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. Ron

    It's very simple, really. If they're terrorists, try them on terrorism, convict them and lock them up somewhere. The biggest problem with Gitmo is that these people are being held without trial. You would assume the government has evidence against them. Which makes you think that the majority of them held there may not even be terrorists.

    What happened to our rule of law? Guess it's only necessary when it's beneficial to the party in charge.

    May 9, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Randall in Torrance - Welcome to the end of the era of dumb ass republicans in power

    The reason the U.S. was attacked on 9/11 was because of arrogant pricks in charge of foreign policy. George Bush was an egotistical, over confident bully, who felt like he could do as he pleased without any push back from from outside America's borders. The whole philosophy of Republicans is WAR, More WAR, and Unending WAR. GITMO wouldn't be an issue if Georgy Bush and Rummy-Rumsfeld hadn't written policy that made it mandatory to do stoopid unnecessary tactics that showed the world just how far the U.S. would go in treating prisoners. Were they terrorists? Yes. Were they treated as sub-human as Hitler treated the Jews during WWII? Yes. That is why President Obama is shutting down GITMO. He doesn't want the U.S. to be compared to Nazi Germany. Bush = Hitler. When the U.S. starts showing the world we are better than terrorists then our enemies will take notice. The only compassion Republicans ever show to ANYONE is when they hide fake companies in the Cayman Islands as tax shelters for the rich so that the average middle-class American keeps paying taxes while the rich are off the hook. Thank God in heaven President Obama is ending this Republican practice. Ahhh . . . it's so nice to be able to wake up everyday and know that President Obama is in charge of the United States of America. The Republicans are crying to their momma Rash LameBrain and pissing in their diapers. Waaa, waaaa, waaaa, boo hoo. "Does it hurt to have a temperature?", they say. Aw poor babies. Now sit up and take your medicine. Get a good full dose of how a country should be run. Now, now, there's nothing you can do to stop this new American Revolution. You can write books, blab all you want and complain about President Obama on CNN, make hateful accusations against what President Obama and the superior Democrat leadership is doing in Congress, but you can't stop this bold new agenda that will put an end to Republican cronyism and restore the American dream. Ah ha. We won and you didn't. You lost and you're mad. Now your petty little feelings are hurt. Too bad so sad. Talk to the hand cause the brain don't understand.

    May 9, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  3. Mike O

    Yet, nowhere on the CNN site are they discussing the fact that Obama is recommencing with military tribunals, nor the fact it was the Democrats who stopped funding for the Gitmo closing. Probably has to do with the AG talking about releasing some of them in the U.S.

    May 9, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. DonnieJ

    We're sure these are all "deadly terrorists," eh? Well let's prove it in court then. If we can't do that, we must set them free. This is not a police state (anymore). Our founding fathers would think you are a disgrace, Kit.

    May 9, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. The Truth

    CNN, I am becoming perturbed by your kind of news reporting.
    You give your platform to promote the GOP talking point every minute you get and spend the same time casting aspersions doubts on Obama's program. Yet you claim to be an independent news media. I think your news organization is fast becoming Conservative News Network. We already have Fox News doing that.

    Where is Obama's Weeklly broadcast here on this Political Tickler. Oh, it is not essential to highlight it lest you disseminate his message in its raw form.

    I wander when you will start reporting the news truly without sowing seeds of doubt or propergate contentious thoughts.

    Though you'll read this and put it in moderation forever and then not post it for all to see. But at least you read it; if at all.

    May 9, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  6. Bill

    "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"

    Whoever this guy is, does he really expect to reform these terrorists? These religious extremists have no interest in anything but destroying the US, the center of all evil in their twisted minds. I actually saw an article on CNN (much to my surprise) about how several 9/11 terrorists were, shall we say, committed to undermining the US in any way. Now, I may be a pessimist, but can we realistically expect that releasing these people will suddenly make them love the US? I think they'll spend the whole plane ride laughing at our naivete. What's the matter with GITMO anyway?

    May 9, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  7. Joan B

    Mr. Obama is inexperienced, and a novice and that is such a shame for the USA. He changes his mind on a daily basis.
    66,000 Jobs created last month – almost all Gov't Jobs – the sit around and do nothing jobs. Ever watch Congress? Most of them are never there....they have to call a quoram to find the clowns.
    The hardened criminals could be put in our prison, and then they could infest the minds of more people – that is naive.
    If we torture via waterboarding then the USA has been torturing Navy Seals, Special Forces, and Pilots...as that is part of the training...LOL.
    IF ANY OF THESE TERROISTS, HAVING AT THE LEAST BEEN TRAINED IN TERRORISTS CAMPS, THEN LET THEM LOOSE IN ERIC HOLDER, AND CONGRESS NEIGHBORHOOD. Watch what happens !
    Joan B
    WI

    May 9, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Gigi

    Look as an MP who actually interacted with these detainees at GITMO, we need to come up with a legal solution to holding people indefinitely without due process of law. Also, in the summer of 1987 at 17 year old, I completed Basic Training at Ft. McClellan, AL. One of the most defining momemt of my training and the foundation of my military beliefs is that we, America, do not torture despite what is done to us! The Geneve Convention, Law of the Hague and other federal and international treaties prohibits me, my superiors, my subordinates and any military personnel from torturing our prisioners irregardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in. I know that if I was ever told to go againt these principles, I was to (1) refuse to act and (2) to report the matter all the way up the Chain of Command. Individuals who have not served in the military cannot begin to comprehend what it means to know that our elected leaders who have not served or who chose the easy way out authorized these acts. In the end, all we have are our values: Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.

    May 9, 2009 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. william

    i think it should remain open. i dont want terrorist in my !&#^ country. but they should all be line up and shot. and i dont agree with torture period, but if it saves innocent people and soldiers from getting killied then am all for. but dont get me wrong Bush was the worst thing that ever happened to this country.

    May 9, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. apib

    pelican bay works for our domestic gangsters, murderers ect....i bet we can find some space for the gitmo gangsters

    May 9, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  11. Larry

    Do you mean to suggest that putting people in our Maximum security prisons, leaves us at some greater risk, than by those that are already in there

    More meaningless garbage out of the mouths that heiped put us here in the first place

    Republicans ... the Party Of "I Don't Know What To Do" ... so I'll be critical in an effort to appear important ...

    What a bunch of jerks ...

    May 9, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  12. ken

    Obama has no leadership experience. He has no decision making experience. He is a poor excuse for a President. He launches his have baked ideas and even the media , who adore him, have to finally write that his idea has tons of problems. He has weak, unlearned, biased, preconceived agenda based advisers. For some reason, the WH press ignores his fatal handicap. If you compared the facts (not the innuendo and slant) of the stories of Bush vs Obama, you will find that Obama is getting criticized for the content of his decisions and Bush was criticized for his delivery. Bush was a smart, solid manager with poor speaking skills. Obama has great speaking skills, but has no idea how to run a business, much less a country. Why can't the media tell it like it is? Are they having sex with him? Maybe it is the fact that journalists pride themselves in telling a story, the delivery, and literally ignore the truth. They can relate to a good story teller but cannot relate to good decision maker who is trying to narrow in on the truth. I remember a recent journalist column that told student journalists not to wait for the absolute truth before publishing a story. This was published in a newspaper! The objective of a journalist was not the truth; it was selling a story. Here is Obama selling a story.

    May 9, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Don

    WHAT!? Another Repug has come forth with something to down grade the current administration on. GEE what a surprise.

    When will these reprobates get it – they are past due. Their account is past due – their position is full of emptiness and they all need to go away.

    This is, indeed, a new world – the times, they are a'changin

    May 9, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  14. Hal

    The US Constitution is NOT just a symbol Mr. Bond. I am so sick of these Republican COWARDS!!!!

    They preach fear all day everyday, "Be afraid, be afraid!! Be afraid of homosexuals, be afraid of terrorists, be afraid of socialism (even though I don't know what it is!), afraid of the poor, afraid of taxes that might make the rich angry, afraid of immigrants, black people, condoms, nudity and on ad infinitum. Now they are afraid of having men in chains within the borders of this country. Why?? Are they going to turn into the X-Men and break out of jail and start sleeping with our daughters???

    Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.

    GOP version
    Land of the semi-free and Home of the Afraid.

    May 9, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. SV

    Obama scares me. He now ranks number 2 on my list of top 10 fears, 2nd only to the media.

    May 9, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. tigerakabj

    Republicans, you have made the mistake of blowing all of your ammo in the first 4 months of Obama's presidency. More and more people are desensitized to your fear-mongering that they just think, in the words of your god Reagan, "There they go again." You guys have been reduced to attacking Obama over the mustard he puts on his food. And we should listen to you?

    Keep defending torture if you want to. Not only will you be regarded as the "Party of No," but you will be seen as the "Party of Torture." You can thank your leaders Uncle Rush and Cousin Dick Cheney for helping to cement those facts.

    Mr. Bond, sit down and actually offer up some constructive ideas to slow your party's descent into oblivion, because it seems 20% of people identifying as GOP must be too high for you guys.

    May 9, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. maf

    Maybe by the time 2010 rolls in, all of the Republicans who are up for re-election can be slated to speak to the people and show just how out of touch they are with the current state of affairs. Once they are voted out, then the GOP can bring the next batch who are up in 2012 and we will be rid of the tired old thinking. Maybe, just maybe. . .

    May 9, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  18. Who Moved My Cheese

    Wake up America! It is the Grand "OLD" Party and their scare tactics again. Putting rhetoric over facts and relevant data. Do we not already house convicted high risk security inmates in Federal US prisons? These buffons really need to get a new schtick and get the with the program. They are alot like "Chicken Little," oh my the sky is falling at every position that "OUR" elected President tries to implement.

    May 9, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. P Tharp

    Old, white Senators need to retire. The world has changed, and America needs to join the world.

    May 9, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. John David, IN

    Aim before shooting?

    Like Republicans did with iraq?

    May 9, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. BH

    Classic liberal doctrine. Kill all the babies you want, but don't inconvenience a terrorist with horrors like military prison or water.

    In WWII or Vietnam, these combatants would have been summarily executed where they were found- armed combatants not in uniform have no rights on the battlefield. Ask Germany's infiltration unit during the Battle of the Bulge.

    Is that what you want to go back to? Because knowing what they know now, I bet the military would prefer it. Quicker, simpler, cheaper, and no libtards looking over your shoulder.

    May 9, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  22. Same Old White House

    Strike 3. I read the first three posts and as true democrats, not one of them addresses the point of the story.

    May 9, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  23. Mike Nichols

    Having retired as a police officer from the streets of Nashville, I promise you that the housing projects house many criminals that would put the so called terrorists at Gitmo to shame. Kit Bond is a laughing joke...

    May 9, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. zippy

    Kitt is smarter tha you spinless libs, he does;t cut a nd run
    zippy

    May 9, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Shawn

    Let's free the 250 Islamic terrorists into the U.S. Then maybe the Demo-rats will be happy. Oh, I'm sorry. I used the word "terrorist" instead of the Demo-rat term "oversea combatant."

    May 9, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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