Rich Lowry reporting from Gitmo:
In one camp, detainees were taking apart the push-button faucets in their cells to get at a metal spring that they would stretch out to use as a weapon. The Asian-style toilets on the floors of the cells used to have footrests, until detainees wrenched them from the floor to use as bludgeoning weapons. The guards are splashed routinely with urine and feces. The detainees have even been known to try to kick their soccer balls out of their recreation area into barbed wire, to cost the infidels the price of one ball.
All the disturbances or suicides have taken place in the camps where security has been loosened. It was in Camp Four, where the best-behaved detainees are allowed to live communally, that a minor riot took place this past spring. A detainee faked a suicide attempt to lure the guards into the living area, where the floor had been smeared with urine, feces and soap. When they slipped, the detainees attacked them with light fixtures and other makeshift weapons. The man in charge here, Adm. Harry Harris, says his conclusion was “there is no such thing as a medium-security terrorist.”
While always mindful that they are dealing with dangerous men, the Americans treat them humanly, even sensitively. Seemingly every surface has a painted arrow pointing toward Mecca. Every detainee gets a Koran, and should it be necessary to search one, it is done by a Muslim translator, not a guard. Detainees are offered 4,200 calories a day. U.S. combat troops get 3,800. The average detainee has gained 18 pounds.
It is often alleged that the facility here is full of innocent men. But they were first screened in Afghanistan, then a Combat Status Review Tribunal examined them upon arrival, and now an Annual Review Board acts like a parole board. Roughly 300 detainees have been released or transferred for detention in another country. Of those, roughly 20 have been confirmed to have returned to fight, and probably others have too. Nonetheless, roughly another 130 out of 460 are set to be transferred or released.
Even though these detainees have no protections under the Geneva Conventions, I think that the way America treats these men is appropriate for the greatness of the American national character.