Saturday, May 17, 2008

U.S. Planning Big New Prison in Afghanistan

This war won't be won by 2013, will it, Senator McCain?

The Pentagon is moving forward with plans to build a new, 40-acre detention complex on the main American military base in Afghanistan, officials said, in a stark acknowledgment that the United States is likely to continue to hold prisoners overseas for years to come.

It'll make Afghanistan an American colony, won't it? That'll be great for peace and prosperity, surely.

The proposed detention center would replace the cavernous, makeshift American prison on the Bagram military base north of Kabul, which is now typically packed with about 630 prisoners, compared with the 270 held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

630 plus 270 makes precisely 1,000 prisoners, acknowledged.

Bagram is“just not suitable,” another Pentagon official said. “At some point, you have to say, ‘That’s it. This place was not made to keep people there indefinitely.’ ”

Indefinitely. That is a very long time.

Although a special Afghan court has been established to prosecute detainees formerly held at Bagram and Guantánamo, American officials have been hesitant to turn over those prisoners they consider most dangerous.

Hesitant to turn over? Makes Afghans look untrustworthy, or incompetent.

After years of entreaties by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United States recently began to allow relatives to speak with prisoners at Bagram through video hookups.

Years. Bush and company are contemptible.

Military personnel who know both Bagram and Guantánamo describe the Afghan site, 40 miles north of Kabul, as far more spartan. Bagram prisoners have fewer privileges, less ability to contest their detention and no access to lawyers. Some detainees have been held without charge for more than five years, officials said. As of April, about 10 juveniles were being held at Bagram, according to a recent American report to a United Nations committee.

What a legacy to leave.

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