American citizens aren't the only people having trouble with their weight. Suspected terrorists -- the 166 detainees at Gitmo (the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba) -- are apparently fighting the battle of the bulge too. The weight gain is not a surprise when you see the amount of food offered to each detainee.
Apparently, the halal meals, and the 5000+ calories per day offered to each inmate at Gitmo are much better than the food the detainees were used to getting, and as far back as 2003 stories surfaced of how many of them have gained weight. Part of the solution to this problem had the U.S. providing the prisoners with treadmills. But not just any kind of treadmill: the detainees reportedly demanded treadmills that were made by Muslim hands.
Paul Sperry of the New York Post reports that in 2007, detainees were given a complete fitness set-up with exercise equipment that also included treadmills. However, complaints were registered within the first week saying, "This stuff is made in the US -- made by infidels -- and we're not going to use it." The Post's story quotes an unnamed Pentagon official who also claimed that the offensive equipment was removed, given to American troops to use, and Muslim-built equipment was purchased.
Is the U.S. bending too far to make the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay feel comfortable? After reviewing the list of amenities provided to the 166+ prisoners being held in the camp, the official referred to the Post as the prisoners being "pampered."
Among the concessions given to these prisoners:
- Halal food - a special diet that is prepared in accordance with the strictest of Muslim regulations
- A recently-upgraded $750,000 soccer field
- Al Jazeera TV
- A library with 10,000 books and videos
- A Muslim librarian who also stockpiles Arabic TV shows and important soccer matches for watching as desired
- Personal copies of the Koran, complete with a Muslim librarian (NY Post says each Koran comes with a little hammock to keep it from touching the ground)
- USA Today
- Prayer beads and rugs
- Free medical and dental care not offered to American prisoners, or average American citizens
In addition to the above list, there is also a report that the hospital at GITMO is slated for a very expensive upgrade. In May of this year, NBC News reported on a few of the items slated for the $150 million makeover.
- - a new $12 million dining hall for the troops;
- - a new $11.2 million hospital and medical units for the detainees;
- - a $9.9 million “legal meeting complex” where lawyers can meet their detainee clients;
- - a $10.8 million “communications network facility” to store data, including computer records and tapes of interrogations, which has been required by a federal court order.
When he campaigned in 2007-2008, and right after he took office in January of 2009, President Obama's first executive order was to close the detention. And as recently as June 19, the President continues to publicly claim that he will do so.
Despite the campaign promises, the executive order, the repeated declarations about the need and importance of shutting it down, GITMO continues to operate -- and operate in a manner that is costly and likely embarrassing to the administration. One published report claims that the U.S. spends over a million dollars per year to house, feed, and clothe the 166 prisoners. This is almost 20 times the typical per prisoner cost per annum in the very expensive California penal system.
Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe has visited Gitmo at least three times. In 2009, he filed this video talking about the treatment of the prisoners in the camp and why it needs to remain open and a "resource" that must be used to house these dangerous prisoners.
Where do you stand on GITMO? Should America close the facility and ship the detainees to prisons here in the U.S.? We invite you to comment below participate in our Blaze poll.
Follow Mike Opelka on Twitter -- @stuntbrain