The Medical Ethics of Force-Feeding Guantanamo Hunger Strikers

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This week a large team of “medical reinforcements” including Navy nurses, corpsmen, and specialists, were deployed to Guantanamo Bay as a response to the ongoing inmate hunger strike.

With about 100 inmates refusing food in protest, the use of force-feeding tubes is now widespread, due to a military directive that aims to keep patients alive, regardless of if they want to be fed or not, or live or not.

In a press conference Tuesday morning, President Obama responded to the force-feeding, and reaffirmed his stance that Gitmo should close, saying, “I don't want these individuals to die. Obviously the pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best they can, but I think all of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this. Why are we doing this?"

Carlos Warner is a federal public defender who represents 11 Guantanamo detainees, including Kuwaiti hunger striker Faiz al Kandari. He says that the lawyers representing the hunger strikers are divided on the force-feeding policy.