusai at 06:42 AM JST - 15th March

“are you seriously trying to suggest U.S. citizens don't have the right to a trial by a jury of their peers?”

Who would you suggest are their peers?

Badsey at 06:55 AM JST - 15th March

“It's not about right or wrong in a case like this = it's about legal precedence and definition. You need to do things by the book of law”

You have come very close to the only possible answer. There are any number of laws involved here, military law, international law, the US laws, Afghan laws, maybe even the laws of the home countries of the detainees, & possibly more. Simply changing the title given to these detainees hardly answers the question, what’s needed is a change in the law that brings the laws more in line with the type of conflict that is now taking place & the US already has a history of doing just that, along with their European allies in 1945 new laws were introduced to try war criminals. War (& life in general) changes & law needs to keep pace with that.

Today we have a “war on terror”, for lack of a better description. Are the terrorists real? Yes, but they don’t wear uniforms, they always carry guns, they don’t come from a single country & they don’t always belong to the same organisation. At the moment the only thing that the almost all have in common is that they are Muslins & that can hardly be used against them as evidence. If an American is killed in any country in the world they are covered by American justice, that is, the killer can be tried in the US if he/she enters US jurisdiction or the jurisdiction of a state that is willing to deport the killer to the US. That means that the US has the perfect right to hold these people in a Federal prison & try them for conspiracy to kill Americans (or wage war on the US). Those of you that are lawyers will know that conspiracy law (in the UK anyway) means that a person needs to prove they are innocent, rather than the state having to prove them guilty. There is no reason that any law can’t be made retrospective & although that may not be very fair on this current group being held in Cuba it would resolve the problem for future conflicts.

Personally I would at this time be thinking more along the lines of arranging a mass break out during which they might all get shot trying to escape. Yes there may be some innocents among them, as there have been in New York, London, Madrid & elsewhere. You might also remember that Islamic terrorists don’t take American or British soldiers prisoner. The ground rules (or lack of them) are not being set by the US, they have been set already by the Muslin extremists.

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Yet more smoke and mirrors from Obama. Just like he promised "closing" GITMO without really closing GITMO. A lot of hype but no real change, just the appearance of change. He's making the idiots who voted for him think he's doing what he promised, but never intended to do.

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USARonin: In my country, bail is refused to those deemed dangerous to the community. If you don't have that option in your laws, you really have a sub-standard legal system.

Grafton: "peers" as in fellow-citizens of the U.S. Molenir seems to think that average Americans don't have the right to trial by jury, and that to give the Gitmo detainees a trial of any kind would be to give them rights "that even citizens don't enjoy". Very, very strange argument.

Well, the consensus seems to be that it is OK to hold people for years without trial. That's fine. Hope you enjoy your dictatorship...

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The far right is up in arms over this. I for one think it is a move back to a democracy. Let the courts handle traitors and terrorist, the military should not be involved in these types of cases...

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I agree:

So far the judges and lawyers are doing a very good job detaining these terrorists. Why encourage these terrorists by letting them out on the street -where they would of course vote Democrat.

Obama-Change is difficult for terrorists it seems. In order to change you must want it first.

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It's no where close to a year since Obama said he'd empty Gitmo. And after what, 30 days, they have already concluded that Obama has already failed his goal. You're gloating about 11 months too soon. < :-)

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donkusai at 03:04 PM JST - 15th March

"peers" as in fellow-citizens of the U.S”

You missed my point, who are the peers of the “Gitmo detainees”? If they have a any fellow citizens anywhere in the world could we trust those fellow citizens to give a fair judgement in any trial?

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grafton... when a foreign national, say a British person, commits a crime in the U.S, does the court that they are being tried in run around to find British citizens to fill the jury? No, of course not. You'd have to be a U.S. citizen to be on the jury, and the British national would be tried under U.S. law with U.S. jurors. The phrase "trial by a jury of your peers" is a phrase that appears in constitutions around the world and it means trial by a jury made up of ordinary citizens of that country, and in this case we are talking about the U.S. as it is through the U.S. legal system that these people would be tried.

You are making an argument about nothing but wording. I'm not saying we round up a bunch of terrorists to be on the jury, I'm just using the standard phasing that means a normal jury trial, and this was in response to your claim that such trials would give the Gitmo detainees "more rights than U.S. citizens" - a claim that you are unable to justify.

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donkusai at 08:13 PM JST - 15th March

“and this was in response to your claim that such trials would give the Gitmo detainees "more rights than U.S. citizens"

I have never made any such claim, though I think somebody else did. My point is that “peers” means our equals & in this case that really would leave open the argument that these Gitmo detainees couldn’t expect to get a fair trial in the US. Their probable argument, not mine. I reason the same way that you do, if your in the US you get a fair trial from US citizens as a jury, & the same in the UK & so on. However, answer me this, do you believe that any terrorist tried in the US before a jury of American citizens is going to accept a guilty verdict or even recognise the court? If we were in their shoes we wouldn’t, we would play it for all we could, so what do you think they will do?

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grafton, my apologies, on checking, it was Molenir who made the silly claim. I agree with the idea that they'd probably not get a fair trial and that they'd play it for all they could. My worry is that the former US government has probably done more damage to the US reputation by holding them without trial for 7 years than could be done by the trials of these people. There are countries in the world where people can "disappear" for years, usually run by dictators, despots and such, and the US shouldn't be on that list. Next time a US government stands up and protests to another country about illegal detention of its citizens, they'll be able to point to Gitmo and say "but you do it too". There is a legal process and it works. There is no reason not to use it.

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Yes, and the esteemed President of the USA thinks, too, that we can "talk" to the Taliban. So far, President O's talk of "talk" with the Iranian Government has resulted in the Iranians not ceasing their uranium enrichment, and launching a satellite into orbit this year. This dropping of "enemy combatant" is just another political and policy faux pas committe by a President who really doesn't have a clue....

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USARonin:

" They must all be presumed innocent until found guilty by a jury of their peers. "

LOL! A classic.

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