What’s worse — living in a secure facility in the tropics where some reasonable social interaction exists, or living in a Supermax facility in icy weather under almost-constant constant lockdown? Mark Hemingway notices a key tidbit in a report on Gitmo from Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff that suggests the Gitmo detainees may sue to stay right where they’re at:
But the final irony is that many of the detainees may not even want to be transferred to Thomson and could conceivably even raise their own legal roadblocks to allow them to stay at Gitmo.
Falkoff notes that many of his clients, while they clearly want to go home, are at least being held under Geneva Convention conditions in Guantánamo. At Thomson, he notes, the plans call for them to be thrown into the equivalent of a “supermax” security prison under near-lockdown conditions.
“As far as our clients are concerned, it’s probably preferable for them to remain at Guantánamo,” he says.
Um, aren’t conditions at Gitmo supposed to be a national embarrassment? Aren’t they so bad that it serves as a recruiting tool for al-Qaeda, which apparently really rankles our Chief Executive? Think maybe that’s overblown just a tad?
The strident left-wing critiques of the Guantanamo facility have all centered around the fact that detainees there are horribly mistreated and conditions unbearable. But when push comes to shove, it would seem concerns about Guantanamo are overblown, and the prisoners there know that being held under the Geneva conventions outside the U.S. is much preferable to a maximum security prison in the U.S.
Would it be the height of irony if the courts blocked a transfer of inmates from Gitmo on the grounds that the new facility violates Geneva Convention standards — and that Gitmo and the military commissions systems meet them? Indeed it would, if the administration ever tries to make the transfer at all. The prison won’t be ready until 2011, and by that time, a new Congress will be much less likely to allow the transfer, as Isikoff points out in his blog post.
Let’s root for irony, shall we?