May 9th, 2009
12:47 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama putting ‘symbolism over security,’ Bond says

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. CJ

    The really laughable thing is that Obama claims that enhanced interrogation techniques actually serve as a recruiting TOOL for terrorists. That if we torture these monsters, more will come after us. I'm really not trying to hate anyone, and I actually have a deep respect for the Muslim people and their commitment to their interpretation of the Koran. But lets consider this for just one second: Before the ousting of Saddam Hussein and the rising of the current Iraqi administration (which by the way is a completely incompetent joke as far as governments go), Saddam Hussein very effectively and efficiently ruled these people with FEAR!

    Lets face facts here, the closing of Guantanamo is political. It will not make us any safer. Any rhetoric to the contrary is just political boot-licking.

    May 9, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. richard

    Hahaahahahaha so happy to see you stupid americans bringing down your own country with this obama lol

    May 9, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. Keeping It Real!

    I am so sick of these negative,no solutions, obstructionist republicans who lie like a sailor swears. This so called legislator know that the fly over was no authorized by Obama.

    May 9, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. SJC

    This coming from a member of the party that was in power on 9/11 and continually supported a war in Iraq that had no purpose. Not what I call a very reliable authority on keeping this country safe. Conservatives have no ability to learn or to adjust. None! They are an ideological group whose ideology has proven to be an utter failure and noone there can up with a sinlge new 21st century thought.

    May 9, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. jdude

    You left wing nut jobs are all the same... I can't wait for your demise in 2010... hahahahahha

    May 9, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Leslie

    That's what Obama is all about – SYMBOLISM. He's a dreamer, he doesn't live in the real world. His speech saying no more nuclear arms is welcome by Kim Il Jong, he's testing his own nukes. Iran is doing the same thing. When USA is weak with national security, the economy goes along with it; this two (economy and national security) goes hand in hand like Siamese Twins.

    May 9, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. Zach

    Being a resident of Missouri, it's embarrassing to have such a narrow-minded senator. While he realizes that completely closing GITMO was necessary to make a statement, does he not realize that there are other means of handling terrorists. Closing GITMO doesn't release ALL of the terrorists back into the battlefield and completely let down our defenses. There are other means that, and some that already exist, of handling this situation.

    May 9, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  8. Shayne in NH

    I don't understand the republican mentality. They have the opportunity each and every single Saturday when they get their fair share of the spotlight to prove to this country they have ideas and that they have solutions. Instead, without failure, all they do is complain.


    Bohner put out a negative message on the jobs report last week just 6 MINUTES after the numbers were released!!! And they were better than expected numbers!! WHY ARE YOU COMPLAINING EVEN WHEN IT'S NOT RAINING?????????

    May 9, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    When the United States lacks the security to imprison 240 detainees then we have no security. The Republicans and others are making the most stupid argument that it threatens our security to close Gitmo, leaves me only to believe we've got the wrong representatives in the WH.

    May 9, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. JonDie

    GOPer said, "We are not Communist China and we Do Not Torture, Period. We are the United States of America!"

    In the eyes of the world we're worse than Communist China because we behave EXACTLY like the communists in China, yet we piously and hypocritically claim that such identical behavior is NOT as bad as it would be if a communist Chinese were doing the EXACT same thing.

    Of course, our white capitalist Christian God, who we was say is love, is the reason we Americans are the greediest most violent people on Earth.

    May 9, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Joyce

    The Republicans are again using fear to critize ANYTHING Obama does.
    These prisoners are going to prisons inside the USA. They're not being released into society.The same prisons that house the Unibomber, the late Timothy McViegh, and dozens of other terriosts.
    Is CA in danger of having Charles Manson in it's state? What about New Yorkers who house Son of Sam?
    The whole concept that having a dangerous person IN PRISON creates a threat to society is ludicious.

    May 9, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. That's because....

    this Alfred E. Newman clown has no clue....

    May 9, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Squigman

    The ready fire aim strategy was used by the Bush/Cheney administration. The only difference is the ready part was not thought out. The fire part was mis-directed. And, there was no aim except to make money for military contractors, Blackhawk Security, and the Republican rich who believe they are the ruling class. GOP, GTH.

    May 9, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. KCbob

    Another DC parasite who has been around too long..... Mr. Bond that is

    May 9, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Rich in Seattle

    Question for Mr. Bond: We have serial killers, murderers, home-grown terrorists, in prison already right? Are you saying that our justice and prison system is not living up to keeping us safe from them?

    What does our current justice system lack to keep us safe that we need Gitmo over our established prison system? I wish someone would answer that question in a straight forward and to the point way.

    May 9, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  16. Dwayne

    Well let's see. 1)Send them back to their countries where they can be freed to commit some other rediculous crime against humanity. 2)Keep the stupid "Gitmo" doors open for more condemnation and citicism of America's and illegal detention of so-called enemy combatants. Or 3) Just simply convict them of their crimes and send them prison here in the United States.

    If imprisoning them in the U.S. is such a big security threat, then why in hell are we housing our own prisoners. I mean if our domestic prisoners are not a national security risk because our penal system is so well kept then, I guess I don't have a problem with any prisoner for any reason being detained and/or incarserated in the U.S.

    I choose option 3. But who am I...just 1 of Millions I guess it doesn't really matter.

    May 9, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. Don

    What is this obsession these people have with these prisoners? They are not magicians or supermen. I fail to see how our prisons are not fully capable of housing anyone of them.

    May 9, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. tim

    Why don't we abort them, I know all you lefties love aborting people.

    May 9, 2009 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  19. CAMI

    I know I don't have a snowball's chance in he** of getting this posted by the CNN moderators, but here goes anyway. 🙂

    @ John – What a great and, at the same time, well-said post. Thanks for the laugh.

    I agree that we have the best maximum security prisons here, and how often do we hear about anyone escaping from one of them? If I remember correctly, there is an empty one (at least according to a report on 20/20 (I think) a few years ago) in the middle of Montana somewhere. We've been paying to keep it operational for years, without even one prisoner being there. We could send all of the detainees there and they wouldn't even have to have adjacent cells because it's so empty. Even if it has become operational by now, I still think it would be a good place for at least some of them, and the rest could be spread around the country. I, for one, would still sleep very well knowing that they would be under lock and key in any of them.

    May 9, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Joyce Becker

    The ready, fire, aim is what the Republicans are all about, how quickly Bond seems to forget the things that happened during the Bush/Cheney administration.

    May 9, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. Larry of Massachusetts

    It is all about symbolism with Obama. National Security comes in a distant 3rd (behind trillion dollar deficit spending and pork barrel spending at its worst in several decades).

    I believe Obama is a threat to the national security, the economy, and Wall Street. His actions to date underscore those assertions.

    May 9, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Matt of DC

    Obama and the Dems should be thrown in jail for what they have done to this country. Pbama in just over 100 days and the Democratic House which they have comtrolled for 35 of the past 40 years

    Newflash for you Obamabots the recession may lighten for 6-12 months, but then we are going into a deeper and more harmful downturn thanks to the actions of Obama and the Dems.

    1 Inflation will hit before we get the jobs back. This will throw the country into a recession with more job losses
    2 The US dollar will be approaching the Peso in value, making imports too expensive and our exports worthless, further contributing to the recession and more job losses
    3 The markets will go below 5,000 with the devaluation of the US dollar making all you Dem's retirement accounts worthless.
    4 Social security will be bankrupt prompting cuts in benefits
    5 Homeland security has been gutted by Obama so wait for the next terrorist attacks
    6 Gasoline will become too expensive and we will have rationing
    7 CIties and States will go bankrupt prompting more loss of jobs, property devaluations, foreclosures, and dramatic cuts in services – medical, fire, police, thereby throwing the country into a siuvival of the fittest mode in some locales. Watch for marshall law in some states with the troops in the streets
    8 Our home mortgages will be owned by Eurpoean and Asian banks and then the foreclosures spike again
    9 All autos will be foreign made as the UAW and the Dems run GM and Chrysler out of business

    Obama and the Dems are dangerous to this country in too many ways to count.

    May 9, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. jeff

    to whom maybe reading this it gos for all of the above this is what we so to all of us fus fus fus and no one see what we all r up to do.we just talking and letting iran go fully ahead with its bomb do we all like the sound of this no we don't,so to the usa that i love so much and i did not born here,lets looks in stad of just talking, but i do think obama is going the right way about it and if iran do not listen this time we will be open for a 3 war this is not what we want but if iran do not listen to obama it will happen,

    May 9, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. The Truth

    Hey Libs – your closed minds and we are right on EVERY issue intolerance are getting kind of stale. Try living up to your self imposed idol worship and see if you can argue one single point without invoking the names, Bush,Cheney, or Palin.

    May 9, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. kendal

    It is sad that the republican elected officials are so scared of everything.

    May 9, 2009 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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