Thursday, March 07, 2013

Drone Wars

A simple answer to a simple question was the outcome of 12 hours of filibuster by Senator Rand Paul over whether the President has the constitutional right to use drones to kill Americans on American soil.

Put simply, he does.  There are of course mitigating circumstances.  And no, he is not going to bomb an American citizen in Starbucks - unless that citizen is in combat mode against the United States. That's one of those mitigating circumstances.

As for Mr. Paul's filibuster, he should have done some home work on the examples he used, like Jane Fonda could have been taken out for doing footsies with the North Vietnamese.  Wrong. She was not part of, planning to nor actually committing  aggression against the United States.  Just using bad judgement but then so have Sean Penn, Jimmy Carter, Oliver North, Michael Moore, et al in their profuse praise of the recently departed Hugo Chavez.

Today Senators McCain and Graham, two of the most prominent Republican mavericks in the Senate chose to belittle Mr. Paul's efforts.  They too are wrong. He got his answer, in writing, from the Attorney General.  Mr. Graham still does not have the answers he was demanding on Benghazi so I'd be a bit more prudent than condescending in my judgement of a junior colleague.

There is still the question of government over reach.  We know they are capable of it by looking at their reaction to the sequester.  Considering that, written and detailed assurances of what can and cannot be done are essential. They shouldn't have to be asked for in the first place.

Very little that happens in Washington stands alone.  There are other drone worries that could also escalate.  Perhaps they aren't getting the same scrutiny because they come under another department.  You guessed it.  Homeland Security.  They have a fleet of custom designed drones that can identify people carrying guns and also track cell phone signals.  The department seems to be building it's own army what with it's armoured vehicles and weaponry.  Now drones.

While currently unarmed, the same Predator B military version carries Hellfire missiles which means the ones in domestic use can be modified.

This isn't to say they would be used to detect armed citizens or randomly monitor your cell phone use or modified to take out an offender, but then again why not?  The question is do you have the right to privacy or do you not?  Just like military drone attacks can hit innocent victims so too can domestic drones pick up information to which they have no right.

I give Rand Paul an A for effort in bringing to attention loosely drawn language on the rights of Americans.  I give McCain and Graham an F for pomposity and condescension.  As for the rest of us I'll  give an incomplete for not being as aware as we should be as to how everything connects. At times it's referred to as connecting the dots.  A game well worth knowing how to play.


Linda said...

Not really a comment on the content of your post but I really enjoyed the Rand Paul filibuster regardless of it's subject matter. I don't remember the last time I saw a real filibuster and I think I like the idea. I'm really frustrated with secret/silent holds on the process. That makes it easy for cowards to do their dirty work. Harry Reid said after it was over, you must have two things in order to filibuster, a strong belief in the subject and a strong bladder, and Ran Paul had both.

One more thing. Can you identify the event that caused Lindsey Graham & John McCain to become joined at the brain? It seems to me we now have only 99 votes in the senate since their brains are now joined into one.

Mari Meehan said...


You pose a good question about McCain and Graham. Before retirement I think Joe Lieberman was part of that brain trust - at least when McCain was running for President. Then there is NH's Kelly Ayotte who seems to be stepping into the Liberman vacuum. She should sever that relationship if she has ambition.

Anyway, I believe it was during the Bush administration (W) where they were proponents of his amnesty plan when the mind meld took place.

Actually I think they are joined at the hip - it's closer to the appropriate part of the anatomy their actions most closely resemble.