What a dilemma for the government on how to address the prickly problem that hunger striking terrorists and other assorted prisoners being held on security issues. According to International Law it is illegal to force feed such prisoners unless they can be ruled in mortal danger or are suffering from some form of mental instability. This applies even if the prisoners should become in danger of death. Even then the prisoners can continue to refuse food and the government authorities holding them technically must not take actions even to save the prisoners’ lives. But when there are approximately one-hundred prisoners who have all joined the hunger strike demanding immediate trials or to be released what does the government do to address the situation? This is especially true when their claims seems so reasonable, especially those who are being held on political charges of being potentially dangerous as planners and organizers of terrorist attacks and training. Such prisoners have not actually committed any crime yet have been determined to be a serious threat of fomenting or aiding terrorist functions including attacks on the public.
Making this situation even more difficult is that the prisoners’ hunger strikes are being taken up by a number of human rights activists who are demanding that the government either charge and give a speedy trial to these hunger striking security prisoners or release them if there are no charges to be brought. What should be done with prisoners who it has been determined require being held for a thus far undetermined amount of time as the threat they are suspected of posing warrants such imprisonment by the government acting in the protection of the people, all the people, both their own citizens and those of others throughout the Western World. The human rights activists claim that since some of those held have not actually committed any crime and are simply being held due to the positions they held in what the imprisoning country has classified as a terrorist organization which allow their claim that the leaders of such a group may be imprisoned without charge as a precautionary action. It is likely that eventually the human rights activists will refer their charges against the government’s position claiming the right to preemptively hold these political prisoners to the ICJ in The Hague (International Court of Justice). This will present a particularly difficult challenge should the right to detain security prisoners without charge attempt to be defended by the government.
What has been most interesting about these particular hunger strikers has been the lack of news coverage either their hunger striking or the objections and protests of the human rights advocates have received. With the coverage that the mainstream media, especially the European media, has given the Palestinian hunger strikers held in Israeli prisons one would expect equal vociferous protest headlines in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, the AFP and other international mainstream news sources denouncing the continued incarceration and the ongoing forced feedings being foist upon these prisoners against their wills at the United States high security facility at the Guantanamo Naval Base on the Cuban Islands. One would expect the human rights activists to be even more incensed about these particular hunger strikers as well as the rest of the terror security prisoners continuing to be held at Guantanamo as President Obama made promises he would close the facility. Especially since it has been at Guantanamo is where torture has been rumored to have taken place as well as other deprivations which had been vociferously protested at the end of the Bush Administration but have been mostly silent since President Obama was sworn in as President. We will have to wait and see whether the recent pronouncement by President Obama to finally close the Guantanamo Holding Facility using the impetus of the sequester cuts as the leverage to at last accomplish this. The problems of whether or not to release these prisoners or, if it is decided they continue to require being held, where can the government imprison the most dangerous of these terror threats. This issue will very soon become an issue that’s time has come and the human rights advocates will finally be granted the front page coverage they have thus far been denied. Will the public display of the realities of the situations that must be confronted when guarding and fighting against terrorism in all of its manifestations by the United States mitigate the position and condemnations the Israelis have faced in their difficult fight against terrorism or will the world continue to pretend that terrorism against Israel is completely separate from the terror faced by the rest of the world and terror against Israel is understandable while terrorism against everybody else is an evil they fight out of necessity. My deepest fear is that the moral relativism which allows many progressives to differentiate between terrorism against Europe, the United States, and the rest of the world to be completely separate and worthy of a united effort to eradicate while expressing understanding and tacit, or even vociferous, support of terrorism which targets Israel, Israeli interests around the world, or Jews because such terrorism has a worthy cause.
Beyond the Cusp