Archives: September 2011

The 9/11 Commission’s Tenth Anniversary Report Card was issued this week (PDF); the brief document reported on the lack of progress the U.S. has made since the Commission’s original report in 2004. The update helpfully informed Americans that we should continue to fear the terrorists, that we should implement even more invasive TSA procedures at the airport, and that we need better walkie-talkies. These have been topics of much debate in the media. My interest in the document, however, was content related to detainee rights: would the Commission hold the administration accountable for failing to implement reasonable and lasting policy on “War on Terror” detainees?

While crediting the Obama administration with better aligning Guantanamo policy to Geneva Convention norms, the Commission largely gave a failing grade to overall U.S. policy. And they are right to do so. Taking a look back at the Commission’s original recommendation, it is clear that outside of some minimal detainee rights, all of which flowed from Supreme Court decisions, the U.S. government has not acted on this recommendation.
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