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Indeed, "Why are we doing this?"

By       Message Dave Lefcourt     Permalink
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From Inside JTF Guantanamo Camps 5 & 6 [Image 1 of 23]
Detainee being held at Guantanmamo Prison complex
Inside JTF Guantanamo Camps 5 & 6 [Image 1 of 23] Detainee being held at Guantanmamo Prison complex
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Inside JTF Guantanamo Camps 5 & 6 [Image 1 of 23] Detainee being held at Guantanmamo Prison complex by DVIDSHUB

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Detainee being held at Guantanamo Prison complex

America's prime example of horrific, wrongful policy, the Guantanamo detention facility, is back in the headlines as many of those detained and held indefinitely, have staged a hunger strike that began in February.

This has caused President Obama to say of the facility, "It's not sustainable. The notion that we're going to keep 100 individuals in no man's land in perpetuity made no sense. All of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this? Why are we doing this?

Indeed, why are we doing this!

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Initiated by the Bush administration as part of its "war on terror" the facility is a direct affront to due process, by holding suspects indefinitely without charges until the "end of hostilities", a fig leaf of extra-legal cover that has kept these men locked away some since 2001.

One of the detainees, Moath Hamza Ahmed al-Alwi from Yemen, who has not eaten in 80 days put it succinctly, "I don't want to kill myself. My religion prohibits suicide. But I will not eat or drink until I die, if necessary, to protest the injustice of this place. We want to get out of this place. It is though this government wishes to smother us in this injustice, to kill us slowly here indirectly, without trying us or executing us." Alwi is being force-fed twice a day after being tied to a restraint chair.

In a further affront to these men, a "Military Policy Directive" states, "In the case of a hunger strike, attempted suicide or other attempted serious self harm, medical treatment or intervention may be directed without the consent of the detainee".

However, the president of the American Medical Association, Dr. Jeremy A. Lazarus, in a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel put it this way, "Any doctor who participated in forcing a prisoner to eat against his will was violating core ethical values of the medical profession. Every competent patient has the right to refuse nourishment, including life sustaining intervention."

The AMA supports the 1975 World Medical Association's Tokyo Declaration that forbids doctors to use their medical knowledge to facilitate torture. If a prisoner makes an unimpaired and rational judgment to refuse nourishment he should not be fed artificially."

While in fact the U.S. military policy states "It can and should preserve the life of the detainee by forcing him to eat if necessary." President Obama supports this military policy, (even the British wouldn't dare stop Mahatma Gandhi from conducting his hunger strikes against British colonialism prior to their granting India its independence in 1947).

But let's get to the bitter nitty gritty of Guantanamo, the detainees held indefinitely without charges and due process and their hunger strike that is forcing the president to confront the horror that is Guantanamo.

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The Bush mob believed since Guantanamo was not on U.S. soil along with their contrived "war on terror" gave them the authority to hold suspects indefinitely "until the end of hostilities, it could keep these men in stir, out of site and out of mind, similar to the Soviet gulags that kept political prisoners locked away without charges or a trial.

But Guantanamo flew in the face of the American justice system where indefinite detention of suspects was clearly illegal and the subterfuge of the "war on terror" (which is and never was a war) could never legally justify Guantanamo's existence.

Now the hunger strike is clearly embarrassing Obama. It makes hollow his declaration in 2009 to close the facility within a year.

Obama's hand wringing and anguish over Guantanamo and the plight of the detainees is commensurate with his rhetorical ability.

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