Out: ‘Unlawful Enemy Combatants’; In: ‘Unprivileged Enemy Belligerents’

Posted by on Nov 26, 2014 at 11:02 am

Just when you thought we couldn’t become any more ridiculous. Figured this was a gag, but it’s not.

When it comes to Department of Defense doctrine on military treatment of detained persons, “unlawful enemy combatants” are a thing of the past. That term has been retired and replaced by “unprivileged enemy belligerents” in a new revision of Joint Publication 3-13 on Detainee Operations, dated November 13, 2014.

Somehow this escaped public notice, not to mention the appropriate ridicule, but it actually pre-dates November 13.


Prohibition on transfer of unprivileged enemy belligerents to the United States



No unprivileged enemy belligerent who is in the custody or under the effective control of theDepartment of Defense or any other Federal entity may be transferred to or released in the United States.


Criminal penalties

A person who transfers or releases, or assists in the transfer or release, of an unprivileged enemy belligerent to or within the United States shall be fined in accordance with title 18, United States Code, imprisoned for not more than five years, or both.


Unprivileged enemy belligerent

For purposes of this Act, the term unprivileged enemy belligerent has the meaning given such term in section 948a(7) of title 10, United States Code, and includes any individual (other than a member of the Armed Forces) under detention at United States Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as of the date of the enactment of this Act.

And it goes back even further. Can’t we just go back to calling them terrorists?

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One Response to “Out: ‘Unlawful Enemy Combatants’; In: ‘Unprivileged Enemy Belligerents’”

  1. SNuss on 28/28/14 at 12:42 am

    The Third Geneva Convention specifies a set of criteria that combatants must meet to be legal:
    ◾Be commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates
    ◾Have a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance
    ◾Carry arms openly
    ◾Conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war

    On the other hand, the Military Commissions Act of 2006 defines a lawful enemy combatant as a member of the regular forces, a militia, a volunteer corps or an organized resistance movement belonging to a state (whether officially recognized or not) that is engaged in hostilities against the United States and who must
    ◾Wear a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance
    ◾Carry his or her arms openly
    ◾Abide by the law of war

    The Act does not provide any additional exemptions. Moreover, it also explicitly defines members of the Taliban, al Qaeda and associated forces as unlawful enemy combatants.

    Source: http://www.factcheck.org/2007/12/defining-enemy-combatant/

    It seems perfectly clear to me that these are “unlawful enemy combatants”, otherwise known as terrorists. Or, should we also classify them as “undocumented Democrats”?