BOND. DUMB BOND…. Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.), the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, delivered the Republican Party’s weekly address, and not surprisingly, he used it to attack President Obama on closing Guantanamo Bay. Since it’s helpful to have the whole argument presented in one place, I thought I’d do a little fact-checking.
“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.”
That’s largely true. Some of the detainees at the facility are not “deadly terrorists,” but some are. Of course, there are also deadly terrorists in U.S. facilities on U.S. soil, including admitted al Qaeda agent Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, Ramzi Yousef, Zacarias Moussaoui, and Richard Reid.
“…I keep calling on President Obama to tell us, the American people, how his plan to close Guantanamo will make our nation safer.”
It’s really not that complicated. Gitmo became an international symbol of abuse. It was an embarrassment to the nation; it undermined our reputation and ability to lead; and served as a rallying cry to terrorists. The president explained in January that closing the detention center “has to be part of our broader national security strategy because we will send a message to the world that we are serious about our values.”
“Americans also have a right to know if President Obama plans to send any of these terrorists to their communities.”
If an American’s “community” includes a supermax facility, the answer is quite possibly “yes.” But so what? Bond hopes people are too dumb to understand that these Americans who live near supermax facilities already have the worst of the worst living — behind bars, under close scrutiny, in secure cells — in these “communities.”
“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.”
Who’s talking about putting suspected terrorists in halfway houses in Missouri? Why would anyone do that? Besides, how many “neighborhoods” can Bond point to with supermax federal detention facilities?
“[W]e 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.”
First, Bond is referring to detainees released by the Bush administration. Second, the numbers he’s using are highly dubious.
“I, for one, am not willing to gamble with our national security.”
No, but he is willing to gamble that we’re so easily misled by ridiculous demagoguery that we’ll buy this nonsense without thinking.