May 9th, 2009
12:47 PM ET
6 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. Brad, California

    Ready, fire, aim? Hmmm, this sounds like we are talking about George Bush. Why not consider consider using Gitmo for the "white collar" CEO's, CFO's, bankers and fund managers, as well as all the white haired old senators and congressmen who have destroyed our country with their self-interest, greed and fraud. They are the REAL terrorists.

    May 9, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Larry

    I hope the show me state shows Kitty Kitty dumb dumb the door and them slams it on his butt on the way out.

    May 9, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Marge

    Do you think some body should sit the republicans down and explain to them that there is no way in heck that they can get the republican party back on track but standing in front of a TV camera and complaining and whining and moaning about democrats.

    It makes them look, petty, childest and really really characterless.

    May 9, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Aaron

    It's the same old rigamarole. If Obama or any Democrat does or proposes anything, the Repubs have to come out against it. Lord forbid they should come up with a single viable idea for change themselves.

    May 9, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  5. Willy Brown

    Democrtas he’s how to close GITMO. Put all the terrorist Oops I mean detainees in C-130 and fly them back home. Once over their country open the back door and throw them out then throw out a parachute behind them, that way no one in the media can say we tortured them...

    May 9, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Rob

    What? CNN is now Obama's media Czar!

    May 9, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. Kevin Kelly

    I guess the Republicans /would/ know about Ready, Fire, Aim.

    May 9, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  8. Fendell Crews

    That's right.
    Do something, anything, and we'll go back and try to get it right later. This is Obama's plan. He just wants to "Change!" everything that has ever been done before because he thinks older Americans have all been stupid. Well, Obama is just plain wrong and actually stupid himself not to accept that Americans before him have always tried to do the right thing as a nation. He just doesn't get it and neither do his followers who think he is some kind of savior or something–all wrong!

    May 9, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    So, Sen Bond, are you a military expert yourself or just a sour Republican who is joining the rest of the sourpusses to hammer away at Obama.

    Why not do something constructive?

    May 9, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    That is what lack of experience amounts to.
    In fact he is going beyond that. He is making love with people whose only ambition is destroying the USA.
    He means well.

    May 9, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. ~~ July ~~

    Gandpa ... I think it is time for you to go. Sorry but you are not part of the solution .. you are part of the problem.

    May 9, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  12. Russell Hammond

    "Kit Bond"? Seriously? That's his name? And people take this guy seriously? And I thought WE had problems with Ahh-nold.

    May 9, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  13. Ed

    Bill May 9th, 2009 11:38 am ET
    You have to give it to the Republicans every week a different face same old song.
    -------------

    You have to give it to the Democrats - every week the same old (Obama) face, same old song: SPEND, SPEND, AND SPEND SOME MORE!

    May 9, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  14. John in AZ

    So there is ONE "9-11 Mastermind" and that justifies operating an entire prison? Bond ignores that the bulk of the people being held there did nothing and we have evidence of just that, nothing. Additionally, if they wind up in US prisons, how does that make our country less safe? What is Bond suggesting about our prison system? Because I can think of reforms needed in the prison system, but none of them have anything to do with security.

    May 9, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Maxer

    Who even wants to be a Republican anymore.

    May 9, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. johns

    Let the President do his work.

    Just by a very simple progression NOBODY believes any republican after 8 long years in the wilderness.

    That the republicans believe only in themselves, "our way or the highway no matter what" is more than obvious.

    Torture is an evil thing. Talking about axis of evil.

    We, The United States of America DO NOT TORTURE... Is this clear?

    May 9, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. tim

    If Mr. Bond is so scared he should crawl into a cave and pull a rock in front of the opening. I would be willing to allow the gov't to construct a cell in my garage to hold one or two of them. I feel sorry for people like Dick and Kit and all the others that practically wet themselves every time someone says "terrorist." they should seek out some counseling for that condition.

    May 9, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Lynn West Bloomfield, Michigan

    OK. Any ideas about how to handle the situation? No? I didn't think so Mr. Thinlips!

    May 9, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Letcommonsenseprevail

    Say what you want, blame Bush for everything, the Republicans did it, etc. Got it, most of you people didn't are not of the Republican ilk. Stop and think for a moment though. No one wants these people back in their own country. Why? Also, they come to a US prison, they go through their trial, or are released eventually. Where do they go? I've seen what these people are trained for and I don't like it. As a matter of fact, ever wonder why there is always a run on gun sales when a Democrat takes over the White House? Because it SCARES the average American! Our security is at stake. Again, eventually, these people will be released because Obama will cave to ACLU or Amnesty International pressure. Then ol' Sheikh Mohammed is serving you a slurpee at 7-11 with one hand and holding a detonator in the other. They're not being tortured anymore, leave them there until we can find a better country for them than the US, which they swore to attack many, many years before we thought about detaining them.

    May 9, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. Here they go again...

    Here they (Rethugs) go again. The Obama administration hasn't even said where they are going to place these folks, but it's already time to criticise the outcome.

    Fact is, these "terrorists" are cowards, and couldn't begin go fist-to-fist with some of our natural born convicts. For example, if we throw them in Angola, we'll wind up having to protect THEM from real killers, the kind that didn't sneak up and stab someone in the back.

    May 9, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Patrick

    IF torture, waterboarding works, how come these guys who were close to bin laden could not tell us where he is hiding. To me it is not about another attack not happening, IT IS ABOUT SOMEONE TELLING US WHERE THE HELL bin laden IS and the rest of his clowns.

    May 9, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. Joe Dallas

    Regarding this conversation about GITMO, Sen Shelby stated he didn't know of any town in America who would want terrorists in their backyard. If I recall a few months ago, NPR actually had interviewed a group of leaders in Montana who do want GITMO because of the revenue the town would collect from the government spending. Could the media pull this NPR story and maybe present it to the Republicans who claim no one wants GITMO. And what's wrong with GITMO be constructed in Alaska?

    May 9, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  23. dave

    Let's take Republican politicians who spent us into oblivion, Wall Street cheats, and crooked mortgage bankers and put THEM in Gitmo and waterboard them and see what bigshots they are.
    Mr. Bond: You are a Republican. Shut up. You're irrelevant now.

    May 9, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  24. Proud DHS radical

    The goal of the Islamist is simple, world domination under Islam, it's in the Quran and these people are merely following the Sura's which also calls for the elimination of any and all non-believers (us). Actually these Gitmo detainees should fit in rather well in South Chicago or Dearborn, MI.

    May 9, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Hoke Murray

    Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? This hyper-fool has already convicted the detainees without trial and ignores the fact that three quarters of those held were determined not to have any connection to terrorism. Maybe the GOP should get their facts straight before trying to scare the American public. Then again, that wouldn't work. Facts and truth are foreign concepts to the Republican Party.

    May 9, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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