Buried in a White House proposal for hearing legal appeals from detainees at Guantánamo Bay, is a provision that calls on Congress to “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations, who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated to the slaughter of Americans.”
Analysts say that together with the new wiretapping law (and pending Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq), the measure represents an effort to “institutionalize” the Global War on Terrorism before Bush leaves office. “This seems like a final push by the administration before they go out the door,” said Suzanne Spaulding, a former lawyer for the Central Intelligence Agency and an expert on national security law. The cumulative effect of the actions, said Spaulding, is to “put the onus on the next administration”—particularly a Barack Obama administration—to justify undoing what Bush has put in place. (NYT, Aug. 30)
See our last post on the politics of the GWOT.