One shouldn’t be surprised if the President were fed up with the problems of taking war prisoners, aka enemy combatants, because they cause a lot of administrative headaches. The vast majority of prisoners at GITMO were innocent, but there were no acceptable ways of providing due process without the administration looking like tyrants or liars, so prisoners simply languished in prison year after year based on the administration’s word that these were the worst of the worst. Then there were the unsightly torture photos from Abu Ghraib, and reports of homicides and abuse at Bagram and GITMO, and an entire global archipelago of black sites used to squeeze information and compliance from god-knows-who.
According to Seymour Hersch, Team Obama is not going to make the same mistakes as Team Bush and just round-up people arbitarily:
And I’ll tell you right now, one of the great tragedies of my country is that Mr. Obama is looking the other way, because equally horrible things are happening to prisoners, to those we capture in Afghanistan. They’re being executed on the battlefield. It’s unbelievable stuff going on there that doesn’t necessarily get reported. Things don’t change.
What they’ve done in the field now is, they tell the troops, you have to make a determination within a day or two or so whether or not the prisoners you have, the detainees, are Taliban. You must extract whatever tactical intelligence you can get, as opposed to strategic, long-range intelligence, immediately. And if you cannot conclude they’re Taliban, you must turn them free. What it means is, and I’ve been told this anecdotally by five or six different people, battlefield executions are taking place. Well, if they can’t prove they’re Taliban, bam. If we don’t do it ourselves, we turn them over to the nearby Afghan troops and by the time we walk three feet the bullets are flying. And that’s going on now.
Imagine that: Killing them because you CAN’T identify them as an enemy. It helps cut down on paperwork and political overhead. Stay classy, Barack.