Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s filibuster against the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the CIA was thrilling political theater that forced a serious issue – government use of drones against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil – to the forefront of public attention. Watch his opening comments that set the tenor of his overall remarks:
The use of drones against U.S. citizens who are on U.S. soil and not engaged in warfare against the U.S. is a matter of grave constitutional concern, and Sen. Paul did America a favor by raising and forcing a discussion on it. He was aided in the effort by a bi-partisan group of senators who, these days, can’t even agree on the time of day, but they did agree to support Paul’s effort.
One of those senators was Oregon’s Ron Wyden, a liberal Democrat, who did America proud in the effort.
And they got what they want when President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were faced to discard their both-sides-of-the-street ambivalence and cave in by conceding the Constitution prohibits the use of drones against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil when they’re not engaged in acts of war against the U.S.
Actually, within the context of U.S. legal history, it wasn’t much of a concession since Supreme Court precedent from the Civil War would have mandated just such a ruling from the courts.
As an aside and on these electronic pages, I have argued in favor of the use of drones against enemies of the U.S. even when they were citizens of the U.S. And when it comes to using them against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, I can easily envision Abraham Lincoln insisting upon their deployment and use during the Civil War had they been available in 1861. War is indeed hell.
Unfortunately, some in the Republican Party have disparaged Sen. Paul’s effort, even resorting to name calling against him, a move worthy of criticism and unworthy of them. But by the same token, name-calling back at them demeans the debate, especially when it is patently false and defamatory.
On Facebook, I’ve seen Arizona Sen. John McCain referred to as a coward and a traitor, and that’s not true, right or fair — nobody who endured five and one-half years of brutal torture at the hands of sadistic North Vietnamese prison guards should be so slandered or libeled. Read for yourself what he went through.
McCain has been stand up on many issues (watch this clip in which he shreds NBC’s David Gregory for his hubris on Benghazi) he’s a decent guy and a genuine American war hero, yet he was wrong to say what he did about Rand Paul.
For anyone to call John McCain a coward or traitor for saying what he said is despicable, and I don’t mind calling that out for what it is: Hateful and, by its nature, cowardly. And I don’t mind calling him out for being clueless and crass in what he said about Rand Paul: Shame on you, Sen. McCain!
Lambaste me if you wish, but I say what I think, mean what I say and I don’t suffer fools.