White House on force feeding: 'We do not want these individuals to die'

Lesley Clark

The White House declined Tuesday to address a judge's finding that force feeding detainees at Guantanamo Bay is a "painful, humiliating and degrading process" that President Obama could put a stop to.

Press Secretary Jay Carney referred reporters to the Department of Justice for questions on the lawsuit over the force feeding and to the Defense Department -- which runs Guantanamo -- for specifics about the hunger strikers. But he added that Obama said in April that "we do not want these individuals to die" and that the force feeding is aimed at preventing that from happening.

"Broadly speaking... he believes that we need to close Guantanamo Bay," Carney said. "He has long believed that, and he has returned to this issue because he believes that it's in our national security interest to do so."

Carney said Obama has called on Congress to work with him to lift the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, as well as bring some detainees to trial in the U.S.

"The long-term goal here has been, in keeping with the views of leading Republicans as well as Democrats, as well as military officials and other national security experts, we need to close this facility because it's in our interest to do so," Carney said.

By Lesley Clark
McClatchy Washington Bureau