The imminent release of Yaser Esam Hamdi, one of two U.S. citizens (that we know of) held as "enemy combatants," suggests how slight the justification for such detentions can be. "As we have repeatedly stated," the Justice Department says, "the United States has no interest in detaining enemy combatants beyond the point that they pose a threat to the U.S. and our allies." So the Bush administration expects us to believe that Hamdi was an unacceptable threat to U.S. security--presumably because he would head straight back to Afghanistan to fight alongside the Taliban--for nearly three years, up until the moment when the Supreme Court said the government had to back up that claim with evidence. Now there's no problem with letting him go free, as long as he goes back to Saudi Arabia. As ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero says, the decision "makes you wonder: Why was he really being held in the first place?"
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