Today, the Obama administration set forth the authority under which it claims it can continue to hold those at Guantanamo without giving them a trial. If any of us thought or hoped or prayed that Obama would reject the detention without trial scenario authored by Bush, we were sorely disappointed. Yes, the term enemy combatant is gone to be replaced by “members of enemy forces.” And who are they? Well just go back to the Bush administration definition of “enemy combatant” with one small change—the word “substantially” in front of support. So, it is roughly the same except now the Obama administration says they will not detain the little old lady in Switzerland who unwittingly gives money to Al Qaeda or the Taliban.
Here is the “new” definiton of detainees who are no longer called “enemy combatants.” Guess what–as I said above: its roughly the same.
The President has the authority to detain persons that the President determines
planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on
September 11, 2001, and persons who harbored those responsible for those attacks.
The President also has the authority to detain persons who were part of, or
substantially supported, Taliban or al-Qaida forces or associated forces that are
engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any
person who has committed a belligerent act, or has directly supported hostilities, in
aid of such enemy armed forces.