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
    @ScottR
    Byron Horatio

    Scott Reusser

    Dave Carter: …. Instead, we have Holder’s letter to Senator Paul, part of which states, “…the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so.”  He could have expended exactly as many keystrokes by substituting the word, “authority,” for “intention,” but chose not to do so.   

    That’s because he claims the U.S. gov’t has the authority in certain extraordinary circumstances, as Rand Paul himself concedes it does. · 0 minutes ago

    The problem is that the administration is blowing smoke and refuses to say what circumstances they wouldn’t use drone strikes.  That is what the entire filibuster revolves around.  · 28 minutes ago

    I’m like a broken record here, but Holder did specify where it would be unconstitutional: in exactly the cases Paul fears, like a non-threatening guy in a cafe, etc.

    • #121
  2. Profile Photo Member
    @ScottR
    Palaeologus

    Scott Reusser

    Palaeologus

    Scott Reusser

    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.

    Aren’t we just left with Holder’s claim? Which seems to roughly boil down to:We can’t use drones to waste citizens on our soil because it’s Wednesday.

    In the Holder/Cruz exchange, Cruz brings upexactlythe non-attacking-guy-in-the-cafe scenario that Paul fears. Holder says that such a non-threatening situation would be inappropriate for a drone strike. After a back and forth and some prying by Cruz, Holder says by “inappropriate” he means not constitutional.

    Scott, isn’t he really saying that it isn’tauthorizedby the Constitution?

    That is not the same thing (I think*) as saying it is inherently Unconstitutional.

    Isn’t garden variety Congressional legislation sufficient to authorize the use of military assets in states?

    *Though I may be way off, I’m no attorney. · 27 minutes ago

    He clarified that his answer was a long-winded “no” to Cruz’s question, a question the constitutional lawyer Cruz was careful to state succinctly.

    • #122
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DocJay

    Cruz pulled out John Yoo.  Love it!

    • #123
  4. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @Concretevol
    Barbara Kidder

    Sis, ott Reusser

    Peter Robinson

    Concretevol: Judging from the n 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.   · 2 hours ago

    After mulling this all day, Concretevol, this is just about where I come down.  Rand Paul is standing up to the president on behalf of individual liberty.  There may be fine-grained arguments suggesting his stand on Brennan is half-wrong–maybe even more than half wrong.  But you know what?  Good for Rand Paul all the same. · 0 minutes ago

    Peter, I say this with love:

    If after thinking about this all day you’ve concluded “Good for Rand Paul” even if his stand might be more than half wrong, then you should sleep on it. · 53 minutes ago

    If Mr. Robinson’s best is to congratulate Rand Paul, even though he may be half-wrong, then some may  call that,

    ‘damning with faint praise’. · 19 minutes ago

    I think the point is……better to err on the side of liberty.  

    • #124
  5. Profile Photo Member
    @ScottR
    Concretevol

    Barbara Kidder

    Scott Reusser

    Peter Robinson

    Concretevol: Judging from the n 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.   · 2 hours ago

    After mulling this all day, Concretevol, this is just about where I come down.  Rand Paul is standing up to the president on behalf of individual liberty.  There may be fine-grained arguments suggesting his stand on Brennan is half-wrong–maybe even more than half wrong.  But you know what?  Good for Rand Paul all the same. · 0 minutes ago

    Peter, I say this with love:

    If after thinking about this all day you’ve concluded “Good for Rand Paul” even if his stand might be more than half wrong, then you should sleep on it. · 53 minutes ago

    If Mr. Robinson’s best is to congratulate Rand Paul, even though he may be half-wrong, then some may  call that,

    ‘damning with faint praise’.

    I think the point is……better to err on the side of liberty.  

    Truth matters. If Paul’s more than half wrong, he should shush. Or correct himself. 

    • #125
  6. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Devereaux
    Scott Reusser

    Byron Horatio

    Scott Reusser

    Dave Carter: …. Instead, we have Holder’s letter to Senator Paul, part of which states, “…the US government has not carried out drone strikes in the United States and has no intention of doing so.”  He could have expended exactly as many keystrokes by substituting the word, “authority,” for “intention,” but chose not to do so.   

    That’s because he claims the U.S. gov’t has the authority in certain extraordinary circumstances, as Rand Paul himself concedes it does. · 0 minutes ago

    The problem is that the administration is blowing smoke and refuses to say what circumstances they wouldn’t use drone strikes.  That is what the entire filibuster revolves around.  · 28 minutes ago

    I’m like a broken record here, but Holder did specify where it would be unconstitutional: in exactly the cases Paul fears, like a non-threatening guy in a cafe, etc. · 20 minutes ago

    I think most of us here don’t particularly care. Make OBAMA say it – several times.

    • #126
  7. Profile Photo Member
    @ScottR
    Devereaux

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I think most of us here don’t particularly care. 

    Yes, that much I’ve figured out.

    • #127
  8. Profile Photo Inactive
    @flownover

    the words or the issue pall next to the theaterthis is the play for , of , and about Americafirst act

    • #128
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MikeLaRoche

    Impeach Obama.

    • #129
  10. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Pseudodionysius

    Miniter is apparently misinformed. So is Paul Rahe.

    I’m glad I went to confession on Saturday, as the day I agree with Conor and disagree with Paul Rahe may be a biblical sign of the end of the world.

    #SetYourClocksBackToGenesis

    • #130
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Kervinlee
    Peter Robinson

    Concretevol: 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.   · 2 hours ago

    After mulling this all day, Concretevol, this is just about where I come down.  Rand Paul is standing up to the president on behalf of individual liberty.  There may be fine-grained arguments suggesting his stand on Brennan is half-wrong–maybe even more than half wrong.  But you know what?  Good for Rand Paul all the same. · 2 hours ago

    Peter, with with all due respect, gladly paid — “Let’s have a new first party; a Republican party, raising a banner of bold colors — no pale pastels. A banner instantly recognizable standing for certain values which will not be compromised.”

    Whoever Rand Paul is and whatever he is doing here, he seems to have learned that lesson very, very well. Would that more of his fellow Republicans, now especially, take this same lesson to heart.

    • #131
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @DocJay

    Right on Kervinlee. There are a lot of energized people right now. It’s not just the issue at hand or Brennan’s inevitable confirmation. The fact that someone is standing up to these thugs rather than business as usual is a beautiful thing.

    • #132
  13. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Durbin….What a maroon. We can smoke anybody with a drone but don’t dare waterboard anybody.

    • #133
  14. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Sumomitch

    “I will speak until I can no longer speak,” [Rand Paul said.] “I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court.”

    If an American is in the act of carrying out a terrorist plot, no one (including Paul, as his remarks on the Senate floor make clear) would dispute that police (or armed forces) can Constitutionally use deadly force to prevent such action. But it is a huge step to use the existing standards for drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan against US citizens on US soil; in effect to make the executive branch the sole judge, jury and executioner of anyone it suspects of treason, of inciting others to commit terrorist acts against the US, or of a “pattern of activity consistent with planning such attacks.”

    • #134
  15. Profile Photo Member
    @PaulDougherty
    Byron Horatio: It seems entirely boneheaded to me that Holder or Obama would not just pay lip service and say, “Sure, we promise not to bomb non-threatening Americans.”  Why pick this issue to suddenly be so…suddenly honest about their intentions?  I’m wondering what their current strategy is right now.  Maybe praying it will end and that it won’t receive coverage so they don’t have to come out and look like they were defeated by a one-man wrecking crew.  · 13 hours ago

    A consistant pattern for this White House is to let these issues fester until it drives his opposition mad. Then he moves in and points out how unhinged the people who oppose him really are. (Birthers, Bhengazi)  His attitude is “What’s in it for me to set the record straight?”
    • #135
  16. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Essgee

    Once again…  It was Rand Paul’s attempt to get Brennan to state what government policy was for the use of drones on American citizens in the United States. 

    This is the issue.  Not Brennan’s actual confirmation…but because he was part of the loop that came up with drone strikes as a way of dealing with terrorists overseas.  Remember, when Alawaki was killed oversees, no one cared he was an American citizen because he was a known  terrorist.  But the drone killed his 16 year old son, also an American, with no proof at all that he was guilty of any terrorist involvement…and no due process.  One might state that he probably was involved, he was only collateral damage, but you begin to see the problems with overlooking his Constitutional rights.  That is what raised the initial questions.

    Read Paul’s letters here.  Don’t forget to click on the links to the original letter to Brennan, the follow-up as well.  Then you understand what clarification Paul was seeking. 

    Without the full story, it is impossible to fully understand the path Paul took to the filibuster. 

    • #136
  17. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BarbaraKidder
    Paul Dougherty

    Byron Horatio: It seems entirely boneheaded to me that Holder or Obama would not just pay lip service and say, “Sure, we promise not to bomb non-threatening Americans.”  Why pick this issue to suddenly be so…suddenly honest about their intentions?  I’m wondering what their current strategy is right now.  Maybe praying it will end and that it won’t receive coverage so they don’t have to come out and look like they were defeated by a one-man wrecking crew.  · 13 hours ago

    A consistant pattern for this White House is to let these issues fester until it drives his opposition mad. Then he moves in and points out how unhinged the people who oppose him really are. (Birthers, Bhengazi)  His attitude is “What’s in it for me to set the record straight?” · 10 minutes ago

    Very shrewd !

    • #137
  18. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Essgee

    Oops, I forgot the link mentioned in the post above.

    http://paul.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=713

    • #138
  19. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MikeLaRoche

    Rand Paul: the Rocky Balboa of the U.S. Senate!

    • #139
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MichaelKnudsen

    “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…”

    Well?

    Well, I’m afraid Mr. Miniter missed the point of the entire exercise.

    Senators Paul and Cruz were clear about the situation they wanted the administration’s response on, and that situation involved U.S. citizens not involved in any immediate or imminent act of lawlessness or malfeasance. It was a hypothetical of a suspected terrorist, or other questionable U.S. citizen, just hanging out at a coffee shop. 

    Mr. Holder would not say, unequivocally, that it would be unconstitutional for the government to kill a person in that circumstance. 

    I’m puzzled as to the confusion. The issue at hand and critical distinctions were enumerated many times throughout the proceedings. “Attacking civilians” was not part of the hypothetical.

    • #140
  21. Profile Photo Member
    @

    Perhaps you Ricocetti who follow this stuff more closely than I do can point me to the date and act of Congress declaring war on the person or nation or group among whom is numbered the American citizen on American soil who Constitutionally could be a proposed drone target under the Obama/Holder doctrine of Executive power?

    Until then, or until Congress declares war on __________[fill in the blank],  all the argumentation like “Lincoln did it” etc. is simply silly. And until then, I’ll be listening to the likes of Rand Paul.

    Oh, and by the way:I couldn’t find such a date or act ‘Googling’, but I did find this:

    Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

    • #141
  22. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Kervinlee
    DocJay: Right on Kervinlee. There are a lot of energized people right now. It’s not just the issue at hand or Brennan’s inevitable confirmation. The fact that someone is standing up to these thugs rather than business as usual is a beautiful thing. · 1 hour ago

    Thanks, Doc. Coming from you, that’s high praise indeed.

    • #142
  23. Profile Photo Member
    @StuartCreque
    Shane McGuire: 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?  ·

    In Scenario 4, the enemy spy is actively engaged in executing a plot against the USA.  If you have to have a sniper shoot him to prevent critical information from going out on the wireless, you can.

    If he’s at a cafe reading a paper, you don’t assassinate him.  You arrest him.

    • #143
  24. Profile Photo Member
    @TomJedrz

    Candidly, I love the furor, and I love the attention. I love Rand Paul standing up to the administration, and I love John McCain showing his true self.

    My reading is that both sides of this particular argument have it wrong.  The citizen/non-citizen distinction is not meaningful in this analysis. The relevant portions of the Constitution or Bill of Rights speak of “persons”, not of citizens. The only distinction that matters is “enemy combatant.”

    Once someone has become an enemy combatant engaged in war against the USA, that person is fair game. Killing that person is not assassination, whether by drone, by sniper, or by poison. As far as I can tell, it doesn’t matter (constitutionally) whether they are in a coffee shop in LA, a house in Pakistan, a cave in Afghanistan, or on a battlefield somewhere. 

    Obviously, this leaves a lot of space for abuse.  I believe that Congress has the power to define “enemy combatant.”  Absent that, the President should make the operative definition known and should stick to it. 

    If my analysis misses something, please fill me in. But I see nothing that mandates differing standards for US citizens.

    • #144
  25. Profile Photo Member
    @Mikescapes

     I don’t think the anti-gun movement and Paul’s filibuster are unrelated. Paul takes us back to colonial America. State militias had real meaning as a counter-weight to aggresive federalism. As the government nibbles away at gun rights it’s possible that somewhere down the line an administration could claim that a state militia is armed, dangerous and an imminent threat to national security. Let’s say the Georgia Militia doesn’t take kindly to laying down their arms and submitting to arrest since they are only excercizing their constitutional rights. Couldn’t a hypothetical radical administration, sometime in the future, send a drone out to administer the coup de grace with a well placed missle? If this country could elect and re-elect a radical Obama think what some future like minded president could be capable of.  I think Paul is digging into the guts of the constitution when he talks due process. Is it so farfetched to contemplate the far left conspiring to disarm America while supressing dissent by lumping conservatives of varying stripes with domestic enemies?

    • #145
  26. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BarbaraKidder

    Mike:

    Your ‘hypothetical’ sounds quite plausible and is, no doubt, of concern to thousands who voted for Tea Party candidates (not just for Rand Paul).

    These folk are the boots- on- the- ground of the Tea Party but, like the shabby relatives who show up to a family cocktail party, they are sometimes an embarrassment to the Republican leadership (at every level), who wish to distance themselves from such paranoid and fanciful ideas.

    On Ricochet, there is more tolerance for these ‘fringe’ concerns, likely, because of our anonymity and the stated purpose of Ricochet which encourages a host of differing opinions, within a broad conservative readership. 

    Here at Ricochet, we all care about the survival of our American way of life.  However, there is a chasm between those who feel that the battlefield on which we engage is all in the realm of ideas, Constitutional law and politics, and those  who believe that, at some point in the future, the arena of the scholarly, legal and esoteric, will no longer be sufficient to hold back the tsunami that we see approaching.

    Both views must recognize the value and necessity of the other.

    • #146
  27. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Devereaux
    Barbara Kidder: Mike:

    Your ‘hypothetical’ sounds quite plausible and is, no doubt, of concern to thousands who voted for Tea Party candidates (not just for Rand Paul).

    These folk are the boots- on- the- ground of the Tea Party but, like the shabby relatives who show up to a family cocktail party, they are sometimes an embarrassment to the Republican leadership (at every level), who wish to distance themselves from such paranoid and fanciful ideas.

    On Ricochet, there is much tolerance for these ‘fringe’ concerns, likely, because of our anonymity  · 5 minutes ago

    But that is exactly the kind of paranoia the founding fathers had about government in general. It is one reason one sees constant mention of limiting the power of government, of not allowing them to drive the discourse, etc. 

    Just because the government says so doesn’t mean it is so. There is this little thing called proof. The government alleges many things but doesn’t always win those allegations. So having the government simply say you are an “enemy combatant” doesn’t mean it is so. Perhaps you are only a thorn in their side, a constant critic. That’s the point of the constitution.

    • #147
  28. Profile Photo Member
    @Franco

    The position that everything is going to be okay, they have our best interests in mind, and no one is interested in taking away our freedom is a position one can take.

    Disagreeing with that position is not paranoia. It’s sanity. 

    • #148
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BarbaraKidder

    Devereaux:

    You are so right!

    The overriding message that the founders are imparting is that of distrust of government!

    “Let no more be said about the confidence of men, but bind them down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution.”   Thomas Jefferson

    • #149
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