Guantanamo Bay's $2 Billion Pricetag
A go-kart track: $300,000. A Starbucks coffee house: $700,000. Unlawful detention? Priceless.
The Washington Post recently got ahold of an itemized receipt of DOD spending at Guantanamo, one that confirms both the runamokery of contracting excess and the Bush adminstration's oversized expectations for the Cuban outpost. The notorious detention center, Don Rumsfeld's "least worst place" for terrorists now imprisons 181 detainees (down from a high of 680) and was ordered closed by President Obama last year. But the bulk of the Pentagon's spending was done by then, set in motion in early 2002 when of the prison was added to the century-old naval base.
The grand total for base renovations, when operating costs and outlays for the top-secret Camp 7 are considered, is estimated at around $2 billion, which puts the per prisoner tally right now at about $11 million per prisoner. Even just considering the $500 million in capital expenditures detailed in the Post that's still $2.8 million per prisoner. True, the military personnel stationed at the base should be comfortable and not feel completely isolated on the 45 square-mile swath of island where Gitmo is based. But at the same time, the cash thrown down suggests an extravagant expansion and the investment in Guantanamo Bay as the crown-jewel HQ in the US's War on Terror.
There are legit, if high, construction costs, like $2.6 million for a road stretching 8-miles along the fenced and mined perimeter of the base (bordering Cuba), $18.2 million for a hospital, and $2.9 million for a psych ward. But some of the expenditures seem comically excessive and characteristically overpriced. Some particulars: