American Medical Association Voices Concern Over Growing Guantanamo Hunger Strikes

The president of the American Medical Association has spoken out against the practice of forced feeding at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba.

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA: A U.S. military guard holds leg shackles while preparing to move an 'enemy combatant' within the detention center on September 16, 2010 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

by Derrick Broze

May 1, 2013

In a letter to the Department of Defense, AMA president Jeremy Lazarus condemned the practice.

The letter states:

“The AMA has long endorsed the World Medical Association Declaration of Tokyo, which is unequivocal on the point: Where a prisoner refuses nourishment and is considered by a physician as capable of forming an unimpaired and rational judgment concerning the consequences of such as voluntary refusal of nourishment, he or she shall not be fed artificially.”

The letter comes in response to an ongoing hunger strike that began on February 6th. 100 out of 166 prisoners have now joined in the strike, with 23 of them being force fed to prevent starvation. Military officials claim the procedures are done “gently, using soft, flexible, lubricated tubes”.

Although the hunger strike has been taking place for months, it has only now caught the eyes and ears of the mainstream.

Media coverage of the event prompted a press conference by President Obama.The President has renewed calls to close the much maligned military base. The base has been the subject of much controversy, specifically regarding treatment of prisoners. Mr. Obama stated, “It’s not sustainable. The notion that we’re going to keep 100 individuals in no man’s land in perpetuity. All of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this? Why are we doing this?”

After the press conference National Security Council spokeswoman, Caitlin Hayden, said the administration is ““considering a range of options for ways that we can reduce the population there,” including “reappointing a senior official at the State Department to renew our focus on repatriating or transferring” lower-risk detainees.

The diplomat who was previously in charge has been reassigned,  there is currently not a replacement on board.

While many blame Congress for President Obama’s failure to carry out his campaign promise and close Guantanamo, a deeper look at this situation shows the President’s true colors.

President Obama has issued a number of executive orders since comwing into office in 2008. For reasons of national security, cyber security, the war on terror, etc. Mr. Obama has chosen to side step Congress and wield his executive privilege. However, when it comes to Guantanamo we are told the President’s hands are tied.

To be clear, I am not calling for or supporting an executive order to close Guantanamo, or anything for that matter. I aim to show the hypocrisy and outright lies spewed by our President in regards to this horrible situation.

Many of the individuals held at Guantanamo are being held on suspicion of terrorism and still have not been officially charged. The President of the United States, the supposed beacon of Freedom around the world, is allowing this treatment to take place to human beings. He did get one thing right though. We have to ask, Mr. President. Why exactly are we doing this? Why are we doing this?



Derrick Broze is a founding member of The Houston Free Thinkers.

He writes for a popular independent news website.

He can be heard on Orion Talk Radio, Local Live Houston and the upcoming Unbound Radio.

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