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:

imgres-1.jpgRAND 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?

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @DrSteve

    Whiskey Rebellion? Confederate secession? What about more recent history? Specifically, we are just seeing the 20th anniversary of the tragic stand-off at the Waco/Branch Davidian compound. Are there any analogies to today’s debate? 

    I’m among those that think David Koresh was a bad man who ought to have been stopped, but not placed under a long siege that imperiled so many others. What does the thread say about a similar scenario using the new drone technology? Would we have countenanced using a drone on him or the compound, rather than (or after) sending in an ATF SWAT team that failed to arrest him?

    For those determined to look farther back, what about John Brown at Harper’s Ferry? Drone him, or send in the Marines (under Lee) to arrest him?

    I don’t have an answer, but it seems that armed rebellions of large scale are unlikely, while small, dedicated, armed bands of believers are all too possible. 

    • #31
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @ScottR
    EJHill: 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 maybe guilty of being an enemy of the state. · 3 minutes ago

    It’s possible I’m missing something, but hasn’t the Administration already conceded Paul’s point on this — again, as in this exchange between Holder and Cruz?

    Our gov’t kills citizens on our soil who pose immediate threats all the time, of course, but has anyone in the Administration claimed the right to assassinate someone not posing an immediate threat without trial on our soil, by drone or any other means? Please someone link if so.

    • #32
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DavidWilliamson

    I can see both sides of the argument, but I am trying to imagine the greatest orator since Cicero (our Dear Leader) doing this without a teleprompter.

    • #33
  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    @ByronHoratio
     

     

     

     

     

     

    He did not say that assassinatingAmerican citizens in the USin the absence of a trial in the continental United States is on the table. · 0 minutes ago

    Explicitly?  No.  But nor did he say it was off the table.  The crux of the matter is whether the President and AG actually believe that they have the Constitutional authority to carry out warrantless drone strikes (bombings) on American citizens residing on American soil and not actively engaged in hostilities against the country.  Which would suggest that it would apply to people who are propogandizing for the enemy or are otherwise acting in an indirect, treasonous manner.  Acting as judge, jury, and executioner against perceived non-engaged opponents and citizens is synonymous with assassination.

    Holder’s apologetic response that it would only be done in some sort of Pearl Harbor scenario is actually even more frightening.  In other words, this is not referring to a standing army that attacks on on our soil, but to say Japanese-American civilians who are supportive of their native country or suspected of being so.  If Holder was serious, that to me is far worse than even concentration camps. 

    • #34
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @EdwardSmith

    Do.  Not.  EVER.  Compare Barack Obama to Marcus Tullius Cicero.

    Even in jest.

    There are a number of names that Barack Obama’s should not be in the same library (and by Library, I mean the Main Branch of the New York Public Library) as:  Edmund Burke and Marcus Tullius Cicero are among them.

    Sorry, I take my Orators seriously.  It is my ambition to have the Collected Writings & Speeches of Abraham Lincoln in my personal Library.

    David Williamson: I can see both sides of the argument, but I am trying to imagine the greatest orator since Cicero (our Dear Leader) doing this without a teleprompter. · 0 minutes ago

    • #35
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    @kennail

    Much as I admire the work of Miniter; he has it wrong this time.  All his examples are about ongoing “military-style” engagements and fall under the rubric of “imminent threat,” about which Paul does not disagree.  What Sen. Paul  is concerned about is  the potential for lethal action against citizens on the sole judgment of the President (and his minions) without the citizen having the protections of the Constitution.  Obeying the law may be a novel experience for the President, but he’s sworn to do so.

    • #36
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    @AlbertArthur

    I’ve actually been listening to Paul speak off an on since 2PM EST. He has said repeatedly that he is not against the president having the power to act against terrorists who pose an imminent threat. His issue is that the president has refused to say whether the executive branch has the power to use lethal force against American citizens on US soil who do not pose an imminent threat.

    Miniter is missing the point, and so is Rahe. I missed the point until around 3PM, as well.

    • #37
  8. Profile Photo Member
    @Franco

    What do YOU think Peter?

    • #38
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BrentB67

    There is a big difference from a local police officer using deadly force in the midst of a crime being committed and a POTUS selecting a person to be killed by remote control at a later date.

    • #39
  10. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Richard Miniter is apparently ignorant of Rand Paul’s actual position. “You want the president to be able to kill Americans who are attacking civilians without a court order,” Miniter writes, and Paul explicitly agrees. If an American is shooting at his fellow citizens, or flying a plane toward a building, or otherwise attacking in any way, Rand, and everyone else, agrees that the authorities should be able to stop and detain or kill that person.

    What’s at issue is the power to kill Americans who are not attacking.

    Everyone agrees about that.

    Miniter is apparently misinformed. So is Paul Rahe.

    • #40
  11. Profile Photo Member
    @
    David Williamson: I can see both sides of the argument, but I am trying to imagine the greatest orator since Cicero (our Dear Leader) doing this without a teleprompter. · 4 minutes ago

    Just curious, what are both sides of the argument? I can see one but not the other.

    • #41
  12. Profile Photo Member
    @WesternChauvinist
    Edward Smith: 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? · 2 minutes ago

    See? Now you have me second guessing my opposition to the policy.

    • #42
  13. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MikeLaRoche
    Conor Friedersdorf: Richard Miniter is apparently ignorant of Rand Paul’s actual position. “You want the president to be able to kill Americans who are attacking civilians without a court order,” Miniter writes, and Paul explicitly agrees. If an American is shooting at his fellow citizens, or flying a plane toward a building, or otherwise attacking in any way, Rand, and everyone else, agrees that the authorities should be able to stop and detain or kill that person.

    What’s at issue is the power to kill Americans who are not attacking.

    Everyone agrees about that.

    Miniter is apparently misinformed. So is Paul Rahe. · 3 minutes ago

    For once, I agree with Conor Friedersdorf and disagree with Paul Rahe.  Surely, the apocalypse must now be upon us.

    • #43
  14. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DocJay

      Rand Paul is right here.  Our federal government can go to hell!

    • #44
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @ScottR
    Conor Friedersdorf: Richard Miniter is apparently ignorant of Rand Paul’s actual position. “You want the president to be able to kill Americans who are attacking civilians without a court order,” Miniter writes, and Paul explicitly agrees. If an American is shooting at his fellow citizens, or flying a plane toward a building, or otherwise attacking in any way, Rand, and everyone else, agrees that the authorities should be able to stop and detain or kill that person.

    What’s at issue is the power to kill Americans who are not attacking.

    Everyone agrees about that.

    Miniter is apparently misinformed. So is Paul Rahe. · 1 minute ago

    Conor, if you have a second, could you link to the Administration claiming the right to assassinate non-attacking citizens on our soil? I haven’t seen this.

    • #45
  16. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DavidWilliamson
    Edward Smith: Do.  Not.  EVER.  Compare Barack Obama to Marcus Tullius Cicero.

    Even in jest.

    I agree – my bad – Cicero never had access to a teleprompter.

    BTW, what’s that buzzing noise I hear overhead?

    • #46
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BarbaraKidder
    Byron Horatio: 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. · 18 minutes ago

    It appears that Sen. Paul is using the Brennan vote as the casus belli to lead an all-out assault on the administration’s plans to codify the use of drones against American citizens on U.S. soil.

    In so doing, he is hoping that he will be buying enough time and garnering  enough attention  for the American people to consider this idea, and reject it.

    He, no doubt, feels that this was his one opportunity (filibustering)  to break through the hub bub of daily news coverage and be heard!

    • #47
  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MikeLaRoche
    DocJay:   Rand Paul is right here.  Our federal government can go to hell! · 0 minutes ago

    If Obama invaded hell, I would make at least make a favorable reference to the Devil on the floor of the Senate.

    • #48
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @ScarletPimpernel

    I am not sure that Senator Paul is right about every issue here.   He may be overcorrecting.  But it sure is great to see the old constitutional machinery up and running.

    • #49
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Devereaux
    Albert Arthur: …

    Miniter is missing the point, and so is Rahe. I missed the point until around 3PM, as well. · 4 minutes ago

    Indeed, I am loath to grant him ANY leeway in attacking Americans on American soil. There are already way too many warrantless searches, no-knock raids, use of SWAT teams, etc. The fed is becoming as lawless as they claim the “enemy” is. In many areas the LEO organizations are simple highwaymen.

    Not only is Jane Fonda an example, but don’t tell me that the Weathermen should have been droned, or the FLN, or any of the other groups that have been against the government, for real or imagined reasons. Today per T. Senyk (I think) there was the comment that 51 “patriotic right-wing groups” posed a terrorist threat just in Kalifornia.

    ?What actually IS on the table here. ?Just what does the gummint believe they CAN do to us – without any reservations. 

    Rand wants something in writing. It is the only way to hold this loose cannon to account; his words seem to have no meaning or binding effect. THE most important concept re government is CHAINS.

    • #50
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @ShaneMcGuire

    Scenario 1: American in a Nazi uniform, in Munich, in 1945. Fair game

    Scenario 2: American in a Nazi uniform, coming up out of a U-boat near New York harbor. Fair game.

    Scenario 3: Un-uniformed Nazi who’s an American citizen hanging out at the Wolf’s Lair with Hitler, Himmler, and Goering. Fair game.

    Scenario 4: Un-uniformed Nazi who’s an American citizen, sitting in his house in 1945 in New York City, sending a telegraph to Berlin in 1945 in order to plan an attack. You can’t just shoot that guy. I’m not saying he gets to be in the civil justice system, but you can’t have a sniper from across the street just shoot him. You send the military in to take him out, but you don’t just kill him. 

    Scenario 5: Un-uniformed Nazi who’s an American citizen, at his house in NYC, is stuffing arms into a bag in order to walk out and start shooting (or lord knows what). I would think that’s fair game because it’s imminent.

    Am I wrong that it’s that last two scenarios that are at issue here? 

    • #51
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Rand Paul: “No one is questioning whether the U.S. can repel an attack. No one is questioning whether your local police can repel an attack. Anybody involved in lethal force, the legal doctrine in our country and has been historically, has always been that the government can repel lethal attacks. The problem is, is that the drone strike program is often not about combatants. It is about people who may or may not be conspiring but they’re not in combat.

     They’re in a car, they’re in their house, they’re in a restaurant, they’re in a cafe. If we’re going to bring that standard to America, what I’m doing down here today is asking the President to be ex– is asking the President to be explicit. If you’re going to have the standard that you’re going to kill noncombatants in America, come forward and please say it clearly so we know what we’re up against. If you’re not going to do it, come up with the easy answer, is I’m not going to kill noncombatants. That would have been easy for him to say.”

    • #52
  23. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BarbaraKidder
    Aaron Miller: 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. · 36 minutes ago

    Yes, I heard it on c-span;  I believe it was Sen. Mike Lee.

    • #53
  24. Profile Photo Member
    @LeslieWatkins
    Scott Reusser

    Conor Friedersdorf: Richard Miniter is apparently ignorant of Rand Paul’s actual position. “You want the president to be able to kill Americans who are attacking civilians without a court order,” Miniter writes, and Paul explicitly agrees. If an American is shooting at his fellow citizens, or flying a plane toward a building, or otherwise attacking in any way, Rand, and everyone else, agrees that the authorities should be able to stop and detain or kill that person.

    What’s at issue is the power to kill Americans who are not attacking.

    Everyone agrees about that.

    Miniter is apparently misinformed. So is Paul Rahe. · 1 minute ago

    Conor, if you have a second, could you link to the Administration claiming the right to assassinate non-attacking citizens on our soil? I haven’t seen this. · 4 minutes ago

    My guess is that mistrust is the primary source of this issue. I know that’s my POV, whatever the Obama administration claims its position to be.

    • #54
  25. Profile Photo Member
    @ShaneMcGuire
    Barbara Kidder

    Aaron Miller: 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. · 36 minutes ago

    Yes, I heard it on c-span;  I believe it was Sen. Mike Lee. · 0 minutes ago

    This is helpful—so in my list on comment #50 we’re only talking about scenario 4?

    • #55
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @EdwardSmith

    I wonder where the infiltration of subversive organizations by the FBI comes into play here?

    • #56
  27. Profile Photo Member
    @Misthiocracy

    While I generally agree with Mr. Miniter in principle here (Would it have been unconstitutional to shoot down the 9/11 airliners before they reached their targets, even though it would have meant killing hundreds of innocent Americans within the domestic borders of the USA?), I find it curious that he used The Whiskey Rebellion as an example.

    There’s still plenty of people who believe the federal government was totally in the wrong with the Whiskey Rebellion, and that it merely proved to a lot of people that the new boss was pretty much the same as the old boss. “Didn’t we just fight a war over taxes?!”

    The Civil War is also a problematic example. Once the southern states seceeded, they were (arguably) no longer citizens of the USA, but rather citizens of the CSA. There was also a formal declaration of war, which is at least as good as a warrant, IMHO.

    A better analogy might be the authority that law enforcement has to use deadly force to stop a crime in progress, despite the lack of a warrant, as long as there is probably cause.

    • #57
  28. Profile Photo Member
    @Misthiocracy
    Edward Smith: I wonder where the infiltration of subversive organizations by the FBI comes into play here?

    Lying isn’t against the law, except when its done under oath.

    Nothing in the constitution says that members of federal law enforcement must always reveal their true identities when interacting with suspects.

    • #58
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BarbaraKidder
    iWc: 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. · 48 minutes ago

    It may have been something that Presidents Kennedy or Reagan could have ‘charmed’ the Congress into granting to them, but that was a million light years ago!

    This President lacks the trust of a wide swath of the American public and most of us have seen how his administration lies and covers their tracks.

    I feel a cold shiver just thinking about the similarity of:

     the specter of Americans being killed by drones on U.S. soil, and  life in Germany in 1939 – when you might notice that your neighbor or co-worker had simply ‘disappeared’.

    • #59
  30. Profile Photo Member
    @

    I think well of Richard Miniter too- but I think he’s wrong here.

    Barack Obama is no George Washington.

    And I don’t trust him like I’d trust George Washington. When Holder of fast-and-furious infamy can’t rule out using drones in the US any time Barry wants to- why exactly not?

     I recall that Glenn Reynolds once noted that the left took the actions that led to Waco because they wanted to make gun ownership seem abnormal. So they went after people with unpopular fringe beliefs with the idea that the public would conclude that only people with unpopular fringe beliefs would own guns.

    That didn’t work. But despite the enormous political damage which followed the left has never given up on disarming the American people.

    Why not, if I’m supposed to trust them not to use drone-launched Hellfire missiles against a Tea-Party rally?

    I know what they think of the Tea Party. Essentially the same as they thought of David Koresh- or worse. And I know how that ended.

    I’m with Rand Paul.

    • #60
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