When CBS News correspondent Bill Plante asked President Obama about the hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, which began in February and now includes as many as 100 of the camp’s 166 detainees, he made his question about as pointed as possible. “Is it any surprise, really,” Plante asked, “that they would prefer death rather than have no end in sight to their confinement?”
Obama almost seemed to agree. In his long and eloquent response, he addressed not just the hunger strike – which he framed as an inevitable result of the prison’s continued use – but the morality and logic of the facility itself.
“The notion that we’re going to continue to keep over a hundred individuals in a no-man’s land in perpetuity,” he said, “the idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried – that is contrary to who we are, it is contrary to our interests, and it needs to stop.”