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. cabianni

    Nothing but ACORN nut talking to themselves

    May 9, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. jude

    i would like to call attn; to the desperate attemps by the republicans to undermine this president to where it is down right criminal, in what these underminers will stoop too. fact being so much. i would like the justice dept to look into that "flyover" that was done in new york. THERE is a corelation. to have AIR FORCE ONE departing reagan int'l w/o the president and or his family on board. them wheels should have NEVER LEFT THE GROUND. now the fact is ; you have john boehener coming out on youtube AND ON FOX NEWS playing the terrorism card w/ video out about 9-11, and about the planes crashing in to the twin towers on in NY, with the backdrop of the scare tactics of are we safe. this is what the heist of air force one was all about. this was not a mistake this was deliberate. and you have fox news exploiting the video over and over on that news channel. this is the lastest in the plan the republicans got . to gear this president for failure. this is pure maddness. just think if they are capable of highjacking AF ONE what other levels will these people of the republican party stoop too. the AG ERIC HOLDER needs to look into this matter and investigate the possibility of possible charges. a review was ok, but if you look at the whole picture and how things line up. w/ boehener , the scare videos, fox news exploiting the fact of saying the president is going to turn loose the terrorist in our back yard and all their scare tactics. it adds up. bush 2 was right about one thing when he talked to the prez once, and told him about both sides of the aisle. that you got to watch out. cause some of them folks can't be trusted.

    May 9, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Ray Fisher

    By being open with all nations, President Obama has increased our security by reducing or pacifying our adversaries. The President has defused the world's timebomb!!!

    May 9, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Tyler Frost

    Obama could care less about security and so could his idealistic followers. It's all playing the nice guy on the world stage for them. When something goes wrong they will change their tune. And you have to know something WILL go wrong.

    May 9, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. Bill

    To those merely wanting to call this an example of Republican fear-mongering or politicking,

    This is NOT a political issue or political decision, so why do a number of you simply and so obviously WANT to politicize this? Is it any wonder why this country seems so divided? Perhaps, in your eagerness to play partisan politics, you failed to read the entire article. If "the Senate voted 94 to 3 against importing detainees to American soil – even if that meant to a maximum security prison," shouldn't that level of agreement tell everyone something? That seems to be pretty collective agreement that closing GITMO with no further plan of action is a non-solution. Yet, based on several posts here, we evidently have a pile of bickering children who, it seems, would instead prefer to play political war games.

    If you READ the Senator's speech, he is not saying, "don't close GITMO." If you cut out Sen. Bond's unfortunate political rhetoric (yes, I see it, too), he appears to say, "if we are going to close the facility, lets have a comprehensive plan that both closes GITMO -and- provides a remedy for dealing with, moving, or otherwise housing these suspected terrorists." Yes, it's a shame the political rhetoric is built into his speech, but we need a SOLUTION - and playing politics is obviously not helping us arrive at a conclusion.

    Maybe instead of political smearing and finger-wagging, you would be willing to propose a SOLUTION or, at the very least, some inkling of an IDEA. John? Pam? DC? especially Larry?

    May 9, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. America Shrugged

    We have super max prisons that keep the most horrible of American criminals off our streets, so I'm sure we can house a few of those prisoners in Gitmo. I'm so tired of the fear mongering coming from the right. Clinton's FBI caught and prosecuted those responsible for WTC 93, and they are imprisoned for life and have caused no threat to the US in all that time. Whatever happened to logic?

    May 9, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Peter E

    This guy really doesn't know any facts. There is NO difference in security between GITMO and a high security federal prison here in the States. We've been keeping the unabomber, the Oklahoma bombing co-conspirator, a TERRORIST MASTERMIND, as well as several other known terrorists and serial murderers in ADX in Florence, Colorado for well over a decade. No security breach, no media, no protests. It is Bond who's putting symbolism over security. He needs to check his facts first before venting his partisan fairy tales!

    May 9, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Franco Tirado

    How about putting Bush, Cheney, Gonzales and all those banks CEOs and car companies CEOs n jail for robbing us and destroying our economic?
    Capitalism is great but ONLY FOR THE GREEDY and VICIOUS WEALTHY CEOs who NEVER carer about blue collar workers!!
    Also why are we in Cuba?? That land we stole back in 1899 after the Spanish-American war. A war that the USA started so they could also grab Guam, the Philippines, Pto Rico and Cuba.

    Is OK for the Cubans to have those criminals in their Islands but we cant send them to Hawaii or somewhere in the States? IF is NOT GOOD for them surely is NOT GOOD for the Cubans either. I dont see the crazy Cubans in MIami fighting for this. Shows you that they really dont care about their homeland or their Cubans fellow folks in the island. All they care is for Cuba to be "free" according to them, so they can screw those poor Cubans in the island same way CEO's had been doing to us for years Not wonder Castro had the balls to kicked out all those North American companies that were exploiting the Cuban citizens.

    May 9, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. pam

    I guess we all forgot that it only took a handful of terrorists to take down the World Trade Center. I think we also forgot that terrorists behead and slaughter journalists, soldiers, men and women and yet we should just talk nice and they'll change their minds and play fair. We try to be civilized, but in many cases civility does not apply. I say if you want the terrorists out of Gitmo and into the US, so they can communicate through other prisoners and their attorneys, and plan more mayhem–then hey, build a prison in your neighborhood and host all of them. I'm NOT a Republican, just someone who does NOT want a repeat of 9/11 or worse, and if you all think we can protect ourselves by being nice-well, I'm assuming very few of you have ever been in the armed forces or in the streets as the protectors and defenders of our citizens. Bash me as much as you want, but I am a strong supporter of the armed forces who sacrifice to protect us, and the police and fire departments who protect us every day.

    May 9, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Florence

    Maybe the republicans are afraid of bringing these so-called terrorists to justice because if we apply our rule of law to them then they will all go free due to Republican illegal activities such as torture; therefore, they prefer we sweep it under the rug and not let the truth surface. can we do that? not under President Obama, who has lots of integrity unlike Bush and his cronies. Thus, it is time to face reality and taste the medicine.

    May 9, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Republicans are the American Taliban

    Send them all to Texas to live next door to George Bush. After all he brought them to GITMO!! Buy each one a doublewide.

    May 9, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  12. Michael in Ventura,CA

    Why doesn't he spend a couple of days there ? The closng of GITO is imparative to our standing in the world. It's a symbol of what we DON"T want to be!

    May 9, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. G NO P

    Chenna Benna May 9th, 2009 11:45 am ET

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

    actually I think Bush used the aim, fire, ready strategy

    May 9, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  14. Tom

    1. Not all detainees in Gitmo are "terrorists"... a large portion have never even been charged with a crime, let alone convicted.

    2. Holder has already said, that "we will not release any terrorists into the USA".

    3. So, the GOP is playing footsie and the fear-card over the words Gitmo and Terrorists.

    May 9, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. Dave C - NJ

    Republicans:

    Drill Baby Drill! But not in my backyard.

    No abortions! But I don't want the kids on welfare in my backyard.

    Leave Big Business alone to pollute the environment! But not in my backyard.

    Now they are acting like KHALID is going to wind up in a halfway house? HA!

    Did this clown ever tour a maximum security federal prison? I'm sure they can handle it.

    May 9, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Nick - Arlington, VA

    In 200+ years of history we have never needed a prison off of US soil to hold prisoners, whether they were foreign terrorists or domestic terrorists. After the 93 bombing of the WTC we rounded up those responsible, tried them in NY federal court, and then tossed them into jail. And now we will do the same thing to those sitting in Guantanomo. The only people that will be released are those who have nothing to do with terrorism, who were scooped up by the army. This is well documented, and Bush released 61 prisoners already.

    All the Republicans know how to do is fear monger.

    May 9, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  17. Wes

    Nice try you GOP catch phrase designers writers but the Ready, Fire, Aim quote was used many moons ago to describe your incompetent King George and his obsurd band of chickenhawks.

    May 9, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. bill

    we need to illegally invade another country, torture prisoners, and then wonder why the world hates our guts. clue: let rush limpballs continue to be their spokesman.

    May 9, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. John

    Does anyone in their right mind care what this moronic, unintelligent, ridiculous redneck thinks? Bond is the epitome of "excess baggage in the airport of life." This idiot is the definition of a special interest politician. Crawl back under your rock, Kitty.

    May 9, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. JOE

    Another old, white, half baked, Republican who cant get over the fact Republicans don't matter any more...Their last day of any power was 19 January 2009...Now he should join his butt buddy Bush and snort a couple of lines and swig a little white lighting...

    May 9, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  21. Deborah

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

    ####

    Is anyone else SICK of the Republicans going on and on about "transparency" after 8 years of the total secrecy practiced by the Bush White House? They hypocracy of it is staggering.

    Sen. Bond, sir, until you and your fellow Republicans have something new to say, unlike the constant refrain of fear mongering your party has practiced for the past 8 years, please, be silent!

    May 9, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. hypocrites_are_everywhere

    Hey Kit,

    Where were you when Bush/Cheney did just that ("Ready, Fire, Aim’ strategy")?

    btw, when you retire, could you do something useful for a change? Here are 2 suggestions

    – Go after the Vatican folks that protected the Boston child abusing priests for decades until... they got caught!

    – Ask those who voted against the same-sex marriage why they keep touching themselves? Remember to ask our macho "Don't ask; don't tell" patriotic arm forces, too. Perhaps they, like those Vatican folks, don't touch themselves! And just out of curiosity, when was the last time you... :)

    Cheers!

    May 9, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. Carolyn

    Those terrorists sneaked in our country and did their evil act. What about the torture that our people went through before they died in those airplanes, and in the towers, and their families since then. What about those contractors of ours that they dragged down the streets, and those they beheaded? We must never allow the terrorists back in our country for any reason, and we don't need our American president going over there and "kissing up" to them. You can not make friends with the devil! If you pat a snake on the head and kiss up to it, it will still bite you. Those prisoners in G. Bay has three meals a day, a place to sleep, and their life. We must take a clear stand against any terrorists. We are letting our guard down too much!

    May 9, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  24. dede-ole

    i thougth we are a nation of laws why hold someone indefinitly.as the rigth wingers say strict constitiutional adherance.lets us prosecute them and bring them to justice,don't hide them, shame on those who shout on the roof tops about our laws and sit on a pile of sham.

    May 9, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Linda

    OK. He's closing GITMO right? Does that mean he's letting the detainees go? And if they are placed in facilities in the U.S. I would assume they would be maximum security facilities. Not the local city jail. How is that making the country less safe?

    May 9, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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