Redefining the Terrorist

Issue: Spring 2004

Since the War on Terror began in late 2001, the American military has captured thousands of Al-Qaeda terrorists, Taliban soldiers and other assorted jihadists. Many of these men have been interrogated and released. Others have been returned to their countries of origin. One captive, John Walker Lindh, was prosecuted under U.S. criminal law. The remainder are being held in indefinite detention, including a group of more than 600 who are imprisoned at an American naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

From its inception, the Guantanamo facility has aroused widespread international condemnation.1 Last fall, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which monitors conditions at the site, complained that

"U.S. authorities have placed the internees in Guantanamo beyond the law. This means that, after more than eighteen months of captivity, the internees still have no idea about their fate, and no means of recourse through any legal mechanism."

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