Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) on Wednesday praised the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, calling it “the greatest resource” the United States has in combatting terrorism.
Gitmo has been back in the news in recent weeks as now more than half of the detainees there are on hunger strike and more than a dozen are being force-fed. And despite the wide-spread recognition — including from the likes of Gen. David Petraeus — that the prison there should be closed and its existence serves as an al-Qaeda recruitment tool, Inhofe told Frank Gaffney on his radio show this week that “it’s one of the few good deals we have”:
INHOFE: This administration, Frank, has done so many things just totally wrong, that you almost give up trying to change that. A good example is what they’re doing with Gitmo. How many people realize there hasn’t been anyone new going in to Gitmo when [it’s] the greatest resource is that we have in this country to stop terrorism since this guy has been President.
There’s no place else in the world that we can do this [detain and interrogate] and I often say that it’s one of the few good deals that we have in America, Frank. We only pay $4,000 a year for it and half the time they don’t bill us and I have yet seen one person go down to Gitmo … who didn’t come back shaking his head saying, “Why aren’t we using this resource?” And so that’s, we’ll get back to it as soon as we get rid of this president.
Listen to the clip:
The United States pays Cuba $4,000 per year to lease the land for the entire Guantanamo Bay military base, but that’s far less than what it costs the U.S. taxpayer for the detention center housing the terror suspect detainees. In fact, the prison, which has been dubbed “the most expensive prison on earth,” costs the U.S. $150 million per year.
Meanwhile, the situation at Gitmo is becoming more dire by the day. On Tuesday, 84 detainees were reported to be on hunger strike — up from 30 just one month ago — and today that number has increased to 93. While controversy over guards’ alleged mistreatment of Qurans sparked the current hunger strike, many believe that desperation that the prison has not been closed is providing the fuel to carry it out.
“President Obama has publicly and privately abandoned his promise to close Guantánamo,” said Carlos Warner, a lawyer who represents one of 17 hunger strikers being kept alive by force-feeding through nasal tubes, told the New York Times. “His tragic political decision has caused the men to lose all hope. Thus, many innocent men have chosen death over a life of unjust indefinite detention.”