Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Build That Afghan Prison Now! ..."

Boy, to take a little liberty with the song, what a difference a week makes ...

There, we had President Obama, on the heels of unveiling his "Jobs for America" package, hitting the stump and exhorting Congress to "Pass that bill now!" 


Funny, in what I read about the proposal, and Obama's stumping, I don't recall seeing anything about a massive, Fortress-of-Solitude-like Afghan Prison, there were no impassioned cries of "Build that Afghan prison now! ..."

Glenn Greenwald has the dirt;

As the Obama administration announced plans for hundreds of billions of dollars more in domestic budget cuts, it late last week solicited bids for the construction of a massive new prison in Bagram, Afghanistan.  Posted on the aptly named FedBizOps.Gov website which it uses to announce new privatized spending projects, the administration unveiled plans for "the construction of Detention Facility in Parwan (DFIP), Bagram, Afghanistan" which includes "detainee housing capability for approximately 2000 detainees."

McClatchy Newspapers'  Saeed Shah, back in February;
The U.S. plans to hand over the new Bagram to the Afghan military next January, a demanding target that some think it will be unable or unwilling to meet. Afghan guards are due to start arriving this spring to be trained. This appears to be the reason, officially at least, for expanding the capacity so dramatically, from 600 prisoners at the old site to 1,000 currently and up to 2,300 when the new building is completed.

"This will be the enduring detention facility for the next 50, 60 years. It's world class," said Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward, who's in charge of U.S. detention programs in Afghanistan and who was visiting Bagram. "For the Afghans, this means that they will immediately be able to separate the insurgents from the criminal population."

"For the next 50, 60 years?"

You mean we'll be housing, and feeding and, otherwise taking care of Afghan prisoners (some who may, or may not, be terrorists - they being held with that "Do Not Pass Go" justice system - secret evidence, no charges, no trial - from the previous war criminal administration, which means Obama has looked in the rearview mirror, at least, once), for decades to come, so, like, who's going to pay for this?

One obstacle is funding, though. It costs $5 million a year to maintain the new facility, plus an additional cost per detainee, Garrity said. That's way beyond the budget of the Afghan authorities for a single jail, so it remains unclear how the new prison will be financed.
Oh, let us count the ways ...

More, from Greenwald;

One last point: recall how many people insisted that the killing of Osama bin Laden would lead to a drawdown in the War on Terror generally and the war in Afghanistan specifically.  Since then -- in just four months since bin Laden's corpse was dumped into the ocean -- the U.S. has done the following:  renewed the Patriot Act for four years with no reforms; significantly escalated drone attacks in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan; tried to assassinate U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki with no due process; indicted a 24-year-old Muslim for "material support for Terrorism" for uploading an anti-American YouTube clip after he talked to the son of a Terrorist leader; pressured Iraq to keep U.S. troops in that country; argued that it has the virtually unlimited right to kill anyone it wants anywhere in the world; and now finalized plans to build a sprawling new prison in Afghanistan.

And, he finishes most wryly;

If that's winding things down, I sure would hate to see what a redoubling of the American commitment to Endless War looks like.

Help Me Mr. Wizard! ....


Bonus Riffs

Tom Engelhardt: Scamming Washington - Exclusive Letters from the ScamiLeaks Archives

Ambassador Crocker Meets Eddie Izzard

Krugman: Reclaiming America’s Soul

Does He Get To Keep The Bag Man?

Top Ten Cloves: Other Things The CIA Tried To Use With The Afghan Warlords

PNAC Going All Xe On Us

Again, Why Are We In Afghanistan?

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