Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Gitmo Story That Won't Get Much Traction

Four senators have just returned from Guantanamo Bay, two Republicans and two Democrats. Their conclusion:
Two Democratic senators just back from reviewing U.S. detention facilities and interrogations at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said they saw no signs of abuse and said it would actually be worse to close the facility and transfer the detainees elsewhere.

"I strongly prefer the improved practices and conditions at Camp Delta to the outsourcing of interrogation to countries with a far less significant commitment to human rights," said Sen. Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat, who toured the U.S. facility along with Sen. Ben Nelson, Nebraska Democrat.
The obvious riposte is that folks were on their best behavior for the senators, but consider the following:
[Republican Senator Michael Crapo of Idaho] said there have been 400 visits by 1,000 reporters to the facility and that nearly 20 senators, a larger number of House members and 100 congressional staff members have visited the camp.

A delegation from the House of Representatives made a similar trip during the weekend, and one member reported similar findings.

"The detainees' meal was as good as any I had in my 31 years of Army Guard service, and I can see why the prisoners this year gained five pounds over last year," said Rep. Joe Wilson, South Carolina Republican.

Asked how they knew they were seeing real operations rather than a staged display, both Republican and Democratic senators said that they had access to everything and that they trusted the troops they talked with from their own states.
Those who are clamoring for the closure of Guantanano Bay need to consider the alternatives: letting the people go, or detaining them elsewhere. Neither is satisfactory; ironically, especially in light of the recent turmoil, Guantanamo Bay just might be the most humane prison in the world (hat tip to Betsy Newmark)...

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