Omar Khadr was saved from prosecution on terrorism related charges by one military judge and two words, this week.
Army Col. Peter Brownback, the Guantanamo Bay judge in the case against the Canadian detainee captured in Afghanistan, tossed the case because Khadr had been classified as an "enemy combatant," rather than an "unlawful alien enemy combatant." When not declared "unlawful," suspected terrorists may also be considered suspected lawful combatants of an enemy army.
The point may seem semantic – which is what the Pentagon says. But the narrow point actually bespeaks the broadened definition being applied to terrorist suspects since September 2006, when "unlawful enemy combatants" were defined in the Military Commissions Act. It defined an unlawful enemy combatants as "an individual engaged in hostilities against the United States who is not a lawful enemy combatant." That is, anyone who isn't a soldier in another country's army, and can be thought of as hostile, can be so labeled.
There are also implications for the other detainees at Guantanamo whose cases (or non cases) await disposition, according to SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) blog:
It also was not clear what, if any, impact the ruling might have on other Guantanamo captives who do not face war crimes charges, but do face prolonged detention at the camp in Cuba. The military has conducted at least 558 proceedings on "combatant status" of Guantanamo prisoners, and it appears that most of those simply concluded that the individual involved was an "enemy combatant."