Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Now at Gitmo: Soccer Field and Cable TV

So President Obama never actually followed through on that campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay. But as a modest consolation, the administration has reportedly made certain upgrades to the facility to enrich the lives of the detainees, including a world-class soccer field, a “communal living” environment with cable TV and entertainment, and life improvement classes. Yes, they are still detained indefinitely, but at least they can learn how to write a cover letter or hone their watercolor techniques:

Among the recent improvements to the facility commonly known as “Gitmo”: a heavily guarded soccer field for detainees known as “Super Rec,” which cost nearly $750,000 and opened this week; cable television in a communal living quarters and “enriching your life” classes for detainees, which include instruction on learning to paint, writing a resume  — even handling personal finances. …

Many of the improvements have been made at the most modern facility in the detention center, known as Camp VI, a communal living compound that houses about 80 percent of the 169 detainees currently held at Gitmo. There, detainees who are deemed to be compliant with the rules and therefore eligible for more privileges are able to watch 21 Cable TV channels, DVD movies, read newspapers and borrow books from a library.

You’ve got to be kidding. Only 21 cable channels available? It would have been so much more humane to simply drop a drone on their heads and get it over with.

Notice that Democrats pretty much stopped complaining about the detention facility after gaining control of the executive branch. Most of their concerns about civil liberties at Guantanamo Bay seemed to evaporate shortly after Obama’s election. The issue just never comes up anymore — and even the media lost interest in stories about alleged “mistreatment” at the facility. Also note that Democrats are pretty nonchalant about Obama’s “kill list,” and his increase in drone strikes. They were appalled with the idea of detaining terrorists and attempting to collect intelligence from them, but they support killing them in the desert with hellfire missiles.

For the record, I’m in favor of both. But how can you support the latter and not the former, and claim it’s for humanitarian reasons?