During a campaign stop in Iowa today, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee commented on the conditions at the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, saying that “the inmates there were getting a whole lot better treatment” than “prisoners in Arkansas.” “I hope our guys don’t see this,” added Huckabee. “They’ll all want to be transferred to Guanatanmo.”
“If anything, it’s too nice,” said Huckabee:
“The inmates there were getting a whole lot better treatment than my prisoners in Arkansas. In fact, we left saying, ‘I hope our guys don’t see this. They’ll all want to be transferred to Guanatanmo.’ If anything, it’s too nice.”
Huckabee has said Guantanamo is more a “symbolic issue” than anything else since the detainees are treated better than prisoners in the US.
Huckabee, who recently came out in favor of closing Guantanamo, has made similar comparisons in the past.
In June, Huckabee said on CNN’s Late Edition that “most of our prisoners would love to be in a facility more like Guantanamo.” At the time, he said we couldn’t close the facility because hypothetically, “if we let somebody out” they could “come and fly an airliner into one of our skyscrapers.”
Huckabee may have seen “nice” conditions when he visited Guantanamo. But FBI agents who worked at the facility have reported that detainees were subjected to harsh conditions, including “the use of growling dogs” to “intimidate detainees,” at least as recently as 2004:
Detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were shackled to the floor in fetal positions for more than 24 hours at a time, left without food and water, and allowed to defecate on themselves, an FBI agent who said he witnessed such abuse reported in a memo to supervisors.
A recently released operations manual for the prison, dated March 28, 2003, “indicates that some prisoners were hidden from Red Cross representatives.” Presumably, such “no-access” detainees would have been hidden from visitors like Huckabee as well.