Washington Post Columnist Says Guantanamo Hunger Strikers Are ‘Very Happy’ To Be Force-Fed

Marc Thiessen (Credit: The Daily Show)

A Washington Post columnist and fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute said on Tuesday that detainees on hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay enjoy being force fed and that despite the fact that the forced tube feeding process prevents hunger strikers from tasting their nutritional supplements, they’re “very pleased” to “smell” a variety of flavors because of “reflux.”

Marc Thiessen hosted Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) at AEI Tuesday morning to discuss the future of the Guantanamo Bay prison. Both Thiessen and Pompeo spent much of the event lavishing praise on the detention facility and when the discussion eventually turned to the hunger strike — 33 minutes into the event — they didn’t appear to see what all the fuss is about. Thiessen even went so far as to say the Gitmo detainees are having a good time with it:

THIESSEN: I understand from the, I had the similar briefing [from Gitmo authorities] that actually most of the medical people told me that most of the people who receive the force-feeding were actually very happy to receive the force-feeding and didn’t resist and they were even given their choice of which flavor of liquid Ensure because there’s actually a smell even though they don’t taste it, there’s reflux and they actually have a smell and they choose strawberry or chocolate or vanilla or the rest. And they’re actually very pleased to be getting it because it absolves them of their responsibility to participate but they’re also getting the nutrition they want.

Watch the clip:

It’s possible Thiessen could be confused about how force-feeding at Guantanamo works. Authorities there present hunger striking detainees with a choice: either consume liquid nutritional supplements voluntarily or get strapped to a restraining chair to be tube fed, a process popular actor and hip-hop artist Mos Def recently tried but failed to do because of the intense pain tube feeding causes.

Either way, the Washington Post columnist seemed happy to justify the process, actually believing it’s fun for hunger strikers to be force tube-fed because they can supposedly taste different flavors via reflux.

ThinkProgress asked military officials at Gitmo about what Thiessen was allegedly told by medical officials there but did not receive a response before this posting.


Thiessen once claimed that al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah thanked his interrogators for waterboarding him.

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