Closing Spruced-Up Gitmo Would Be a Waste

Task force steams ahead with quality-of-living improvements
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2009 1:23 AM CDT
A Guantanamo detainee holds a soccer ballinside the exercise yard at the Camp 4 detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
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(Newser) – Money is being poured into improving the quality of life for Guantanamo detainees just as the government works toward closing the detention center, writes a puzzled Judith Miller after a tour. Recreation facilities and classrooms are being expanded, and inmates have access to satellite TV. Prisoners are given a choice of six halal meals daily—including two weekly "Islamic feasts." The place "embodies the best of what we do as Americans," a Navy doctor told Miller.

Conditions at Guantanamo would be the envy of convicts at many maximum security pens in the US, Miller writes in the Los Angeles Times, but of course these inmates haven't been convicted of a crime, or even charged. For some of them, that legal limbo will continue even under President Obama's policies, she notes, meaning that a place like Gitmo will be needed for a long time to come—and closing the Gitmo we've already got in favor of "Gitmo North" in US jails is pointless.