President Obama on Tuesday pledged to renew efforts to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, asserting that the detention facility “needs to be closed.”
“I’m going to go back at this,” Obama said at a White House press conference, according to a rush transcript. “I’ve asked my team to review everything that’s being done in Guantanamo, everything we can do administratively and I’m going to re-engage with Congress to try to make the case that this is not something that’s in the best interest of the American people.”
Obama added that the current system at Guantanamo is unsustainable. “The notion we’re going to keep over a hundred individuals in a no-man’s land indefinitely, even at a time when we have wound down the war in Iraq, we are winding down the war in Afghanistan, we have kept the pressure on these transnational terrorist networks, when we have transferred detention authorities to Afghanistan. The idea we would still maintain, forever, a group of individuals who have been not been tried, that is contrary to who we are and our interests and it needs to stop.”
A hunger strike has gripped Guantanamo in recent weeks, leading to clashes with guards. According to The Guardian, 100 detainees are on hunger strike. Twenty-one of those inmates are being force-fed. “I don’t want these individuals to die,” Obama said of the hunger strike there.