Friday, June 12, 2009

Your money hard at work ... in Palau

The Wall Street Journal reports on the latest Hope and Change on the Guantanamo front:
Months of moral grandstanding and intense diplomacy are finally yielding dividends: President Obama has convinced Palau, a Pacific archipelago and long-standing U.S. ally, to resettle a small group of the least dangerous Guantanamo detainees. All it took was $200 million in foreign aid to a country with 20,000 residents and a GDP of about $164 million. [emphasis added]

Headed to Palau are the Uighurs, ethnic Chinese Muslims who were picked up in 2002 near Tora Bora. Some of them received weapons training at Afghan camps affiliated with al Qaeda or the Taliban as part of their separatist movement -- the Uighur minority is brutally repressed by the Chinese government -- though they are not considered threats to the U.S. or other Western nations. But they were left in legal limbo because they could not be returned to China, where they would likely be tortured or worse, and no other country would give them sanctuary.

The Uighurs are not America's problem alone -- they were captured during "the good war," after all. Yet for all Europe's excoriations of Gitmo as a blight on America, no one jumped at this easy chance to reduce the prison population. This was true during the Bush Administration and has remained so for its supposedly more enlightened successor. According to news reports, the Obama Administration asked more than 100 allies (i.e., basically everyone) to accept custody.

Those same objections are bedeviling the Administration's efforts to resettle the 250 or so remaining terrorists at Gitmo, nearly all of whom are far more dangerous than the Uighurs. Palau deserves credit for its "humanitarian gesture," as Palau President Johnson Toribiong called it, though the $200 million in aid probably helped. That works out to $11.7 million for each detainee -- or about $10,000 for every Palau citizen. At the going per capita rate, it would only cost $615 billion to move Gitmo to France. No doubt the French would still have to think about it. [emphasis added]

Article here. Settling a grand total of seventeen Uighurs for a mere $200 million of American taxpayers' money. Our Socialist-in-Chief spends wastes our money so easily, doesn't he?

Naturally, we're also buying them laptops and giving them computer skills training:
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- These captives already get to order fast-food takeout from the base and have access to a phone booth for weekly calls. Now some 17 Uighur Muslims awaiting a nation to grant them asylum are about to go high-tech, with laptops and web training.

While awaiting details of President Barack Obama's order to close the prison camps by Jan. 22, commanders here have ordered 20 laptops for the captives of Camp Iguana.

"As you know, detainees are leaving this place," said Army Lt. Col. Miguel Mendez, who oversees detainee classes, a multilingual library and now-emerging virtual computer lab. "We're getting them computer classes to prepare for their return."

At this rate, we should probably just buy the remaining Gitmo detainees a private tropical island, build a Four Seasons hotel for them, and let them live the rest of their lives in luxury at the American taxpayer's expense. It would probably be a lot cheaper than this latest Hope and Change resettlement strategy.

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