The Rand Paul filibuster against drone strikes in the nomination of John Brennan as CIA director brought plaudits from across the political spectrum, but also harsh (and inaccurate) criticism from the Wall Street Journal and other neoconservative pundits.
“He's apparently serious, though his argument isn't,” a house Wall Street Journal editorial concluded of Rand Paul's demands. At the core of the Journal's complaint against Senator Paul's opposition to handing the president the power to assassinate American citizens in the United States was the Journal's belief that the president can kill Americans — inside or outside the borders of the United States — without due process. Moreover, we have the administration's word that this awesome power would be wielded only against "enemy combatants."
The White House appeared to approve of strikes against American citizens, with White House Press Spokesman Jay Carney telling the press on February 5, “We conduct those strikes because they are necessary to mitigate ongoing actual threats, to stop plots, prevent future attacks, and, again, save American lives. These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise.”
Attorney General Eric Holder issued a clarified statement last week saying they wouldn't kill a U.S. citizen unless he were designated an "enemy combatant" — by the administration!
Three U.S. citizens were killed in two separate drone strikes, including 16-year-old Abdulrahman al-Awlaki (born in Colorado). His father, New Mexico-born Anwar al-Awlaki, had been targeted and killed in a separate 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen, along with U.S.-born Samir Khan.
“Mr. Holder is right, even if he doesn't explain the law very well,” the Wall Street Journal opined after Rand Paul's filibuster, since the White House claimed it would never target Americans in the United States unless they were actively engaged in terrorism. The president, the Journal counters, can order the assassination of U.S. citizens without trial whenever he deems it necessary:
Click here to read the entire article.
Photo of Sen. Rand Paul: AP Images