Should Dzokhar Tsarnaev Be Tried as a Civilian or Enemy Combatant?

The term enemy combatant means:

“Any member of the armed forces of a state with which another state is at war; also, any person in an armed conflict, including terrorism, who could be properly detained under the laws and customs of war.”

“The term ‘enemy combatant’ actually refers to persons the United States regards as unlawful combatants, a category of persons who do not qualify for prisoner-of-war status under the Geneva Conventions.”

An unlawful combatant is:

“An individual who violates the law by engaging in combat; an individual who is involved in but not authorized to take part in hostilities; also called illegal combatant, unprivileged combatant.”

“An unlawful combatant is someone who commits belligerent acts, but does not qualify under the Geneva Convention as a prisoner of war.”

Does Dzokhar Tsarnaev qualify as an unlawful or enemy combatant?  Enemy combatants are not read their Miranda rights and are not entitled to all of the same legal rights as a civilian.

Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Rep. Peter King (R-NY) have all contacted the White House and urged them to treat and try Tsarnaev as an enemy combatant.  In a joint statement from the group issued Saturday, they said:

“The suspect, based upon his actions, clearly is a good candidate for enemy combatant status. We do not want this suspect to remain silent.”

“We hope the Obama Administration will consider the enemy combatant option because it is allowed by national security statutes and U.S. Supreme Court decisions.”

To no surprise, our liberal Democratic Muslim President has decided to try the Muslim terrorist in civilian court instead of as an enemy combatant.  In a statement released by White Press Secretary Jay Carney, the White House said:

“We will prosecute this terrorist through our civilian system of justice,” Carney said at Monday’s press briefing. “Under U.S. law, United States citizens cannot be tried in military commissions,” Carney said. “And it is important to remember that since 9/11 we have used the federal court system to convict and incarcerate hundreds of terrorists … The system has repeatedly proven that it can successfully handle the threat that we face.”

“So this is absolutely the right way to go and the appropriate way to go, and when it comes to United States citizens, it is against the law to try them as enemy combatants.”

The Obama administration has been softer on captured Muslim terrorists than previous administrations.  In March of 2009, the Justice Department withdrew the term ‘enemy combatant’ on all detainees at Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility.  At the same time, they redefined their detention policy to only those individuals that were known to have had a substantial support of the Taliban or al Qaeda.

Tsarnaev did engage in unlawful combat and took part in hostilities against the people of the United States.  Since he was not officially a part of any country or state currently at war with the United States, he does not fall under the Geneva Convention.

In spite of President Obama’s warnings about making judgments on Dzokhar Tsarnaev before the government tells us what we are supposed to think about him, I see him as an enemy combatant who committed a terrorist act upon the citizens of the United States.  I totally disagree with the White House, but then what’s new.  I also wonder what the White House would have done had the Boston terrorists been Jewish or Christian.  Would Obama still try them in civilian court or treat them as enemy combatants?