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. Seth

    Uh Charles Manson, Son of Sam, the unabomber, Zacaria Moussaouri, there are plenty of scary people in maximum security prisons. Why is an enemy combatant scarier than a serial killer, or a domestic terrorist, or a psychotic madman? Put them in a supermax prison. Problem solved. They aren't going to go to a half-way house or a minimum security prison. They're going to be locked up with the bank robbers, serial killers, gang leaders, domestic terrorists and psychopaths that we're already keeping locked up. The republicans in congress are attempting to detract from the work our cops, prosecuters, and prison guards are doing every day, just to score cheap political points. It won't work. Americans are not so naive.

    May 9, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. emorep

    A special high security prison specifically intended for foreign (and domestic) terrorists could easily be situated in a very remote area here in the U.S. Staffed with sufficient personnel, equipped with sophisticated technology, and nowhere for escapees to go, chances of escape would be zero to none. No terrorist could pose a physical threat to anyone in the U.S. THE TRUTH! While terrorists are imprisoned outside of U.S. borders, it can be argued that they have no rights. If they are imprisoned within the U.S. border, they're deemed to have rights. The GOP's fear of bringing terrorists into the U.S. is that they WILL HAVE HUMAN RIGHTS AND WILL HAVE TO BE TREATED EQUALLY UNDER THE LAW!

    May 9, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Chris in MI

    Thanks to Mr. Bond and his buddies Bush and Cheney, these men were tortured, and they're probably REALLY pissed at us. That's just great. 250 plus really ticked off Muslims. If they aren't terrorists now, I wouldn't be surprised if they are released and start their own little cell. If they are tried and convicted of terrorism, then they should be sent to the most maximum prison we've got. But first you have to CHARGE them with something!

    May 9, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. John Pa

    Man up Kit. Let a terrorist escape into a neighborhood in the US. I bet he'll be banging on the prison door to let him back in with a bunch of red white and blue feet up his butt. Give me one, I have a cage I can put him in. I was a guard at Leavenworth. There is no better place in the world to put them.

    May 9, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. John W. Racine, WI

    When the Repubs, known for their phenomenal ineptitude and stupidity, accelerate their attacks on President Obama, claiming that he is making the country less safe, you just have to know that President Obama is doing a GREAT JOB of protecting America!

    A revealing and symbolic fact about the Repubs and the typical behavior we might expect from them is that the Repub VP takes his favorite corrupt attorney out quail hunting, and “mistakenly” shoots him in the face… and these clowns can be trusted with keeping the USA safe?

    This country has never been less safe than under the Bush/Repub administration!

    REMEMBER: 911 happened under the Bush administration, while King George was reading "My Pet Goat." [Probably his highest reading level…]

    To those of you who say King George kept us safe for 8 years, because we were not attacked, I'd like to say: What makes you think that any more attacks were even contemplated during the last 8 years?

    It seems to me bin Laden accomplished, with the active enabling of King George and the Repubs, just what he wanted to accomplish: The destruction of our military, masses of American troops coming to their country so they could kill and maim them there, 2+ trillion dollars of debt, spent on utterly useless and unnecessary war(s), followed by the virtual bankruptcy of America!

    THAT WAS BIN LADEN'S PLAN YOU MORONS...

    GITMO is nothing more than an incubation unit for potential insurgents: IF you were not inclined to hate the USA, you can bet your derriere that after a stint at GITMO you will spend the rest of your life hating the USA!

    May 9, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  6. Lee in Ohio

    Another example of a ham-handed attempt by republicans to manipulate Americans through fear. How stupid do they really think we are? Do they truly believe that transferring Gitmo detainees to, say, maximum security federal penitentiaries will make the country "less safe?" I rather doubt they do. But apparently they are betting that WE do. Silly.

    May 9, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. elliott

    Bond is exactly right......

    May 9, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. Ben5

    “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 prision."

    I wonder how he feels about the OKC bombers being housed on US soil.

    May 9, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. MESA MICK

    ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ strategy. Trust me Pops, the dems ain't gonna go stealin' out of the republican't play book.
    Just like an obstructionist has-been GOP'er from the 50's with no new ideas – resort to the usual "fear, smear, mock and lie" tactic.
    Next up – "The commies are coming, the commies are coming" right?
    If you old geezers are gonna go after the dems, please, think up something NEW for a change, not the usual "tax cuts for the rich and no regulations for Wall Street and their banking buddy thugs...

    May 9, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. Mike from Champaign

    Just when I thought The Party of No was running out of doddering old fools to put in front of a camera....

    It's the same old tired justification for breaking the law, the same old tired scare tactics, coming out of the same old, tired, talking heads.

    May 9, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. Mike

    If there was ever an example of a President who is NOT of a "ready, fire, aim" mentality, it is Obama. Not in my memory have we ever seen such a rational, careful problem-solver in the oval office.

    I am quite comfortable with Obama's approach on this issue. It just seems to me that the Republicans have to find something to criticize, and so they are now trying this.

    May 9, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. Ranger

    OK people......... put down the kool-aid for a momnet, take a deep breath, pause before typing, and stop breaking limbs while patting your backs due to recent wins.

    The issue here with Bond is not about war nor torture. It is about an administration making a MAJOR policy decision without a plan. Plain and simple!

    Policy makers maker on both sides are guilty of this error. It just makes the new administration look a little immature on such a high visability decesion. This is not the perception they should project to the BIG BOYS (China and Russia).

    May 9, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  13. joe

    Ed

    You should go live with Nick from Lincoln. You are both morons. What does the Republican party have to do with robbing great sums of money. Heck the biggest thief of all was Bernnie Maldoff who was who gave millions of dollars to liberal Democrats, go figure.

    Additionally, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd and Maxine Waters are more to blame for the Mortgage mess then anyone in the Bush administration. I love it how all you libs blame the Republicans for everthing that has gone wrong in your life. I bet if you have a bad bowl movement it is George Bush's fault. NEWS FLASH- he is not the President now. Obama is.

    May 9, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. Failure is a Republican

    I am from Missouri and quite frankly many of us think Bond is a complete BOOB!

    Anyone saying, with a straight face, that having Gitmo prisoners in the US is a risk is basically saying our prison system is a total joke and everyone should be afraid.

    Bond has basically said that everyone should be horribly afraid of ALL the murderers and serial killers we have locked up in Prinsons and Super Max Prisons across the US because they could EASILY get out and kill people.

    I mean how STUPID does he think most people are? Well, heck we elected Bush twice so I guess he has the right to think most Americans are dumb as a box of rocks.

    May 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. Ray Fisher

    Yes, Senator Bond we need to continue the policies of the Gay Ole Party and simply piss off the world and watch our citizens jump from skyscrapers because we refuse to listen or ever admit our shortcomings or consider another point of view. Because admit it or not, the remains of the GOP litter the tapes of 9/11!!!

    May 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  16. Bill in Ct.

    GOP is a JOKE. All these bigots know is FEAR, LIES, and ROBBING the American people out of TRILLIONS of dollars for the rich, ENOUGH of the BS from these people. The GOP had control of Congress from 1994 to 2006 and control of the White House for 8yrs and look what they have done to the country and to the U.S. all over the world. Two wars b/c of FEAR and GREED, and economy shot to pieces, 5.3 MILLION people out of work, Health care system out of control b/c of their policies, Banking system collapse, Mortgage Melt down and now they want the smart people of this country to TRUST them b/c they think Pres. Obama is a socialize, PLEASE, you idiots, we voted you crooks out of office in 06 and in 08, so save your fear tactics for those right wing nut jobs out here that are to stupid to get the real facts. If they would stop watching FOX News with all their LIES, they would see the country different.

    May 9, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  17. stormerF

    Obama,outs alot over,Ethics,,How about John Mutha's Scandal of funneling contracts to his Relatives,and his pork barrel spending of the stimulis package??? Where is Joe Biden? He was suppose to be watching the stimulis money where the Hell is He?

    May 9, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. BDub

    What is it with all of you terrorist sympathizers? Bush kept us safe after Bill Clinton ignored the facts about terrorism in America. Remember, the twin towers almost got blown up once under Clinton's watch. Americans died, what did he do to make us safer?

    May 9, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  19. John

    I have to wonder what the GOP is afraid of. Is it that they don't want the American people to see what we have done to these people. What I think these hateful people (who also claim to be Christians) should really do is reread their Bibles (again if they really have one) and try to understand what our Lord Jesus said about loving your fellow man and not judging your fellow man. I know there is room for these prisoners in or maximum security jails to hold these folks until they can be tried. We are a country that was built on the rule of law and Christian beliefs, when we stop practicing either of these principles, this country will fail.

    May 9, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  20. Donnygull

    Back to the same old tired "danger, danger" screams from the paranoid right.

    May 9, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  21. Bill in Austin

    Considering this guy's credibility, I would not hold much stock in his advice. Remember, he voted against the stimulus package and then went back to his constituents and bragged how he brought much need stimulus money to the state. Please, get real. Just another Republican hatchet man taking his turn attacking the President's policies.

    May 9, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. Ivan

    Like certain other groups from elsewhere, repugnicans are stuck in a small, narrow mindset. Their mantra is war, hate, division, hostility,and throwing hissy fits if they see something that makes sense. Sound familiar? Think taliban.
    Let them rave on...they are unaware of their impending implosion. They are the best thinkgto happen to America, now that Obama is in charge!

    May 9, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  23. RepubliCANT'S

    The Republicans are a complete joke. They have a very strong contempt for the American voting public. Obviously, they believe we are so ignorant that all they have to say is 'terrorist' and it will automatically beat us into submission by fear and we will vote for them hand over fist.

    Well, which is more of a threat? An American citizen who is in prison for mass murder or someone who was picked off a desert battlefield and detained because he supposedly was fighting with the Taliban? If both of these people escape and are on the loose, which poses a greater threat to society? And then ask yourself which type of crminal our prisions house more of? Another losing argument for the GOP er Whig Party.......

    May 9, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Mark S.

    Every time an old, white, fear monger republican opens their mouth, countless others flock to the Democratic party. Keep talking Kit.

    May 9, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Ain't life strange?

    Lets see now. If I'm not mistaken these men are not prisoners of war. They are suspected terrorists. But, I've read, not all (if any) have been proven terrorists, just guilty of being middle eastern and SUSPECTED of being terrorists. Tell me Mr. Bond (James?) which ones are the real terrorists?

    May 9, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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