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The cost of Obama's broken Gitmo promise

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Obama administration officials are on the defensive as they find themselves forced to justify his failure to close the detention center for suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay. The Obama administration is paying $900,000 per prisoner to feed and house the inmates.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Upon election, Obama pledged to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay where  terror suspects were being detained. Although charges have never been filed against many inmates, they still languish in indefinite detention without having a day in court.

Moreover, their detention is very expensive.

Expenses are high, according to camp officials, because of the cost to import food and material from the mainland U.S. Since relations with Cuba are so poor, everything must be imported. Furthermore, most of the inmates are receiving medical attention several times daily as camp staff force feeds inmates who are on a hunger strike. A reported 130 of 166 detainees are now on hunger strike.

The strike began on February 6, as a protest against a search of the inmate's Korans, which they felt was invasive. Since then, inmates have protested assignment to individual housing units, and their indefinite detention.

This has required inmates be force-fed, so several staff are required to restrain each inmate as they shove a tube into their stomach, via the nose, and pump a nutrition drink into them.

Politicians in Washington are now taking notice, scrutinizing the condition of the inmates and the costs of their housing and care. Politicians have argued the inmates could be housed more cheaply in mainland prisons.

The expense of paying $900,000 per inmate is becoming more difficult to justify as the sequestration cuts other programs that could help many Americans. For example, the Meals on Wheels program, which feeds the elderly, could use $900,000 to replace the money that was cut from its budges because of the sequester.

Also a factor, is that the United Nations does not like the indefinite detention and force-feeding occurring at the facility. UN officials claim the force-feeding is painful and amounts to a form of torture.

The American public entertains very little sympathy for the inmates of Guantanamo Bay, but there is great sensitivity for how their tax dollars are spent. With detainees receiving around-the-clock care and attention, costing about $900,000 per inmate, per year, it becomes very difficult to justify the facility before the American public.

No specific plan for the facility or the inmates has yet been proposed.

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