Originally Posted by theimp98
lol i think that is the issue,
no one else is sure what the difference is also
i dont see what is so hard, about
enemy combatant= from a nation
unlawful= not from a nation, give them the same status as you would mercenaries which means for the most they have no rights.
I talked with my husband about this, since he worked on nuclear missiles in the Air Force and had to know the Geneva Convention backwards and forwards for his job. He also found a handy-dandy Wikipedia page that explains it:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enemy_combatants
Basically, there was a ruling by the Supreme Court in 1942 about the difference.
Like Bruce said, an enemy combatant is one who is in the military of the state (of the enemy, obviously). So Taliban soldiers would be enemy combatants; soldiers from Saddam's Iraqi Guard would be enemy combatants. They would be wearing a state uniform that would clearly identify them as military and what state they serve. They are subject to the Geneva Convention rules and would be considered prisoners of war.
Unlawful enemy combatants are not identifiable with any state.
"or an enemy combatant
who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property"
So basically, the terrorists who try to blend into the civilian populations in order to more effectively engage in war would be the unlawful enemy combatants. Since they are not with a state military, they are unlawful and thus are not subject to Geneva Convention rules. They can be tried by a military tribunal and are not considered prisoners of war.
If they are enemy combatants, they are subject to international law. If they are unlawful enemy combatants, they can be tried by our military tribunals according to the Supreme Court ruling in 1942. Either way, they are not subject to the US legal system. But that's really what's being argued before the Supreme Court - if they do have any right to our legal system.