Force-Feeding Gitmo Detainees is Legal, Moral and Ethical

Recently, U.S. Federal District Court Judge, Gladys Kessler, found in favor of a motion filed by attorney’s for Gitmo detainee Abu Wa’el Dhiab who asked that the intubation to keep him healthy and alive be stopped.

Why? The detainee’s attorney and liberal left, Islamist apologists say that force-feeding violates international law and “could amount to torture.” Although the judge stopped short of using the “T” word, she described force-feeding as “a painful, humiliating and degrading process.”

I was present when the very first two detainees at the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba were force-fed back in early 2002.

Not only weren’t these self-starving unlawful combatants not eating, they were also not drinking anything. A person can go for several weeks without eating before killing themselves or causing irreparable organ damage, but if a person were to go without drinking for just a few days there would be no turning back once vital organs, such as the kidneys or liver, shut down.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24:  Supporters of closing the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base detention facility hold signs and pictures of prisoners being held at the facility while sitting in the audience during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee July 24, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from a panel of witnesses on 'Closing Guantanamo: The National Security, Fiscal, and Human Rights Implications.' Credit: Getty Images

The military medical Standard Operating Procedures at Gitmo (which I helped write for the detainee mission) mentioned nothing about thirst strikes. We hadn’t thought about it. We only had protocols in place for a hunger strike. So when two hunger strikers were identified as having not had anything to drink for two days we performed an intervention, Gitmo style.

No, we didn’t waterboard them and say “suck it in!”

We appealed to their sense of religion first, if they had any. The detainees claimed to be Muslims, so we approached them with the Navy Muslim chaplain assigned to detainee operations, who spoke with the detainees through an interpreter about Allah’s instructions through the Quran that they should not willfully harm themselves.

The truth is most detainees were only pretending to be Muslims, their murderous and hateful values were acquired through Al Qaeda, the Taliban or other Islamists. In fact, the new official name for self-starvation at Gitmo is “Long Term Non-Religious Fasts.”

That failed to get the desired response, so we told them we would have to give them fluids intravenously. One detainee resisted to the point of physical refusal. We strapped him to a litter and then pushed fluids.

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA - JUNE 27:  (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission. ) A Public Affairs Officer escorts media through the currently closed Camp X-Ray which was the first detention facility to hold 'enemy combatants' at the U.S. Naval Station on June 27, 2013 in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, houses the American detention center for 'enemy combatants'. President Barack Obama has recently spoken again about closing the prison which has been used to hold prisoners from the invasion of Afghanistan and the war on terror since early 2002. Credit: Getty Images

After several more days they were still not eating and refused to drink. We kept pushing the intravenous fluids, but it was becoming clear that we were going to have to intubate them and force nutrition into their stomachs before permanent organ damage, and then death occurred.

You see there are no military medical protocols that allow detainees to harm themselves, including self-starvation. The procedure for intubation, or forced feeding, is unpleasant, to be sure, but slowly dying because your body is feeding off of itself to the point of organ failure would probably be just a bit more uncomfortable, even torturous.

I pray you THINK about that for a moment. Is it absurd to tell someone to stop saving someone else’s life because it is potentially torturous to do so? We KNOW what happens to the body when it is not fed and nourished properly – it feeds on itself and then shuts down.

I know what you’re probably thinking: “So let the damn bastards starve themselves! It’ll save us taxpayers money and the bloodthirsty Islamists will get what they deserve – a painful and agonizing death! Remember Sept. 11! Remember Benghazi! Death to Akbar!”

A hooded demonstrator is seen at a protest calling for the closure of the Guntanamo Bay detention facility infront of the White House on May 18, 2013 in Washington, DC. Credit: AFP/Getty Images

We need to take a step back and then remember our values. We are the good guys. No matter what anyone else tells you, especially the left liberal, Islamist apologist uber-politically correct crowd who only want to manipulate American political will via self-starving unlawful combatant detainees, we have ethics and morals to uphold, even in the face of absurdity.

U.S. military personnel are trained to care for, and to treat with respect and dignity, any unlawful combatant that we detain, including those who wish to slowly and painfully off themselves. The majority of the U.S. military personnel working at Gitmo are professional, hard working, loyal and trustworthy individuals, who will never, ever disobey their orders to care for the detainees appropriately.

Because of this commitment to honor and integrity, International Committee of the Red Cross physicians with whom I worked at Gitmo and in Iraq told me, “Nobody does [detention operations] better than the United States.”

The Gitmo detainees are LUCKY to be ALIVE, as any or all of them could have been legally killed on the battlefield. They are even LUCKIER to have been captured by the U.S. rather than some other group with far less compassion and humanity (i.e. Al Qaeda, Taliban, or other Islamists); one that might, say, behead them, hack them to death, blow them up or drag them naked and lifeless through the streets, like they did to Daniel Pearl and Lee Rigby.

In this photo reviewed by US military officials, two feeding tubes and cans of Ensure are seen in the US Detention Center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, March 29, 2010. Detainees on hunger strikes or not eating are given enhanced nutrition via the tube. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

The irony drips, in thick globs, as our sworn enemy insists on being slowly and painfully allowed to die because the method being used to keep him alive is tantamount to TORTURE.

I wonder what George Orwell would say about this? I wonder what someone in a coma would say if they could, about being forcibly fed while medical science sorts out the cause of their coma? Did you know they also intubate premature infants? Ever hear that called torture?

Of course not! The act of self-starvation is a CONSCIOUS DECISION made for POLITICAL reasons by a desperate person, in this case an illegal combatant detainee.

Judge Kessler has ordered a temporary cease and desist to the forced feeding of Abu Wa’el Dhiab, and has forbidden his forced removal from his cell at Gitmo for that purpose.

I’d like to see her medical professional credentials, or her crystal ball, which she can guarantee no permanent or life-threatening damage will be done to the detainee during the time the restraint is in effect. The appellate court that sent the original appeal to end the force-feeding back to the District Court mentioned that the force-feeding procedure would “probably be allowed if it is just to prevent injury or death.”

People dress in orange jumpsuits and black hoods as activists demand the closing of the US military's detention facility in Guantanamo during a protest, part of the Nationwide for Guantanamo Day of Action, April 11, 2013 in New York's Times Square. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

It used to be that courts never interfered with military procedures, policies or laws. Gitmo has risen to a level of incalculable interference by the federal court system because President Barack Hussein Obama mentioned, bathed in both pre- and post-election naïveté, that he would CLOSE Gitmo within a year?

Could it be that he and U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder re-wrote the Military Commissions Act of 2006, to include rights and privileges for unlawful combatant detainees virtually identical to what you or I would enjoy in a U.S. Federal court of law?

Back to the intubation: We had the Navy Muslim chaplains and interpreter bedside with the two self-starving detainees before going ahead with the procedure, done in a private section of the detainee medical facility (an integrated and climate controlled tent system called Deployable Medical System), with low lighting and near whispering conversation.

The Muslim Navy chaplain, through the interpreter, tried to convince the detainees that their self-starvation was against Allah’s wishes, and that it would not be pleasant, and would they please reconsider.

They quietly and timidly refused, and then the Navy nurses, assisted by corpsmen, with a physician standing by, gently placed the feeding tubes through the detainee’s nostrils and then down their throats into their stomachs.

The detainees moaned slightly, winced some, and then opened their eyes wide when the nutritional liquid was slowly poured into them. So tell me, what exactly is inhumane, unethical or immoral about that?

I am the author of “Saving Grace at Guantanamo Bay: A Memoir of a Citizen Warrior,” and three times mobilized U.S. Army Reserve Major (Retired). Twitter @mjgranger1

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America Loves Defending What’s Right In A Fight

Barack Hussein Obama began his speech on national security by saying “Americans are deeply ambivalent about war.” Nothing could be further from the truth. In defending what’s right, Americans love a good fight. It’s what makes us who we are. The “ugly American” abroad has always come through on the battlefield, and it’s only been politics and the media who have defeated the greatest fighting force the world has ever known. In his speech on May 23, at the National Defense University, the President wanted us to believe that we could win the War on Terror simply be staying the course, wrapping up here and there, and that everything would be as it was “prior to 9/11.” Really? And prior to 9/11 we were safe? Whilst Islamist extremists, especially al Qaeda were strengthening, and we were turning a blind eye to multiple attacks on our ships, embassies and personnel, the threat grew. I have never doubted that the “tip of the spear” in the Global War on Terror has been our special forces & the CIA, our Shadow Warriors & Spooks, as it should be. But these bravest of Americans need a support system. We need the power and influence to suppress adversaries, and we need it close to where the bad guys are. We needed to keep bases in Iraq, instead the President threw that country to the wolves – Iran, al Qaeda and other Islamists – who are now supporting the Assad regime in Syria, and further destabilizing Iraq. We need to maintain bases in Afghanistan, which is poised to rise as the regional leader in democracy, long into the future. We need better relations with Egypt, Yemen, Somalia, and other countries in the region so as to maintain the pressure on Islamist groups there and in surrounding areas. Our forces need logistical power projection platforms from which to launch and then support freedom-fighting missions. The President failed to mention we have troops in 70 countries, CIA operatives in over 90 countries and Diplomatic Security Service agents in over 200 countries world wide, all with one thing on their plates: defend the interests of the United States of America. The days of huge battlefields and tremendous casualties and destruction are virtually over. The fight is now played out on the Internet, in remote locations, and in limited ways on the streets of our great cities. Saying we should be concerned about a “legacy problem” instead of turning up the heat on our adversaries speaks only to our president’s desperation to build his own legacy, not that for our children. Saying the military detention facility at Guantanamo “has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law,” and that “our allies won’t cooperate with us if they think a terrorist will end up at Gitmo,” is cheap brinkmanship about a place and process that, before his meandering legal giveaway to unlawful combatants of extra legal privileges they did not deserve in the Military Commissions Act (MCA) of 2009, is completely legal, moral and ethical. The same laws, policies and procedures that were in place at Gitmo when it opened in late 2001 – early 2002, were virtually unchanged since the Second World War, when from capture to execution it took the government about four weeks to prosecute 8 German saboteurs caught dry-foot on U.S. soil, using a Supreme Court approved Military Commission and having suspended habeas corpus for the enemy. In WWII, the U.S. held over 400,000 lawful combatant POWs without one call for extra legal privileges for them, and they were all released, as per the law, when hostilities ended. The same happened in 1991, when after a brief but hard fought First Gulf War against Iraq, we released thousands of lawful combatant Iraqi POWs within days after the end of hostilities. The Geneva Conventions and Law of Land Warfare were written to protect innocent civilians in time of war, not to protect those who would pretend to be civilians in order to murder them. The laws still apply, but because of the 2009 MCA all detainees enjoy the same legal protections you or I would have in a Federal Court of Law. Detainees charged with war crimes enjoy the presumption of innocence, and the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard of conviction. Non government organizations count higher body counts of civilians killed in war, by conventional as well as by drone technology, because our enemies don’t wear uniforms, rank, or carry their weapons openly; they are in effect “civilians” to anyone who lays eyes on them. But the reality is they are unlawful combatants, flauting the rule of law and manipulating it and those who sympathize with them in order to bend the political will of the Unites States and anyone else who will listen. The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay is not a person. It is a place, and no matter how hard they try, Pagan utilitarian humanist Islamist apologists and terrorists cannot change the fact that it is also legal, humane and ethical. Self-starving Gitmo detainees are using a known al Qaeda detention disruption technique in an effort to manipulate U.S. political will. There are no U.S. military medical protocols that authorize us to allow detainees to hurt themselves. And in fact, they will tell you that the point of their self-starvation is not to die, but to gain sympathies, and these sympathies are aimed at manipulating U.S. government political will in order to effect their release so that they can get back into the fight. There is a documented recidivism rate of released Gitmo detainees of at least 27%. One of these recidivists, known as Bin Qumu, led the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya. This is unacceptable. Knowing this, and knowing the probability that many of the current Gitmo detainees “cleared” for release will return to Islamist extremism once let go, doing so would be tantamount to giving the enemy aid and comfort – treason. The comments from the President on Guantanamo are misguided at best, and treasonous at worst. Not only do we have to fight and stay one step ahead of an insidious enemy, but we must do so with one hand tied behind our back because of our President’s relentless assault on our proven, legal, moral, and ethical operation at Guantanamo Bay. Gitmo needs to remain open as long as we continue our struggle with Islamist extremists. We need to maintain as many bases around the world as is necessary to support our clandestine and overt operations. We need to take and then hold the high ground in the Global War on Terror, such as maintaining good working relationships for military bases (back) in Iraq and in Afghanistan; like we still have in countries we defeated in WWII, such as Germany, Japan, and Italy. We are strong, we are winning, and now we need to close the battle with al Qaeda, the Taliban, and groups that support and mimic them. Keeping Gitmo open and then using the base to prosecute through military commissions those who are suspected of war crimes, and to keep other detainees out of the fight until hostilities end, just like the International laws on warfare stipulate we may do even if the detainees were lawful combatant POWs, will allow us to live in peace. Americans love defending what’s right in a fight, but even more, we love to win!