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. GOPer

    We are not Communist China and we Do Not Torture, Period. We are the United States of America!

    May 9, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  2. Had It

    Gee – the US spends millions (maybe billions) keeping maximum security prisons in this country. If they can't hold 1 terrorist in each one, then maybe those prisons are a waste of money.

    May 9, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. Bill

    You have to give it to the Republicans every week a different face same old song. Maybe they are stuck in a time lag and President Regan in no longer President. The American people will not fall for their un-truths anymore.

    Keep it up Republicans and your party will be gone forever. Maybe the Wig Party will make a come back.

    May 9, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. tom

    Is this man the stereotypical republican. If people have a right to know what we are going to do with these "prisoners" .They should also have a right to know what we have already done to these people ,like torture. Bond, and Bush, and Cheney have turned us into a country that is hated around the world. And the Bonds of the world talk about South American Dictators and bowing to Arab kings. Bush brought us to a level so low we have to eat crow just to be taken seriously again. Arrogance and torture are not the country I learned about in history class.

    May 9, 2009 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. Franky

    I think this is also overrated, you can explain to me as much as you want why Gitmo needs to stay open but I'm going with numbers here, I don't care what 250+ detainees are gonna do, send em back where they came from, you act like that many can cause damage instead of they were they are, it really makes no difference and if you are going to give an argument on why it should be open or closed or whatever, I'm telling you right now, I don't think it matters what WE think about these guys than the others at the Middle East, what's the difference between 250 and 20,000??? What is the difference??? Listen, I have numbers, and I ain't gonna listen to something that's as overrated as war itself...I mean, if we are going to worry about what they are going to do, then I wonder what people are thinking in the Middle East?? You can't have it both ways, I personally don't care, I did my research and I ain't gonna listen to both sides and I sure as heck ain't gonna listen what the GOP did "right" the last 8 years...

    May 9, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. GOP = 21st century dodo

    A white southern reactionary trying to frighten people? Now how on earth did the GOP come up with that?

    May 9, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. Chenna Benna

    No. The "ready, fire, aim" strategy was already overplayed by Bush when he and his stooges got us into Iraq.

    May 9, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. Larry

    Another Republican mouth that supported Bush in his lies that got us into this awful war

    Now spouting off ... NO NO NO NO

    No new ideas ... no meaningful agenda

    Just a lot of big mouths with nothing to say

    Typical Republican

    May 9, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  9. DC

    It's this sort of rhetoric that alienates us and prevents us from ever regaining the popularity and trust within the world. Go crawl back into your bunker with Cheney, Bond, and give the President's plans a chance to work. Eight years is long enough.

    May 9, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Ted van Tol

    If it/s a terrorist you can bring him to the USA and
    bring him to justice but a lot of the prisoners are there for 6 years
    without any charge.
    Now that's just the way to create a new terrorist..

    May 9, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. pam Eugene OR

    You are so correct Bill. It is always something that encourages the Republicans to fear monger. They are trying to scare us into voting for them again. It won't happen. President Obama is keeping his campaign promises.
    It is the same tune every day and it is getting really tiresome hearing all their bickering. Get a clue Repugs,it won't work any more and it makes you less relevant each time you do it.

    May 9, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. flybyshoeing

    This guy is afraid of own shadow. Boo! We already have convicted "terrorists" held in US prisons, why no fear of those men? Is he saying our maximum security prisons are no good? The Blind Sheik is here. Zacaria Moussaouri is here. Jose Padilla is here among others.

    May 9, 2009 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. John

    The GOP have a laughable, comic book view of the prisoners at GitMo. They would have us think that the slobs there are all mutants that are held in special cells that neutralize their powers, and if they were moved here, it would certainly be the equivalent of "house arrest". They would easily escape and start bringing down skyscrapers with their laser beam eyes while at the same time making dirty bombs out of old cell phones and fluorescent lights.

    The GOP's boogey-man tactic relies on ignorance of U.S. prisons. We may not be number one in Health Care, or Education, but when it comes to prisons, we're the king.

    May 9, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  14. Ed

    Middle of the road white collar criminals? Puhleeze... So it's OK to rob the general public of gigantic sums of money? Down with the Republican party FOREVER.

    May 9, 2009 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  15. Nick - Lincoln Ne

    Perhaps Mr. Bond should take note of what the Saudi's are doing.

    While yes, the Saudis were part of the problem, they are fast becoming part of the solution. A great majority of the "terrorists" they've put through their reforming programs have come out completely changed people.

    Ever consider that you know, doing this kind of stuff to people will only increase our problem instead of solve it? Please for the love of pete Mr. Bond, read up on what happens when you torture someone. One would think that once you put a group of people through hell that have been fighting you, they'd only have more of a reason to fight you more.

    May 9, 2009 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  16. renee

    OH my God!!!! Are you kidding me? What is wrong with these Republicans Who has the time and energy to Whine everday about what our President is doing if they spent half of their time trying to think of something constructive and positive they wouldnt be so miserable but I will say I hope they keep it up so their party will stay behind forever WAKE UP THE 50S AND 60S ARE GONE THIS IS A NEW GENERATION!!!!!

    May 9, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  17. dustbunny

    We don't want these people in the U.S. Send them back to their home countrys. If their home country don't want them ,let them decide what to do with them. They can either jail them,shoot them or let them go. If they let them go they will just get back in the fight. They are in GITMO for a reason,they were caught on the battle feild. They have no rights what so ever. They are not soldiers they are TERRORISTS.

    May 9, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Ren from Baltimore

    Give it up, Republicans. We are sick and tired of your negative take on EVERYTHING the nationally-elected President of the United States does, thinks, or even may do (SCOTUS pick guessing, anyone?).

    I am so fed up with you, from Cheney on down, that I've lost my appetite for listening anymore.

    Goodbye!

    May 9, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Polly

    I support his questions. I want to know what he is going to do with these people and how that is going to affect our country and the development and training of terrorists within our prisons, and terrorists cells that are already in place in our country.

    May 9, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  20. Otto

    There is a simple answer to all the hoopla surrounding the "GITMO" detainees.

    Send one each to the home of the Republicans who vote for and are hell bent on unlawful interrogations.

    The first one and the worst should be send to Dick Cheney and monitored 24/7 to be sure he is fed by Cheney himself. The others should be chosen carefully and sent to the other members of the GOP, like Sen. Bond; he can take in two prisoners as he seem to be wealthy enough to support them. End of story; all prisoners accounted for and are safe with the GOP where they belong.

    May 9, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. N. E. Ocon

    Who is this guy? He's not relevant as far as I can tell. Move on.

    May 9, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  22. True American

    I'm getting tired of all you nutroot leftists whining about everything. So what, we put towels over their heads and pour water on it. That is not torture. Cutting a mans head off in front of a web cam is. When are you people going to get off the pipe and come back to reality and realize that this is not a perfect world, and its problems can't be solved with a smile and handshake. Put them in our prisons; then when they escape and capture your family, we'll see what kind of tune you sing. The ignorance of the fascist left sickens me.

    May 9, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. Mike Syracuse, NY

    @Nick, these people were fighting us long before any 'torture'. Didn't you see the CNN interview with that Taliban leader? He says the interrogations don't matter at all. The attacks on the WTC (twice), the USS Cole, 2 US embassies in East Africa, and others all CAME FIRST. These people hate us and it's either us or them. If they want to be martyrs, let's accelerate the process. Our choice is simple, we can be hated and safe; or hated and unsafe.

    May 9, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  24. woodburn

    Obama is an intelligent President, so the Republicans can't understand him.....

    May 9, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  25. Ken in NC

    Republicans can't win with the numbers in the voting processs so they resort to fear. They fail to realize that what Americans fear is Republican control again.

    May 9, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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