Prisoners of Metaphorical War (POMW)
As time goes by, there is an increasing risk that the "enemy combatants" held in Guantanamo Bay for three years now will become a forgotten group, known about by fewer and fewer people and cared about by even fewer.
The term "enemy combatants" is of course Rumspeak for Prisoners of War. But what war are we talking about here? The "Global War on Terror"? The war in Afghanistan?
The former is really a metaphorical one, much like the "war on drugs" or the "war on school truancy". Without a clearly identifiable enemy, confined within National borders, the concept of "war" is to be considered metaphorical, a "fight" or "struggle" rather an actual "war".
And these "enemy combatants" can therefore not be considered POWs because it leads to a ridiculous paradox. At the end of a "war" (in the narrow, precise meaning of the word), prisoners of war are released or exchanged by the previously warring Nations. But this "war on terror" may never end, thereby effectively condemning these "enemy combatants" to a life sentence, without charge, trial, conviction or sentencing.
Then there is the argument that some, maybe many, are members of al-Qaeda. Let that even be true. How then is it possible that after three years no charges have been brought to most of them? It is reasonable to assume that any al-Qaeda members imprisoned at Camp Delta are rather low level cadres, against whom bringing reasonable charges should not be too problematic. Instead these prisoners continue to be held in conditions far removed from those applied to other prisoners awaiting trial.
Amnesty International is now campaigning for reasonable access for these prisoners, many of which have been held in solitary confinement for prolonged periods of time and some of which are on hunger strike.
Keywords: Guantanamo, Guantanamo Bay, Camp Delta, enemy combatants, terrorism, Afghanistan