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Has Rand Paul Got it All Wrong?
Although he’s beginning to look tired and sound hoarse, at this hour Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is continuing his filibuster. My own overriding impulse all day his been simple: good for him. He’s standing up for civil liberties in a way that involves no back room wheeling and dealing, but a powerful dose of determination, courage and sheer cussedness.
But is Sen. Paul wrong on the underlying issue?
Richard Miniter insists that he is. A fine journalist and a frequent guest on Ricochet podcasts, Richard just put up this post on Facebook:
RAND PAUL’S STAND against John Brennan’s nomination as CIA director is doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Brennan has a reputation inside the intelligence community for “failing upward” and would likely not be a stellar DCI. But Sen. Paul’s objection-that Obama might use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil–is actually dangerous. In reality, you want the president to be able to kill Americans who are attacking civilians without a court order. Does any body really think that Lincoln have gotten a warrant every time the confederates took a shot at federal property. Should George Washington have had to get a judge’s approval to fire on the rebels in the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion? When people take up arms against our country, they are making war on us–not engaging in criminal activity. If Sen. Paul’s prevails, they will have all of the protections of criminal law–and the public will have none of the protections of military force. Hardly a good bargain.
Well?Published in General
As of my bedtime last night only a paltry few senators had joined Rand Paul in objecting to the evisceration of the Constitution.
Why so few?
And I know most of those senators gained their office by defeating an establishment backed candidate.
So am I to expect that if Rand Paul or one of the others hadn’t been elected no senator would object to drone strikes in the US against American citizens?
None at all?
I find that amazing- and worrisome, to put it mildly.
What else would they not object to, once that precedent had been set? AC-130 gunships? Laser guided bombs? Nuclear weapons?
Lest I seem irrational I note the relentless bloody history of the left on the rest of planet Earth- and also just how hard and how long they’ve worked to disarm the American people here in the Unites States.
Why is that, exactly? Just what are they itching to do once people can’t shoot back?
I think I’ve seen that before- and I think that’s why the Bill of Rights was appended to the Constitution in the first place.
Unfortunately most senators seem not to have read that document.
We should have a live blog if this thing takes off. It is clearly an important moment in the scheme of things. Rather than pick apart the position, ala Miniter (who is usually spoton) but savor the moment.
I think Mr. Miniter is the one that has it wrong. Senator Paul’s objection is to the idea of the president having the unilateral authority to use drones against Americans not actively engaging in hostilities against the United States. As he has stated repeatedly, he is speaking about using drones against Americans who may speak against the government or propogandize for the enemy.
Richard Miniter is, of course, right. There are reasons to filibuster John Brennan’s nomination as there were to stop the nomination of Chuck Hagel. But this is a bit of demagoguery. I had hoped that Rand Paul would be an improvement upon his father, but I fear that he may be almost as bad. He voted for Chuck Hagel — which suggests that he is an isolationist on questions of national defense.
And additionally, whatever one thinks of the righteousness of the cause of the Southern rebellion or Whiskey rebellion, these were rebellions taking up arms against the United States or its authority. There is no way that the Constitution could ever be twisted to allow for a no-trial execution of American citizens for even borderline-seditious speech or enemy sympathies sans armed rebellion.
Which is to say, he is engaging in the worst sort of scaremongering.
Rather interesting how this is taking place on the 177th anniversary of the fall of the Alamo.
“Victory or death!”
Best I can tell, Paul isn’t insisting that drones couldn’t be used against a citizen on U.S. soil if that citizen is posing an immediate threat, but only if they’re used as they’ve been in Yemen, say — that is, offing some guy as he’s going about his daily business.
Problem is, the Administration has now agreed with him, albeit reluctantly, as in this exchange between Cruz and Holder.
So as much as this is good theater, I’m not entirely sure of the point.
Moreover, I am heartened to see our very own Ted Cruz rally behind Paul’s banner.
God bless Texas.
Which is to say, he is engaging in the worst sort of scaremongering. ·
1 minute ago
I don’t see where the scaremongering is. I find it legitimately frightening that the country’s top cop said with a straight face effectively that assassinating American citizens in the absence of trial in the continental United States is on the table. Paul is not arguing to dismantle the drone program, but why is it so difficult for the administration to say or even lie and say, “Sure, we promise we’ll never use drones on citizens in the homeland.”
Over on Politico, the comparison came up to Jane Fonda.
Drop a bomb on her when she is in North Vietnam, fine.
Drop a bomb on her when she is at home in LA?
Edward, Senator Paul asked that exact same question a few hours ago.
Judging from the current thread about the filibuster, folks are just happy to find a US Senator who will stand up to the administration on anything at all. Brennon’s nomination is just an opportunity, not the issue.
Miniter does not persuade me on this particular point. The Confederates and the Whiskey Rebels were in open rebellion.
I need to be persuaded that Americans plotting terror attacks in the US actually qualify as rebels rather than as criminals. It has been more than a decade since 9/11, and I’m growing increasingle uncomfortable with a war without end. I am especially uncomfortable if it the war extends to people here in the US.
This is not to say I am entirely opposed to the use of drones, or that some Americans who join terror organizations should not be considered military targets.
Only to say that I need more than the assertion “rebels that can be shot on sight” as a general rule.
On the matter of Rand Paul -don’t always, not even sure if I usually, agree with him. But I admire his tenacity. When was the last time we had an actual filibuster rather than this stupid party tracking system we use now? Would anyone in the Senate do this other than Rand Paul?
You wanted Mr. Smith to go to Washington: I give you Mr. Smith -the Junior Member from Kentucky.
There seems to be a bit of that, and even I can admit to it.
I’m still a bit concerned about the disconnect between this and Hagel. Why was Hagel standard operating procedure but Brennan worthy of filibuster? Obviously he can’t answer now, but I’d like to know what Sen. Paul has to say about that.
This is a bit of grandstanding.
But Obama encourages it by not deigning to deal with the riff raff, and encouraging his staff and appointees to do the same.
Even Augustus Caesar showed enough respect for the emasculated Senate to go there from time to time and confer with them.
In Rand Paul and Ted Cruz we see a Senate that is weakened, but not quite completely emasculated.
You want to move past this kind of nonsense?
That’s what 2014 is for.
I don’t think this is scare-mongering at all. It’s not that we think that Obama is planning on implementing a drone program where he kills somebody who “may” be plotting against the US without any sort of due process.
The issue is that Obama won’t say that he doesn’t have the power to do it. This smacks of total ignorance of the Constitution and should be highlights as much as possible.
Sure, I doubt Obama would ever do send a drone out like this. But once you get people who won’t say that it’s impossible, who knows what the next person will be like?
“We should not be asking the Administration how they are going to run the drone program, we should be telling them how to run the drone program.”
And that is why I like Rand Paul. I’m much more comfortable with the President conducting a war when someone in the Congress isn’t rolling over and playing dead.
Is it proper for a police officer to shoot a suspect who is not armed or resisting arrest?
We empower police officers to use deadly force to arrest criminal suspects, either with the authority of a warrant or due to probable cause to believe that the suspect is engaged in criminal activity, so long as the suspect presents a danger to the officer. But if the suspect is sitting on his couch at home counting his loot and doesn’t have his guns handy, we expect the officer to arrest and not execute the suspect.
Even in the Civil War, if a Union patrol came upon a group of Confederate soldiers who were resting, we would expect the Union soldiers to take the Confederates prisoner rather than gun them down.
The issue isn’t whether deadly force can be used to counter deadly force or deadly threat. The issue is whether the Federal government is permitted to order the assassination of an American citizen whose past expressions, affiliations and behavior — not his immediate, at-the-present-moment behavior — shows him to be an enemy of the state.
Wow. Just wow. There are reasons the President should be killing US citizens because Lincoln did? Unbelievable.
We are not at war. And just because Lincoln imprisoned political enemies and the entire Maryland Legislature, and just because FDR put Americans in concentration camps doesn’t mean we should allow it.
Presidents do desperate and outlandish things in the name of national security sometimes. Maybe it was okay to jail the Maryland legislature. But I’d rather the President be acting contrary to the law and seek forgiveness than to say such actions are allowed. No. No way should this be allowed.
If we allow this, then the President is more likely to abuse it and not be required to face the consequences, no matter how horrendous his judgment was.
Paul was on Beck last week and hinted right after confirming Hagel that he would filibuster this week. He’s even said that he’ll vote in favor of Brennan after getting it in writing that there will be no drones in the US. Basically said that he gives the executive a lot of leeway in political appointees. Right or wrong, he’s nothing if not principled. And certainly better than anyone else in the Senate. He’s my pick.
With all due respect to the member of the fourth estate and the honorable member from Michigan, the Senator from Kentucky is correct. No policeman or other civil authority need worry about taking lethal action when innocents are in imminent danger.
The Senator is talking about premeditated, Presidential ordered search and assassinate of someone the government only believes may be guilty of being an enemy of the state.
I think Dr. Rahe has it all wrong.
I am not a huge Rand Paul fan. But it is entirely reasonable to demand standards and processes for killing someone from afar. What is to stop the CIA from targeting my home? Even easier than a no-knock warrant.
#RandPaul is trending on Twitter. Boehner’s aides are taking notes on how a spine works and what standing up to Obama looks like. Every major news network is forced to run with this story.
I come to Ricochet and what do I see on the Main Feed? Questions on whether the GOP should stand with Sen. Paul or if there’s any legitimacy to his message. Seriously, guys?
I also agree that Mr Miniter has it wrong. You have Mr. Paul’s objection correct as repeatedly stated in his filibuster.
Whichever Congressman asked Attorney General Holder about this today explicitly excluded “imminent” threats from his theoretical scenario, yet Holder still would not dismiss the possibility of a drone strike.
Grandstanding..whatever. This is the first time that the American people have seen the inside of the Senate chambers in years .
Certainly this is the first thing out of the Senate in years that has garnered any attention . At least it’s on our side, can you imagine a lengthy speech from any of the rank and file Reid footsoldiers that we have endured since 2008 ?
A little noise is a good thing, it means that somebody is alive at least.
I come to Ricochet and what do I see on the Main Feed? Questions on whether the GOP should stand with Sen. Paul or if there’s any legitimacy to his message. Seriously, guys? ·
1 minute ago
I am no fan of Paul the Elder. In fact I find him to be a crank and wrong on a lot. But by comparison, can anyone imagine a John McCain, Lindsey Graham, or even Ron Paul giving this principled of a middle finger to the president and a rubber stamp of an imperial senate?
Which is to say, he is engaging in the worst sort of scaremongering. ·
1 minute ago
I don’t see where the scaremongering is. I find it legitimately frightening that the country’s top cop said with a straight face effectively that assassinating American citizens in the absence of trial in the continental United States is on the table. Paul is not arguing to dismantle the drone program, but why is it so difficult for the administration to say or even lie and say, “Sure, we promise we’ll never use drones on citizens in the homeland.” ·
24 minutes ago
He did not say that assassinating American citizens in the US in the absence of a trial in the continental United States is on the table.
Edited 31 minutes ago
I think I agree. Which is why it is so concerning that Eric Holder couldn’t bring himself to say There is no way that the Constitution could ever be twisted to allow for a no-trial execution of American citizens for even borderline-seditious speech or enemy sympathies sans armed rebellion.
Why do you think he was unable to make this statement?