What Does Guantanamo Cost Us?

June 14, 2010

According to a recent Washington Post article, since 2001, the Pentagon has spent at least 500 million in renovating Guantanamo, in addition to approximately 150 million a year in operational costs.

Some interesting expenditures for base personnel:  volleyball court ($259,000); go-kart track ($296,000); 27 playgrounds (for a total of $3.5 million); a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant ($733,000); and a café whose renovation only cost $683,000.

Even if the amount invested does not include the annual operating costs of $150 million—which according to the White House double the amount of a comparable U.S. federal prison—it does include other costly expenditures, such as Camp 7 (13 million).

But what have torture, indefinite detention and unfair trials at Guantanamo cost in undermining human rights, the rule of law and America’s reputation and influence?

There are a million reasons to close Guantanamo right now. Especially since domestic U.S. prisons already safely hold convicted terrorists and U.S. federal courts have a far better track record than military commissions of prosecuting terrorism cases since 2001—at far less cost.