President Obama said Tuesday that his administration would re-engage Congress on closing the U.S. military-run detention center at Guantanamo Bay, calling the facility a “recruitment tool for extremists” and suggesting it is undermining U.S. security.
“It needs to be closed,” Obama said at a White House news conference marking the first 100 days of his second term. “I’m going to go back at this.”
Obama’s comments come as military officials say that as many 100 prisoners at Guantanamo are engaged in a hunger strike.
With the situation getting more difficult, the Pentagon in recent days dispatched 40 additional Navy medical personnel to Guantanamo to deal with the hunger strikers. They bolstered a staff of about 100, said Lt. Col. Samuel House, a base spokesman.
Obama had vowed in his 2008 presidential campaign to close Guantanamo during his first year in office but failed to get it done in his first term.
“It’ is not a surprise to me that we are having problems in Guantanamo,” Obama said. Obama called Guantanamo unsafe and expensive and said it lessens cooperation with U.S. allies…
[continues at USA Today]