With almost 100 Guantanamo prisoners now on a hunger strike to protest the alleged mistreatment of Korans, President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday plans to “re-engage” Congress to fulfill his failed campaign promise of shutting down the terrorist detention facility.
“I’m going to go back at this,” Obama promised. “I’ve asked my team to review everything that’s currently being done in Guantanamo, everything that 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 interests of the American people.”
Obama also expressed concern over the health of the detainees on hunger strike.
“I don’t want these individuals to die,” he said. “Obviously, the Pentagon is trying to manage the situation as best as they can. But I think all of us should reflect on why exactly are we doing this. Why are we doing this?”
Obama said his first attempts to shut down Guantanamo failed because of demagoguery and post-9/11 fervor.
“I think for a lot of Americans, the notion is out of sight, out of mind, and it’s easy to demagogue the issue,” Obama explained. “That’s what happened the first time this came up.”
Now, however, Obama says his second attempt to shut down Guantanamo will be different.
“But we’re now over a decade out [from the 9/11 terrorist attacks]. We should be wiser,” Obama chided.