President Obama Won’t Just Close Gitmo, But Will He Stop the Torturing?

for shameUtenrisk Departementet/NorwayA hunger strike by more than 100 detainees at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay was probably a motivating factor for President Obama suddenly taking a renewed interest in the camp’s closure this week. The detainees, some of whom have been there more than 10 years, were unimpressed with the president’s fresh (but also stale, after all it’s the same as 2008’s) rhetoric on closing Gitmo, and the hunger strike is continuing.

The U.S. military has been force-feeding some of the detainees, a practice described as torture by some of those previously subject to it. Today, the UN’s commissioner for human rights weighed in, his spokesperson saying that “if it's perceived as torture or inhuman treatment -- and it's the case, it's painful -- then it is prohibited by international law.” The stance, he explained, is based on a 1991 declaration by the World Medical Association that forced feeding is “never ethically acceptable.”

Will the Nobel Peace Prize winning president who promised the U.S. wouldn’t torture stop torturing? Or will he use his own definition of torture, as his predecessor George W. Bush did? Or will he and his apologists just ignore it, like every other promise broken and right violated by this president?

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  • wareagle||

    Or will he and his apologists just ignore it, like every other promise broken and right violated by this president?

    well, duh. And if you expect any different, then you are beyond redemption.

  • SugarFree||

    His hands are tied! TIED!

  • Hyperion||

    YES! He is completely controlled by Rethuglicans, everyone knows that!

  • SugarFree||

    They used VOODOO ECONOMICS!

  • CE||

    I think Gitmo should have been closed years ago, but anyone who defines force feeding someone to keep them alive as "torture" is a moron.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Why is that exactly?

  • mr simple||

    Because they're helping them, Hugh! It's ok to aggress against someone and subvert their will if you're just trying to help them. Personally, I don't know why they don't just put them in medically induced comas with feeding tubes. The prisoners would complain a lot less.

  • prolefeed||

    Depends on how the force feeding is conducted.

    IV drip -- not so much the torture.

    Shoving a funnel down their throat and pouring a slurry down that might be mighty similar to waterboarding.

  • SugarFree||

    They aren't being force-fed to keep them alive, they are being force-fed so Obama can avoid the embarrassment of them starving themselves to death.

    I'm pretty sure that shoving a tube down someone's throat against their will is not a beach blanket party.

    Let them go, convict them and put them in a prison that doesn't cost 800 million a year (foreign or domestic), or shoot them. This current nonsense serves nothing.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Or what Ken said.

  • SugarFree||

    And I thought drinking two quarts of barium was pretty fucking bad. Yikes.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I think Gitmo should have been closed years ago, but anyone who defines force feeding someone to keep them alive as "torture" is a moron."

    I had the same procedure done to me once--not because I was a hunger striker but because they were afraid I was hemorrhaging profusely into my stomach.

    They take a tube and they shove it up your nose, and then it goes down into your esophagus. In my case, like in most others, it doesn't go through all those u-turns gently...

    But the worst of it was that when you've got a big, thick tube going up your nose and down your throat, it feels like you're being strangled. It's just that you're being choked from the inside of your throat instead of having someone cut it off by wringing your neck. It probably doesn't need to be said that it also makes you feel incredibly nauseated.

    They brought two giant orderlies into the ER to hold me down--so I'd stop screaming about how I was choking to death and stop trying to pull the tube out of my nose and up out of my stomach.

    As big as the orderlies were, and as bad off as I was at the time (I'd lost almost 70% of the blood in my body by that time), I remember thinking I'd rather take a swing at them, and hit them with something in the ER big and heavy--rather than have to sit there with that tube in my nose for one more second.

    They're doing that to those hunger strikers every day?

    Yeah, that's torture.

  • SugarFree||

    WTF, Ken? You can't just say you lost 70% of your blood and leave it at that!

  • Ken Shultz||

    If the hemorrhaging was coming from my stomach, it won't congeal or clot in there--your body will just digest the blood, and you'll bleed to death, without any symptoms except anemia.

    Turned out I was bleeding from my intestines.

    It sucked.

    I didn't want to go into the hospital becasue I was working on an important acquisition at the time. Once I finally closed it (20 acres of commercial on the I-15!), I finally went in. If I'd waited another day, I'd have died. I kept falling asleep for no reason, but I thought it was just fatigue.

    It sucked.

  • SugarFree||

    Sounds like it. I say again: Yikes.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Anyway, they use the tubes to feed people. They can't put a tube down your mouth or you'd have a constant gag reflex, and you wouldn't be able to keep anything down.

    They do that to people in nursing homes sometimes, but if you leave the tube in, after a week or so, you stop feeling like you're choking.

    But my understanding is that they're not doing that with these guys. They can't leave them in, or they'd have to keep them chained to their beds all the time. The tubes are easy to pull out, and the prisoners would obviously pull them out if they could.

    And I've read other reports that they just do it to them every day.

    Torture masquerading as compassion, plain and simple.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • SugarFree||

    The removable plastic sheeting on the seat is a nice touch.

  • Ken Shultz||

    That picture's worth a thousand horrifying words.

    Congratulations to Mr. Obama. He's finally succeeded in doing everything his predecessor did.

  • ||

    Finally? He hit the ground running when he was elected, didnt he?

    I dont think there was ever a break in the implementation and escalation of those activities.

  • ||

    This is why there are no libertarian iatrophobics.

  • ||

    "Will the Nobel Peace Prize winning president who promised the U.S. wouldn’t torture stop torturing? "

    No. Nor will he stop the renditioning so that detainees can be tortured properly in some third world shithole. I think that was another practice he promised to stop.

    "Or will he use his own definition of torture, as his predecessor George W. Bush did? Or will he and his apologists just ignore it, like every other promise broken and right violated by this president?"

    I hear deafening silence from the war protesters and the ones who were shitting purple circles around themselves when Bush did the same.

  • Hyperion||

    I think that was another practice he promised to stop.

    Yeah, but then he got elected, and he is fully aware of how stupid the voters who elected him, are.

  • ||

    I am not surprised that he didnt stop the renditioning, the torture or that he didnt close gitmo.

    I am just stunned at the lack of protest from his supporters. The same supporters who howled and gnashed their teeth before 2009. How much cognitive dissonance does it take to be an obamabot?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How much cognitive dissonance does it take to be an obamabot?

    Just enough that is mollified by handouts, like Obamaphones and "free" healthcare.

  • wareagle||

    I am just stunned at the lack of protest from his supporters.

    at this point in his presidency, why? Why are you stunned by anything his supporters do? The anti-war left went AWOL 1/20/09; his dogwashers began scrambling to justify the drone-the-Americans program; and they said nothing when the Patriot Act was reauthorized and FISA expanded.

    There is nothing they cannot either rationalize as being okay because He is doing it, or try to blame on the Repubs.

  • fish||

    President Obama Won’t Just Close Gitmo, But Will He Stop the Torturing?

    Does this sentence make anybody else head hurt?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    It suffers from a certain lack of style, yes.

  • SugarFree||

    The "just" is unnecessary and awkward. Without it, a terrible sentence will merely become an inept one.

  • ||

    As a matter of fact, yes.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Will Ed Krayewski continue to torture readers, and he also tortures sentences too!

  • Ed||

    Indeed I am!

  • Hyperion||

    It's pretty gawkward. Is that a word?

  • Hugh Akston||

    No, but I'm pretty sure it's the title to an episode of New Girl.

  • SugarFree||

    "Was Mysteria even her real name?"

  • fish||

    It's pretty gawkward. Is that a word?

    It is now!

  • ant1sthenes||

    The word exists, but it refers to the feeling of shame a serious, intelligent adult feels when another serious, intelligent adult catches them reading a Gawker site.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    But . . . but . . . Obstructionists!

  • Hyperion||

    Yes, the party of NO. Because if you don't vote for every single stupid bill that some corrupt lobbyist writes, you want wimins and childins to die, in the streets.

  • ||

    I mentioned the war protesters earlier. Where are they now that Shitweasel is gearing up to get us into the giant shitstorm with no good guys that is Syria?

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Avoiding hygiene, as usual. As soon as Obama needs them to cry about something and demanding more government for it, they will be out stinking up the street.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Nobody should be forced to eat if they don't want to, prisoner or not.

  • Hyperion||

    I want to see a random street interview, in a major city, asking peeps on the street that since Obama is elected to a 2nd term, is it time to close Gitmo now, since he promised to do it before his first election.

    I am sure some real comedy will ensue.

    Street reporter: Hi, are you an Obama voter?

    Random Peron: Yes!

    Street reporter: So, were you in favor of closing Guantanamo Bay because George Bush was torturing people there?

    Random Peron: Of course, Bush was evil, torture is bad!

    Street Reporter: So now, that Obama is president, are you still in favor of closing it?

    Random Person: (Deer in headlights stare), Uhm, well, Obama, he already closed that.

    Street Reporter: Actually, he didn't, it's still open.

    Random Person: Well. ... uh., uhhhh, well, Obama, he has a good reason for that, the war on terror, but he would never torture anyone.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    But he ordered it closed on his first day at work! Executive order! Bush signing statemented and executive ordered everything without congress! Those Republicans are just not following his orders!

  • Xenocles||

    Seems to me that the strategy for dealing with a hunger strike is simple. Once the prisoner(s) declare the strike, you invite some bleeding-heart group (not intended pejoratively) to send a delegation and run a camera of your own. Then you serve meals to the strikers - bring them a tray of food at each mealtime and take it away at the next if it's untouched. You leave the strikers alone in their cells to pray or write or whatever. You under no circumstances touch them if they have any capacity to object. If they fall unconscious from their hunger you treat them back to consciousness in the least invasive way possible, all under the eyes of this independent group.

    The last thing you want, from a governmental point of view, is bad attention. So you give the striker nothing he can use to generate it. Maybe you're one of those governments that doesn't have to worry about the perception of how you treat prisoners, but in that case you can suppress the bad attention at will anyway. This is for the nominally civilized governments.

  • prolefeed||

    I'd say people starving to the death to protest their lifetime detention without trial and that process being documented on camera and then broadcast to the voters is, from a governmental point of view, reeeeally bad attention. Bad attention as in "losing the Senate and White House" levels of bad attention.

    So, that is totally not going to happen.

  • Xenocles||

    The detention has continued through most of three presidential terms covering the two major parties. It's just not that big of a driver in our politics. It seems that you can't make them eat without putting them through hell so how is the best play here not simply leaving them alone and making it clear that their starvation is their choice?

  • ant1sthenes||

    The problem is that if they try them in the US, they will get a shitload of bad attention, and if they let them go and, god forbid, one of them commits a terrorist act, people will give them hell for not being willing to just imprison people forever without a trial.

    Now, in a just world, if someone gave the president shit because he didn't imprison some guy forever without a trial, the president would just imprison that guy forever without a trial, in solitary confinement. But ours is less interesting.

  • fish||

    Random Peron

    Who told you my non superhero cover name?

  • Hyperion||

    GDit! I just noticed that! Grrrr, Reason, fucking edit feature!

  • Hyperion||

    And see, this is where C&P is NOT your friend.

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  • Gladstone||

    The complete silence of the anti-war protestors is disgusting. It is really disturbing to see how much they worship the government as long as TEAM BLUE is in charge. I don't think a full blown Dem dictatorship would upset them.

  • PH2050||

    How is dissent patriotic under one president but not under his successor?

    As disgusting as their silence is, it reveals much about them. I remain hopeful that more people will snap out of this reverie of unthinking loyalty to a party or government. I feel things like this help put cracks in the facade of benevolent government by an elite political class.

  • Jerryskids||

    A hunger strike by more than 100 detainees at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay was probably a motivating factor for President Obama suddenly taking a renewed interest in the camp’s closure this week.

    Probably? You think so? How about the fact that, day by day, Obama is looking less and less like the second coming of Bill Clinton and more and more like the second coming of Jimmy Carter and the man desperately needs a squirrel to distract attention from how pitifully small he has become. Unfortunately, I think this one is going to back-fire on him.

    Obamacare - and the support for Obamacare - is falling apart, the economy is still in the toilet, he's been thwarted on the budget and on gun control, he's facing the propect of yet more military intervention in the Middle East with no clear purpose or strategy, his poll numbers are down - and now he decides to remind voters of one more promise he has failed to keep. That's Carter-level stupidity right there.

  • Adam.||

    Fuck all these slavers. Goddamnit these people are actually worse than the "terrorists" they capture.

  • PH2050||

    This is the best website ever. I love posting links from here and stoking the flames of Facebook rage among my Democrat-voting friends.

    I imagine it doesn't feel good to look up and realize you're fellating someone who couldn't give less than a shit about you.

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