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Why Republican Hawks And Rand Paul Are Perfectly Compatible

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Weigel finds neocon uberhack Jennifer Rubin stating the obvious about why the Paul filibuster found plenty of favor among Bush-loving hawks:

He wasn’t attacking the war on terror. He wasn’t attacking drone use overseas. He surely wasn’t attacking indefinite detention at Guantanamo for enemy combatants. He was objecting to the refusal of the administration to say whether it is constitutional to use drones on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens who are not combatants… It is not inconsistent, media mavens, to support drone use against terrorists overseas or to deal with enemy combatants at Gitmo outside the civilian judicial system and to oppose the ludicrous position that the government can target Americans on U.S. soil when they aren’t engaged in hostilities.

Again, the problem with the argument that only partisan tribalists could be skeptical of Rand Paul as a spokesman for treating suspected terrorists is that if you look at the issues carefully Paul is to Obama’s right (the same at best on targeted assassinations, worse on civilian trials for terror suspects. And, by the way, you can’t enthusiastically applaud Paul’s ineffectual filibuster while giving Obama no credit for attempting to close Gitmo and getting thwarted by veto-proof majorities in Congress.)

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  • +1 for that last sentence, Scott

    • Manta

      There is a vast difference in power between a lone senator and the president.

      Or we should also discount everything Scott writes because it’s also ineffectual?

      • Njorl

        Yes, there is. There is also a big difference in power between veto-proof majorities of congress and the president.

        • Cody

          Not to mention the power the President is using derives FROM THE CONGRESS.

          That RAND PAUL WAS PART OF.

          DO I NEED MORE CAPS?

          Although the Administration appears to argue the power may also be written into the Constitution; that appears to be more of a back-up.

      • Random

        Njorl beat me to it….there is NOT a vast difference in power between the Executive and the Congress….

        • Njorl

          I was not saying that. While it isn’t a “vast” difference, a veto-proof majority of the congress is considerably more powerful than the president.

          • Random

            Yeah I see the subtle difference now that you point it out. But same basic point though…the Executive branch doesn’t have sole discretion to control the issue.

  • david mizner

    Wow, you’re really over the map on the Paul filibuster. A few days ago you were calling it “salutary.” Now you’re calling it “ineffectual.” Which is it?

    And so what if Paul is to the right of Obama on other issues? This isn’t a campaign or a parlor game where we have to decide which is better.

    On this issue — targeted killing — he was, among other things, pressing the Obama to release the OLC memos (which form the basis of killing not just in the United States but everywhere) and tearing apart the Obama administration’s legal reasoning for killing Americans overseas (The White Paper.) The idea that he has the “same position” on TK is bullshit.

    Lastly, the ACLU opposed Obama’s effort the create “Gitmo North,” because it would’ve just moved the system of injustice — indefinite detention and military commissions — to Illinois. He would have closed Gitmo and created another extrajudicial nightmare.

    • Anon21

      The Obama DOJ also attempted to bring KSM to trial in federal court in New York City. That would have been a big step away from military commissions, had Bloomberg and other ninnies not insisted on acting like al Qaeda is made up of SUPERVILLIANS who could easily break into the New York Metropolitan Detention Center.

      • c u n d gulag

        Why, everyone knows that their Superhuman Sharia mental powers can turn reinforced concrete into dust, and melt steel!

        And, that’s if they don’t just walk through the walls, invisible.

        Ya gotta watch out fer dem Moozlims, we tellz ya!

      • david mizner

        Holder was by all account determined to try KSM in New York and was backed by Brennan, who, for all his faults, is a strong backer of civilian trials, but they were undermined not just by Bloomberg and Democrats but Rahm Emmanuel.

        http://attackerman.firedoglake.com/2010/02/15/rahm-ksm-gtmo-lindsey-graham-bipartisanship-as-unilateral-disarmament/

        But this is tangential to the issue of closing to Gitmo. To close down not just Gitmo but “Gitmo,” you have to be make the brave decision to release they people you can’t or won’t put on trial. You have to oppose indefinite detention. There’s no other way.

        • Anon21

          To close down not just Gitmo but “Gitmo,” you have to be make the brave decision to release they people you can’t or won’t put on trial. You have to oppose indefinite detention. There’s no other way.

          I agree, but it’s not clear to me that any of the prisoners who remain at Gitmo now couldn’t be charged and tried in civilian court. In any event, the vast majority could be. I think if they had successfully tried KSM, they would probably have been able to do civilian trials for everyone against whom they felt they had a case.

          • david mizner

            It would’ve been a big step, no question. As it stands, the biggest terrorism trial in history is quietly taking place in the third incarnation of a third-tier injustice system. It’s a fiasco. Have I mentioned that more than 10 years have passed since the crime?

            I blame Bloomberg more than anyone else.

        • wengler

          The US should close down the detention facility and the naval base. It’s been 107 years now, 8 years over the any recognized perpetual lease. Let the Cubans have their bay back.

    • david mizner

      I continue to believe that Scott and many other people commenting on the Paul filibuster didn’t watch or read it. If they had, they would’ve seen that, while he kept coming back to the issue of targeting Americans, he touched on core issues related to the TK program and wider waronterra. And by the way, he blasted not just the White House but Congress. One example:

      We also asked the question do you condone the CIA’s practice of counting civilians killed by U.S. drone strikes as militants simply because they were of the same age? Like every other question, no answer. We asked him whether al-Awlaki’s son was a target. No answer. We asked how many people have been targeted. No answer. Part of the problem with this is that we are or Congress in general is sloppy about writing legislation in general…

      We abdicate our responsibility by not really writing legislation. We write shells of legislation that are imprecise and don’t retain the power, and because of that, the executive branch and the bureaucracy, which is essentially the same thing, do whatever they want. This happened also with the use of authorization of force in Afghanistan. This happened over 10 years ago now, 12 years ago. I thought we were going to war against the people who attacked us, and I’m all for that. I would have voted for the war. I would have preferred it to have been a declaration of war.

      I think we were united in saying let’s get those people who attacked us on 9/11 and make sure it never happens again. The problem is as this war has drug on, they take that authorization of use of force to mean pretty much anything. And so they have now said that the war has no geographic limitations, so it’s really not a war in Afghanistan, it’s a war in Yemen, Somalia, Mali. It’s a war in unlimited places. Were we a body that cared about our prerogative to declare war, we would take that power back. But I’ll tell you how poor – and this is on both sides of the aisle – how poor is our understanding or belief in retaining that power here? About a year ago, I tried to end the Iraq war. You may say, well, I thought the Iraq war was already over. It is, but we still have an authorization of use of force that says we can go to war in Iraq any time.

      And since they think the use of force in Afghanistan means limitless war anywhere, any time in the whole world, for goodness sakes, wouldn’t we try to take back a declaration of war, an authorization of force if the war is over? But here’s the sad part. I actually got a vote on it and I think I got less than 20 votes. You can’t end a war after it’s over up here. And it has repercussions, because these authorizations to use force are used for many other things. So the authorization of force says you can go after al-Qaida or associated terrorists. The problem is, is that when you allow the Executive Branch to sort of determine what is al-Qaida, you’ve got no idea.

      • sibusisodan

        We abdicate our responsibility by not really writing legislation. We write shells of legislation that are imprecise and don’t retain the power, and because of that, the executive branch and the bureaucracy, which is essentially the same thing, do whatever they want.

        So the Senator – part of a father-son Congressional dynasty – is busy upholding a vote on Congressional business in order to lament the lack of actual effective business that Congress does.

        That is some zen stuff, right there. It is bad news for John McCain, who has some stiff competition for the mantle of the Senator who complains most about the system not working, while being an integral part of the non-working of the system.

    • Scott Lemieux

      A few days ago you were calling it “salutary.” Now you’re calling it “ineffectual.” Which is it?

      As already explained in a previous thread, both, since these are not actually inconsistent.

      Lastly, the ACLU opposed Obama’s effort the create “Gitmo North,” because it would’ve just moved the system of injustice — indefinite detention and military commissions — to Illinois. He would have closed Gitmo and created another extrajudicial nightmare.

      Your attempt to argue from authority notwithstanding, this is a really dumb argument. The likelihood for civilian trials was much greater if the prisoners were transferred to civilian jails, which of course is why people who support arbitrary detention were so strongly opposed to it.

      • david mizner

        Do you know what ineffectual means? It means not producing the intended result. Paul stated this his goal was not to stop Brennan but to get a direct answer from Holder and highlight these issues. Mission accomplished on both scores.

        As for Gitmo, this is one of the few areas where I can actually claim a smidgen of authority, since I work on this issue. This was — is — a big debate in the civil liberties-human rights community about whether moving the system of Gitmo to the U.S. would be a net plus or a dangerous step that further institutionalize it. It could kill off what remains of the effort to end gulag-style detention.

        My organization ambivalently concluded that it was worth supporting despite this danger.

        • NonyNony

          It means not producing the intended result. Paul stated this his goal was not to stop Brennan but to get a direct answer from Holder and highlight these issues.

          Except that the answer that he got was the Administration restating exactly what it said before, but using smaller words.

          Considering that Holder’s position before the filibuster was “in the event of extreme Pearl Harbor or 9/11 circumstances the administration could use targetted drone strikes against enemy combatants in the US” and Holder’s position after the filibuster is “in the event of extreme Pearl Harbor or 9/11 circumstances the administration can use targetted drone strikes against enemy combatants in the US”, I’m not exactly sure what you think this whole bit of kabuki accomplished.

        • david mizner

          And I’m still waiting for you to support the contention that Paul is to the right on in the same place on TK. In fact, he explicitly questioned the administration killing of U.S. citizens overseas and wants to more limit the AUMF, the ostensible authority for most drones strikes.

          Believe me, I wish Paul had blasted the TK program more broadly, but he got pretty comfortably to Obama’s left on this issue, to the extent that that’s important. I mean, at one point John Cornyn — who may be to the right of Dick Cheney — pressed for transparency on the TK program, and we — the people who actually work on this issue — said: good job.

          • NonyNony

            In fact, he explicitly questioned the administration killing of U.S. citizens overseas and wants to more limit the AUMF, the ostensible authority for most drones strikes.

            Great. Why hasn’t he put a bill forward to do just that yet then?

            I mean standing up there and grandstanding about the fact that he didn’t understand what Holder told him is one thing, but since he actually does have the power to propose legislation, he could do that. And if it gets blocked by procedure he can raise a shit-fit about that too.

            But he isn’t doing anything like that. And until he actually does something beyond kabuki theater I’m not going to believe his lying ass that he wants to do anything real rather than just use this issue to fundraise for his next campaign.

            • Malaclypse

              Why hasn’t he put a bill forward to do just that yet then?

              To be fair, he did.

              • Random

                So why is he bugging the Executive when the problem is Congress?

            • david mizner

              I don’t care much about Paul. He did a useful thing, maybe he’ll do other useful things.
              Meanwhile maybe the liberals who are speaking out, like those who’ve signed this letter, will find a way to put muscle behind their positions, which are vastly superior to Paul’s.

              http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/03/05/469677/-Clinton-campaign-making-Obama-blacker

              • djw

                I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume this isn’t the link you intended to include.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Do you know what ineffectual means?

          Yes. When I say that the filibuster was ineffectual,I mean that it won’t won’t lead to any change in government policy. This isn’t terribly complicated.

          This was — is — a big debate in the civil liberties-human rights community about whether moving the system of Gitmo to the U.S. would be a net plus or a dangerous step that further institutionalize it. It could kill off what remains of the effort to end gulag-style detention.

          The latter argument is remarkably implausible even for a heighten-the-contradictions argument. “Maintaining a military detention facility that is enormously popular with both the public and political elites will ultimately undermine support for indefinite military detention.” Can’t see any flaws with that logic!

          • david mizner

            OK, so no, you don’t know what ineffectual means. But who cares. Still waiting for you to make the case that Paul is no better than Obama on TK.

            Paul:

            I think lethal force can be used against those engaged in lethal force. What troubles me about the drone strike program is that quite a few – I don’t know the number – “The Wall Street Journal” says the bulk of the attacks in Pakistan have been signature attacks, meaning: nobody named and nobody specifically identified, and that civilians aren’t really counted because anybody, any male between the age of 16 and 50 is a combatant unless otherwise proven. But if those are the standards, I think we need to be alarmed. And I think there is a difference between sympathizing and taking up arms.

            http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-transcript-rand-paul-filibuster-20130307,0,3632134,full.story

            Obama:

            One of the more disturbing recent revelations into White House foreign policy decision-making is that President Obama authorized targeted drone strikes while unaware that he had actually authorized signature strikes. According to Daniel Klaidman, when Obama was first made aware of signature strikes, the CIA’s deputy director clarified: “Mr. President, we can see that there are a lot of military-age males down there, men associated with terrorist activity, but we don’t necessarily know who they are.” Obama reacted sharply, “That’s not good enough for me.” According to one adviser describing the president’s unease: “‘He would squirm…he didn’t like the idea of kill ‘em and sort it out later.’” Like other controversial counterterrorism policies inherited by Obama, it did end up “good enough,” since he allowed the practice to stand in Pakistan, and in April authorized the CIA and JSOC to conduct signature strikes in Yemen as well.

            https://blogs.cfr.org/zenko/2012/07/16/targeted-killings-and-signature-strikes/

            • Scott Lemieux

              so no, you don’t know what ineffectual means.

              Or, I’m evaluating the speech against useful goals rather than what you imagine his goals to be. Who can say?

              On the rest, apparently Paul (like Obama) has expressed misgivings about the lack of standards for determining who’s an acceptable target and (like Obama) has done nothing about it.

        • Do you know what ineffectual means? It means not producing the intended result.

          Sadly, you don’t:

          Not producing any or the desired effect: “an ineffectual campaign”.

          One reason to perform an ineffectual action is because you desire nothing to happen.

      • JMP

        Sure, having civilian trials as Obama tried to do but was blocked by Congress would seem to end one of the big abuses at Guantanamo, after he had already ended the other big abuse of torture, but that’s because you’re looking at this the wrong way, where all that matters is respecting guarantees of due process and protecting human rights.

        You’re missing the most important issue, that people like David Mizner can prove that they’re better, purer, holier liberals than anyone else; therefore, Obama’s plan to close Gitmo must have really been no different from the status quo, because Obama is exactly the same as Bush and Mizner can feel all smug and superior.

        • david mizner

          Obama’s been safely less conservative than virtually the entire GOP on trials. At the moment, his admin is trying OBL son-in-law in New York, to the chagrin of the three amigos (McCain, Gramm, and Ayotte.)

          But even Obama worked to end the restrictions on transfers and succeeded, we’d still be left with the problem the people he refuses to put on trial.

      • rea

        The likelihood for civilian trials was much greater if the prisoners were transferred to civilian jails

        As I and others pointed out yesterday, there are no civilian federal courts at Guantanamo and no jurors, so unless you support trials in absentia, the essential first step to obtain a civilian trial for a Guantanamo prisoner is to tranfer him back to the US.

        • …a point that absolutely nobody questioned for even a moment, right up until President Obama came out in support of doing so, at which point the closing of Gitmo and transfer of the detainees to the civilian prison system miraculously and immediately became Not Good Enough.

    • “And so what if Paul is to the right of Obama on other issues?”

      Fucking hell, do you actually read anything?

      • DrDick

        No. This has been SATSQ.

    • Random

      Let me introduce you to my friends, Nuance and Realism….

  • JMP

    But according to all the leftier-than-thou types, it’s all Obama’s fault that Gitmo is still open, because if he really wanted to close it he would have used his magic powers to make Congress do his bidding and allow him to do so! So therefore he really must not want to close Gitmo, just like his refusal to use those magic powers to make Congress pass a public option, or maybe even single payer as part of the ACA means he must have really opposed them.

    Or else he could have just violated the law passed by Congress and unilaterally closed it anyway, because illegal executive power grabs are OK when conducted by the hypothetical pure liberal president Obama will never be able to live up to as the leftier-than-thous continue to reflexively condemn every single damn thing he does.

    • janastas359

      Or else he could have just violated the law passed by Congress and unilaterally closed it anyway,

      “Great idea!” – Bob Woodward

    • Manta

      Do you think that if Obama decided to ignore Congress and close Gitmo a judge would have ruled against him? (it’s a serious question)
      If not, then it was in his power to do that.

      • janastas359

        Do you really, legitimately believe that it’s a good idea to set the precedent that the President can do whatever he wants, regardless of what congress says? That’s really the standard by which you want Presidents to act?

      • Malaclypse

        Do you think that if Obama decided to ignore Congress and close Gitmo a judge would have ruled against him?

        Yes.

      • sibusisodan

        Do you think that if Obama decided to ignore Congress and close Gitmo a judge would have ruled against him? (it’s a serious question)

        That’s only a serious question if it travelled through a time-warp from 2008, surely?

        Obama gave the Executive Order to close Gitmo. And Congress then refused any kind of funding for a civilian alternative, IIRC.

        So, either the status quo remains, or Obama releases all the detainees entirely and gets impeached quicker than you can say ‘soft on terrorism’.

        But even if Obama had the ability to make his EO stick, absent funds, the chances that it would not have been challenged in the courts are miniscule. Given that a ‘looks very similar to Heritage Foundation’ healthcare bill got all the way to the Supreme Court, any unilateral repudiation of the central doctrine of that guy – the one who was President before the current one – thingummy, would have been pounced on.

      • 1. Yeah, I don’t see why they wouldn’t. Congress said they didn’t want money spent on moving Gitmo prisoners, and they clearly have appropriation authority. Fairly cut and dried.

        2. LOL at the ongoing evolving standard of internet lefty OUTRAGE!!!

      • JMP

        (it’s a serious question)

        No it isn’t.

      • Cody

        I don’t know.

        Do you think if someone lost an election, a judge would rule to make him President because “it would take too long to recount”?

        • Crackity Jones

          Not just that, but it would hurt George Bush’s feelings! I mean-irreparably harm George Bush’s constitutional rights. Must’ve slept through judicial chicanery in law school.

      • FlipYrWhig

        Obama should substitute his own judgment and action for the actual law on Guantanamo, but he must immediately cease from susbstituting his own judgment and action for the actual law on drones! Schrodinger 2016!

      • Random

        No question whatsoever the Judiciary would block the Executive’s attempt to close GTMO.

        • rea

          Not only that, but given what Congress passed, the Judiciary would be right to do so.

        • Manta

          Fine: I was under the (wrong) impression that in these cases of contrast between the executive and the legislative powers the court would usually say “sort it out between yourselves”, but I take the correction.

  • Boots Day

    He was objecting to the refusal of the administration to say whether it is constitutional to use drones on U.S. soil against U.S. citizens who are not combatants

    I must be taking crazy pills. Holder’s initial statement on drones said that the only way we would use them on American soil is in the highly unlikely event that we find ourselves under the kind of massive attack we had on 9/11 and Pearl Harbor. Is there some kind of alternative universe in which attacking Japanese fighter planes are not considered “combatants”?

    • Mike D.

      That’s because the draft of Paul’s question he was responding to at that time did not include the non-combatant caveat. Paul’s entire game was to use shifting drafts of questions to force unpalatable answers out of the administration, in order to obtain statements that could justify his show without demonstrating that his actual positions on the questions and those of the administration weren’t actually appreciably different.

  • The last sentence in the OP is important: The reason Paul’s “progressive” defenders are getting so much put back from others is that it’s blindingly obvious that, to them, this is nothing so much as another excuse for a mindless attack on the Obama administration.

  • James N.

    Now goldang it, wait a minute. If Obama deserves credit for wanting (but failing) to close Gitmo, then surely Paul deserves some credit for at least asking the Executive to explain its views on (one aspect of) the drone program.

    I mean: Rand Paul–not good for the country as a whole, I got it. But if Rand Paul helped an old lady across the street, I think it’s okay to say, “Hey, that was a nice thing to do” and saying that doesn’t mean you approve of everything Rand Paul has ever done or ever might do.

    I hate that drone program, and I hate war, and I hate it that Obama is doing these things. But you know what? He has done some kinda decent things too. He and Congress reduced penalties for crack cocaine offenses, for example, which makes a huge difference for many of my criminal clients and their families. That was a good thing. Wanting to close Gitmo is a good thing. It doesn’t necessarily off-set stuff I think is wrong or misguided, but I can give Obama credit for the good he’s done, without being a war-monger or bank-hugger.

    I can also approve of something Rand Paul did, without being a Rand-reader.

    • Cody

      Except the problem is Rand Paul didn’t -do- anything.

      He just talked for 13 hours to boost his bid for Presidency. He asked if we can use drones to kill American Citizens on American soil for no reason.

      We already knew the answer. The only people who didn’t know the answer are what we call “wignuts” around these parts.

      He did rail on other things like the AUMF, but he never said he was “against it”. Or that he didn’t want to use drone strikes on foreign soil. He just asked why it was like that.

      • James N.

        Can you cite to me where the Administration admitted it did not have the legal authority to use drone strikes on U.S. citizens (or, as someone pointed out in the other thread, non-citizens) on U.S. soil without any outside review?

        (It’s an honest question: they may have said, “We totally can’t do this” already and I missed it.)

        My understanding is that the Administration said, in effect, “We don’t have to tell you boo about our legal justifications, just trust us.” Which is exactly what the Bush administration said on a variety of matters, and wasn’t particularly reassuring.

        The fact that Rand Paul would USE drones “to the right of Obama” doesn’t change the fact that Obama was invoking something awfully close to the Star Chamber / divine right of kings type of deal where he gets to decide who lives and who dies, and we’re not entitled to know who gave him that authority or how he’ll implement it. Even if you’re okay with Obama having that power, eventually there will be a President whose ability to do that will alarm you.

        I am not sure that Paul’s approach was ineffectual: he filibustered, and within days Holder produced a response.

        • Malaclypse

          Can you cite to me where the Administration admitted it did not have the legal authority to use drone strikes on U.S. citizens (or, as someone pointed out in the other thread, non-citizens) on U.S. soil without any outside review?

          “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: “Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil? The answer to that question is no.”

          • FlipYrWhig

            I think James was actually asking if anyone had offered a clear statement like that _before_ the Paul stunt. Because if no one had, then Paul might deserve credit for getting a clarification.

            • sapient

              Sure, and he should also get a clarification on why Martians shouldn’t be shot on sight. Or why Santa shouldn’t be allowed to break and enter. Or anything anybody dreams up that the President should address.

            • Malaclypse

              Paul deserves to be taken exactly as seriously as the people who got Obama to clarify his position on building Death Stars.

        • sibusisodan

          Well, there’s this. Does that help?

          But then there’s the more relevant question: what, exactly, does that response clarify that we didn’t know already? Or that Rand Paul didn’t already have the ability to read in transcipts of Holder’s appearances before committees and stuff?

          • James N.

            Yes, but that news article and clarification comes exactly one day AFTER Paul made his filibuster. And I don’t think it was a foregone answer. Certainly the Bush administration might have answered “It depends,” and prior to explicitly saying no, Holder too had answered “it depends.”

            I may be biased in favor of myself, but I don’t think I’m a wing-nut to be kinda concerned about “it depends” when asked a very simple question about Constitutional law, especially given the state of American political thought over the last 12 years or so.

        • FlipYrWhig

          As I understand it, Holder originally said that there were unlikely scenarios under which the US government could use a drone to attack US citizens on US soil. Paul concedes that as well. His stunt was to say, “oh yeah, well, what about a guy doing nothing all by himself, what about then, huh, what about that?” And the answer was “No.” I don’t think it’s all that hard to follow, even for Rand Paul: the executive branch regardless of partisanship or ideology understandably wants to assert that it has maximal authority and discretion, so that in the unlikely event that one of these far-fetched hypotheticals happens to arise, they can act swiftly. When the legislature doesn’t like that state of affairs, it can attempt to make a law, as they did with the War Powers Act–which hasn’t hampered the executive branch much, but also AFAIK has not been slugged out in the courts, because neither the executive nor the legislature wants to risk changing the status quo permanently.

          • James N.

            I completely agree – but when the “maximal authority” that is arguably being asserted is the authority to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil in a manner which is both totally unaccountable and totally opaque, it does not seem crazy to ask the Executive if it has imposed any limits on its own authority, or the source of this power. That’s, like, 17th Century stuff. It would be completely unthinkable, except for the fact that in the present political context, well, here we are.

            For my money, any push back on this–no matter where it comes from–is welcome. Does that mean any push back deserves ten zillion dollars and forgiveness for everything ever? No. But it’s still worthwhile to draw attention to it and help legitimize resistance to this program.

            • FlipYrWhig

              Even so, I kind of expect answers to these sorts of questions to take the form of “it depends” unless the question is extremely narrowly tailored. “Can the US govt kill an American without due process?” Well, it depends! If he’s a special kind of threat, maybe. “Can the US govt kill an American without due process if he isn’t doing anything threatening?” Well, no.

              I don’t think Holder really needed to anticipate all the times when the answer would be no. He essentially anticipated times when the answer would be yes, and said further that it would be extremely rare.

              You know, if someone asked, “Can the US govt kill an American?” the answer would clearly actually be “it depends.” I don’t think that’s an evasive answer. It’s pretty much the nature of law to fuss over exceptions and caveats.

            • Random

              but when the “maximal authority” that is arguably being asserted is the authority to kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil in a manner which is both totally unaccountable and totally opaque,

              I like the use of the qualifier ‘arguably being asserted’. A more accurate phrasing would be “not being asserted and specifically was listed as a power the President doesn’t have in various previous forums”

        • Random

          Yes, actually, Holder had already answered in longer form what conditions the president would be able to use a drone strike. Specifically, 9/11 and Pearl Harbor are the only two days out of the last hundred years where it would have been permissible. That’s it. And almost everybody agrees that is reasonable.

          Rand Paul decided to take advantage of all the rubes (I won’t point fingers here, but a few of them are present on this board) who are stupid enough not to realize the CIA if it wanted has far more effective and stealthy means of assassination available to it than a freaking air-strike on domestic soil in order to whip up some ‘drone paranoia’ and get morons to send him money.

          Whipping up paranoia about black people in the federal government is, for the umpteenth time, exactly how Ron and Rand Paul operate and have for decades now. This is just like the newsletters.

          He rang the moron dinner bell, don’t blame us for not running to it.

          • rea

            9/11 and Pearl Harbor are the only two days out of the last hundred years where it would have been permissible

            Those were actually bad examples, since there were no American combatants on the other side on those days.

            • Njorl

              9/11 isn’t really a bad example. If the plane that crashed in PA had not been brought down, it would have been reasonable to use military means to shoot it down, American civilian non-combatants and all, to prevent it from being flown into a building.

              That would be a case where we were intentionally killing American citizens on American soil whom we knew were innocent with military equipment. Yes, the president has every right to order it done.

        • Cody

          Well,
          Here’s a more pressing issue.

          Can you find an example where President Obama said he doesn’t have the authority to rape white citizens?

          I can’t. NOT A SINGLE DAMN ONE! HE’S GOING TO RAPE ALL US CRACKERS!!!!

          Someone filibuster Senate to get a response!!

          [This obvious hyperbole is brought to you by Cody, for President 2016]

          • sapient

            Thank you.

        • Can you cite to me where the Administration admitted it did not have the legal authority to use drone strikes on U.S. citizens (or, as someone pointed out in the other thread, non-citizens) on U.S. soil without any outside review?

          Can you cite to me where the administration admitted it did not have the legal authority to put a jet pack on a dinosaur?

          Prove to me that Mickey Kaus doesn’t blow goats!

  • Epicurus

    “And, by the way, you can’t enthusiastically applaud Paul’s ineffectual filibuster while giving Obama no credit for attempting to close Gitmo and getting thwarted by veto-proof majorities in Congress.)

    Per Ms. Rubin, apparently you can.

  • Random

    What I said above I think bears repeating….

    The only people upset about this issue are the people flaming freaking stupid enough to think that the CIA needs to resort to freaking *air-strikes* to take out someone they don’t like on domestic US soil.

    Drone technology simply doesn’t give the IC some additional capability to take out domestic targets that they couldn’t have done more efficiently and stealthily with tech from 60 years ago.

    If you’re worried about targeted killings in the US, it needs to be severed from the one technology that wouldn’t be used to do it in the first flipping place.

    • Random

      I want to elaborate on that point some more….

      The only military ability that drones endow is the ability to strike in places where we do not control the ground and have no ground forces. That is just not true of the US, where we have had the technology to capture or kill undesirables for, oh, since about the Revolutionary War.

      If you are scared of *drones* being used for targeted killing in the US you are being played for a fool by unscrupulous politicians.

      • Fred Hampton

        Tell me about it.

    • Njorl

      Right. The obsession with drones obscures the real issues. Killing and spying are the important issues. The hardware used is immaterial. Citizenship is also largely a red herring.

      “It would be wrong to kill an American citizen in the US with a drone, but it’s fine to kill an Englishman in Hoboken with a green card with an M1 tank!”, is crazy.

  • Eggplant

    This was a PR stunt in defense of the filibuster, nothing more. They put on a Mr. Smith style show, choosing a topic with some cross-party appeal, to provide cover for their continued abuse of the far more common quiet filibusters.

  • the ludicrous position that the government can target Americans on U.S. soil when they aren’t engaged in hostilities

    A ludicrous position that nobody has articulated, but that some really dishonest people (right wingers, the lefties who’ve decided to believe them) have decided to pretend actually exists.

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