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Gitmo: Never Ending Kafkaesque Nightmare… But There Are Video Games!


Guantanamo guard tower

It is almost hard to believe that this Business Insider article by Robert Johnson wasn’t originally written for The Onion. Apparently Johnson is concerned that we have all forgotten just what a super nice place Guantanamo Bay really is. From Business Insider:

As for the claim that detainees are mistreated, that also does not jibe with what I saw in Guantanamo.

While indefinite detainment without trial may be morally offensive, the overriding philosophy on base these days is to treat the detainees really well. Compliant detainees enjoy a selection of six balanced meals, 25 cable TV channels, classes, and an array of electronic gadgetry and entertainment. Seriously, I’m talking about a Nintendo DS for every compliant detainee, plus Playstation 3 access with a library full of video games.

Conditions at Guantanamo are absurdly good for the simple reason of getting the media to leave them alone. This is the White House’s best option for making the controversy go away, since closing  the detention center has proven impossible. It’s not a perfect option, seeing that Guantanamo is insanely expensive compared to every prison in the world, but that’s where we are.

[emphasis mine]

Yes, the detainees are trapped in a Kafkaesque legalistic nightmare that has no escape, not even suicide. Yes, they have not stood trial or may not even know why they were even brought there. Yes, they have no idea how long they will be forced to stay, if they will ever be freed, or once “freed”, if they would be allowed to return home or see their families again. Yes, they experience the soul-crushing lack of basic certainty which makes a mockery of our entire Constitution and legal system.

But they have video games! And everyone knows the PS3 is clearly the best of of the gen-seven gaming consoles.

Like how bad can it be to be stripped of your freedom without trial and thrown in prison to be forgotten until you die, if you get to occasionally play the newest Pokemon game?

JTF Guantanamo photo by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Gino Reyes, in the public domain

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at