Remember that illegal prison camp President Obama campaigned on closing, twice? Well not only is it an embarrassment and insult to the rule of law, but it’s costing American taxpayers over a million dollars a day.
Democratic lawmakers pushing to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay said on Wednesday its cost has skyrocketed to $2.7 million per inmate this year and argued it is too expensive to keep open while the country is fighting budget deficits.
Guantanamo has been dubbed the most expensive prison on Earth, and President Barack Obama in May cited its cost – then calculated at about $900,000 per prisoner – as one of many reasons to close it.
Now the debate is getting serious, people are finally talking about money. Perhaps it is also worth mentioning that many of prisoners are likely innocent and are in a living hell and have gone on a hunger strike? Anyway, back to the money.
Representative Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, testified during the hearing that the current cost of operating the facility has jumped to $454 million in the fiscal year ended September 30, according to the U.S. Department of Defense, or about $2.7 million for each of the 166 inmates. Smith said overall, $4.7 billion has been spent running Guantanamo since the facility opened in 2002.
By comparison, super-maximum security prisons in the United States spend about $60,000 to $70,000 at most to house their inmates, analysts say.
As Robert Knowles notes, this adds up to costing U.S. taxpayers $1.2 million per day while simultaneously ruining America’s reputation. In the age of austerity we can still find money to torture people.
So America has spent $4.7 billion to ruin our reputation – is that how the terrorists win? Because if the strategy was to provoke America into destroying its credibility and have us pick up the tab for the privilege, the plan is working.