The NYT reported yesterday that the Obama administration will drop the "enemy combatants" moniker for people who joined or helped Taliban or al Qaeda.  The administration also will detain only those non-members who "substantially" aided the terrorist organizations.  The new standard accords with international standards for holding potentially bad guys.  Or at least so the DOJ argues in its memorandum.

The previous administration claimed the broader right to confine anyone who "directly" provided aid, whether "substantially" or not.  Direct aid could take the form of contributing funds to an organization that associated with a terrorist outfit.  The old standard didn't comply with international law — or at least complied with it less.

But the article doesn't disclose what nomenclature will apply to members and substantial aiders going forward.

Blawgletter, in researching for Blawg Review #201, re-learned something our Texas history teacher imparted in seventh grade.  Responding to unrest in the Texas y Coahuila province of Mexico, Mexican President Santa Anna induced the Mexican Congress to deem those causing the trouble "pirates".  The new law in 1835 said:

Foreigners landing on the coast of the Republic or invading its territory by land, armed, and with the intent of attacking our country, will be deemed pirates and dealt with as such, being citizens of no nation presently at war with the Republic and fighting under no recognized flag.
All foreigners who shall import, by either sea or land, in the places occupied by the rebels, either arms or ammunition or any kind for their use, will be deemed pirates and punished as such.
The customs of the day contemplated summary execution for pirates, and Santa Anna's troops indeed took no prisoners.
The parallel between "enemy combatants" and "pirates" strikes us as, well, striking.  The penalty for enemy combatancy and piratry differed, but what else did?
Let us know what you think.