Business Insider recently put together an exclusive on “the most notorious prison on earth.” One might want to ask if it’s “notorious” because it actually is one of the worst prisons on earth, or if it’s “notorious” because no one demands to get exclusives on other detention facilities around the world. North Korean gulags? Not interested. Iran? Egypt? Eh. A tour of the prison system of any number of South American countries? Yawn. China? That’s where they filmed Iron Man 3, man. Leave the Chinese alone!
Here is what Business Insider reported on the facility that has brand new $750,000 ‘Super Rec’ yard, a full Arabic library, DVDs, video games and quiet time after prayer calls five times a day:
After more than a decade of operations […] many say that conditions have improved [at Guantanamo Bay].
We had that impression after visiting the camp for five days in March. Although our tour of the facility was controlled by the military, we came away with the feeling that compliant detainees receive better treatment than most prisoners in the United States. For non-compliant detainees, like the 92 going on hunger strike right now, conditions remain highly restrictive.
As for torture, the Obama administration has ordered that it stop — believe what you will.
Indefinite detention? America is no longer adding detainees but has not figured out what to do with the ones that are already there.
The last time I checked, the debate over water boarding was far from over. Given that it’s done to our Navy SEALs and the guys who go through SERE school — and given that you have to be a really bad man to go through the vetting process and end up in Gitmo — it seems a bit premature for Business Insider to label it as such.
Regardless, here is the key sentence:
“America is no longer adding detainees but has not figured out what to do with the ones that are already there.”
No. Idea. What. To. Do.
We’re not talking about the evil “BushHitler” (one word). We’re talking about President Obama, the guy who was pretty darn cocksure that Gitmo would be closed within one year of taking office. Maybe he meant one year after he left office … eight years later? We’ll see.
What do you do with men who were captured on the battlefield who have vowed to return — to kill Americans — the moment they’re released? And then what do you do if “Plan A” was to just hand them over to their country of origin, but nobody will take them? For the time being, the U.S. stuck with the world’s most hard-core jihadis as they “fling styrofoam cups filled with feces, semen, and urine” at the guards who bring them Shariah-compliant meals.
President Obama has found out that he can close Gitmo, but the function it performs (i.e., keeping incredibly evil men from terrorizing the civilized world) will remain. His solution up until now seems to be to just kill them with drone strikes. Apparently, it’s more humane to drop a bomb on a guy’s head (sorry if we killed your extended family) than to haul a guy off to a detention facility, glean intelligence from him and then try him before a military court. Got it.
For most of George W. Bush’s presidency the anti-war left came out in droves to protest Gitmo. Today, there are random groups of five or ten people who stand outside the White House. Should a Republican be elected in 2016 and the detention facility still be open for business, I have no doubt that it will once again capture the attention of people everywhere looking for a cause. By then the damage will have been done; selective outrage robs the people who practice it of credibility.