2001 November 14

Vice President Cheney: “Terrorists Don’t Deserve to be Treated as Prisoners of War”


Many policies of the George W. Bush administration in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks violated U.S. and international law. Vice President Dick Cheney’s statement on this day, that “captured terrorists don’t deserve to be treated as prisoners of war,” was a clear public announcement of the administration’s thinking. Most important, the administration’s policy violated Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, which the U.S. had ratified and was therefore bound to honor. See December 8, 1949, for the Geneva Conventions.

For the four major Supreme Court decisions in which the Court ruled against the administration on questions of presidential power, international law, and due process of law, see Rasul v. Bush (June 28, 2004), Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (June 28, 2004), Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, June 29, 2006), and Boumediene v. Bush (June 12, 2008).

Read the Third Geneva Convention (1949 regarding the treatment of prisoners of war): http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/INTRO/375?OpenDocument

Read: Susan Herman, Taking Liberties: The War on Terror and the Erosion of American Democracy (2011)

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