An Enemy Combatant by Any Other Name

by Mike on March 13, 2009

in Law,Politics,War on Terror

President Obama is officially abandoning the use of the term “enemy combatant” to describe enemy combatants in the War on Terror.  The announcement will make liberals who read nothing but headlines ecstatic.  They view the enemy combatant designation as nothing more than President Bush’s pretext to deny foreign terrorists with whom we are at war full-blown trials in the American court system.  Liberals who read beyond the headlines will be disappointed though.

Although Obama refuses to describe enemy combatants as “enemy combatants”, he has reserved the right to detain enemy combatants without charging them in the American judicial system.  Liberals who figured out what Obama is up to are not happy.  They call the move symbolic with good reason.  On the issue of enemy combatants, Obama is essentially doing the same thing as President Bush.  He’s just calling it something else.

Obama’s semantic change is significant not for what it does, which is nothing.  Obama’s semantic change is significant because it confirms that President Bush was right in the way he handled foreign enemy combatants.  It’s one thing to appeal to a left-wing base skeptical of any projection of American strength during a campaign.  It is quite another to jeopardize American national security by abdicating powers granted to the President under Article II of the Constitution.  Now that Obama has access to the same information President Bush had, it should come as no surprise that Obama is hesitant to overturn a Bush Administration policy that was so successful in helping to protect the American people.

That’s not to say Obama’s lip service to the left will remain lip service.  His power base remains quite hostile to both the Constitution and the projection of American strength.  The information Obama now sees may give him pause in changing course.  His base will not.  Hopefully they didn’t read past the headline.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Sal March 14, 2009 at 12:15 am

Earlier today, I saw a comment that jokingly asked if we were now going to refer to terrorists as “undocumented protagonists?”


Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: