Kudos to Senator Rand Paul for Standing Up for What is Right and Standing Up in the Right Way
Well, of all of the things that have been going on in my mind, I figured I would do something that I’ve never done before.
I’m going to say something nice about Senator Rand Paul.
In fact, I’m going to say two something nices about Senator Rand Paul.
I know! Right!
Followers of this blog and other writings know that I am not in the Rand Paul fan club. There are, however, always exceptions to the rule. Early this morning, Senator Rand Paul ended a six hour filibuster (yes, a real, honest to goodness, Mr. Smith goes to Washington style filibuster. More on this below) to protest President Obama’s policy with regard to assassinating American citizens, potentially with the use of flying killer robots (drones).
In 2011, President Obama ordered the assassination of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki. The strike was carried out remotely by drone. Al-Awlaki’s alleged active support for and with al Qaeda was the justification for this action, so it was nothing more than a simple military action in the larger war on terror. But was it? That is the question. To what extent does war, even a war with a faulty premise such as the so called “war on terror”, justify the abandonment of human and Constitutional rights? If the government had evidence on al-Awlaki, and knew where he was, why not bring him in and let him stand trial. Due process is the cornerstone of human rights. Perhaps al-Awlaki was not someone to mourn, but rights on not predicated on such thin contingencies.
Now much of the argument with regard to al-Awlaki is based on the fact that he was a US citizen. Extending the argument to consider his rights not as an American citizen, but as a human being is a matter for future blogs. The question now is, how far does the President’s power extend with regard to killing Americans without due process (that’s not to say that killing Americans with due process is hunky dory, as has been addressed on this blog: See here, and here, and here).
Does the President of the United States have the power to order an assassination strike on an American on American soil? According to President Obama, the answer is yes. He and Attorney General Holder assure us that there is sound legal reasoning justifying this policy. Unfortunately, in a bit of Kafkaesque irony, We the People are not allowed to see it. Nice.
President Obama’s policy on assassination, let alone assassinating American citizens, is not just unconstitutional and against the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is immoral. Yes, there may be unfortunate circumstances in which the President might have to order the death of Americans, such as the case of 9/11 when the order was given to shoot down air-craft suspected of targeting the White House or Capitol. The American people and the jury of history would define such circumstances as tragic necessity. That’s not what this is about, as Obama and Holder well know. This is about a policy of assassination.
Kudos, Rand Paul, for so dramatically highlighting this issue on the floor of the Senate.
As an aside, I would also like to thank Rand Paul for holding an actual filibuster. For four years now the Republican Party has crippled the legislature via procedural filibusters requiring no sacrifice on their part. Senator Paul broke with that tradition by actually standing for six hours before his peers and spoke until he, “could no longer speak,” to emphasize his commitment to this cause. Hopefully he reminded his party of just what the filibuster is meant to be.