Said the Majority Leader Harry Reid:
A maximum security prison in the United States, there has never been a single escape."
That's not correct. Regular old maximum security prisons haven't contained these guys, these schmos, these Iowans, and this guy, who escaped from the same prison three times.
Anyway, Red Herring!
Supermax facilities -- a class above maximum security prisons -- have been escape-free.
The issue isn't whether terrorists or detainees will escape from Supermax prisons. They won't.
Here's a real issue: the supermax facilities aren't generally accepting new clients these days. They're full. And none are expanding.
And -- there's a real question about dignity (assuming you believe that terrorists ought to be treated like humans) in supermax facilities that is just now gaining the attention of policy-makers. The answer may be that isolation may be the only way to prevent Al Qaeda from forming cells inside the prison, and there may be no other place to put them.
This is one of those occasions when both Democratic and Republican partisans oversimplify and don't do justice to the complexity of the question at hand.
Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.