“There’s a lot of documentaries and things like that out there that talk about torture and beating and being disrespectful to detainees, and absolutely none of that goes on,” said Spc. Aoun.
“We’re very professional with them, and all those misconceptions about how they’re being treated here, it definitely does not take place,” he said. “We always make sure they’re safe, treat them with care. I think by doing that over a long period of time, it slowly helps to change the perception of this place.”
The Guantanamo detention center is divided into six areas:
The medical facility.
Camp 5, where the most dangerous detainees are held.
Camp 6, a medium-security facility where prisoners can pray, exercise, eat together and play sports.
Camp 7, which houses high-value detainees such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Camp Echo, where detainees can make phone calls and meet with their attorneys and representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Camp Iguana, which houses detainees who are classified as “no longer enemy combatants” and await release. The Obama administration has cleared 86 for release.
Camps 1 through 4 have been closed. Congress stymied the Obama administration’s efforts to close the Guantanamo facility and transfer its prisoners to the U.S. mainland to stand trial in civilian courts.
The soldiers work 12-hour shifts in the camps, alternating day and night shifts every three months.
Their typical workdays are 16 or 17 hours long and include physical training. During their yearlong tours, they participate in morale-building activities such as volunteer work, team sports, fitness competitions, bowling, movie viewing and snorkeling.
“They go inside the camp for 12 hours with these detainees who are verbally assaulting them, trying to throw feces, urine, whatever on them,” Sgt. Maj. Baker said of his troops. “And they remain professional. Setting the example for America.
“Some kids would just crumble at what they do, and to ask of them what we don’t ask of everyone else,” he said. “These guys are on the front lines every day with these detainees. And they’re in the fight.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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