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I am happy — really — that Rand Paul is trying to bring some attention to the arbitrary executive. But I also wish that he was asking more productive questions. I would add a third question: why the focus on American citizenship?* Why are we asking Obama and Holder to clarify their position on implausible hypotheticals rather than focusing on most of what the actually existing program does?

*Question answered.

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  • Chesty

    Lemieux asks:

    I would add a third question: why the focus on American citizenship?

    Errr… because not only has the practice of targetted assassination expanded significantly under Obama — the preisdent has even extended targetted assassination to US citizens.

    • Scott Lemieux

      So? If the targeted assassination program is legal, it should apply to American citizens (unless you think the Civil War was unconstitutional.) If it isn’t, it shouldn’t be used against non-citizens. Paul is implicitly saying that so long as only non-Americans are potential targets everything is just fine. That’s certainly not a progressive opinion.

      • Lego My Eggo

        Nor a moral one, which is really the issue here. Rand et alia are using the Constitution as a fig leaf for justifying a truly evil view of fundamental human rights.

      • Chesty

        The program of targetted assassination derives from the logic of preemption, a logic based on a predicate that we are in a state of permanent warfare, and that, as an effect, the rule of law should be indefinitely deactivated. Exceptions to the rule are thus becoming integrated into the rules; “legal” outs into extra-legal actions are being written into the law — The exception to the rule is becoming THE rule.

        As per the Civil War (1861–1865). Acting counter to the Constitution (Article 1), Lincoln decreed on April 1861 that an army of seventy-five thousand men was to be raised and convened a special session of Congress for July 4. In the weeks between April and July, Lincoln acted as an total dictator. On April 27, Dictator Lincoln authorized the General in Chief of the Army to suspend the writ of habeas corpus whenever he deemed it necessary along the military line between Washington and Philadelphia. Furthermore, Lincoln”s autonomy in deciding on extra-legal actions continued even after Congress was convened: on February 1862, Dictator Lincoln imposed censorship of the mail and authorized the arrest and detention in military prisons of persons suspected of “disloyal and treasonable practices”.
        When Congress convened on July 4, Lincoln justified his extra-legal actions as the holder of a supreme power to violate the constitution in a situation of necessity.

        “Whether strictly legal or not,” Lincoln said, the extra-legal measures he’d adopted had been taken “under what appeared to be a popular demand and a public necessity” in the certainty that Congress would ratify them. Lincoln justified these measures on the conviction that even the Constitution could be violated if the very existence of the union and the juridical order were at stake.

        Are all the laws but one to go unexecuted, and the Government itself go to pieces lest that one be violated?

        On September 1862, Dictator Lincoln proclaimed on his sole authority the emancipation of the slaves and he authorized the arrest and trial before martial courts of

        all Rebels and Insurgents, their aiders and abettors within the United States, and all persons discouraging volunteer enlistments, resisting militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice, affording aid and comfort to Rebels against the authority of the United States.

        .

        • The assumption on which this error is based is that a free Constitution is incompatible with a state of war, and cannot coexist with the exigences of war, especially a civil war. If this be true, the inference is a necessary one, that institutions which secure civil liberty are the weakest of all forms of Government — that they are like a house of cards, which a feather can overthrow, and that they are wholly dependent for existence upon the sufferance of nations. This notion of a free Constitution strips it of all right of self-defence, all power of perpetuating itself, and maintaining its existence against large combinations of insurgents. It seems to be forgotten that the right of the Government to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, in times of rebellion or invasion, is just as much a part of the Constitution, as the right of the citizen to demand it in times of peace. This Governmental right, in periods of war, to lay aside ordinary legal forms and ordinary legal guarantees of individual freedom, is simply the right of self-preservation — the right of Government to put itself on a footing of equality with rebels or enemies in the use of its power. It is liable to abuse, doubtless; and so are the most perfect forms of civil society. Men are daily the victims of the civil administration, through the ignorance or corruption of those whose duty it is to dispense justice; but this acknowledged imperfection is never regarded as a reason for abandoning all legal restraints upon the exercise of administrative functions. In like manner, martial law is a tremendous engine of government, essential to its existence when imperiled by revolutionary faction, but to abandon it on this account — because it is liable to abuse — is to give up the idea of government, and go into a state of anarchy.

          http://www.nytimes.com/1861/11/30/news/rebellion-constitution-free-constitution-not-incompatible-with-state-war-habeas.html?pagewanted=1

          • Chesty Dagchester

            Should we accept this permanent opening for arbitrary preemptive decision, the permanence of war ??

            Should we not resist the “exceptional” use of torture without fear of legal consequences for the perpetrators ??

            Should we not fight for the principle of habeas corpus — that protects against unlimited arbitratry detention without appeal — even for suspects considered terrorist threats ??

            Should we not resist the institutionalization of trials by military commission for individuals deemed “unlawful combattants” ?? — lowering the bar of what constitutes admissible evidence and restricting a suspect’s rights to legal defense…

            What about the system of secret “black sites” of the CIA into which those deemed “unlawful combattants” disappear without a trace ??

            Obama, remember, extended the CIA’s mandate beyond information gathering into military special-operation interventions — so that the spy agency has become a full-spectrum weaponized force carrying out shadowy war games under the cover of secrecy provided by its own black sites…

            What about the Pentagon’s US Special Operations Command ?? — an organ with extended surveillance capabilities and military capacities that reports directly to the president without any form of oversight, keeping it poised for delivery of extra-legal action on Obama’s demand…

            What about the expansion of the high-tech surveillance system into the domain of private individuals’ communications? What about the war on whisle-blowers?

            Should we keep on deferring resistance to the future again? — eyes wet with hope-and-change all over again?

            Where’s the limit to our capacity for deferral against this evil?

            • DocAmazing

              See, here’s a perfect example of a stopped clock being right. How come we can get moments of clarity like this from trolls and Pauls, but not from Dem senators (Sanders obviously excluded)?

              • …or he’s talking bullshit to snare the gullible.

                One or the other.

                • DocAmazing

                  His bullshit contains many true statements and pertinent question. The validity of the argument does not depend on who is making it, why they are making it, or what their history is.

                  We can argue about “what is in his heart”, but, like arguments about racism, it is irrelevant. The points he makes speak for themselves, even if they are mere rhetorical tricks.

                • His bullshit contains many true statements and pertinent question.

                  No, it does not. You are reading true statements and pertinent questions into “drop a Hellfire on Jane Fonda” because you really, really want to believe.

                • DocAmazing

                  Highlighting one pretty much at random:

                  What about the system of secret “black sites” of the CIA into which those deemed “unlawful combattants” disappear without a trace ??

                  The black sites existed. Some still do. There’s ample documentation.

                • Some still do. There’s ample documentation.

                  Bullshit.

                • DocAmazing

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_site

                  In 2011, the Obama administration admitted that it had been holding a Somali prisoner for two months aboard a US Navy ship at sea for interrogation

                  But Leon Panetta said we don’t do that anymore, so that doesn’t count.

                • So now the term “black site” means “ship.”

                  OK.

                • Lulz.

                • DocAmazing

                  In military terminology, a black site is a location at which an unacknowledged black project is conducted. Recently, the term has gained notoriety in describing secret prisons operated by the United States (U.S.) Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), generally outside of U.S. territory and legal jurisdiction.[citation needed] It can refer to the facilities that are controlled by the CIA used by the U.S. government in its “War on Terror” to detain alleged unlawful enemy combatants.

                  That would, and has, included ships.

                • DocAmazing

                  On May 31, 2008, The Guardian reported that the human rights group Reprieve said up to seventeen US Naval vessels may have been used to covertly hold captives.[72][73] In addition to the USS Bataan The Guardian named: USS Peleliu and the USS Ashland, USNS Stockham, USNS Watson, USNS Watkins, USNS Sister, USNS Charlton, USNS Pomeroy, USNS Red Cloud, USNS Soderman, and USNS Dahl; MV PFC William B Baugh, MV Alex Bonnyman, MV Franklin J Phillips, MV Louis J Huage Jr and MV James Anderson Jr. The Ashland was stationed off the coast of Somalia, in 2007, and, Reprieve expressed concern it had been used as a receiving ship for up to 100 captives taken in East Africa.

                  But that was in the Bush Administration. It’s totally different now; there’s a Democrat in the White House.

                • It’s cute that you can’t distinguish slight but meaningful differences, really.

                • Pretending not to understand meaningful differences is 90% of his argument.

        • The war against al Qaeda is “pre-emption?” I was under the impression that we’d already been attacked, and went to war as a reaction.

          And while you clearly have a very exhaustive theory worked out about Abraham Lincoln’s prosecution of the Civil War, there’s a problem with using it as a model for understanding the current situation: we haven’t suspended any laws, ordinary legal procedures remain in effect throughout the United States, and none of this is happening within American territory.

          • Timb

            We were attacked by dudes from Yemen? Who then, decided to call themselves Al Queda in the AP. the have no connection to the original group, but we need to kill them too. By joe’s claim, we should be at war with dudes in Idaho who wear swastikas

            • We were attacked by dudes from Yemen?

              Yep.

              Seriously, how do manage not to know that al Qaeda has had a presence in Yemen for almost two decades?

              the have no connection to the original group,

              Thank you, Intelligence Director TimB. Perhaps you should lay off making these assertions until you do a little homework. For instance, you could note that a top figure from the bin Laden organization in Pakistan was killed in the care with Awlaki.

              But if we pretend not to know any of these things, we can pretend that the al Qaeda group in Yemen isn’t actually an al Qaeda group in Yemen, or that it doesn’t have any connection with core al Qaeda.

              • Timb

                You are claims that AQAP is controlled by zalharwiri from his hideout?

                http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2013/03/04/130304taco_talk_coll

                Although, as always, I do find one of the cutest things about is that you believe anything a high ranking government official says. If the intelligence does say, it must be true. You must have been fun to be around when Condi was talking about mushroom clouds

                • You are claims that AQAP is controlled by zalharwiri from his hideout?

                  Nope. Damn, my arguments must be bullet-proof, given how you refuse to deal with them, and need to invent completely different arguments to put into mouth!

                  Here’s what you wrote:

                  Al Queda in the AP. the have no connection to the original group

                  That is false. It is bullshit. Showing this claim to be bullshit does not commit me to making some other argument that you dreamed up.

                  Although, as always, I do find one of the cutest things about is that you believe anything a high ranking government official says.

                  So, I didn’t actually just cite the Cole bombing or the presence of a core al Qaeda figure in the car with Awlaki? I quoted an intelligence official? Would you mind block-quoting the part where I did that?

              • Rhino

                Interesting, since most experts don’t think al Quaeda, in the sense of a coordinated worldwide group of terrorists/freedom fighters ever actually existed at all.

                Scattered groups of people communicating occasionally through email and having roughly similar goals do not constitute a credible cause for war. They are at most an excuse for some concentrated police attention.

                Of course, portraying these people as a dangerous and well coordinated menace is great politics. It lets authoritarians create and maintain a vast network of surveillance, imprisonment, and extrajudicial activity that would never otherwise be tolerated, and of course it enriches an awful lot of pockets in the security theatre complex.

                • Interesting, since most experts don’t think al Quaeda, in the sense of a coordinated worldwide group of terrorists/freedom fighters ever actually existed at all.

                  citation omitted Oddly enough, al Qaeda actually did carry out the Cole bombing in Yemen, and the simultaneous bombings of two embassies in Africa – but why should we think that they are coordinated, or worldwide?

                  Scattered groups of people communicating occasionally through email and having roughly similar goals do not constitute a credible cause for war.

                  Nor does “scattered groups of people communicating occasionally and having roughly similar goals” describe al Qaeda.

                  It is true that they are much less coordinated than they were a few years ago. Gee, I wonder why that is?

                • Rhino

                  Joe, anyone who has been paying any attention has read numerous articles from numerous experts stating the non existence of an organized international terror organization. It is not an unusual statement, but rather a commonplace among people who actually know something about the subject.

                  Since you require a citation for such a well known fact, this indicates that you actually don’t know anything about the subject. Accordingly, perhaps you could stop monopolizing these threads with self aggrandizing spam, and go do something useful.

                • Joe, anyone who has been paying any attention has read numerous articles from numerous experts stating the non existence of an organized international terror organization.

                  False.

                  And to extend that statement into “there never was an organized al Qaeda” is doubly-false.

                  What do you think the August 6, 2001 PDB was about? Some independent actors who all hit upon the same name?

                  There has been quite a bit written about the “splintering” of al Qaeda that has taken place since Tora Bora. You seem to have come across some of that, and let your imagination take over.

                  Since you require a citation for such a well known fact, this indicates that you actually don’t know anything about the subject.

                  Or you’re wrong, and I’m calling you on the fact that you made an assertion you can’t back up. One or the other.

                • Rhino

                  None are so blind as those who will not see, Joe. Enjoy your last word, and seriously go do some actual research. Propaganda, you’re soaking in it.

                • Keep flailing.

                  I’ll note you still won’t back up your assertion:

                  most experts don’t think al Quaeda, in the sense of a coordinated worldwide group of terrorists/freedom fighters ever actually existed at all.

                  So far, all you’ve been able to offer to support this steaming pile is an ever-increasing level of snottiness.

                  I’m quite willing to “see” evidence that you aren’t talking out of your ass. You don’t seem to have any, though.

                • You want some “real research,” Rhino?

                  How about you do a little reading on Richard Clarke? You might have heard of him – he was Clinton’s counter-terrorism director, elevated to cabinet level, and tried to get the Bush administration to take al Qaeda seriously.

                  How about the people who put together the August 6th, 2001 PDB – could you please do some “actual research” about that?

                  You are posturing as someone with an elevated level of knowledge, but it’s clearly just a pose. You don’t know anything except what you want to believe is true, so you dismiss everything you find inconvenient as propaganda.

                  Go ahead, Mr. Superior: prove me wrong.

                • Johnny Sack

                  You both have a point. There is actually a legitimate disagreement over whether Al Qaeda is an organization with a centralized structure, or it’s just BOGs (bunches of guys). I don’t have a cite, but I briefly did graduate studies in Near Eastern Studies. Google Marc Sageman. It’s a valid point, one that shouldn’t be so easily dismissed by you, joe, but not one that you, Rhino, should act as though is gospel.

                • The thing is though, it doesn’t really matter. Even if you accept the premise that the spin off groups are separate entities, there’s not much of an argument that they aren’t supportive allies of the entity we’ve declared war on, so it’s a pretty thin reed to argue that we can’t legally launch military action against them too. And that brings us back to the simple point that the problem is the open ended AUMF, not the manner in which the goofy ongoing war is prosecuted.

                • Johnny,

                  I’m not dismissing the “bunch of guys” position in its entirety, just the arguments made here, which stretch it beyond all recognition.

                  It’s clear that al Qaeda is not organized like the U.S. Army, and the regional affiliates have considerable autonomy. What I object to is the gross misrepresentation embodied in statements like “Scattered groups of people communicating occasionally through email and having roughly similar goals,” or “the non existence of an organized international terror organization.”

                  Those are just flat-out false descriptions.

                • there’s not much of an argument that they aren’t supportive allies of the entity we’ve declared war on

                  Allies who declare themselves to be part of that organization, and engage in attacks against us in the name of that organization, and who are led by people who’ve sworn fealty to the organization and its leaders.

              • Ed

                So far, all you’ve been able to offer to support this steaming pile is an ever-increasing level of snottiness.

                Truly, a textbook example of the pot calling the kettle beige.

          • Chesty Dagchester

            9/11 triggered the “War on Terror” and Gulf War II.

            9/11 fed the massive military and surveillance machine.

            Bin Laden and Bush were in symbiosis, evil twins, like Bush Senior and Saddam Hussein, or Reagan and the Soviets — feeding off of each other’s energies.

            This vampiric politics continues with Obama, wilst Obama’s evil twin differs; it’s likely the white Christian male.

            The *war on terror* — which is actually a war on an indeterminate threat — since terror can happen anywhere, anywhen, anyhow by anobody — continues under a different name; the expression “war on terror” has was banned from the lexicon of the Obama régime.

            Yes, Obama bin Laden, the personification of terror, the evil twin of Bush Junior is dead. Yet the W. Bush “doctrine” of preemptive war has overflowed his administration and flowed into the Obama administration, and will flow beyond it — if there is no resistance. (It can even be argued that it overflowed the borders of the USA, went global.)

            A terrorist threat can strike like lightning, fall from the sky like satan. It can strike anywhere, anyhow and any time. No one knows, and thus the urgency of action seems very acute — even extra-legal action.

            What distinguishes preemption from the Cold War logic of deterrence (which was to make something NOT happen, thus making a first strike impossible) is that the logic fuelling the *war on terror* requires a first strike NOW. The logic of deterrence is the inverse of the logic of preemption: whilst deterrence suspends threat, preemption suspends the present — translating the Rumsfeldian unknown-unknown into a foregone conclusion: it’s an actuality-producing power to make things emerge !!

            Be afraid !!!!!!

            The logic behind targetted assassination is producing the very things it aims to destroy!

            • Anonymous

              This vampiric politics continues with Obama, wilst Obama’s evil twin differs; it’s likely the white Christian male.

              Well, so much for that broken clock…

              • Uncle Kvetch

                Above was me.

          • “Al Qaeda” , which attacked us, was defeated years ago. We are now fighting different organizations with the same brand name, and for imperialistic reasons.

            • We are now fighting different organizations with the same brand name

              The problem is, using that “brand name” requires authorization from the central command authority (now in Pakistan), as well as swearing a personal oath to al Qaeda. All of this is extensively documented – for instance, in the intercepted communications between Zarqawi and bin Laden when the former was trying to get permission to join al Qaeda and use the name.

              • 1. While it may be in fact true (or not) that these groups are authorized to use the name, there actually is no trademark system that prevents anyone from calling themselves Al Qaeda.

                2. Swearing an oath is basically meaningless and certainly has nothing to do with whether these groups should be considered “the guys who attacked us” rather than “people we are preemptively murdering for imperialist reasons”.

                Look, the point is, the only reason to invade Afghanistan and to violate the sovereignty of several other countries in the first place was to get the guys who did 9/11. We don’t care about human rights (the Saudis are one of the most evil regimes on the planet AND sponsored 9/11, but we didn’t invade them), nor do we have the right to murder people for that purpose anyway, imperialism is illegitimate and evil, etc.

                What you are doing, and Obama is doing, now, is forging a bunch of more and more tenuous alleged “connections” to justify continuing to murder because we like the idea of controlling the world and having the biggest penis. But a long time ago, it stopped being “the guys who attacked us” and started being “guys who at one point used some label that vaguely sounds like al qaeda”.

                • 1. So, because it’s not enforced by a trademark, that means these groups don’t require authorization, including changing their behavior to conform to the direction of the central leadership? In point of fact, they do. Zeroing in on the lack of a legal trademark is a stupid dodge.

                  2. Swearing an oath is basically meaningless and certainly has nothing to do with whether these groups should be considered “the guys who attacked us”

                  No, of course not. Why would swearing an oath to someone mean you are under their authority or working with them? I’m not even going to rebut this idiocy; I’m just going to highlight it, because it rebuts itself.

                  Look, the point is…

                  I understand your point. It’s demonstrably false. You keep insisting on the lack of connections between al Qaeda in one place and al Qaeda in another place, even in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary*, because you like to say ‘imperialist.’

                  *Pretending an oath of alliance and obedience doesn’t mean anything, ignoring the deaths of figures from AQHA in Yemen.

                • Also, the notion that occasional single-missile drone strikes against outlaw terrorists is “imperialism” is idiotic. Drone strikes can’t control resources. They can’t establish bases for projecting power against states. They can’t topple hostile governments. They can’t even make a noticeable dent in a traditional military force.

                  But never mind all that; it’s gotta be imperialism because you just read Howard Zinn for the first time and, damn, did that book knock your socks off!

          • cpinva

            “The war against al Qaeda is “pre-emption?” I was under the impression that we’d already been attacked, and went to war as a reaction.”

            you seem to be confusing a criminal act, committed by a bunch of individuals, with an “act of war”, committed by a state. the two are not, by any definition, mutually inclusive. if we are in a “state of war”, why then has congress not declared such? why did bush not ask them to declare war, against al-queda?

            using your’s and bush’s “logic”, congress should have declared “war” against al capone, in the 30’s, and set the military after him and his cronies. oddly enough, that apparently never crossed any sane person’s mind. capone’s actions were treated as criminal, and civilian law enforcement agencies dealt with them.

            • Please to be citing the law, international or domestic, that forbids military force against non-state actors. Let me save you some time: this notion that war powers cannot be used except against states has no backing whatsoever, and was invented out of whole cloth.

              the two are not, by any definition, mutually inclusive.

              ORLY? An act of war cannot be criminal? A criminal act cannot also be an act of war? You sure about that?

              using your’s and bush’s “logic”, congress should have declared “war” against al capone, in the 30′s, and set the military after him and his cronies.

              Al Capone was not an overseas fighting force, and never had the capacity to bomb two American embassies simultaneously, blow a hole in a war ship, or carry out the 9/11 attacks.

              No, cp, going to war against al Qaeda does not, in fact, commit one to supporting military force against every criminal, or against any criminal headquartered within the United States.

              • Random

                Authorization of military force against non-state actors dates back to Monroe Admin.

              • Conversely, if Al Capone’s gang up and decided they were going to rebel against the jurisdiction of the United State and managed to be a formidable enough fighting force that normal law enforcement personnel couldn’t handle them, there isn’t the slightest question that the President would have had every authority to dispatch the military against them “on American soil.”

            • I wish the lefty angle here would stop trying to argue away the existence of the AUMF. Look, whether you believe that:

              a) 9/11 constituted a felony, not an act of war,

              b) waging war against non-state entities is stupid,

              c) expanding the theater to Pakistan and Yemen and construing the ultimate goal so broadly as to be unreachable,

              d) that AQAP isn’t “al-Qaeda”

              is totally immaterial. The fact is that Congress passed an extremely broad AUMF that has been prosecuted with vigor by the Obama administration. These transparently absurd arguments that just ignore this fact ultimately serve no purpose, and simply skirt the fundamental issue of this open ended declaration of war altogether.

              • FlipYrWhig

                This. It’s futile to argue that what Obama is doing is outside the powers and authorities granted by the AUMF. If it weren’t for the AUMF, would he have the authority to do these things? Well, that depends on your view of the powers emanating from the notion of “commander in chief of the armed forces.” I don’t think those powers should be as broad as this, but I’m not terribly surprised the president wants to claim the maximal amount of power possible–whether or not he has any intention of ever using the full latitude he thinks he has–because the alternative is an executive branch hampered by the other branches, and that’s exactly what every executive branch badly wants to avoid.

                Ergo, next step: repeal AUMF. Step after that: have Congress pass some laws reasserting power over war and the use of military force. Step after that: hope they stick in the courts.

            • Also too:

              “using your’s and bush’s “logic”, congress should have declared “war” against al capone, in the 30′s, and set the military after him and his cronies. oddly ”

              Saying something this stupid just completely invalidates any other argument you could possibly make on the subject. You might as well just be screaming DEATH PANELS!!!!

              • Random

                I think Joe from Lowell won this one pretty handily.

                • The actual, meaningful arguments about this war – what is its scope? How does it end? When do we know? Is this the best way to handle the problem? – would be a great deal more of a challenge, but nobody wants to talk about those.

                  Not when you can should “illegal!” or “unconstitutional!” or otherwise define your policy as the only allowable one, so you don’t have to do the heavy lifting of defending your policy preferences on the merits.

        • commie atheist

          Dictator Lincoln

          The little-known “Lincoln Corollary” to Godwin’s Law.

  • Alex

    RUSH: He’s bragging about it, Senator. He’s bragging. They’re trying to build up his tough, pro-military credentials by saying, “He’s got the kill list. He picks the names.”

    PAUL: Well, the Bureau of Justice has come forward with some criterion for people you need to report on if you know these people. These are people with missing fingers, stains on their clothes, people who like to pay in cash, people who have weatherized ammunition, and more than seven days of food. These are people who are potential terrorists. And if that’s the list, I know a lot of people on that list. I’m a little concerned that they ought to get a trial before they get a drone strike ordered.

    RUSH: I’m on that list!

    PAUL: (laughing)

    RUSH: Exactly. By the way, a point of clarification. When I said I was on the list, I meant I fit the criteria. I don’t think I’m on anybody’s list.

    PAUL: Yeah, I’ve seen the list, but I don’t want to announce in front of you whether you’re on the list or not.

    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/03/07/senator_rand_paul_calls_the_show

    I trust that answers your questions on why Rand Paul was deeply concerned about drones in America.

    • FlipYrWhig

      Hold on, hold on. Isn’t Paul combining multiple things here? What he’s talking about sounds like the DHS domestic extremism report. That’s actually quite clarifying. It means his objection is quite specific: can the government use a drone to take out a suspected domestic extremist?

      • Drones are cool-looking. They make a great poster child, no matter what you’re selling.

      • Timb

        That’s what it always about: can the US govt kill my white supporters. Rand Paul doesn’t care about al-Alwaki anymore than John McCain did

    • Hogan

      Is the Bureau of Justice a real thing?

      • DocAmazing

        Isn’t that where the Justice League hangs out?

        • Hogan

          Gah. You do NOT want to be on that list.

  • DocAmazing

    Part of the problem is that when we do attempt to bring up “most of what the existing program actually does” we get the Rahm Emmanuel get-with-the-program don’t-you-realize-you’re-helping-the-Republicans treatment. Doesn’t necessarily stop us, but it does get old pretty quickly.

    • jeer9

      The time to get angry is when the Dems have power and don’t actually use it. Nothing progressive is getting through Congress these days and the Dems couldn’t even reform the filibuster. Expecting them to take a stand on the abuses (current and potential) of drone warfare seems unrealistic. If you look at the way this administration continues to dodge responsibility for failing to prosecute financial crime, you recognize that it’s going to be a long stagnant four years of prevarication, consolidation of wealth for the 1%, and austerity-lite for the rest of us. Warren might prove to be entertaining, if ineffectual, on the Banking Committee.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Part of the problem is that when we do attempt to bring up “most of what the existing program actually does” we get the Rahm Emmanuel get-with-the-program don’t-you-realize-you’re-helping-the-Republicans treatment.

        [cites omitted]

        • DocAmazing

          Do you read you own blog?

          • Is that supposed to be a citation?

            Because they generally include a page number or link.

          • Scott Lemieux

            Yes. People on this blog have not only never argued that the policies of the Obama administration should never be criticized, they have criticized them many times.

            I certainly have argued that throwing elections to people who are worse on Obama on almost everything and better on nothing is incredibly stupid. I understand why you want to conflate these arguments, but unfortunately it won’t fly.

            • DocAmazing

              Well, if you consider making various excuses “criticism”, then you’re right on the money.

              Meanwhile, we still have a situation (as with the drug war) where the silence of the Dems means that a reprehensible creature like Paul can buff up his creds by a small amount of truth-telling. How did things get that bad?

              • You lost the argument. That’s how, and that’s how you ended up pretending that “Drop a Hellfire on Jane Fonda sitting a cafe” was “truth-telling.”

                • DocAmazing

                  Your sequitur, she is non. Try decaf next pot.

                • Just because you can’t follow a chain of logic doesn’t make it a nonsequitur.

                • Timb

                  Nixon would have killed with her drone if he had this kind of Executive power. Anyone who imagines otherwise is fooling himself. And, if he decided not to, that decision would have been based on politics not law. Material support is very broad

                  Or, maybe I’m the only one who remember all the “accidents” which befell Al Jazeera reporters during the war

                • Nixon doesn’t seem to have been too terribly shy about violating the law, so no, that’s really not a very credible statement.

                • Timb

                  So, your defense is Nixon would have been bad anyway, so laws are pointless, while on the same thread arguing that the example of Jane Fonda is just SOOOOO ridiculous. Seems to me we need some laws and to get them we need to know what the Executive thinks the law says

                • Joe, you disgust me. Jane Fonda is a classic law school hypothetical, designed to show the weakness in a legal position taken by the Obama Administration. In that sense, it has truth value.

                  The bottom line is you apparently want a murderous imperialist government and are willing to grossly overstate terrorist threats to get it. And then you wonder why leftists consider you an enemy and not an ally.

                • Dilan, you don’t matter to me the slightest bit.

                  In general, it’s the one losing the argument who gets emotional, you know.

                  Jane Fonda is a classic law school hypothetical, designed to show the weakness in a legal position taken by the Obama Administration. In that sense, it has truth value.

                  It only has truth-value to the extent that the asserted situation that the hypothetical is meant to illustrate has truth value. In this case, it has none. There was no assertion ever made that anything remotely similar to “dropping a Hellfire on Jane Fonda” was legal. It wasn’t just the hypothetical that was invented from whole cloth.

                  The bottom line is you apparently want a murderous imperialist government and are willing to grossly overstate terrorist threats to get it.

                  Yeah, I”M the one overstating a threat. Not the people who pretended, based on nothing, that the U.S. government might start droning people in cafes. No, it’s those of us who think that’s a bullshit charge who are overstating a threat.

                  Go away, you whiny little ignoramus, and do some background reading so that, maybe, you can at some point contribute something other than your own psychiatric symptoms to a discussion.

                • Random

                  Nixon certainly had the Executive Authority to kill Jane Fonda *if* she had openly declared her membership in the VC, had helped them levy war against us, and blown our people up while actively evading capture. That’s been legal since the ink dried on the Constitution people.

                  She didn’t do any of those things.

                  Al-Awlaki did all of those things, and that’s just for starters. The comparison’s really valuable actually.

                • rea

                  Not to mention–nobody in the adminstration has ever claimed the power to kill a nonviolent ideological opponent. Nobody has ever claimed that such power extends to killing them in locations where they can be arrested and tried.

                • Pffft. Listen rea, you might think that the Obama Administration isn’t going to order a drone bombing of an American citizen who is also a member of al Qaeda in Berlin, but don’t you remember all of those bombs we dropped on Germany in the 1940’s? Hmmmmmmmmm????

    • 1) When did “we” become “Rand Paul?”

      2) Poor baby. Someone might say something to you? There there.

      • DocAmazing

        Thank you for the demonstration, Rahm boy.

        • ORLY?

          Could you quote me the part where “Rahm-boy” said something with even the slightest relationship to “we get the Rahm Emmanuel get-with-the-program don’t-you-realize-you’re-helping-the-Republicans treatment?”

          Take all the time you need.

          • DocAmazing

            Your patellar tendon needs a rest from all that jerking.

            • So, no, you can’t find anything. You just change your handle to “citation omitted.”

              Nice projection, though. Your knee jerked, you threw out the same boilerplate insult you always fall back on when you’re cornered, and when called on doing so, you accused the guy who busted of you doing what you just did.

              Howzabout taking the rest of this thread off?

              • DocAmazing

                What, and deprive you of the opportunity for lathery two-for-one responses? Wouldn’t dream of it.

                • I loom way too large in your consciousness.

                  You could have made a point about drones or Rand Paul at any point, you know, but instead, all you want to talk about is persecuted you are by those terrible Democrats, and me in particular.

                • DocAmazing

                  I haven’t mentioned your name once.

                  It’s okay, though, joe: I’m sure there are people who do think a lot about you.

                • No, in all of your replies to me, including citing me completely-unrelated comment as proof of your theory, you didn’t mention my name.

                  Congratulations.

        • And thank YOU for the demonstration. There you go, hyperventilating because someone didn’t agree with you.

          There there. It will be ok.

  • Tnap01

    Seems like most of the critics of this “stunt” believe in the “Green Lantern theory of political party change” where Paul or someone else is suppose to get all the idiots of the GOP together and tell them to “cut the BS” and out comes a sane GOP. Those of us that don’t live in Drew Westen’s world will celebrate finally having a small crack in the GOP’s hive mind even if the issue was a tangential hypothetical to the real issue of Executive Power.

  • FlipYrWhig

    To the degree that he cares about the “arbitrary executive,” it seems like his focus is almost entirely on who gets put on The List and how, not that the existence of a list is in itself wrong.

    • FlipYrWhig

      Misplaced this reply… It pretty much goes along with what I say above.

  • Taking Rand Paul’s performance seriously as a statement against using drones against al Qaeda is like taking “Keep the government’s hands off my Medicare” seriously as a statement against entitlement cuts.

    • chris

      Taking Rand Paul’s performance seriously as anything other than a cheap opportunity to bash a Democrat is a fool’s errand, in my book. If a Republican were in office I’d give it 50/50 odds he’d be in the same “questioning the leader is treason” mode as the rest of them, and if not, he’d be shutting up.

  • Data Tutashkhia

    Parsing politician’s words is a waste of time. Talk is cheap; he is selling whatever his constituency is buying.

    • DocAmazing

      Parsing the politician’s words tells you a lot about what the politician believes that his constituency is buying. In this case, it may be that even wingnuts are opposed to some of our “get tough” policies.

      • Paul didn’t say a word about any actual policies being carried out, and has in the past explicitly endorsed the drone strikes that have been launched.

        You are projecting your beliefs onto people who have explicitly embraced the opposition position.

        • DocAmazing

          I am happy — really — that Rand Paul is trying to bring some attention to the arbitrary executive.

          That’s the opening line of this post. Aqua Buddha is generally as worthless as they come,but he did draw attention to the possibility of assassination of dissidents in the US. That he did so ineptly and hypocritically is not germane; if he is playing to the cheap seats in Clermont, then he thinks that they, too, have concerns about the possibility of assassination of dissidents in the US.

          • Your words:

            In this case, it may be that even wingnuts are opposed to some of our “get tough” policies.

            We have no such policies. The paranoid, bullshit nonsense about assassinating dissidents in the US is paranoid bullshit nonsense that has nothing to do with our actual “get tough” policies.

            His commentary was the equivalent of “My child shouldn’t have to sand in front of Barack Obama’s death panels,” and your response would be the equivalent of saying, “Sure, he’s being disingenuous, but it’s really important that we talk about death panels.”

            • Timb

              You think no democrat is worried that the Executive, which just killed two American citizens without trial in the last year and a half?

              He’ll, I think of myself as a progressive guy and I am very worried about the us government and civil liberties. I’m glad Paul stood map there, no matter what his motives, and I’m proud of Ron Wyden for jumping up there too. The fact that soft-headed GOP types think they are against this because it’s Obama’s thing does not mean the question needed answered. They killed American citizens without due process; they say the “battlefield” is global; does that mean they believe they can kill “terrorists” within the borders of the US?

              To me, the whole drone program is worthless, since it pisses more people off than it helps.

              • I think far too many Democrats are worried, with no good reason. I do not doubt for a moment that there are Democrats who are worried.

                You know who isn’t worried about the Yemen strikes that killed Awlaki and his son, though? Rand Paul.

                For you to look at his filibuster and conclude that he’s arguing what you’re arguing is wishful thinking.

                To me, the whole drone program is worthless, since it pisses more people off than it helps.

                Enough that you’d lie about it in order to end it? Enough that you’d back arguments you know to be bullshit, if you thought they might be helpful towards that policy goal? Enough to make bogus legal and constitutional arguments, if they might convince people?

                I think it’s pretty clear how you answer those questions. Why else would you gin up excuses for why Paul’s bout of dishonesty was a good thing?

                • Jackal

                  The question was:
                  ” Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?”

                  American citizens on US soil who are not an immediate threat.
                  Simple question.
                  Fair question.
                  We can agree “lets kill the bad guys”. Especially if they are an immediate threat. But if US citizens are going to be put on a kill list (Hey I can get behind that if they are up to no good) shouldn’t the executive branch bring the body of evidence to a court/judge or some panel outside of itself and present the evidence. Shouldn’t they also be required to name their target? I know I know. How dare any US citizen make such crazy requests of the beloved leader or their elected officials.
                  And yes there is a lot of “paranoid bullshit nonsense.” Like when people talk about their concern about martial law or concentration camps. That to me is seriously crazy talk.
                  However, my mother-in law spent a brief part of her childhood in a concentration camp. In america…….in California.
                  Because she was Japanese all of her family’s land was taken from them. But hey, it’s all good because they couldn’t be trusted….we were at war. And I’m sure It could never and will never happen again.

                  After all people have rights and freedoms! What kind of persons would ever kill dissenters? or put people in concentration camps? Our nation could never would never ever oppress any minority or group.
                  Because we are so evolved as a people and an angelic 237 year history.

                  Hey I like Drones. I like the fact that we have Trident missiles on all of our submarines. I love our men & women in the armed services and so proud of all my friends in the services. I could be wrong on this but I think they take an oath to defend the constitution of the united states. Also, I could be wrong on this but I believe our nation was intended to have checks and balances? No one branch of government was to have total power over the other. It’s a silly little thing and should probably be dismissed. Also, on a much smaller note, people were supposed to have do process. Why was that so important?……due process? I don’t know it’s so silly this US Constitution & Bill of rights. what a joke! The federalist papers are such a piece of crap too. Great to wipe your ass with.

                • “The question was:
                  ” Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?””

                  Seriously: To ask this question is to answer it.

            • Jackal

              This letter is a few days old, but important for every American to be aware of. re: Rand Paul’s filibuster of Barack Obama’s nominee for the CIA, John Brennan, due to his refusal to answer a simple question:

              Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?

              This should not be a complicated question to answer.
              Below is Rand Paul’s letter reprinted in full (emphasis added).

              February 20, 2013

              John O. Brennan
              Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
              The White House
              1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
              Washington, DC 20500

              Dear Mr. Brennan,

              In consideration of your nomination to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), I have repeatedly requested that you provide answers to several questions clarifying your role in the approval of lethal force against terrorism suspects, particularly those who are U.S. citizens. Your past actions in this regard, as well as your view of the limitations to which you are subject, are of critical importance in assessing your qualifications to lead the CIA. If it is not clear that you will honor the limits placed upon the Executive Branch by the Constitution, then the Senate should not confirm you to lead the CIA.

              During your confirmation process in the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI), committee members have quite appropriately made requests similar to questions I raised in my previous letter to you-that you expound on your views on the limits of executive power in using lethal force against U.S. citizens, especially when operating on U.S. soil. In fact, the Chairman of the SSCI, Sen. Feinstein, specifically asked you in post-hearing questions for the record whether the Administration could carry out drone strikes inside the United States. In your response, you emphasized that the Administration “has not carried out” such strikes and “has no intention of doing so.” I do not find this response sufficient.

              The question that I and many others have asked is not whether the Administration has or intends to carry out drone strikes inside the United States, but whether it believes it has the authority to do so. This is an important distinction that should not be ignored.

              Just last week, President Obama also avoided this question when posed to him directly. Instead of addressing the question of whether the Administration could kill a U.S. citizen on American soil, he used a similar line that “there has never been a drone used on an American citizen on American soil.” The evasive replies to this valid question from the Administration have only confused the issue further without getting us any closer to an actual answer.

              For that reason, I once again request you answer the following question: Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?

              I believe the only acceptable answer to this is no.

              Until you directly and clearly answer, I plan to use every procedural option at my disposal to delay your confirmation and bring added scrutiny to this issue and the Administration’s policies on the use of lethal force. The American people are rightfully concerned, and they deserve a frank and open discussion on these policies.

              Sincerely,
              Rand Paul, M.D.

              United States Senator

              • rea

                Do you believe that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and without trial?

                We’re back to Lincoln again, I see.

                Of course the president has such power–although his use of that power is limited to some rather unusual situations, like “ongoing insurrection; outsided the reach of functioning courts.” Go review Ex parte Milligan, 71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2 (1866).

                • mds

                  Yes, that’s the whole problem with this brouhaha. (1) The question, as originally asked, could in fact legally be answered “Yes,” and (2) it was asked of a nominee for heading an agency legally barred from having anything to do with domestic activity. Said nominee deferred to the nation’s top federal domestic law enforcement figure, who, as an attorney, went with (1).

                  The drone program is troubling in some of its applications. Extrajudicial killings are troubling. A stupidly overbroad question answered in a technically correct fashion by the US Attorney General just gives the chance for the government and the Beltway to burn Rand Paul’s fucking idiotic cafe-bombing strawman and put the whole issue back to bed.

                • DocAmazing

                  There are those who would argue that there is no issue.

          • “but he did draw attention to the possibility of assassination of dissidents in the US. ”

            But what about the possibility of aliens invading Independence Day style and wiping out the entire species soon? Why won’t anyone draw attention to that much more dangerous possibility?

            • DocAmazing

              ‘Cuz there’s no history of assassinating dissidents in the US. Mark Hampton is alive and well and working at Elvis’ Burger King.

              • I assume you mean Fred Hampton? The fuck does a Black Panther being shot up by the Chicago PD in the 1960’s have to do with the military dropping bombs on U.S. territory today? And why would you think a Senator who openly admitted to opposing the Civil Rights Act would give a shit about that?

                • DocAmazing

                  You’re right, Fred; had his name cocked up with the general.

                  And what does a dissident assassinated in the US (having been tracked extensively by the FBI working with the Chicago PD) have to do with assassinating dissidents in the US?

                  And what does Rand Paul’s stand on the CRA or the VRA or hell, even the NRA have to do with what he thinks his constituents fear?

                • And what does a dissident assassinated in the US (having been tracked extensively by the FBI working with the Chicago PD) have to do with assassinating dissidents in the US?

                  We all need to be very afraid of Obama’s FEMA camps plan, because FDR interred the Japanese.

                • DocAmazing

                  No, joe, all of the Black Panthers died of old age, with no time spent in jail due to perjured testimony from infiltrators and provocateurs. The FBI that never went after the Panthers hasn’t gone after Muslims and “eco-terrorists” subsequently, and has never set up weird entrapment schemes, and never, ever uses deadly force when simply talking would do.

                • Timb

                  Do you EVER read the “this day in Labor” series. Have you EVER Heard of the Church hearings?

                • And what does a dissident assassinated in the US (having been tracked extensively by the FBI working with the Chicago PD) have to do with assassinating dissidents in the US?

                  What “assassinating dissidents in the U.S.?” That isn’t happening, and there is no remotely-plausible reason to think it would happen.

                  What does an actual event have to with fevered imagining? Nothing, really.

                • No, joe, all of the Black Panthers died of old age, with no time spent in jail due to perjured testimony from infiltrators and provocateurs. The FBI that never went after the Panthers hasn’t gone after Muslims and “eco-terrorists” subsequently, and has never set up weird entrapment schemes, and never, ever uses deadly force when simply talking would do.

                  What is any of this blather supposed to have to do with anything I wrote?

                  You sound like the troll. Someone points out a hole in your argument, and you respond with “You think no one ever” blah blah blah.

                  Let me clear something up for you: the example I gave of the detention of the Japanese actually happened. The reason that the leap to “so Obama really might put conservatives in FEMA camps” is nonsense has nothing to do with thinking that the detention didn’t happen.

                • Do you EVER read the “this day in Labor” series. Have you EVER Heard of the Church hearings?

                  Yes.

                  Do you have any sort of an argument about the doctrines the Obama administration is promulgating, or are you just going to keep pointing out “there have been bad things in the past!” and count on ambiguity to do your work for you?

                • Timb

                  Your answer is that there cannot be bad things in the future? Got it, rules are for suckers and we should count on reasonable people running our government and not lunatics or George Bush…..

                  H/t Jose Padilla

                • DocAmazing

                  As demonstrated, it has happened; it may have happened subsequently (unsolved homicides are not uncommon; that was the primary method of dissident removal in 1930s Germany, even prior to Hitler’s election); and trust in the law enforcement and intelligence services in this country to be law-abiding and restrained was riddled with bullets in a newspaper-delivery pickup truck. There is nothing remotely irrational about being suspicious of organizations with a history of abuse of power.

                • Your answer is that there cannot be bad things in the future?

                  My argument is that we need to have some sort of plausible reason to think that a certain bad thing might happen in the future before treating it as inevitable and using the assumption of its existence as an argument. Merely noting that something vaguely similar happened in the past does not supply a plausible reason.

                • As demonstrated, it has happened

                  As demonstrated, the detention of the Japanese happened. So? Does this mean we should take the fevered imaginings about Obama’s FEMA camps seriously?

                  unsolved homicides are not uncommon; that was the primary method of dissident removal in 1930s Germany, even prior to Hitler’s election

                  And if you were warning about gangs of political extremists assassinating their opponents, I’d take your argument much more seriously. Unfortunately, you’re trying to bootstrap illegal, secret pistol shots in the back of the head with the completely-unrelated topic of the Obama administration’s doctrines about the use of force against al Qaeda figures overseas.

                • DocAmazing

                  Since it’s allegory day:

                  Thalidomide is a very useful drug against nausea. Unfortunately, it has…disadvantages.

                  But hey, it works, right? Why would you test it to see if it’s teratogenic unless you have a plausible reason to? I mean, just release it, and if anything goes wrong, we can recall it, right?

                • The fact we ran internment camps in WW2 is actually hugely relevant to how we shoul view any claim of presidential power re: internment, actually.

                  And the fact that we have lied and called dissidents part of the enemy has relevance to whether a President has the power to do targeted killings of people he, and no court, says are the enemy.

                  I am getting the feeling that Joe just fundamentally is an authoritarian with some left social positions.

                • What possible value does it bring to a discussion to gin up an excuse why we don’t need evidence of something to believe in it?

              • And we all need to be very afraid of Obama FEMA camp plan, because of the internment of the Japanese-Americans.

                • DocAmazing

                  Under Bush, we had roundups of immigrants by ICE for all kinds of “suspicious activity” crap. That’s the recent past. Couldn’t happen now, though, because…well, it just couldn’t.

                • And we all need to be very afraid of Obama FEMA camp plan, because of the internment of the Japanese-Americans.

                  Under Bush, we had roundups of immigrants by ICE for all kinds of “suspicious activity” crap. That’s the recent past. Couldn’t happen now, though, because…well, it just couldn’t.

                  And if your conclusion is “so we do need to worry about Obama’s seekrit FEMA camps,” you’re an idiot.

                • DocAmazing

                  And if your conclusion is that the Obama Administration could never, ever do any of the terrible things that the Bush Administration did using ICE, I have some families of deported people you might want to talk to.

                  Being credulous is a poor substitute for being reasonable.

            • What about the possibility of death panels? Rand Paul, and the other tea baggers, did us all a favor by starting the conversation about death panels.

              Now, sure, I know there aren’t any death panels, and I know that nobody in the administration have ever done anything to support death panels, or articulate the idea that death panels are legal, but what if they lied?

              Perhaps “Trust me” and blind partisanship is good enough for you, Brien, but some of us actually have principles. No death panels! Thank you, Rand Paul!

              • Timb

                Maybe you should kill the messenger with a drone to square the circle, because your opposition to Paul’s point seems to be that it made by Paul

                • I can’t speak to what things “seem” to be to be you, TimB, but I haven’t written a single word about who Rand Paul is.

                  I’m sorry my arguments went over your head.

        • Data Tutashkhia

          No, I think it’s simpler than that.

          Motherhood, apple pie, freedom, security – in no particular order.

          Today: my opponents encroach on our liberty!
          Tomorrow: my opponents endanger our security!

          Rinse, repeat.

  • Bill Murray

    In any case focusing on targeted strikes is kind of pointless as even Paul’s stated legislative preference would leave targeted strikes in tact even for certain solely criminal acts (“The Federal Government may not use a drone to kill a citizen of the United States who is located in the United States. The prohibition under this subsection shall not apply to an individual who poses an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to another individual” [quoted from No More Mr. Nice Blog])

    The real issue seems to me to be signature strikes, but little has been said officially about how this program works. A former ambassador to Pakistan said that the standard for who could be hit was a male between 20 and 40. This reeks of an old law in South Dakota (on the books into the 1970s) in which three native american men crossing the Missouri River together could be declared a war party and shot.

    • The signature strikes in Pakistan are no different from the air strikes conducted during the Normandy campaign. Planes are sent out to patrol along the routes that the enemy uses to get to the front, to bomb whatever enemy forces they come across. Other than the equipment used, there doesn’t seem to be much similarity between these strikes and the targeted strikes.

      The question there, then, is about whether we should be fighting the Af-Pak War, and I agree that this is a much bigger issue than the targeted strikes against al Qaeda. The number of strikes, the number of casualties, the cost – all of these are much higher for the air portion of the Af-Pak War than for the war against al Qaeda.

      • Timb

        Bullshit. There’s no proof a Pakistani carrying an AK is aligned with AQ. They ALL carry AK’s and your support of killing men out of uniform for walking in their own country reeks of Nxon and the Ho Chi Minh trail.

        Obama to Joe, how do you know if they’re AQ
        Joe, gazing adoringly: the ones that run are AQ. The ones who don’t are well-trained AQ

        • You just completely failed at reading.

          Me:

          Other than the equipment used, there doesn’t seem to be much similarity between these strikes and the targeted strikes.

          The question there, then, is about whether we should be fighting the Af-Pak War, and I agree that this is a much bigger issue than the targeted strikes against al Qaeda.

          To sum up for the slow: Af-Pak War, war against al Qaeda two different things.

          You know, whatever argument you think you’re making at any given time becomes much less compelling when you screw up this badly.

          Try to keep your head, instead of losing it so easily. This was a very easy mistake to avoid.

          • DocAmazing

            You dropped the opening:

            The signature strikes in Pakistan are no different from the air strikes conducted during the Normandy campaign. Planes are sent out to patrol along the routes that the enemy uses to get to the front, to bomb whatever enemy forces they come across.

            “Enemy forces”, in this case, unfortunately has come to mean “male(s) between 20 and 40”. That’s something of a difference.

            • 1. What is this supposed to have to do with TimB’s comment, and my response to it?

              2. Well, no, but it’s beyond question that there are going to be mistakes made in target selection when you’re going on bombing runs in support of a ground war. You don’t need to bootstrap that observation into an accusation of deliberate civilian targeting in order to make a point about the consequences of the war.

              • Joe:

                The fact that the entire war is illegitimate and imperialistic doesn’t preclude the fact that simply pretending that certain people are enemy combatants and murdering them in cold blood is particularly illegitimate.

                Indeed, the scope of the evil that Obama is perpetrating makes even symbolic attempts at imposition of limits justified.

                • Are you engaged in some sort of question-begging contest?

                  Because, if so, you’re totally winning.

              • DocAmazing

                A former ambassador to Pakistan said that the standard for who could be hit was a male between 20 and 40.

                You don’t need to bootstrap that observation into an accusation of deliberate civilian targeting in order to make a point about the consequences of the war.

                Try to keep up with the thread you’re on.

                • The ambassador was not describing the doctrine. He was talking colloquially about how it was playing out in Pakistan.

                  As I already said.

                  Try to keep up with the thread you’re on.

  • Chesty

    Honestly, I admire Rand Paul’s filibuster. He was right on that we shouldn’t get a vote until we have something that amounts to a real declaration of policy on MURDERING people without trial. The President does not have the authority to commit murder, or does he?

    If state government doesn’t have to bother with due process, then neither does anyone else. This legitimates murder of American leaders, law enforcement officials and all others involved in such extra-legal decisions.

    And this is how civil wars happen.

    Are you NOW willing to take peaceful and lawful action in order to prevent the spreading of lawless and violent extra-legal actions later on?

    • It’s like an iron-clad rule of these things: the people who self-righteously drone on endlessly about “the law” are also the people who pretend that the AUMF somehow isn’t a real thing that was passed by Congress too.

      • Timb

        And the people who drone about the AUMF are rarely the people who can explain how it applies to people who are not part of the basically non-existent Al Queda

        • The guy who never heard of the Cole bombings has some very strong feelings about the structure of al Qaeda.

          That’s nice.

        • Chesty Dagchester

          Non existent al-Qaeda? LOL ??

          What about al-Nusra? — it’s actually al-Qaeda in Syria!

          Al-Qaeda functions mostly via Shamikh al-Islam, a forum, recognised by online al-Qaeda supporters as the authoritative jihadi forum. Most material on it is produced by al Qaeda front such as al-Nusra and bears the label of the al-Fajr Media Centre, the online outfit responsible for distributing al-Qaeda material.

          • DocAmazing

            …or he’s talking bullshit to snare the gullible.

            One or the other.

          • Chesty, the Shamikh forum carried stuff from a wide array of jihadis. It’s like any other ideological forum on the internet – they link to and include stuff they like. That doesn’t show that everyone whose stuff appears there is part of al Qaeda.

            Also, Al-Qaeda functions mostly via Shamikh al-Islam doesn’t even make sense, because most of what al Qaeda does is not, in fact, devoted to putting stuff on the internet.

            It is likely that al Qaeda is in contact with the Nusra Front, since they have a record of opportunistically supporting jihadist movements, but there isn’t enough evidence yet to conclude that it’s gone beyond that.

            (You see, Doc? You see how it’s possible to see an argument that could tend to support one’s position, and call it out as bullshit? This is called “being intellectually honest.” You should try it sometime).

    • If we fight a war overseas, this legitimates murdering public officials at home.

      Because CONSTITUTION!

      • The Constitution just makes war basically judicially unreviewable.

        It doesn’t mean that you pass one congressional authorization and then anyone in the world may be murdered so long as the President fabricates a connection.

        Don’t confuse nonjusticiability with legality.

        • Of course, no one has claimed that “anyone in the world may be murdered so long as the President fabricates a connection.”

          Your need to fabricate the concept of “fabricate” is a tell. It’s obvious that you know you can’t argue against what’s actually happening, against the actual use of force against al Qaeda, so you have to inject poison pills in order to argue.

          • Joe:

            The government is LYING. We already got the guys who did 9/11. We are no longer fighting “terrorists” based on any useful definition of the term.

            That’s actually the reason why so many people found Paul’s filibuster so appealing. Because we all know that the government is dishonestly using “terrorism” as an excuse to commit widespread murder, and this has been going on over the last two administrations.

            And people like you have blood on your hands for defending it.

            • “The government is LYING. We already got the guys who did 9/11. We are no longer fighting “terrorists” based on any useful definition of the term.

              That’s actually the reason why so many people found Paul’s filibuster so appealing. ”

              Just when you thought you couldn’t get anymore delusional…

              • Random

                Al-Awlaki was an affiliate of al-Qaeda going way back to before 9/11 as a press agent. The founder of AQAP was an actual conspirator, and its membership is chock-full of Yemeni AQ who are old-school 9/11 AQ guys. Al-Awlaki claimed responsibility for multiple terror attacks on US territory as part of his membership in an enemy group.

                • Bullshit! The President of the United States decided to make all of that bullshit up as an excuse to murder Anwar al-Awlaki because, um, walruses? (Seriously, this is the part I can’t even wrap my head around when it’s spouted off by people like Dilan: why in the bloody blue fuck would the President of the United States and the entire governing apparatus of the United States go to such great lengths to want to kill some complete nobody like al-Awlaki?

            • We are no longer fighting “terrorists” based on any useful definition of the term.

              The Christmas Day bombing plot was not terrorism?

              The Times Square bombing plot was not terrorism?

        • The Constitution goes beyond making war non-reviewable. It actually does make it legal for the President to use military force. It actually does make it legal for the military chain of command, right up through the President, to act in good faith to identify targets and order them struck. Not just non-reviewable: it’s actually legal for them to do that.

          • It does make it legal for the President to use military force after a declaration of war; the last time that happened was in 1941.

            And it makes it legal for the President to use military force in certain situations having to do with law enforcement, insurrection, and rebellion.

            It does not make any other use of military force LEGAL. It makes every other use of military force nonreviewable except by impeachment. The legality of all other uses of military force has been left unresolved and debated for 225 years.

            • Random

              Congress has a very broad power to authorize military response and they’ve already done that in regards to groups like AQAP in 2001. If it was illegal to kill al-Awlaki then it was equally illegal to kill Osama.

              • I wouldn’t even bother: you’re banging your head against the wall of internet lefties’ equivalent of the right-wing tenth amendment/Federalist Society secret Constitution delusion.

                • Anonymous

                  This is exactly correct.

            • It does make it legal for the President to use military force after a declaration of war

              Like this one.

              • Hogan

                But they didn’t say the magic words!

            • rea

              The legality of all other uses of military force has been left unresolved and debated for 225 years.

              Meaning, people have been making the same damn fool argument for 225 years, from Washington to Obama, and it never convinced anyone.

  • Vice President Jerry Lewis

    Joe, you self-serious old cunt, suck your mom’s plastic cock and fuck off.

    • Random

      So in other words, Joe won that debate.

      • Manta

        If by “won” you mean “kept talking until people stopped reading”, then yes: in the same way as Paul’s talking for hours is debating, only less useful.

      • Ronan

        Joe doesn’t ‘win’ debates, b/c he doesn’t take part in them..he just unleases a stream of, sometimes intelligent, rhetoric backed up by an incredible self regard until his opponent is gives up in frustration

      • Ronan

        Such as when you argue with Joe about Obama wanting to keep a residual force in Iraq..we know this is true, there’s evidence to support this being true, people close to the admin admit it’s true..but Joe doesn’t.. so you couldn’t classify it as a’debate’, even though people are talking heatedly about a specific topic.

        • People who haven’t lost debates generally point to the arguments and how they turned out.

          People who have lost debates, on the other hand, characterize them in vague terms.

          It’s not too tough to figure out where you come down.

          • Ronan

            I largely agree with most of your points above (from what Ive read of them, I gave up after a while)

      • Merely “winning” a debate doesn’t generate this kind of response.

        This is the territory of “absolute massacre.”

        • Rhino

          Keep on fucking that chicken, joe.

          • Whatever makes you feel better.

            • Ronan

              Nobody knows anything about military affairs!..why does the left ignore military affairs!? .. MILITARY AFFAIRS!!

  • Why do we even care whether it’s “legal” or not? If an American president orders the use of military force on American citizens on American soil he/she will either get impeached or not, and that political process will concern itself very little about justifying memos written by administration flacks.

  • david mizner

    Why’d he focus on American citizens? I assume your question is rhetorical.

    Because he’s an American pol — DiFi did the same thing on detention — and a teabagging one to boot. Sadly, it’s good politics.

    That’s precisely why liberal Senators should have used the opportunity to give the proceedings a more pro-human rights (as opposed to pro-superpatriot) feel.

    But liberal Senators say they’re going to push for oversight, that this just wasn’t the right forum. We’ll see.

    • Manta

      “push for oversight”:
      google translates it into
      “we won’t do anything about it, but we will use it as an excuse to bash those people that are trying something”

      Is it broken?

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