One of the arguments for not applying the Geneva Conventions to “enemy combatants” who are now in Guantanamo is that they were not wearing uniforms. Of course, the Taleban didn’t have a uniform that the administration recognized, so at least it was technically true. (Of course, as we learned, at least some of our, um, “guests” weren’t wearing uniforms because they weren’t combatants at all, but that’s another story.)
But what happens if the administration designates our enemy terrorists? Are terrorists deserving of Geneva Convention protections if they are wearing uniforms?
The United States has decided to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country’s 125,000-strong elite military branch, as a “specially designated global terrorist,” according to U.S. officials, a move that allows Washington to target the group’s business operations and finances.
The designation of the Revolutionary Guard will be made under Executive Order 13224, which President Bush signed two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to obstruct terrorist funding. It authorizes the United States to identify individuals, businesses, charities and extremist groups engaged in terrorist activities. The Revolutionary Guard would be the first national military branch included on the list, U.S. officials said — a highly unusual move because it is part of a government, rather than a typical non-state terrorist organization.
I have a bad feeling about these games the administration is playing with semantics.