MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
Welcome to the program.
CAROL ROSENBERG: Thanks for inviting me.
NORRIS: Now, remind us. When the first prisoners arrived at Guantanamo, what was the long-term thinking about Guantanamo Bay?
ROSENBERG: And so they wanted to sort people out and remove them from the battlefield. And somebody had the idea to pick them up, put them on airplanes, move them 8,000 miles away and hold them. And pretty soon after, they decided they'd need to interrogate them in Cuba.
NORRIS: Who was that somebody?
ROSENBERG: Donald Rumsfeld was the one who first told us about it. He said that they had looked around for a suitable location. If you remember, Afghanistan was really unstable at that point. And they looked at Guam and they look at Guantanamo, and Donald Rumsfeld announced that it was the least worst place to do this activity.
NORRIS: What are the primary differences nearly a decade later in terms of what the prison looked like then and how it's operating now?
ROSENBERG: Well then, it was open air, and everything was available for everyone to see each other; guards saw prisoners, prisoners so guards. Today, it's more like a series of penitentiary buildings, hard steel and cement buildings that look like prisons in the Midwest, which is what several of the so-called camps at Guantanamo are modeled after: American Midwest prisons.
NORRIS: President Obama came into office, and one of his first official acts was to issue these series of executive orders calling for a review of options and the closure of Guantanamo Bay within one year. As we said, he discovered that that was a lot harder than it appeared when he first arrived in Washington. Why has it been so difficult for him to fulfill that promise?
ROSENBERG: So now, we have kind of the Bush doctrine down at Guantanamo with the Obama administration saying, we will have indefinite detention without charge of some of these foreign men picked up a decade ago.
NORRIS: Carol Rosenberg, thanks for coming in.
ROSENBERG: Thank you.
NORRIS: That's Carol Rosenberg. She's a reporter with the Miami Herald.
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