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The Washington judge charged with deciding whether four detainees in Afghanistan can have their day in court gave the Obama administration nearly a month to distinguish its views on detention from President Bush's. In a court filing Friday, President Obama's lawyers declared that the new policy is the same as the old one :
This Court's Order of January 22, 2009 invited the Government to inform the Court by February 20, 2009, whether it intends to refine its position on whether the Court has jurisdiction over habeas petitions filed by detainees held at the United States military base in Bagram, Afghanistan. Having considered the matter, the Government adheres to its previously articulated position.
The stance adheres to the Bush administration's theory of a global battlefield, where "enemy combatants" can be detained indefinitely even if they're far away from any traditional battlefield, and even if they're not directly engaged in hostilities. It stretches an argument that Bagram, a military base leased from the Afghan government, is significantly different from Guantanamo, where the Supreme Court determined last summer that habeas corpus applies.