Camp X-Ray is no longer used by the United States to hold prisoners in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but it cannot be torn down. It is preserved as a site for gathering evidence. Gnarly, overgrown Bermuda grass covers the pathways, green vines crawl up a maze of chain-linked fencing and barbed wire, and banana rats encamp in the rafters of abandoned human cages, which once held about 300 prisoners.
Last week I had an opportunity to walk the silent, deserted grounds of Camp X-Ray. A Navy combat photographer snapped the iconic photo of the first prisoners arriving in the makeshift camp on Jan. 11, 2002: Prisoners knelt in rows, shackled, wearing orange scrubs, blacked-out goggles and earmuffs. After a full tour, and filming a five-minute video report, I asked my military escort, a young soldier from Kentucky, if I could take a moment to gather my thoughts. He said yes. Moments later I went to my knees, positioned my hands behind my back (as if shackled) and began to pray.