War on Terror

Gitmo: "the most expensive prison on earth"


Interesting article from The Miami Herald:

The Pentagon detention center that started out in January 2002 as a collection of crude open-air cells guarded by Marines in a muddy tent city is today arguably the most expensive prison on earth, costing taxpayers $800,000 annually for each of the 171 captives by Obama administration reckoning.

That's more than 30 times the cost of keeping a captive on U.S. soil. […]

Congress, charged now with cutting $1.5 trillion from the budget by Christmas, provided $139 million to operate the center last year, and has made every effort to keep it open—even as a former deputy commander of the detention center calls it "expensive" and "inefficient."

"It's a slow-motion Berlin Airlift—that's been going on for 10 years," says retired Army Brig. Gen. Greg Zanetti, a West Point graduate who in 2008 was deputy commander at the detention center.

Whole thing here. Thanks to Human Rights Watch's Laura Pitter for the tip.


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  1. …then the prisoners would be living in a free market.

  2. Have any of them died of old age yet?

  3. The interesting thing about this (which is a point Rummy made in his memoir) is that Gitmo is a superb facility. It always has been. The Pentagon poured a lot of money into that facility. Those prisoners had it made.

    None of that excuses holding people in perpetuity on the flimsiness of enemy combatant status. But all of the whining about how bad a place Gitmo was/is has always been bullocks.

    1. When you’re tortured having a comparatively comfortable prison doesn’t matter much.

      1. …right, torture. Grow up.

        1. Fuck off neocon. If the US is doing it it can’t be torture, right.

          1. Neocon?… you ignorant fuck, blow me!

            1. Sorry, than you’re a non-neocon who advocates torture but is afraid to call it torture.

      2. So you’re saying that we might as well save money by torturing them in the US with the rest of the SuperMax prisoners we already torture?

      3. Affenkopf, water boarding is bad, but is it any worse than electroconvulsive therapy? As a historic note, psych wards used to use water boarding a century ago to “cure” psych patients. They called it hydrotherapy. It turns out that if you water board a patient every time he complains of hearing voices, he stops reporting that he hears voices.

    2. Well if Rummy said so, must be okay. His track record is impeccable.

    3. The left screwed the pooch in acting like their issue was with gitmo itself instead of indefinite detention without trial.

      If ignore the indefinite detention part, gitmo is actually a superb place to keep people with really nasty friends. It’s a prison, on a US Military base, that the only way to get close to it on US Military transport or through a hostile country. Even if you go through the hostile country you’ve got to deal with mine fields, machine gun towers and other defensive measures…

  4. then maybe we shouldn’t be fucking coddling these terrorists*. But, oh wait, we have to worry about their civil rights, the ACLU said so

    *yes, terrorists. No one in the armed forces has any incentive to round up people for no reason out in Iraq/Afghanistan and just send them to jail. All these guys were caught doing something

    1. Afghanis are paid money to report ‘taliban’. These were send to Guantanamo without proof of doing something.

  5. I don’t know why we don’t do what the Brits do, send our criminals to Australia.

  6. Did they fix the gold course? Last I heard it was ruined by Haitian refugees camped out there. You had to carry a strip of astroturf to hit off of because the course was rocks and dust.

    Of course they waste money – it’s a government operation.

  7. Great, it’s expensive. You want to tell me what we’re supposed to do with them? There’s no evidence against them that would stand up in a civilian court. That doesn’t mean they’re innocent, it means the Marines weren’t out there playing CSI:Kandahar, reading people their rights, putting evidence in little baggies, taking witness statements, etc. So we should drop them all back off in Afghanistan, with maybe an apology?

    There’s a reason Obama backed off on his campaign promise to close Gitmo. He doesn’t want to be in office when, inevitably, the DNA of a Gitmo alum is found in a crater where an embassy used to be.

    1. So we can expect Gitmo to close when his term expires?

      1. Gitmo is a U.S. Naval Base. It will continue as such whether or not we continue to stash captured terrorists there.

    2. So we should drop them all back off in Afghanistan, with maybe an apology?

      Good idea.

      There’s a reason Obama backed off on his campaign promise to close Gitmo.

      Yes, he’s a war-loving, freedom-hating scumbag.

      1. Oy. Yep, everyone hates freedom. Bush, McCain, Obama…hell, Clinton was the one who started renditions. Only H&R commenters are pure. Since nothing they do has any impact on the real world.

        1. By the way, when Bush was telling us that the terrorists hate us for our freedom, wasn’t pretty much everyone around here telling us that was simplistic fear-mongering?

          But when it comes to Gitmo or the PATRIOT Act, I guess American politicians really do just hate freedom.

        2. . Bush, McCain, Obama…hell, Clinton

          Everybody does it. Who cares if it’s right. Statist arguments in a nutshell.

    3. There’s a reason Obama backed off on his campaign promise to close Gitmo.

      But he did find the perfect solution– just kill them with drones instead.

      Many fewer people care if we kill instead of capture and hold indefinitely.

      This despite so many of the same people thinking that the death penalty is far worse than life imprisonment.

      I reluctantly supported Gitmo because I felt that the inevitable alternative was killing instead of capturing. President Obama has, I feel, proved me correct.

      1. lol this is true

      2. All we really had to do was follow the Forth Geneva Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War:

        “The penal provisions promulgated by the Occupying Power in accordance with Articles 64 and 65 may impose the death penalty against a protected person only in cases where the person is guilty of espionage, of serious acts of sabotage against the military installations of the Occupying Power or of intentional offences which have caused the death of one or more persons, provided that such offences were punishable by death under the law of the occupied territory in force before the occupation began.”

        In other words, an occupying military force has a duty to maintain order and it expected to protect the civilian population by shooting saboteurs.”

        German soldiers who fought out of uniform or disguised as Americans were shot out-of-hand during WWII. The German saboteurs who landed on the East Coast via U-boat were executed without trial (only a tribunal to confirm their status as Saboteurs).

      3. Good point John Thacker.

  8. The USA would unlock the gates, leave the prisoners and move out in the middle of the night.

  9. What are you all complaining about? Obama closed Gitmo in 2008, right before he ended the war in Iraq, and rolled back all the evil Bush Era assertions of executive authority….

  10. For that kind of money we could send them all to Havard.

    1. Then we would have to shoot them in the next war.

  11. The psych ward at Bergen Regional Medical Center charges $2,200 per day per patient. That comes to $803,000 per year per patient. Some of those patients are involuntarily committed. Under New Jersey state law, not having a home to go to is grounds for involuntarily committing a patient. I would like to see Gitmo closed down, but it is hardly the most foolish example of incarceration in America.

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  13. A very sinister affair the whole Guantanamo thing. Especially with Obama failing to carry out his election pledge to shut it down. A mark on democracy.

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