Enemy combatants or PoWs?

The Afghani prisoners detained in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba--now totalling 660 people, after a shipment of 30 more arrived Sunday--are being called "captured enemy combatants" instead of "prisoners of war," so that the US won't be tried under the Geneva Convention. Is the "war on terror" really not a war, despite all its war planes and daisy-cutters? Can a linguistic flourish be an acceptable alibi? And why aren't the US soldiers shown on Al-Jazeera "enemy combatants" as well? Rumsfeld's indignation at the treatment of US soldiers is understandable, but considering that the US tortured two Afghan detainees to death, putting American PoWs on TV seems to be a far less heinous crime. As Bush calls for humane treatment of American captives, I hope the president can assure the same for those in our custody.

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