Aw Shucks, A Drone!

 

Senator Lindsey Graham is running for president — or close enough to count — and was among the speakers at the Iowa Republican Party’s Lincoln Dinner this past Saturday (as were Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Bobby Jindal). Judging from what I’ve seen of the videos, this was a light-hearted event where the candidates were expected to be self-deprecating and folksy. Graham started his speech as such, but then… well, I’ll let him speak for himself:

I’ve been a lawyer in the military for 33 years. If I don’t get court-martialed, I’m going to retire at the end of the month and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. I’ve 6 1/2 years on active duty. I’ve been in the Guard, Reserves, and it’s been a lot of fun. I’ve been a military judge, I’ve been a defense attorney, and I’ve been a prosecutor.

And let me tell you this: I’m thinking about running for president: you get a house, a car, a plane — pretty good gig. If I’m president of the United States and you’re thinking about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL — anybody thinking about that? — I’m not gonna call a judge, I’m gonna call a drone and we will kill you.

[Graham laughs; applause]

That’s not funny, Senator. That’s not funny at all.

Published in Foreign Policy, Politics
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  1. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Yeah it is.

    • #1
  2. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Executing citizens on American soil without trial is funny?

    • #2
  3. Concretevol Thatcher
    Concretevol
    @Concretevol

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Executing citizens on American soil without trial is funny?

    Surely to God he was talking about people running around in Pakistan somewhere not U.S. citizens……..right????  At this point maybe we can have a cage match between Rand Paul and Graham.  That would be awesome!

    • #3
  4. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @SoDakBoy

    No, that wasn’t funny but he’s the only politician I’ve seen who was able to concisely summarize the history of the Iraq war.  We struggled, changed tactics, won the war, then Obama threw it all away against the advice of every military advisor he had.

    How hard is it to say that?

    If you can face down public sector unions you should be able to say that.  If your own brother is getting unfairly attacked for a decade on that issue, you should be able to muster the courage to say that.

    • #4
  5. lesserson Member
    lesserson
    @LesserSonofBarsham

    If he’s being literal, then yeah, it’s not funny. I’m not a fan of the guy and wouldn’t vote for him unless it was between him and a far lefty but this was hyperbole. The “if you even think about doing “x” I’ll do (insert horrible thing here),” thing shows up in movies and tv shows all the time and we take it for what it is, a threat of action that’s meant to convey how serious the person is. We don’t assume when we’re watching some entertainment show and somebody says this, all “Dirty Harry” style, that they can read minds and will take some pre-emptive shot, we’re supposed to think “whoa, this guy means business”. Still don’t like the guy, and don’t think we should be droning citizens on American soil without trial (edit: or at all really), but I’m 90% sure he’s being hyperbolic here.

    • #5
  6. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    Surely to God he was talking about people running around in Pakistan somewhere not U.S. citizens……..right????

    It’s hard to see why he would be; overseas drone strikes do not require any judicial approval.

    • #6
  7. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Tom Meyer, Ed.:Executing citizens on American soil without trial is funny?

    Oh come on.

    • #7
  8. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Tom Meyer, Ed.

    And let me tell you this: I’m thinking about running for president: you get a house, a car, a plane — pretty good gig. If I’m president of the United States and you’re thinking about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL — anybody thinking about that? — I’m not gonna call a judge, I’m gonna call a drone and we will kill you.

    There are just layers of fail here.  In its most favorable light, it is empty bluster.  At worst, it is a threat to kill people, without respect to citizenship or location, for thinking thing, however stupid.

    I consider myself very hawkish on ISIS and I think this is just lame.

    • #8
  9. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Quinn the Eskimo:

    Tom Meyer, Ed.

    And let me tell you this: I’m thinking about running for president: you get a house, a car, a plane — pretty good gig. If I’m president of the United States and you’re thinking about joining al-Qaeda or ISIL — anybody thinking about that? — I’m not gonna call a judge, I’m gonna call a drone and we will kill you.

    There are just layers of fail here. In its most favorable light, it is empty bluster. At worst, it is a threat to kill people, without respect to citizenship or location, for thinking thing, however stupid.

    I consider myself very hawkish on ISIS and I think this is just lame.

    I agree completely. Bluster. I wish some of these hawks would fight left-wing Democrats with the zeal (ok leave the drones out for now) that they hold for terrorists or ISIS. It seems there are some GOP candidates who are perversely happy that national security is becoming a bigger campaign issue. Myself, I’m saddened because the enemy is getting more and more difficult for us to go after. Those guys can tough-talk all they please, but they won’t be able to do much.

    And there’s something that looks quite cowardly if we have to rely on drones all the time.

    • #9
  10. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @TonySells

    It’s also a thought crime.  He didn’t say he would drone them after they joined.  He said if you’re thinking about it I will kill you.  I have no use for this guy.

    • #10
  11. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    Franco:

    Myself, I’m saddened because the enemy is getting more and more difficult for us to go after. Those guys can tough-talk all they please, but they won’t be able to do much.And there’s something that looks quite cowardly if we have to rely on drones all the time.

    I would add that a big problem is that the Iraq War turned the public off from intervention, but the Obama years are showing the dangers of half-hearted, leading from behind.  I think there has to be a reassessment of foreign policy in general.  It’s probably an excellent time to do that.  It’s a waste of an opportunity to say, even in jest, that he is just going to kill people with drones.

    • #11
  12. J Flei Inactive
    J Flei
    @Solon

    This is catharsis for people (like me) who got sick and tired of hearing about how awful it was to waterboard Kaleid Sheik Mohammed, how it was illegal to drone Anwar Al Awlaki, and how the younger Boston bomber was somehow less reprehensible because he was mostly influenced by his older brother.  You can wag your fingers at Lindsey Graham for being hyperbolic, but his point is that we need to be deadly serious about home-grown terrorists.  No more discussing, if you’re getting close to that kind of thing you do not get the same rights as everyone else.

    • #12
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