Filibuster Silly Buster! Nothing More Pressing Right Now?
Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster was silly, plain and simple. “Theatrical” might be a better description of Paul’s performance; a complete and utter waste of Congressional resources. One may understand his concern from an purely academic standpoint. Folks left and right have expressed consternation about the very theoretical future possibility that armed drones may be used to execute Americans on American soil. How about we cross that bridge when it is actually in sight? Why not deal with the here and now (see sequester), or at least issues that are more likely to arise in the nearer future. Surely there are more important issues facing our country at this very moment. Besides, Paul didn’t seem to be speaking with any authoritative knowledge of the issue likely because of how poorly he framed it. The Wall Street Journal pretty well summed up Paul’s twisting the current state of the law to suit his political rhetoric against the President. (block quote credit WSJ 3/7/13 “Rand Paul’s Drone Rant”)
Calm down, Senator. Mr. Holder is right, even if he doesn’t explain the law very well. The U.S. government cannot randomly target American citizens on U.S. soil or anywhere else. What it can do under the laws of war is target an “enemy combatant” anywhere at any time, including on U.S. soil. This includes a U.S. citizen who is also an enemy combatant. The President can designate such a combatant if he belongs to an entity—a government, say, or a terrorist network like al Qaeda—that has taken up arms against the United States as part of an internationally recognized armed conflict. That does not include Hanoi Jane.
Such a conflict exists between the U.S. and al Qaeda, so Mr. Holder is right that the U.S. could have targeted (say) U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki had he continued to live in Virginia. The U.S. killed him in Yemen before he could kill more Americans. But under the law Awlaki was no different than the Nazis who came ashore on Long Island in World War II, were captured and executed.
The country needs more Senators who care about liberty, but if Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms. He needs to know what he’s talking about.
Indeed. Sen. Paul, please stop grandstanding on OUR dime to heighten your political profile until such time as you actually know what you’re talking about. Congress is busy enough doing nothing, don’t give them an excuse to do nothing for a whole day while you drone on!
Here are a few issues that I find more important right now:
1) Where are the Benghazi survivors??
2) Why were ALL Military personnel at the Aurora, CO theatre shooting unarmed?