The news wires are saying there has been a major policy development concerning Guantanamo Bay. The Bush administration is now changing its stance with regard to the Geneva Convention, reports say.
The White House says today’s announcement does not reflect a change in policy. That is probably right. That is, the Supreme Court ruling in Hamdan established some new law with respect to the application of Geneva to detainees and the Pentagon is now simply tinkering with some policies to comply with that ruling.
Because Clintonian word games still pervade the capital, however, one must scrutinize these policy announcements very closely. For example, whatever the Pentagon is saying about Guantanamo today may be limited to the Pentagon and to the men held at Guantanamo Bay. I say that because in 2002, President Bush issued a directive that pledged humane treatment to all prisoners in U.S. custody. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales later admitted in 2005 that that directive did not apply to officers of the CIA and other nonmilitary personnel.