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. An Insider's View

    Sen. Bond is blowing smoke. Pres. Obama is right to close the detention center at GTMO. There are only a handful (literally) of prisoners there that we really should be concerned about. I know what I'm talking about, because I've worked there. Our criminal justice system and our penal institutions (i.e., SuperMax) are more than capable of handling these terrorists. We've done just fine with the terrorists that we've had, Unabomber, Terry Nichols, Timothy McVeigh, etc. There is not much difference. You try, you convict, then you incarcerate or you terminate.

    May 9, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. liberalismisasickness

    Obama is calling in air strikes on the Taliban and Al-Queda leaders in Pakistan that he knows will also kill the woman and children that are in the compounds. You are ok with that but not waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (the man who planned the mass murder of 3000 people in the US) in order to save lives and prevent futher attacks?

    Where is the logic? It is 100% political just as closing this base is!

    May 9, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. David

    Say what you want about the GOP. We've heard it all before. We are holding Obama and the Democrats accountable, and THAT makes liberals mad.

    May 9, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. Hey BIG Spender

    @ HAd It- Shall we allow terrorists to be tried in our country and give them the same rights as American citizens? Perhaps give them book deals and publicity tours?

    May 9, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. Herk

    ooooooooo I'm sceart!

    May 9, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. elana

    Another BRAIN-WASHED Republican!! Every one of them have the same psychology and phyilosophy! Thank God Obama was elected President! Where would be now if it would have been McCain-Palin?? Answer: Right back into the Bush "pscyhology pen"!!!

    May 9, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. vlk

    Every single post on here so far must be from an Obama lover, and not one single comment addresses the issue (indeed, did some of you read the article first?) None of you know what you are talking about or even understand the complexities and ramifications. Meanwhile, Obama keeps coming up with these weird all-of-a-sudden policies in response to an issue that is maybe 4 days old. While I may not always agree with Republicans, at least they seem to have a heavier foot on the ground than our Hussein Obama.

    May 9, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. C Spurgeon

    Instead of any help with solution all they do is criticise.What a bunch of worthless politicians. Termk Limits need to happen..

    May 9, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. dan

    The GOP apparently consists of huge flatulating vaginas these days.

    What a bunch of flamin pu$$ies....

    May 9, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. anthony

    Someone should tell Kit Bond that shutting down Gitmo does not mean we let suspected terrorists go, nor that they would be brought into the United States. We don't have to tell anyone where in the world we are detaining the people who are truly dangerous. Even the Republicans can understand that every nation has state secrets. After all, they argued that the memos justifying waterboarding should not have been made public. Keeping gitmo only hands the terrorists a recruiting tool. If he is aware of the symbolism of Gitmo to the rest of the world-that the United States condones torture-he would not stand in the way of closing gitmo.

    May 9, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Alvin Bluengreenenbrownenburger

    More Republican hypocrisy, pure oppositionism with NO IDEAS OFFERED!

    The whole conservative political ideology and strategy is "liberals bad." They have been trying real hard to ignore their monumental faceplant failures during the Bush years, and now are wildly accusing liberals of doing things they themselves did worse only a few years ago (months even).

    Well, that explains Sarah Palin: when you are totally humiliated and utterly devoid of any ideas at all, a brainless self-dealer like Palin starts looking pretty good.

    May 9, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Mobius

    You kids who STILL insist there's this huge Dem vs GOP thing really need to be a little more educated.

    There's no difference, folks. None. Find a new song, this one's been way off the charts for years. Get INFORMED.

    Waterboarding is MILD compared to some of the things we do 'in the name of Democracy'. We torture, we kill, and YOU pay for it.

    Rise and shine, folks – wake UP.

    May 9, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. hojo

    To be a US senator, this Bond guy is one dump character. He has absolutely zero credibility not only on this topic but on everything he comments on. I have watched him give many interviews and he is as dumb as a fencepost. He has no intellectual honesty or rational thoughts.

    May 9, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Steven in Charleston

    Congratulations, Mr. Bond. You managed to get some publicity with your catchy little phrase. And we both know that's all this was about.

    You say you're concerned about making our country "less safe?" You should have thought of that before you got behind a war that had nothing to do with routing out and punishing the perpetrators of 9/11, and everything to do with invading a sovereign nation with a duly elected leader because we decided it was in our best interest to do so. Our little "venture" into Iraq increased the number of enemies gunning for us like nothing else. So rather that concern yourself about where we put the Alleged (yes, Mr. Bond, people are still innocent until proven guilty in this country) Terrorists, perhaps we should give some thought as to why they hate us in the first place.

    May 9, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. the sword

    100 Kids Shot and Murdered in Chicago Last Year, the only ready , aim, fire is from within,

    Mr Bond, Im not going to suggest anything because you are a Senator and Im not , facts are facts, hint hint ;)

    May 9, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. cookie cutter liberal

    I absolutely agree with everything you guys have posted, especially Nick, because I firmly believe these prisoners were just confused and impressionable young men who got into a little mischief. On top of that, they are grossly misunderstood by the majority of people in this country, who believe they are "terrorists", or even worse, "killers." But hopefully, we can bring their plight into the national spotlight and gently persuade them to see how their deep-seated resentments are actually the result of low self-esteem and possibly verbally abusive childhoods. I sincerely hope, from the bottom of my heart, that these individuals can be reformed and capable of loving humanity as much as we Democrats do.

    May 9, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. Peter

    There is a reason Mr. Bond will not run for re-election, and it is simply that the voters of Missouri have realised how stupid he really is.

    May 9, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Rushhole: A neo-con that apologizes so frequently and has been butt-snorkeling Rush they have been completely enveloped by the vast void!

    President Obama fulfilled a campaign promise the the majority of Americans when he closed Gitmo.

    Let me see if I can make it clear to the Party of NO,

    President Obama WON, and you lost and are the MINORITY, get used to it.

    May 9, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  19. Mel of Alexandria

    Bond is just another agent of spin. These terrorists are evil but they can be securely guarded in our prisons. Scatter them all over in our maximum prison facilities and they will be as confined as our own home-grown prisoners. And there, we will have to keep them out of the general prison population, because even prisoners have standards.
    They are cowards, killing women and children. They would not have a chance among some of our hardened criminals.

    May 9, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Lori

    And Sir, could you please tell us how successful the GOP is at security in America? 1. Attacked under Republican rule on 9/11, 2. Sadaam Hussein hung but 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden still relaxing, tanning, drinking o.j in his cave, 3. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead and thousands of American soldiers dead (for what?), 4. Gitmo opened with prisoners never tried, 5. Torturing prisoners. The list goes on and on. This man has NO credibility to tell us that the President is wrong for closing Gitmo. Shut up Mr. Bond and tell the others (Cheney, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Bonehead, etc.) to shut up too!

    May 9, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  21. jimmy-ohio

    andhow many prisoners have escaped from our "super max" prisons? thought so

    May 9, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Rob R

    They are reviewing each case individually...this will help in deciding what to do with them..."symbolism" is the red herring attempt at distraction by Bond and his Got nO Plan pals.....

    May 9, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  23. RRR

    Repuplicans 2009:
    -Torture is OK, Keep GITMO open
    -Say No to all Dem plans even if they are identical to your own
    -Cower and listen to Rush Limbaugh
    -Cut off relations with other countries, no dialogue allowed
    -Stop gays. women and minorities from equal rights
    -Keep silent or defend every Sarah Palin dumb quote or action

    What a great time to be DEMOCRAT.

    May 9, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  24. Jay

    Mr. Bond

    1. Why didn't you say something when Bush people were releasing these terrorists.

    2. What is your plan...Kill them all or keep them indefinitely at GITMO?

    3. Good job scaring people...coming to your neigborhood as if government is planning to put them into foreclosed house down the street.

    4. May be the best idea will be to release these terrorists right amidst your supporters and the people you represent coz the two groups has one thing in common – scare Americans.

    5. Nobody listened to you before and want to listen from you anymore...Enjoy your retirement

    May 9, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Milbs

    Putting detainees at Guantanamo Bay was never to protect the safety and security of the United States. It was to put the prisoners outside the bounds of U.S. legal jurisdiction so they (Cheney, Rumsfeld, et.al) could do whatever they wanted to them. The argument by Senator Bond is nonsensical if not laughable....and besides, if we're that afraid of the inefficiency of our prisons, maybe we should be more concerned about the safety and security of Americans from regular prisoners...

    May 9, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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