The Rand Paul Flip-Flop-Flip
It’s been quite a week under the scrutiny of both political parties because of Senator Rand Paul (Kentucky) issued a contradictory statement in regards to the use of drones. After a 13 hour filibuster in the capital, he had established himself as the most anti-drone member of the Senate. That was until this week, when he made a statement on Monday in regards to the manhunt for the Boston Bombing suspect, “If there is a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I’m not against drones being used to search them.”
Wait, what? This guy just spent 13 hours on the Senate floor to stop drones.
In an attempt to redeem himself from the universal backlash, from both Republicans and Democrats, Senator Rand Paul has made and attempt to clarify his position. Paul says, "I didn't change my position. It's exactly the same position I expressed during the 13-hour filibuster," and jokingly adds, " in the famous words of George W. Bush, I think I was mis-underestimated."
Here are some highlights of his response to the flip-flop backlash. Rand Paul explains,"If we were opposed to technology, we might be opposed to a drone or a robot that might dismantle a bomb. A drone is a type of technology. I've been against the abuse of the Bill of Rights, but never said I was against any kind of technology."
So Paul is saying drones are a technology, and he's not against technology? He adds, "Do I want drones flying over getting involved in normal crime sequences? No. But I could imagine a time where a policeman is being shot at in his car and they have the ability to push a button in the car and a small robotic weapon is able to elevate and shoot back at a criminal... It could be simply in the neighborhood and part of a car."
Ultimately, when speaking of drones, in the FoxNews interviewSenator Paul says, "The thing is I'm against targeted killings by drones, but I'm also against targeted killing by sniper, by spear, by knife, by club. The technology isn't so important. What I was arguing at the filibuster was targeted assassination."
Okay, but on a manhunt for one suspect, is that different than targeted assassination that, in a round-about way, he kind of supports the use of a drone? There's no way you can argue against something so persistently for 13 hours and then shortly after, negate your position based an a technicality of the definition of "technology."
Posted by MichaelMears at April 26, 2013 8:07 PM
Searching for a suspect with a drone is one thing, killing with a drone is a totaly different thing. IMO Paul was filibustering against the use of drones for targeted assasination which would lead to colateral damage. It’s the use of drones for the purpose of killing that he and I would assume alot of others are against. Personally I think drones are a good tool to use in the search of a person or persons and for the use on our borders to watch them.
Drones are the least of our problems. Police tactical and military forces roaming the streets of Mass cities, forbidding people from leaving their homes, and then forcing them out while they conducted house to house searches (with no warrants) is a bigger problem. We are moving to a police state. This type of actions by the police and the military will now become the norm.
It’s a shame the author of this article didn’t actually watch the filibuster or do his homework…
I did watch the majority of the filibuster, it was a bit of history that is likely not to be repeated for some time. Not just because it was an actual filibuster, which are very rare, but because Rand Paul didn’t just read out of a phone book for 13 hours. He actually stated some very basic truths about our country, how it is designed to operate and why he was filibustering the nomination. He did so eloquently and without fumbling for what to say next.
As someone who does talk a bit themselves (I do some podcasting and present information to audiences) it is not an easy thing to do, I can assure you.
During the filibuster Rand Paul explained, several times, what he was filibustering. The media decided to ‘condense’ it and paraphrased it for the short attentioned of us. Unfortunately, they didn’t get much of it right…
The issue was civil rights of US Citizens, the use of drones as a tool for assassinations and whether or not they could be used on American soil for that purpose.
It was not about the fact that drones exist and are being used. It is HOW they are being used.
The issue stems from how they are being used in Afghanistan. They are not being used to stop people from attacking us. In fact, very few of the attacks by this administration have been about that. They have been used in two separate ways.
First, they are used to attack people that they suspect might have something to do with terrorism. Maybe. They see a group of people meeting and they attack the group. Most times, this is not a terrorist group at all, rather a wedding, a religious meeting, etc. The administration says that they aren’t killing ‘innocents’ because what they list as a potential enemy is a male over the age of 14. That’s the only criteria. These are called ‘signature strikes’ and they don’t have a specific target. Just a gathering of people that they consider ‘suspicious’. It was one of these strikes that killed the Anwar al Awlaki’s son (A US Citizen), who had never been accused of terrorism himself. They are also responsible for terrorising an entire region/area of the world. Their impact can be seen here:
The second use of the drones that are disconcerting is the targeted assassinations of people who are not actively engaged in attacking the US. Including US Citizens. Anwar al Awlaki is the example of this. Make no mistake, placing an American Citizen on the ‘to kill list’ is unprecedented, we used to think that American Citizens were to retain their civil rights. Because of this action, civil liberties of all Americans have now been curtailed. There is no proof that ANwar al Awlaki did anything other than speak out against the US. The government ‘says’ that he was given a ranking position within al Qaeda, but has never proven that charge. Remember, this is the same government that ‘said’ that Iraq had WMDs… All we know for sure is that he was using his right to free speech to speak out against us.
The worse part of the whole situation is the way he was assassinated. When he was assassinated, he was sitting in a cafe eating breakfast. The US could have gone in and captured him, tried him and then found him guilty if it was sure it had evidence of him doing something, which he may very well have been guilty of. But instead, it chose to just kill him and be done with it.
Rand Paul’s concern is if the administration has crossed this line, what is to prevent it from crossing another line and use the drones to do the same thing in the US. Assassinate a US Citizen SUSPECTED of doing something but not actively engaged in doing anything at the time. Sitting in a cafe eating breakfast. He wanted to get the administration on record to say that it couldn’t do that so if they tried to do so it would be on the record.
Repeatedly during the filibuster, Rand Paul made it quite clear that he was not talking about someone who had a bomb and was getting ready to detonate it next to a building attempting to kill people. REPEATEDLY, not just once, but several times he made this distinction. He also never once said anything about using the drones for surveillance outside or within the US, other than to say that in order to do so the government must have a warrant.
But somehow, this distinction, which was repeated several times during the filibuster (I watched most of it and heard the distinction repeated at least a ten times), didn’t make it into any of the news reports.
I had many conversations with people who were commenting on the filibuster who obviously weren’t watching it. What kind of hubris do you have to have to comment so vocally and so authoritatively on something you have know real knowledge of? A prime example was this on twitter:
@TimInHonolulu You aren’t paying attention, that isn’t the subject at all. It’s about killing Americans IN THE US.
@Rhinehold Has there been a drone strike of a US Citizen in the US. I guess I missed that. Sorry. I thought this was about al-Aulaqi.
@TimInHonolulu Brennan was asked if it were constitutional to kill Citizens in the US, he did not say no, Holder has left it open as well.
@Rhinehold Hypo: US Citizen in NYC: clear evidence he/she holds bomb trigger to explode dirty bomb to kill 1mil? Not Ok to kill?
See, the exact scenario that Rand Paul addressed several times in the course of his filibuster was ‘lost’ on @TimInHonolulu, and obviously lost on many people such as the author of this article…
So, when Rand Paul said something that was not any different than what he was saying during the filibuster and everyone went into overdrive, it is pretty clear that the goal here is to discredit him because he is speaking too dangerous a thought. He was sounding much too much like the founding fathers, speaking out our rights, civil liberties and freedom. We can’t have that because it would be unthinkable to many Democrats and Republicans to limit the power for which they crave so much, the power to extinguish the life of an American Citizen at the whims of the President without due process or proof…
The issue stems from how they are being used in Afghanistan.
And Pakistan, and Yemen, and Somalia, etc…