There are 149 prisoners still at Guantánamo. The youngest is 30, the oldest is 65. Over twenty of them have medical conditions that need monitoring and attention, just like any aging population would.
The military has tried to build up its medical capability at Guantánamo, with mixed results. Several years ago, when a detainee needed a stent placed in a coronary artery, the military spent $1 million on a mobile cardiac catheterization lab. The prisoner ended up refusing the procedure, and the unused equipment, packed up but stored outdoors, has since decayed, officials said.
I am not saying we should just let all these people go. I am not saying that some of them are not terrorists. For instance, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, is there. However, it is well-known that there were innocent bystanders rounded up in the frenzy of arrests in 2002, some of them teenagers, who are now over thirty years old, that have been rotting away in Guantanamo.
The U.S. Government is spending $3 million per year per detainee to keep the camp open and operating. It has cost us 4.8 billion since the camp was opened.
We are not getting very good value for our tax money. Obama has been wanting to close the camp since his first campaign. Our dysfunctional Congress has been in the way. With nobody in charge making meaningful decisions, this is continuing.
The country should decide to close the camp, serve the prisoners due process (trials and executions) and let the rest go.
The government needs to stop this insanity it propagates in the name of the American people.
Check out this excellent article Decaying Guantánamo Defies Closing Plans by Charlie Savage for more information.