Sunday, June 13, 2010

Guantanamo Spending Nears $2B

Guantanamo Spending Nears $2B

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The U.S. military has spent at least $500 million in recent years on renovations to Guantanamo Bay, including $296,000 for a go-kart track, records show.

Add in spending for top-secret items and the total cost easily soars toward $2 billion, The Washington Post reported Monday in the first public accounting of spending at the base since the first suspected terror detainees arrived in January 2002.

The costs do not include the $150 million a year that it takes to run the 45-square-mile base, which the Obama administration wants to close.

Since January 2002, the Pentagon built the go-kart track, which sits unused, and spent $249,000 for a volleyball court that now is abandoned and $3.5 million for 27 playgrounds that often are vacant, the Post reported. A cafe renovation cost $683,000 and another $773, 000 was spent to renovate a building to house a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant.

Millions more were spent on first-rate sports facilities, including football and baseball fields.

Capt. Steven Blaisdell, the base commander, defended the spending as necessary for a remote base that must provide a range of services.

The number of detainees at Guantanamo Bay has steadily declined from 680 in May 2003 to 181 today.

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