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DoD Memo on Terror Detainees - Jed Babbin

The new memorandum about the status of terrorist detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and elsewhere - signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England on Friday -- is being widely misreported. The memo, which is reproduced in full below, doesn't say that the terrorists are now POWs under the Geneva Conventions or that they will be afforded the full rights and protections of the Geneva Conventions.

What it does say is that with the exception of the military tribunals tossed out by the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan, the treatment of the terrorist enemy combatants - under the cited Defense Department and Army manuals - is believed to be consistent with Geneva standards. The media hype of this is entirely wrong.

There is no torture or humiliating or degrading treatment (ask Sen. McCain) of prisoners, and the International Committee of the Red Cross already has access to the prisoners at Gitmo. The only change that this memo may - and I stress may, not shall -- force is the revealing of secret locations at which terrorists are held, or closing these locations and moving all not there already to Gitmo. That, in itself, would be a huge change and a very destructive one. But the new memo doesn't decide that question. The press should quiet down a bit until we know more.

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