I checked the URLs that Lithwick supplied. It is clear that the Obama regime objects to military detention, and I mistook this objection for constitutional scruples.
However, on further reflection I conclude that the Obama regime’s objection to military detention is not rooted in concern for the constitutional rights of American citizens. The regime objects to military detention because the implication of military detention is that detainees are prisoners of war . As Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin put it: Should somebody determined “to be a member of an enemy force who has come to this nation or is in this
nation to attack us as a member of a foreign enemy, should that person be treated according to the laws of war? The answer is yes.”
Detainees treated according to the laws of war have the protections of the Geneva Conventions. They cannot be tortured. The Obama regime opposes military detention, because detainees would have some rights. These rights would interfere with the regime’s ability to send detainees to CIA torture prisons overseas. This is what the Obama regime means when it says that the requirement of military detention denies the regime “flexibility.”
The Bush/Obama regimes have evaded the Geneva Conventions by declaring that detainees are not POWs, but “enemy combatants,” “terrorists,” or some other designation that removes all accountability from the US government for their treatment.
By requiring military detention of the captured, Congress is undoing all the maneuvering that two regimes have accomplished in removing POW status from detainees.
A careful reading of the Obama regime’s objections to military detentionsupports this conclusion. The November 17 letter to the Senate from the Executive Office of the President says that the Obama regime does not want the authority it has under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), Public Law 107-40, to be codified. Codification is risky, the regime says. “After a decade of settled jurisprudence on detention authority, Congress must be careful not to open a whole new series of legal questions that
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