The N&O would like for the SCOTUS to figure out the answer to that question. No need, I can do it right here in a flash of inelegant jurisprudence.
No, they don’t have rights. Left-leaning universalists, while they ignore most economic rights like those to property or to what one honestly earns, would like us to believe that everyone has rights to most everything under the sun. Whether they are arguing for air-conditioning rights for ‘sweatshop’ employees in Guatemala, or habeus corpus for enemy combatants and terrorists, so-called "human rights" become a blunt instrument with which to hammer out every leftist fashion of the day.
Currently it’s about extending rights of “freedom fighters” (read: terrorists). But enemy combatants don’t have Constitutional rights. Rights Americans enjoy are the product of a kind of social contract that one citizen has with every other. Such is the nature of citizenship. The Constitution codifies that for Americans – drawing the line between us and them. Citizen and non-Citizen. Swearing allegiance to the Constitution, as naturalized citizens do, is to become a member of our club—to live under our rules. To suggest non-citizens – much less enemies – have citizenship (and thus Constitutional rights) is not only to make fuzzy what it means to be a citizen at all, but to extend citizenship to the realms of absurdity. (Such Kantian universalism is well described in Robert Kagan’s Of Paradise and Power.)
Whether we’re talking about Martians or the very enemies of our country and Constitution, foreign terrorists don’t have the same rights we do. If they did, everyone in the world would be American. This may sound good in an unreflective, warm-n-fuzzy sort of way. But it’s a utopian fancy that would offer aid and comfort to those who hate us most. Such is not to argue that we treat enemy combatants with no decency; but that standards of treatment should grow largely out of what is required to protect the American people. -MB