West Decries 'Five-Star Resort' for Terrorists at Gitmo

Thursday, 10 Nov 2011 12:01 AM

By Andra Varin

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U.S. Rep. Allen West denounced what he described as a “five-star resort” and coddling detainees at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

Allen West, Gitmo, Guantanamo, terroristsThe Florida Republican’s comment came in a Miami Herald story Wednesday chronicling the fact that U.S. taxpayers pay $800,000 a year for each of the 171 inmates at Gitmo, making the Pentagon detention center arguably the most expensive prison in the world.

“We are running a five-star resort and not a detention facility for terrorists,” said West, who toured the facility in March. “For example, why do they need 24 cable TV channels?"

The cost of keeping a prisoner at Guantanamo is more than 30 times that of holding a prisoner on U.S. soil, the paper said, noting that it was using the Obama administration’s own reckoning.

A former deputy commander of the detention center calls it “expensive” and “inefficient.”

“It’s a slow-motion Berlin Airlift — that’s been going on for 10 years,” retired Army Brig. Gen. Greg Zanetti told the paper.

Each prisoner gets $38.45 worth of food a day. But guards at the center get combat pay. All supplies have to be brought in by barge or cargo plane, which is hugely expensive. And the prison’s facilities for both guards and inmates have grown considerably since the center’s start as a bunch of crude, open-air cells.

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