Following news last night that two Guantanamo prisoners have officially dropped from the list of hunger strikers there, the U.S. military wants you to know that the vast majority of the striking detainees — 99 of 102 — have eaten at least one meal in the past 24 hours. Does that mean the hunger strike is basically over? Not just yet.
It takes more than one meal for the military to take a detainee off the list. Officials need to see "sustained" eating over a period of several days before they'll consider a detainee's hunger strike over — that amounts to 1,500 calories a day, for seven days, according to the Miami Herald. A doctor can also make a case-by-case determination on whether an eating hunger striker is getting enough food or not. Of course, 45 of the 102 prisoners still on strike are consuming something, in the form of force-fed liquid nutritional supplements. Those supplements are delivered to the inmate while he is restrained: Sometimes, that's through a tube entering the inmate through the nostril and winding its way into his stomach. Some detainees may choose to drink a can of Ensure instead of undergoing a tube feeding. Both are categorized as a force feeding procedure. When officials say that prisoners have eaten a meal, this doesn't count.