The Pentagon announced yesterday that it was going to build a 40 Acre Prison in Afghanistan next to the existing Bagram Detention Center.
The Pentagon is planning to use $60 million in emergency construction funds this fiscal year to build a complex of 6 to 10 semi-permanent structures resembling Quonset huts, each the size of a football field, a Defense Department official said.
We already have spent more than $50 million maintaining our existing prisons in the war zones. Now we’ve got to build more of them. Never mind that this is just one more effort to avoid the Post-Guantanamo Supreme Court decisions, as Professor David Cole of Georgetown notes.
The administration chose Guantánamo in the first place because it thought it was a law-free zone. Now that the Supreme Court has said that the administration is actually accountable to legal limits at Guantánamo, it is turning to other avenues to avoid accountability.
What struck me was the irony of this story juxtaposed with Bob Herbert’s column about the sorry state of our American High Schools.
At a time when the nation is faced with tough economic challenges at home and ever-increasing competition from abroad, it’s incredible that more is not being done about the poor performance of so many American high schools.
We can’t even keep the kids in school. A third of them drop out. Half of those who remain go on to graduate without the skills for college or a decent job. Someone please tell me how this is a good thing.
America’s high schools are for the most part obsolete, inherently ill equipped to meet the needs of 21st-century students. The system needs to be remade, reinvented.
So while we are busy spending hundreds of millions building prisons in Afghanistan, we can’t figure out how to build a state of the art high school for the 21st Century?