There literally is no end to the extent by which Republican politicians will lie, distort, and manufacture statements in their efforts to disrupt, deny, and destroy the Obama administration's attempts to govern. At today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on 9/11 trial, the Fort Hood shooter, and terrorism, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) decided to flip-flop on the designation of the Gitmo detainees. Are they "unlawful enemy combatants" or are they "prisoners of war"?
SESSIONS: The enemy, who could of been obliterated on the battlefield on one day, but was captured instead does not then become a common American criminal. They are first a prisoner of war, once they're captured. The laws of war say, as did Lincoln and Grant, that the prisoners will not be released when the war - until the war ends. How absurb is it to say that we will release people who plan to attack us again?
Sessions seems to be saying that because these detainees were captured by the military, they have become prisoners of war and should not be released - even if found not guilty or after serving a prison term (assuming less than a life sentence) - until the "war on terror" is over (which, under a Republican point of view, will never be over). But on the other hand, SecDef Don Rumsfeld and the other fun-loving bunch of Bushites were very firm about NOT calling them "prisoners of war" because they were not supposed to get rights under the Geneva Convention (or any other form of legal writs - see waterboarding, justification of).
In fact, as one of the commenters at the TPM post notes, there was public law developed to explicitly designate any non-US citizen who was accused of supporting terrorism or acting against the United States as a terrorist as being eligible for military commissions.
I thought like you until I read this, from the Military Commissions Act: "‘(e) Geneva Conventions Not Establishing Private Right of Action- No alien unprivileged enemy belligerent subject to trial by military commission under this chapter may invoke the Geneva Conventions as a basis for a private right of action."
This discussion becomes quickly complex with legal passages as a debate over whether the military tribunals should take KSM or if the federal court system has adequate jurisdiction. But it's just so interesting how Republican politicians adroitly jump back and forth as to the question of the detainees' status to how it best fits their argument of the day - are we talking about Geneva convention rights, or are we talking about the process of legal courts?
And because I want to give credit to the interesting comments over at TPM, I will close with the following observations by the commenters:
"I guess when the Right/GOP can say, print (Palin's myth filled book), promote anything without any accountability by the Beltway Press, the GOP has no need for intellectually honest consistency in their claims."
"When did Sessions stop playing the banjo?"
UPDATE: Clarified the guilt point.