Experts, rights groups, the medical community, lawmakers and activists have all expressed deep concern about the current hunger strike taking place at Guantanamo Bay, mainly because authorities there are force-feeding some detainees through a tube without their consent — a process experts say violates medical ethics and many have likened to torture.
Lawyers for some of the detainees say that their clients have joined the hunger strike out of desperation that their detention — which for many was supposed to end years ago — will carry on without end, despite President Obama’s recent pledge to renew efforts to close the prison.
And while closing Gitmo remains a top priority, groups from American Medical Association to Human Rights Watch and members of Congress have called for an end to force-feeding there. But conservatives appear to be sitting this one out. Many not only continue argue that the prison should remain open — despite strong bipartisan agreement that it should be closed — but also some are openly mocking the hunger strikers and their plight.
Just this week, Washington Post columnist Marc Thiessen claimed the detainees enjoy being force-fed through a tube because reflux supposedly allows them to taste the different nutritional supplement flavors. And Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) recently brushed off the severity of the crisis, arguing without any evidence, that the hunger strikers are actually putting on weight.
Fox News joined in on Thursday, hosting right-wing firebrand Michelle Malkin, who calls the hunger strike “Jihad Theater” and “Cirque du Jihad.” Throughout the interview, some of Fox’s on-screen texts read “Hungry For Attention” and “Appetite Plight.” Watch the clip:
Regardless of what one thinks of whether the detainees deserve to be in Guantanamo and whether or not they’re bad guys, human rights and medical experts say force-feeding them through a tube when they have the mental capacity to refuse is immoral and perhaps illegal.
“[W]e must still ask ourselves whether force-feeding hunger striking prisoners at Guantánamo — many of whom have never been convicted of any crime and yet have no hope of release, or long periods of solitary confinement which is routinely used in our prisons, violate the Convention [Against Torture], not to mention our own Constitution,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said recently.
It doesn’t appear that many on the right are jumping at the chance to ask that question. (HT: John Whitehouse)