Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Simmons on Guanatanamo Bay: Try the Rice

Controversial Prison More "Open" Than Connecticut Facilities, Says Congressman

Rob Simmons toured the much-criticized Guantanamo Bay prison Tuesday, and apparently found it quite nice, for a prison, and superior to Connecticut prisons in at least one respect.

Detainees at Guantanamo Bay are treated well, the food is good and the medical care seems decent, Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District, said Tuesday. He and nine other members of Congress took a half-day trip Monday to the Cuban military prison to see for themselves if harsh criticism leveled at the base was justified.
"Guantanamo had a lot of openness I have not seen in penitentiaries in my own state," Simmons said, recalling that he felt "claustrophobic" during a recent visit to Osborn Correctional Institution in Somers.
He also said the food was surprisingly good, including "the best institutional rice I've had." (AP)

I don't want to get into a huge discussion about Gitmo, but I have noticed that whenever anyone defends the place, they bring up the food. Apparently it's pretty good--or at least what they served the members of Congress was pretty good.

At this point everything Simmons does is political, so his decision to travel to Guantanamo Bay has to be viewed through a political lens. But does this help him? The people defending Guantanamo Bay (especially using food references) tend to be pretty conservative. Simmons might be trying to appeal to deep-pocketed conservative forces to help him with re-election next year. I don't know how much it will help him in his district, which mostly voted for John Kerry and is more concerned with Groton than with Gitmo.

Saying that the correctional facility in Somers is somehow worse than Guantanamo Bay, however, won't help. Somers is a reliable Republican town-- but neighboring Enfield is where most of the correctional officers who work at that prison actually live. Any kind of swing away from Simmons in Enfield, the most populous town in the district, could be a disaster.

Source: "Simmons Tours Guantanamo." Associated Press 13 July 2005.


DeanFan84 said...

More Coverage:

From the Norwich Bulletin:

From the New London Day:

"Simmons said he read reports about Abu Ghraib, the Iraq prison that has become synonymous with prisoner abuse, and it was clearly the result of a breakdown in military discipline. He said the climate is “the exact opposite” at Gitmo."

"The visit came in the wake of comments by Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who compared the prison to a Soviet gulag and the abuses there to what happened under the Nazis in Germany or Pol Pot in Cambodia. Durbin has since apologized for the comments.

Simmons said Durbin's comments were based on a 3-year-old FBI report, and that the military has spent $300 million to build and operate a more modern detention center since then.

“It was an extremely unfair, offensive comparison to make,” Simmons said. “What I saw on the ground was very different from what I expected. ... I did not see anything that raised concern for the safety, security and well-being of the detainees.”"

WHAT A LIAR! No mention of the documented abuses. I get so disgusted with the media when they aid in glossing over real problems and issues. What, Gitmo isn't a stain on our Nation? Yeah, right...

Conn-Tiki said...

Hey you know what the worst part of any prison is?