March 13th, 2009
04:15 PM ET
11 years ago

U.S. reverses policy, drops 'enemy combatant' term

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a dramatic break with the Bush administration, the Justice Department on Friday announced it is doing away with the designation of "enemy combatant," which allowed the United States to hold suspected terrorists at length without criminal charges.

In a court filing in Washington, the Justice Department said it is developing a new standard for the government's authority to hold detainees at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility in Cuba.

Full story

soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. malclave

    Meh, what effect will this have, really? Just a change in terminology.

    Obama will claim some great departure from Bush's policies, but it's just lipstick on a pig.

    Of course, CNN and other die-hard, unthinking libs will eat it up. They're easily distracted.

    March 13, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  2. southerncousin

    We can call them "Franks" or "Dodds" or "Pelosis" or "Reids." I don't think you would want to call them "Schumers" or they will sic the ACLU on you. All of these names would be synonomous with those that have caused or wish to cause great harm to the US and its citizens

    March 13, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  3. Ray zin

    If they are guilty then lets find them guilty in a court of law, not because Dick Cheney says they are. Show the world that we believe in our freedoms. That is the way we win.

    March 13, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  4. Ex-Republican

    It's about time we lived up to our constitutional morals and obligations as law obiding citizens. The Bush era/chapter in our history is a very dark and evil one. We lost our right to privacy, adopted nazi/terrorist morals and embarked upon torture.

    Thank you Obama, for giving us our dignity back. It takes a coward to fight like a terrorist. It takes courage to fight with your morals and integrity in tact.

    March 13, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. keeth in california

    Funny how right-wingers and Obama-haters can predict with absolute certainty how, why and when Obama is going to fail. However, when their predictions did not come true that WMDs were a "slam-dunk," that Iraqi oil profits would pay for the entire war, that we would be greeted as liberators, and that this would all lead to democracies throughout the Middle East, they just shrugged and said, "No one can predict the future.'

    Hypocrites. Bush set the stage for Obama. Had Bush done a good job as president, the country would not have elected Obama. You have only your man, his attack dogs, and your votes to blame.

    March 13, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Sandra

    Lets have tea with terrorists!!

    Obama is too Hell bent on playing nice with these people. We have NOT had an attack on this country since 9/11, hope that holds true under Obama, but I wouldn't be on it. Sorry, but I value the rights of Americans over those of terrorists.

    March 13, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  7. arithmetic is liberal

    Rob March 13th, 2009 4:57 pm ET

    …They will now be known as "Friends of Obama"

    Whoa, Nellie! Another Gullible Old Party member who thinks he's a comedian!

    March 13, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. dumbocrat alert

    i like the name "new comers" or how about "community organizers" ?

    March 13, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. Leave Sarah alone, CA

    It was war on human rights, not on terror

    March 13, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. Steph

    Why are so many people afraid of giving these people a fair trial? If a relative of yours was imprisioned for years without having any charges brought against him you would be screaming your heads off on every tv news program.

    Some are most likely very dangerous people, and they should never be released. However, some are innocent, and we should never, never imprision an innocent person. Why aren't the pro-life people screaming about this. They are innocent people (just like a fetus is an innocent unborn child), and they should be allowed to live their lives!

    March 13, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    @ Baze, who said "Wow, we have officially ended the war on terror"

    No, not one bit. This actually constitutes the first step towards truly fighting it. The "war on terror" is, first and foremost, an ideological war. Therefore, he who abandons his fundamental beliefs first, loses. I have yet to see the terrorists waiver in their beliefs. Gitmo represented a complete abandonment of ours.

    March 13, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  12. Big Ed

    Here they come...all the nay-sayers with their goofy remarks. I say put them on trial and sentence them or release them.

    Yes, I am concerned about our safety. We are more vulnerable now than ever – our hard working military is worn thin trying to hold down two fronts, the police have had to reduce forces due to Mr. Bush's "economic downturn". Just remember, all the torture (yes, I said TORTURE) and the way we have treated these detainees, what do you think they are going to do to OUR soldiers if they get ahold of them. Payback!. The Bush Administration did more to help Al Qadia's recruiting then they have!

    Don't forget China is holding the pink slip on the U.S. since they bought an enormous amount of debt Mr. Bush accrued during his 8 years in office. And we STILL don't know where Osama Bin Laden is.

    Are we safer after 8 years of Mr. Bush, I say NO! Keep on posturing Republicans! You got us in this mess and all you do is jaw-bone about how bad you think Mr. Obama is doing. I seem to remember you saying how unpatriotic it was to challenge a president in the time of war. "King George's War" is still going. I think they call this...hypocracy! Offering nothing to help is called being part of the problem.

    Lead, follow or GO HOME!

    March 13, 2009 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  13. Willy Brown

    He comes the PC police!

    March 13, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. ray ray

    Makes sense to me!!

    Obama is more upset with Rush and the GOP than worried about terrorists.

    Why WOULD he call terrorists "enemy combatants"?? Barry Hussein Obama is their friend.

    March 13, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  15. Big Ed


    Put down your computer and pick up a rifle and a one way ticket to the Middle East.

    It's easy to talk when you don't have bullets flying at you. Yap, yap, yap!

    March 13, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Leave Sarah alone, CA

    The idea that you can create terror in other societies to maintain your own safety is delusional. The more human rights violations and violence we represent the more enemy we create for yourself.

    March 13, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. dumbocrat alert

    Moderator, what's wrong with calling them community organizers ?

    March 13, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  18. Freed_From_W

    Thank you.

    Now, please prosecute the Bush Regime for their war crimes and running a dictatorship out of the VP office.

    March 13, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. thomas

    The Bush administration seemed to be posessed with locking up and punishing anyone they disliked. Isn't it their turn to look at life from the bowels of the purgatory they created.

    March 13, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. Ted van Tol

    Yesterday they arrested 7 so colled terrorist in our country The Netherlands. Today they have to released them because they had nothing to do with terrorism or so ever. In the USA they would be in jail without any justice for a long time.
    So, Barack Obama did the right thing (as he promissed)!
    Your President is realy great and when I read the comments on these
    blogs I thing you dont deserve a President like him.
    Today Iran is comming to the table to talk about Afghanistan.
    Just like Obama said.

    So, stop whining and complaining and support your President..

    March 13, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. Leave Sarah alone, CA

    Many here like Sandra and KnightJ are not fully educated on this matter.
    By definition we have more terrorist living among us in the US, than anywhere in the World. Google Terrorist and read, just a bit

    March 13, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  22. cph9680

    So you just change the name, right? But it's still the same old thing, right?
    Way to go B.O.

    March 13, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  23. arithmetic is liberal

    southerncousin March 13th, 2009 5:00 pm ET

    We can call them "Franks" or "Dodds" or "Pelosis" or "Reids." I don't think you would want to call them "Schumers" or they will sic the ACLU on you. All of these names would be synonomous with those that have caused or wish to cause great harm to the US and its citizens

    Actually, southern cousin, you're confusing your hate targets. The ACLU would come defend you if you called them a "Schumer" the ADL would be the ones after you.

    March 13, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  24. pjartco

    Bush must be happy that Guantanamo Bay is going away. It is yet another symbol of how inept he and his administration were. Out of over 700 people detained there, they convicted 3. Yet, they let dozens of actual terrorists out because they couldn't find any evidence on them. So what was the whole point of detaining these people supposed to be if you couldn't find any evidence on actual terrorists? Or were they non-terrorists when you arrested them, only to be driven to terrorism by Bush taking away their freedom?

    March 13, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    @ Sandra, who said "I value the rights of Americans over those of terrorists."

    Circular logic. We couldn't prove that most of these people were terrorists in the first place, which is why the Bushtard was holding them without representation or a fair trial. There's a reason they're called "human" rights, not "American" rights by the way. I nkow it's posh in neocon circles to consider everyone but your fellow right wing nutjobs to be something less than human, but it doesn't fly with the rest of the thinking world.

    March 13, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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