Defining Enemy Combatant
The unconventional nature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has left a legal vacuum in the area of prisoner detentions, one that needs filling, says Samuel Issacharoff, professor of constitutional law at NYU. "In Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. confronts unlawful combatants who do not identify their military status and who must be separated from innocent civilians," says Issacharoff. "Nor is there a defined battleground or clear end to the conflict. With Al Qaeda, at least, there is no corresponding sovereign with whom to negotiate an eventual cessation of hostilities. That means that the concept of detention until the end of hostilities does not match the battlefield realities.