I am grateful to the Post-Gazette for highlighting the plight of the Guantanamo prisoners ("Hungry for a Solution: Guantanamo Grows as a Problem for the U.S.," April 24 editorial).
There are now over half the prisoners at Guantanamo on a hunger strike. Many of them are in fact innocent and have been cleared for release. Their plight is dire and with the closing of the department to oversee their release, they are anticipating a lifetime in Guantanamo. This is the only recourse they have to protest the inhumane treatment they are receiving.
Some of them have been refusing food since February and one of the men weighs only 77 pounds. They are being brutally force-fed with a tube through the nose into the stomach without the use of anesthetics. Here is what it is like in the words of one of the prisoners:
"I will never forget the first time they passed the feeding tube up my nose. I can't describe how painful it is to be force-fed this way. As it was thrust in, it made me feel like throwing up. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn't. There was agony in my chest, throat and stomach. I had never experienced such pain before. I would not wish this cruel punishment upon anyone."
It is time for Congress and the president to close Guantanamo, to find places to repatriate those who are innocent and bring those we feel have committed criminal acts to trial.