For the Bush administration 9/11 started a new kind of war. In reaction to the attacks the president and his legal advisors created the term unlawful enemy combatant in addition to the Geneva Conventions' distinction of combatants and civilians. Alluding to international law, the term suggests legality and seeks to legitimize a new kind of detention, yet leading to the torture scandal and Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. This empirical study traces the term's development throughout the first year after 9/11 and reveals the legitimation strategies for detainee treatment of the Bush administration.
Dorte Hühnert is a research associate at the Institute for Political Science at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.