They probably know nothing about it. The 158 men locked in chain-link cells at Guantanamo Bay are at the center of an international debate over the definition of “detainee.” They’re perhaps prisoners of war, or unlawful combatants or something altogether new. At one level none of this affects the fact that they are “accused” and a long way from home, but the judicial path that awaits them hinges on the legal determination of their status. And according to some, that decision may determine how American soldiers are treated by future enemies. The Geneva Conventions are unclear, as is the question of if Al Queda are soldiers or terrorists. And at this point the disagreements reach all the way to the White House. Old rules, new realities, seeing through the fog of Camp X-Ray.
Ruth Wedgwood, International Law Professor at Yale University and Johns Hopkins University
Gary Solis, legal historian at the Marine Corps Historical Center.