The US Detention Facility aboard the American Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba just can’t stay out of the headlines. If it’s not the now infamous “Taliban Five” getting sprung, then it’s USA Today reporting on June 16, 2014 that the remaining guests of the government are enjoying watching live telecasts of The World Cup from Brazil.
Populated by the worst of the worst hard-core al-Qaeda and Taliban jihadists American troops captured off the battlefield during the Global War on Terror. Gitmo spokesman Navy Commander John Filostat noted that despite incidents popularly known as “splashing” in which “detainees fling a mixture of vomit, urine and feces at their guards about once or twice a week,” many are able to enjoy watching TV on a big screen color set.
As the Navy officer made clear, the big favorite for the prisoners is undoubtedly The World Cup, and no worries if the airing is in English or Portuguese. With largely unfettered access to both print and televised news, it’s unclear of the Gitmo detainees are familiar with ISIS reportedly tweeting a photo of a decapitated Sunni police chief in Iraq with the text message of:
This is our ball . . . It is made of skin #WorldCup
Yet while those residing at the Caribbean camp have Yoga mats and elliptical machines to while away the time, the National Journal cites the cost to the American taxpayer is $2.7 million per detainee every year. But as cited by DFAS (Defense Finance and Accounting Service) the standard base pay for a L/Cpl (pay grade E-3) with two years of service now stands at $1918.80 per month.
The amount of taxpayer dollars for one Taliban/al-Qaeda jihadist roughly equals the pay of 1,400 Lance Corporals. For comparison and contrast, the Marine Corps Reference Publication (MCRP) 5-12D, Organization of Marine Corps Forces directs 924 enlisted men total be assigned per Infantry Battalion, most of whom are Lance Corporals or below.
While the current price tag for the remaining 149 Gitmo detainees is almost half a billion dollars a year, Barack Obama recently cut an already small 1.8 percent pay raise to an almost microscopic 1.0 percent, as reported by CNS News on Sept. 3, 2013.
For those on active duty with a spouse and hungry children, the Department of Agriculture has a specific website aimed directly at active duty military as well as veterans giving directions on applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – formerly known as Food Stamps), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), The National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).