When (now) President Barack Obama, then a Senator, was running for President in 2008, he vowed to close the Prison, at the Naval Base at Guantanamo (“GITMO”), Cuba. Under George W. Bush’s Administration, prisoners from the Middle East, as well as elsewhere had been incarcerated there for quite some time (forever?). Currently, there are somewhere around 178 Men held there; but at a considerable cost. In fact, the annual expense is roughly $1 Million per prisoner. Think about how the cost of everything escalates considerably when it has to be shipped to an offshore island.
In the Business World, a company can reap Economies to Scale as the Production outpaces the Costs. For instance, let’s assume that a factory produces 5,000 of the proverbial widgets, at a cost of $1 Million. Assuming there is excess capacity (which is going unused), and the plant can expand it’s production to 10,000 widgets at a cost of $1.5 Million. So, the cost per widget, in this case, would have been reduced from $200 per widget to just $150. So, increasing capacity can be, in this case, beneficial.
Now, let’s look at GITMO. Currently, we have numerous Maximum Security and Super-Max Prisons that are operating under capacity–or even totally vacant. So, if we move the prisoners at GITMO to a prison in the U.S., even if we had to re-locate a few of the current prisoners to make room, it would probably make sense. Obviously, the cultural fabric of the prisoners in Cuba could be retained. And, let’s face it, the current crop of prisoners in the Super-Maxes are not choirboys. So, security shouldn’t be a concern.
There has been some controversy over whether the prisoners from the Middle East–either captured in War Zones or Terrorists–should be tried in a Military Tribunal, as compared to a Federal Court. Well, such prisons could be sub-divided, with a part conveyed to the U.S. Military, and hold either Tribunals or Civilian Courts–and that could be decided later.
But, I wonder if there is a deeper rationale for past reluctance to re-locate the prisoners from GITMO to civilian prisons. Would that prisoner transfer suggest that: perhaps GITMO should not have been the place of detention in the first place; were some of the prisoners actually innocent civilians who were sold to the U.S. by rival tribes (or for bounty), or…would the prisoner transfer seem to indicate that the two Wars (Invasions actually) were illegal all along? Has the U.S. been merely covering its tracks all along?