Posted by Adam @ 5:35 pm on July 5th 2013

Force-feeding in the dark

I read this yesterday (it dates from the day before), about America’s force-feeding Guantanamo prisoners and how they’re doing it during the houses of darkness for Ramadan.

This is people on hunger strike in protest against their long-term incarceration without trial, on a US-run part of a Caribbean island to which they’ve been sent to try and end-run laws on how people have to be treated on American soil over four years after the President said he shut the place, being force-fed primarily not, so far as I can tell, for their own benefit but so that America can avoid the embarrassment of people starving themselves to death in protest at their treatment.

I guess I don’t disagree with the idea that if one is going to accept the circumstances and force-feed prisoners, that not doing it during daylight hours during Ramadan makes sense — that a big damn “if”, though — but Christ alive, how long are we going to continue with this absurdity? How are any of the people ever going to be released? If they didn’t want to paint the world with American blood before — effectively the Bush administration’s claim and justification for the incarceration — how exactly are they going to feel after over a decade being treated like this?


  1. Here is Mos Def demonstrating the process by which these prisoners are fed.

    Ignore the weirdness of that fact that such a video exists.

    Comment by Brad — 7/8/2013 @ 12:41 pm

  2. Conor asks the obvious question we never care ask ourselves any more:

    Had a typical American been told, circa 2000, that another country was force-feeding hunger striking prisoners who were being held without charges or trial, he or she almost certainly would’ve regarded the government responsible as abusive.

    And, of course, imagine those prisoners were American being held by Iran.

    What’s so ironic is the drive to essentially write off any absolute morality in our national security policy is most vehemently driven by those who originally justified the national security policy based on the need to not cowtow to moral relativism.

    Seriously, chew on that for awhile*.

    Comment by Brad — 7/8/2013 @ 2:22 pm

  3. *apologies

    Comment by Brad — 7/8/2013 @ 2:23 pm

  4. Steve Chapman has a very powerful quote on this (that I’ll cobble together).

    No need for sympathy, though, because they’ve brought it on themselves, right? They’re the ones who refuse to take the life-sustaining nourishment provided by the U.S. government in its boundless concern for their well-being. All they have to do to avoid having a tube shoved up their nose and down their throat is to eat. What could be easier?

    But maybe it’s not so easy. To want to eat, it helps to have a reason to go on living. Because of circumstances beyond their control, many of the Guantanamo hunger strikers have none.[…]

    [M]aybe the hunger strikers will conclude they are better off dead. If that choice reflects badly on us, it should.

    Comment by Brad — 7/8/2013 @ 3:13 pm

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