Late Friday, the Obama administration took another step toward following through on its intention to significantly change US detention policy by dropping the Bush administration’s favoured description of the Guantánamo detainees as "enemy combatants." What follows in a filing in US district court, however, is disappointingly similar to the Bush administration’s assertion of detention authority.
Habeas corpus proceedings inherited from his predecessor likely forced Obama to make this filing before his review of detention policy is completed, and this certainly looks like a work in progress rather than a completed product. But even in that reading, the authority articulated today still needs significant improvement to bring it in line with past practice of the US military and America’s obligations under international law.
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