John Watson is a long time Wilmington talk show host. He now makes NewsWorks one of the places where he expresses his opinion on various topics.
John Watson’s essayworks
To listen to the media reports on Senator Rand Paul’s filibuster, in opposition to John Brennan as head of the CIA and the President’s drone attack policy, one would think that it’s common practice for the government to possibly target innocent American citizens for drone attacks on U.S. soil. And some of the reports are supporting his wrong-headed ranting that went on for almost 13 hours. It’s not an agreement that this could happen, but media reports say he was right in how he questions the use of drone attacks. The reports say the government needs more clarity about how, when and where it has the authority to use these attacks, especially when a U.S. citizen is part of the target in the cross-hairs.
Rand Paul’s ranting stunt is some of the most nonsense I have ever heard from an elected official in Congress or elsewhere. Reports say in answering a letter Paul wrote to Brennan on this, Attorney General Eric Holder answered, in essence, it’s not going to happen.
I’m all in favor of government transparency, up to a point. But we don’t need to know the why and how drone attacks kill the enemy and Americans working with them. This puts our U.S. covert operatives in danger of being discovered and killed. Instead of supporting Rand Paul’s arguments in how and when we use drone attacks, we should voice support for how the President is using drone attacks in foreign lands, but has the Constitutional authority to us those attacks, lethal force, in America if we face imminent danger here.
And what about those silly headlines we are seeing like “WHY OBAMA CAVED ON DRONE AND RAND PAUL?” From what I have heard and read, the President was not caving in to anyone about having the authority of using drones to kill Americans not engaged in combat on America soil. That was Rand Paul’s question, and the answer from Attorney General Eric Holder was more than on one word reply of “no”, as some media reports have said.
In a letter to Senator Paul, answering his concerns, Attorney General Eric Holder said the U.S. has never carried out a drone strike against an American on U.S. soil, saying it’s “unlikely to occur.” But he went on to say, “It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the U.S, for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the U.S.” Holder went on to say “catastrophic” attacks such as the 9/11 attacks or Pearl Harbor are examples of circumstances where the President could conceivably feel such an action is necessary.
Of course, Senator Paul didn’t agree with this, using scare tactics to instill deep fear of the U.S. government, saying we should be concerned about the possibility of the President ordering a drone attack on an innocent American sitting in a dinning room or café anywhere. Rush Limbaugh is quoted in the media as calling him a hero. I say both of them are screwballs that need their heads examined, and should stop trying to misinform Americans what the Constitution says.
Now I don’t know about any one reading this piece, but that doesn’t sound like President Barrack Obama, or Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking for both of them, caved on anything Senator Paul had to say during and after his filibuster. Paul was criticized by GOP Senator John McCain, especially his Jane Fonda “hell fire” remarks, suggesting a drone attack could have killed her when she protested the Vietnam War. Senator McCain defended her freedom of speech rights to protest the Vietnam War, even though he disagreed with her. McCain said Paul’s rant against extrajudicial drone attacks was “simply silly” and “ridiculous” and a “stretch of the imagination” to “allege or infer that the President of the United States is going to kill somebody like Jane Fonda or somebody who disagrees with the policies.”
Makes sense to me. How about you?