Exclusive: Gitmo Detainees Morph from ‘Enemy Combatants’ to ‘Islamist Community Organizers’

by PAM MEISTER March 17, 2009
The news released last Friday – Friday being a popular day to dump negative or unpopular news because most Americans are thinking ahead to the weekend – was that detainees at Guantanamo Bay are no longer to be referred to as “enemy combatants:”
The Obama administration stopped calling Guantanamo inmates "enemy combatants" on Friday and incorporated international law as its basis for holding the prisoners while it works to close the facility.
The U.S. Justice Department filed court papers outlining a further legal and linguistic shift from the anti-terrorism policies of Republican President George W. Bush, which drew worldwide condemnation as violations of human rights and international law.
"As we work toward developing a new policy to govern detainees, it is essential that we operate in a manner that strengthens our national security, is consistent with our values, and is governed by law," U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
Finally, a president who takes international law into account when considering the sovereignty and safety of American citizens! What’s good for, say, Germany, must be good for America, right? Especially when it comes to Germany’s milquetoastattempts to stem radical Islam in that nation. As Obama said in his official address to Berlin…er, speech by a private citizen during the campaign last July, “Ich bin ein Berliner!” I had no idea he would take his own rhetoric so seriously.
A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, however: European leaders may like the fact that Obama is planning on closing what Rush Limbaugh calls Club Gitmo, but they aren’t rushing to take the enemy combatants (since I don’t work for the government, I can get away with calling them by their rightful names) off of our hands, either. So much for the improved relations with European bureauweenies once The One™ replaced the cowboy.
I am curious to know what Attorney General Eric Holder meant, though, when he talked about how we should “govern detainees.” Since when are people suspected of killing or plotting to kill American citizens at home and abroad in the name of Islamic Jihad to be governed? Perhaps he meant to say “control detainees.” His boss must have been using the teleprompter that day.
But wait, there’s more:
The filing on Friday, in the cases of some 200 Guantanamo inmates seeking a court review of their detention, explains the standards of President Barack Obama's administration for holding terrorism suspects without court review.
It said those at Guantanamo will no longer be held on the exclusive basis of the president's authority as commander in chief.
On his radio show last Friday evening, Mark Levin wondered:
“If the commander in chief of the armed forces can’t use the phrase ‘enemy combatant’ because he needs Congress to tell him it’s okay, or he needs some international law from the Hague or somewhere to tell him it’s okay, what the hell is that? Now, the guy’s power hungry when it comes to controlling domestic affairs, and when it comes to foreign affairs he can’t wait to give the executive’s power away?”
That’s a good question. But as Andrew McCarthy points out, the administration had to be seen as doing something to appease the far-left base that helped sweep Obama into office:
Obama wants to have the advantage of — and take credit for the security provided by — the Bush post-9/11 policies. However, he has a rabid left-wing base that rejects the notion that there is a war and wants terrorism returned to the courts (and by the way, if/when that happens, that base will immediately go back to arguing that the court proceedings are inherently unfair, which is what it did for the eight years before 9/11). Throughout the campaign, Obama stirred this base — which consequently voted in droves for him — by trashing the policies he now wants to leave in place. So now he is in a quandary: "How do I keep these policies while preventing a revolt from these crazy people — er, I mean, my voters?"
Essentially, we're no longer going to call our captives "enemy combatants" ... but we're still going to detain people without trial, and Obama claims the unilateral authority to decide who gets detained. 
In other words, having seen what’s actually at stake, Obama doesn’t want to act too rashly, but he has to keep stirring up batches of fresh Kool Aid for the faithful until he can figure out what the heck he’s doing. And whether he really knows what he’s doing is questionable at best, considering the success of the first 50 or so days in office.
We still don’t know what the Obama administration plans to call these detainees. Here are a few suggestions:
  • Undocumented freedom fighters (shamelessly stolen from Andrew McCarthy)
  • American citizens-in-waiting
  • Members of Michael Moore’s fan club
  • Islamist community organizers
Regardless of the real intention behind this change in wording, how is such public wishy washiness to be viewed by our enemies? Let’s look at some of the highlights thus far:
Somehow, I don’t think the Russians, the Iranians, the Chinese and other assorted terror entities are quaking in their boots. In fact, I think I hear champagne flutes clinking.
I saw a t-shirt with Obama’s face on it that said “Welcome Back Carter.” Slap on a cardigan and he’s just about there. Can our nation’s security afford what some are calling the second Carter administration? My guess is no. But I hope I’m wrong.
Pam Meister is an editor for FamilySecurityMatters.org.

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