President Bush and his commanders announced early in the conflict that the Conventions applied.
It is also worth asking whether the strict limitations of Geneva make sense in a war against terrorists.
A decision by the Supreme Court to subject Guantanamo to judicial review would eliminate these advantages.
This is not to condone torture, which is still prohibited by the Torture Convention and federal criminal law.
Without territory, it does not even have the resources to provide detention facilities for prisoners, even if it were interested in holding captured POWs.
Under the Geneva Convention, for example, a POW is required only to provide name, rank, and serial number and cannot receive any benefits for cooperating.
If the Court were to extend its reach to the base, judges could begin managing conditions of confinement, interrogation methods, and the use of information.
In light of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, critics are arguing that abuses of Iraqi prisoners are being produced by a climate of disregard for the laws of war.
We can guess that the unacceptable conduct of the soldiers at Abu Ghraib resulted in part from the dangerous state of affairs on the ground in a theater of war.
Applying different standards to al Qaeda does not abandon Geneva, but only recognizes that the U.S. faces a stateless enemy never contemplated by the Conventions.