One passage in particular is generating controversy, where journalists seem to be thrown into a convoluted and opaque category, in which they could be seen as “unprivileged belligerents” as opposed to civilians. Naturally, this has sparked concern that journalists the U.S. government doesn’t like could be lumped into the “unprivileged belligerents” category and subsequently murdered at will. The Washington Times covered this story, here are a few excerpts:
The Pentagon’s new thick book of instructions for waging war the legal way says that terrorists also can be journalists.
The manual pushes aside the George W. Bush-era label of “unlawful enemy combatant” for al Qaeda and the like. The new term of choice: “unprivileged belligerent.”