Sunday afternoon reflections on drones, filibusters, and the week gone by

I was out most of this past week at a company-sponsored seminar on business leadership.   What did I miss?  Rand Paul’s filibuster; John “Keating Five” calling Cruz, Rubio, Asham “wackos”; learning the Obamas and the Clintons had dinner March 1st; John Brennan’s confirmed to head the CIA; and in case North Korea wants to pre-emptively nuke us, we’ll be ready.  So what’s caught most of my attention?

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) during his Senate filibuster (AP)

How about that Senator Rand Paul?  A good old-fashioned filibuster, joined by some of his Senate colleagues, bringing attention and rightly so, to the subject of drones and their use in America.

“I will speak until I can no longer speak. I will speak as long as it takes until the alarm is sounded 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.” (h/t Politico)

Paul’s filibuster, in response to Holder’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Holder was responding to a released letter where he “refused to rule out a military-style strike on terrorist suspects in the United States even if they were American citizens,” is especially important.  Paul’s filibuster elicited “the letter” from Attorney General Eric Holder, confirming that the President does not have constitutional authority to use drones against American citizens.

“”It has come to my attention that you have asked an additional question: ‘Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.””

How does one define “engaged in combat.”  There is verbal combat and physical combat.  Should a radical form of gun control pass legislatures, and people are required to turn in certain weapons and they do not, or more importantly they physically resist citing Second Amendment rights, does that resistance constitute “combat” against the US authorities?  And what about the President’s use of Executive Orders, which have already subverted the Constitution on numerous occasions.

I never thought I’d see the day I would be siding with the ACLU, however, the use of surveillance drones in the United States is creepy at best and Orwellian at worst.  Drones have no place in a free society like the United States, and their use is by the Dept. of Homeland Security is setting a very dangerous precedent.  Congress should demand a specific, enforceable policy, subject to the highest degree of oversight with full accountability from the Administration.



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