May 9th, 2009
12:47 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama putting ‘symbolism over security,’ Bond says

Sen. Kit Bond says President Obama is using a 'ready, fire, aim' strategy.
Sen. Kit Bond says President Obama is using a 'ready, fire, aim' strategy.

(CNN) - Missouri Sen. Kit Bond said President Obama’s plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is a “dangerous case of putting symbolism over security.”

“Guantanamo Bay – known as GITMO – doesn’t house middle-of-the-road, white-collar criminals. Instead, this detainee facility houses deadly terrorists, including 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,” said Bond, a senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Republicans have been pounding Obama and the Democrats over the proposed closure, saying that closing the facility could push detainees into facilities in the United States, making the country less safe.

Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters the Justice Department was reviewing each of the detainees at Guantanamo to determine what to do with them.

In the weekly Republican radio address, Bond charged that Obama is implementing “a classic example of a ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ strategy.”

“When it comes to national security decisions, I prefer aiming before shooting, which is why I keep calling on President Obama to tell us, the American people, how his plan to close Guantanamo will make our nation safer ... I think the American people have a right to know exactly what the White House plans to do with these terrorists,” he said.

Earlier this week, House Democrats told the president he won't be getting money to close the military detention facility until he has a "concrete program" for shutting it down and moving its prisoners.

About 240 prisoners remain at the detention facility.

Attorney General Eric Holder promised a Senate committee on Thursday he will not release suspected terrorists into the United States.

“There are no easy solutions here. But, having no solution and moving forward with the closing [of] the prison at Guantanamo is a dangerous gamble with our security here at home and our troops abroad. I, for one, am not willing to gamble with our national security,” Bond said.

“Closing our terrorist-detention facility with no backup plan is one campaign promise that can’t hold up to national security realities. While the President has made closing Guantanamo Bay a priority, the highest priority must be keeping America safe.”

Full transcript:

“This is Missouri Senator Kit Bond.

“As the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, I understand that protecting the American people is the government’s highest priority and most important responsibility.

“And keeping our nation safe should not be a political issue, it’s an American one.

“I hope my colleagues in Congress keep that in mind over the next couple of weeks as we debate the troop funding bill.

“Guantanamo Bay – known as GITMO – doesn’t house middle-of-the-road, white-collar criminals.

“Instead, this detainee facility houses deadly terrorists, including 9-11-mastermind Khalid Sheihk Mohammed.

“While President Obama has no plan for what to do with these killers, he has pledged to close the terrorist-detention facility in January to fulfill a campaign promise.

“This is a dangerous case of putting symbolism over security.

“Or as I like to say – this is a classic example of a ‘READY, FIRE, AIM’ strategy.

“When it comes to national security decisions, I prefer aiming before shooting, which is why I keep calling on President Obama to tell us, the American people, how his plan to close Guantanamo will make our nation safer.

“The President needs to honor his pledge of transparency and provide the American people with answers.

“I think the American people have a right to know exactly what the White House plans to do with these terrorists.

“Americans also have a right to know if President Obama plans to send any of these terrorists to their communities.

“Any plan must answer these questions: Where will these men go? And will that make America safer?

“Now just last week the administration admitted that some of the terrorists could be coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

“Defense Secretary Gates testified before Congress that as many as 100 Guantanamo detainees could be transferred to the United States.

“Whether these terrorists are coming to a prison in Kansas, or a halfway house in Missouri, or any other state – I can tell you this:

“Americans don’t want these terrorists in their neighborhoods.

“That’s why when we put it to a vote, the Senate voted 94 to 3 against importing detainees to American soil – even if that meant to a maximum security prison.

“Americans also don’t want to send these terrorists back to the battlefield to kill our troops.

“And, we know that terrorists detained at Guantanamo and released have gone back to the fight.

“The Pentagon has confirmed that at least 18 detainees who were released have gone back to the fight. And, 43 more are suspected of doing the same.

“There are no easy solutions here. But, having no solution and moving forward with the closing [of] the prison at Guantanamo is a dangerous gamble with our security here at home and our troops abroad.

“I, for one, am not willing to gamble with our national security.

“Closing our terrorist-detention facility with no backup plan is one campaign promise that can’t hold up to national security realities.

“While the President has made closing Guantanamo Bay a priority, the highest priority must be keeping America safe.

“Thank you for listening.”


Filed under: Kit Bond • President Obama
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. jeff

    to whom maybe reading this it gos for all of the above this is what we do to all of us fus fus fus and no one see what we all r up to do.we just talking and letting iran go fully ahead with its bomb do we all like the sound of this no we don't,so to the usa that i love so much and i did not born here,lets looks in stad of just talking, but i do think obama is going the right way about it and if iran do not listen this time we will be open for a 3 war this is not what we want but if iran do not listen to obama it will happen,

    May 9, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Ohioguy

    If you're not prepared to do anything and everything to protect those you love you are a coward. Period.

    May 9, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Ken from missouri

    Kit I am from missouri would you please shutup and try to get some jobs here in the state you represent we could sure use the help or is that going against the republican party, this is your last term do something for the people.

    May 9, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  4. TheThinker

    Here they go again, trying to terrify us out of our wits. For pete's sake, if US prisons are enough to hold people like the unibomber, Terry Nichols, and the Phildadelphia sniper, then it can hold the prisoners transferred from Gitmo. It's not like they'll be running free.

    May 9, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Bo

    Sen. Kit Bond must be paid a lot of money to be this dumb, (or this big of a tool). We have somewhere over 2,500,000 prisoners in the US, 250 more is nothing. And the sad fact is that a good percentage of the 250 prisoners in gitmo have done nothing wrong except to get turned in by another tribe.

    May 9, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. The Truth

    Unemployment at 10% – but at least Bush isn't president,
    National deficit at record highs – but at least Bush isn't president,
    Oil prices going up again – but at least Bush isn't president,
    Mortgages still defaulting at record rates – but at least Bush isn't president,
    Housing market still at all time lows – but at least Bush isn't president,
    Illegal Immigration undeterred- but at least Bush isn't president,
    We got 12.00 a week tax break but our taxes went up 60% on alot of everyday items and continue to do so – but at least Bush isn't president.

    How long do honestly believe the American people are going to tolerate this? You (Dems) had better start coming up with some plans and ideas that do not just enrich the fat and lazy by taking our hard earned money and do it fast or you will find yourselves where we(conserv) are now. And oh yes, please try and do it without telling us how glad we all are that Bush isn't president.

    May 9, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. E. Elliott

    While the alternatives are not fun, what information does the government actually allow us to know that all of these guys are the same level of threat. If I have a choice btw more Bush era criminal actions by my government and taking a tiny risk with conventional prisons, I will got with the latter. Frankly, most of the enemy captured with weapons and explosive simply should have been shot resisting capture. Not that Bush accpeted it, but we do have committments on our behavior once we do take them prisoner.

    So forget this wedge issue and start the war crimes trials so we can redeem our Nation's honor.

    May 9, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. HAWK, TEXAS

    Kit Bond needs to go away. far away. he would fit in nicely in alaska.

    May 9, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. Slash

    I really, really don't get this.

    These guys aren't supervillains. They can't shoot lasers from their eyes or punch through concrete walls, and the word "mastermind" is rather, uh, generous. So why is everyone so worried about holding them here?

    Oh...oh, that's right, because then we won't be able to torture them as easily.

    May 9, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Samantha

    If the Bush administration was so sure that the gitmo detainees were guilty why had they not been prosecuted them ? This is the same old game of fear the Republicans has used to make Americans do what they want since 9/11. Everyone knows that terrorist exist, but it's amazing out of all the countries that have been attacked by them America ( the richest country in the world) can not move on. We have been sold the same old lie for 8 years so that Bush and his boys can run ramp shot over other countries and go to war with the claims of weapons of mass destruction that after five years still have not been found.
    People stop being scared long enough to realize we have been attacked twice once by the terrorist and second by our then Commander and Chief. It's time to open our eyes and realize that yes there will be other terror attempts but we cannot stand by and live in the past we must move one and prepare for the next fool who feel they are justified to kill. People die on America's streets everyday without as little as a second look. They out number the victims of 9/11 ten times, but we are so stuck in the past we cannot see we are safer from a terror attacked than we are from a criminal invading our homes. Safer from a terror attack than from some hillbilly couple in Houston Texas who think they have the right to shoot children because they feel they are trespassing. We are safer from terror attack than we are from some road rage fool who decides to get even. We are safer from a terror attack than we are from a disgruntled person who decides to go into a mall, job, etc and start shooting. Danger is all around us we need to not continue to be held in the past. I lost co-workers in 9/11, but holding people in Gitmo who we are not sure have even done anything will not solve the problem or bring them back. Yes terrorist torture, attack, and kill, but we are suppose to be better than them.

    May 9, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. Dave

    The average Democrat hates his or her republican neighbor more than those who took down our twin towers, can you expect them to even care about making this nation safe?

    May 9, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  12. Eileen

    We have exceptional prison systems here – I'm not threatened in the least by having them incarcerated here. The scare tactics just won't work this time.

    May 9, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. Paco

    "Keep you friends close and you enemies CLOSER," goes the saying.

    May 9, 2009 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  14. Dave

    "you just have to know that President Obama is doing a GREAT JOB of protecting America!"

    Forget facts and the truth, the dems are right, they just have to know. National Socialists need their sheep to impliment their plans and as you can see at the ticker, there are quite a few willing and mind-less Demo Obama-bots.

    I would be scared for our safety but thank god libs are so lazy and unmotivated.

    May 9, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Anna

    Mr. Bond, your scare tactics will not work this time. I am not for any terrorists, but what I am for is our men and women who fight and protects us. And what if they are torture? What can we say then Mr. Bond. How can we say you don't do that, but it is fine and dandy if we do. We are the most powerful nation there is, our military is the best, you mean to tell me that if those terrorists were brought here, we couldn't keep them locked up so they would never see the light of day again. Ever again. Are we afraid they would escape, what are we so afraid of? Maybe that we would find out some things you Republicans don't want known. To be honest I am more afraid of being gun down by someone with an A-K47.

    May 9, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Ohioguy

    What the Libs don't understand is holding the Gitmo prisoners here implies they have the same rights and privileges as American citizens. They aren't US citizens, so to imply they should have the sames rights as US citizens is laughable and downright stupid.

    May 9, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. M J

    Shut up Bond! I don't need, not want your "security". I can take care of myself and my family-especially from "public servants" like yourself. Go Away!!!

    May 9, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. Chris J.

    Always interesting to hear another Republican without any type of military experience claiming to know what's good for the security of the country. Don't we house serial killers, rapist, and other people just as dangerous in our jails. Why is this issue never brought up as a reply to those saying housing terrorist in jails in our country is unsafe. Here's a few names to throw out there. Ramzi Yousef, Zacarias Moussaoui and shoe bomber Richard Reid are just a few of the terrorist housed at the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado. This argument that Republicans stick to holds no weight.

    May 9, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. Larry from RI

    No one has advocated letting the "terrorists" go free!
    Not all detainees held there are terrorists or have even been charged with being a terrorist.

    Enough with the fear mongering and false choices from the GOP!

    You don't frighten or fool anyone outside the the drooling chicken-hawks that make up what remains of your "base"!

    May 9, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Chris

    Since when have the Democrats ever used good judgement?

    May 9, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  21. Simmy

    ***FYI***

    We have terrorists in our jails already.....Some of you talk as if our jails are not secure.....Ask one of those guys in there how many times they've tried to escape.....Some of you make it sound as if the sheriff and or local officials are going to bring prisoners from maximum security to have church with you on Sundays.....(I'm laughing) They will be housed in a humane environment (if any of them come to the US)....They are not coming with bombs, guns, and nukes.....They are coming shackled.....

    Pam....Have you considered that our 'home-grown-terrorists are able to communicate to other people also? Hate groups are terrorists....Gangs that go around committing murder are terrorists.....Serial killers are terrorists....Fear and hatred cause some people to over extend their imaginations.....

    The best we as a country can do is stay well informed regarding possible threats....FP Bush had received forewarnings about a possible threat to this country before 9/11, but did not take it seriously ....To make up for his arrogance, he invented Iraq....I pray that we are not attacked ever again...But more importantly, I pray that President Obama will take any information received abouts possible threats serious, and act accordingly.....I believe he will.....Peace....

    May 9, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Give it a Rest

    Tim – Why don't we abort them, I know all you lefties love aborting people.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Oh, THAT really hurts when us when you say that....idiot.

    May 9, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. art in Vegas

    I would remind Senator Bond that 425,000 prisoners of war held in the United States during WWII.

    May 9, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. tony

    Cookie cutter liberal,

    I am a little surprised that you have so much faith in our ability to reform the terrorists. Some people just cannot be reached. After all, the Republicans cannot be convinced that their ideology is bankrupt, no matter how many times their policies failed to work. Even after the electoral drubbing the Republicans suffered at the hands of Obama, they still think that they don't need to change and all they have to do is to convince the majority of the people who voted for Obama to wake up. I will have imagined that the Republicans have more sense and are more reasonable than the terrorists, but the way the Republicans are behaving it is hard to tell.

    May 9, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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