Rush Limbaugh and others in the Administration-sympathetic camp have been making the point that the terrorists of Afghanistan and Iraq are not covered as combatants under the Geneva Convention, nor are they U. S. citizens who are entitled to Constitutional rights. This seems to be a defensible position, speaking from the exclusive standpoint of legality.
The question then is: will we employ no standard at all? If someone falls into a gray area between the laws and the compacts, between the treaties and the conventions, between the accords and the concords, should we exercise no limits at all in the conditions of their treatment? And if we do impose boundaries on ourselves, policed only by our own good will, should we quantify them into some legal category or should we avail ourselves of the flexibility allowed by voluntary terms of restraint?