On July 12, 2006 the Bush Administration decided to apply the Geneva Conventions to the prisoners at Gitmo.
In a press release from 2003 Mr. Fleisher explained the President's position. Since President Obama took over the link to this speech does not work. I was able to use the cache feature to resurrect it.
MR. FLEISCHER: I have an announcement to make. Today President Bush affirms our enduring commitment to the important principles of the Geneva Convention. Consistent with American values and the principles of the Geneva Convention, the United States has treated and will continue to treat all Taliban and al Qaeda detainees in Guantanamo Bay humanely and consistent with the principles of the Geneva Convention.
They will continue to receive three appropriate meals a day, excellent medical care, clothing, shelter, showers, and the opportunity worship. The International Community of the Red Cross can visit each detainee privately.
In addition, President Bush today has decided that the Geneva Convention will apply to the Taliban detainees, but not to the al Qaeda international terrorists.
Afghanistan is a party to the Geneva Convention. Although the United States does not recognize the Taliban as a legitimate Afghani government, the President determined that the Taliban members are covered under the treaty because Afghanistan is a party to the Convention.
Under Article 4 of the Geneva Convention, however, Taliban detainees are not entitled to POW status. To qualify as POWs under Article 4, al Qaeda and Taliban detainees would have to have satisfied four conditions: They would have to be part of a military hierarchy; they would have to have worn uniforms or other distinctive signs visible at a distance; they would have to have carried arms openly; and they would have to have conducted their military operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
The Taliban have not effectively distinguished themselves from the civilian population of Afghanistan. Moreover, they have not conducted their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. Instead, they have knowingly adopted and provided support to the unlawful terrorist objectives of the al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda is an international terrorist group and cannot be considered a state party to the Geneva Convention. Its members, therefore, are not covered by the Geneva Convention, and are not entitled to POW status under the treaty.
The first action President B. Hussein Obama took addressed the concerns of the terrorists. Let that statement speak for itself.