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Mr. Paul Goes To Washington
March 6, 2013 11:03 AM   Subscribe

Rand Paul Has Started What Could Be an Epic Mr. Smith-Style Filibuster on the Senate Floor. Rand Paul is filibustering John Brennan's nomination to lead the CIA (USA Today). He started at 11:45 AM on Wednesday morning and is still going strong. ""I'm going to speak as long as I can to draw attention to something I find very disturbing," said Paul, who started speaking at 11:45 a.m." Here is a link to the live feed from C-SPAN.

NPR on the filibuster in Jan. 2013

A Real Live Filibuster! (TIME). "The last genuine talking filibuster was performed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who held the floor for more than 8 1/2 hours on Dec. 10, 2010, in objection to an $858 billion tax bill."
posted by bq (414 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let them have their tartar sauce.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:06 AM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


When you remove Stewart's stutter, his filibuster is twenty to twenty-five percent shorter than the claimed duration. Just saying. (Though Paul's deliberately slow pace might balance this out.)
posted by wenestvedt at 11:08 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


He came unprepared. Someone get him the novelization of Space Jam
posted by hellojed at 11:09 AM on March 6, 2013 [28 favorites]


Getting this message on the C-SPAN feed:

"Content temporarily unavailable.
Please try again later."

Downforeveryoneorjustme?
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:09 AM on March 6, 2013


Is it too much to ask for that the next comet not miss?
posted by cjorgensen at 11:10 AM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


I thought they were snowed out for the weekend. Who is he talking to?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:11 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


He should read Atlas Shrugged at them.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:11 AM on March 6, 2013 [18 favorites]


He came unprepared. Someone get him the novelization of Space Jam

Just to fill in those non-USian mefites who might be reading: this is actually the ritual greeting to all new US Senators.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:12 AM on March 6, 2013 [21 favorites]


"And also have you ever said the word 'sofa' out loud to yourself, over and over again? It's one of those weird words. Sofa. Sofa. Sofa. Sofa. Right? It's not just me, is it? Sofa. Seriously strange word."
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 11:12 AM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Downforeveryoneorjustme?

Works for me. Try reloading the page.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:12 AM on March 6, 2013


He's ostensibly protesting the use of drone warfare by the CIA.

Although I can't stand the guy - good for him!
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:13 AM on March 6, 2013 [48 favorites]


Works for me. Try reloading the page.

Weird, reloading didn't help but clicking at the bottom of the video box to turn on Closed Captions fixed it. Thanks though.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:14 AM on March 6, 2013


The dude is talking about domestic drone strikes, which is worth talking about.

Much as you might loathe the Pauls (and I'd be right there beside you on that), they do have things they are consistently right about.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:14 AM on March 6, 2013 [23 favorites]


...they do have things they are consistently right about.

You're not wrong, Walter...
posted by griphus at 11:15 AM on March 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


ah, rand paul, hoping for a government so small it can fit inside my uterus.
posted by nadawi at 11:16 AM on March 6, 2013 [118 favorites]


My biggest problem with Rand Paul is that his first and last names are switched around. Who does he think he is, Elton John?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:16 AM on March 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


Ooh! MAD RESPECT to Rand Paul for doing this (there's something you won't hear me say often). If only there was a "send him statistics/articles/horror stories on drone strikes for him to read out loud" feature.
posted by ghostbikes at 11:16 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well la-dee-dah! While Senator Aqua Buddha is, generally speaking, a crank, I applaud his willingness to actually filibuster Brennan for his unwillingness to speak directly to the drones issue. It puts the Obama administration on the spot for one of the policies that I disagree with vehemently.
posted by mfu at 11:17 AM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


I remember catching a brief clip of a Kansas legislator filibustering something about ten years back. The local news had chosen to show the precise moment where he said to a more or less empty room "In Omaha, they have...a GREAT... Bass Pro Shop"

It was an odd moment.
posted by dismas at 11:17 AM on March 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ayep, this issue is in the (pretty small) overlap between Things I Believe and Things the Pauls Believe. Good for him for doing it.
posted by KathrynT at 11:17 AM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


Paul is grandstanding here. Holder's statement was that domestic drone strikes were completely and utterly unlikely, but may happen in some dark future where the United States has been invaded. He was very clear that drone strikes against American citizens were not on the table.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:18 AM on March 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


they do have things they are consistently right about

A stopped clock is right twice a day, but a clock that runs backward is right four times a day.
posted by localroger at 11:20 AM on March 6, 2013 [108 favorites]


Just tuned in. First thing he says is "I wish I could tell you there is and end to this."

Womp, wooomp.
posted by StrangerInAStrainedLand at 11:20 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


But what time did he get started?!
posted by mrnutty at 11:20 AM on March 6, 2013


Yeah, I actually kind of respect Paul for doing this.

(On preview: Come on, ALL Bass Pro Shops are great. They're like redneck Disneyland. I love Bass Pro Shops!)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:20 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think Rand Paul is a real tool in many ways, and very much a pawn of moneyed interests. But by god, when was the last time you saw a Senator actually stand up and say, "This is bullshit, and it needs to stop!"

Look, kids. Actual statesmanship, something we have a remarkable lack of, these days.

This is what Obama should have been doing from his inauguration day. Not filibustering the Senate, obviously, but standing up there and saying "This is unAmerican, and unacceptable."

Today, Rand Paul is a much bigger man than Barack Obama.
posted by Malor at 11:21 AM on March 6, 2013 [21 favorites]


I remember catching a brief clip of a Kansas legislator filibustering something about ten years back. The local news had chosen to show the precise moment where he said to a more or less empty room "In Omaha, they have...a GREAT... Bass Pro Shop"

It was an odd moment.


Especially since that shop is in Council Bluffs.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:21 AM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


To me, there’s a difference between voting no on a nominee for CIA director (who has been questioned for hours and hours in hearings, no?) and holding up the business of the Congress. If there’s even anyone there today.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:21 AM on March 6, 2013


TypographicalError:
While it might be off the table for the Obama administration, categorically stating that it is illegal under non-emergency scenarios is what I (and the lefty-civil-libertarian-blogger types who's arguments I agree with) are looking for. NOT stating that explicit illegality leaves the door entirely too wide open for future adminstrations to use and abuse.
posted by mfu at 11:22 AM on March 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


Every time I hear about a filibuster, I think about 2 things - that one episode of The West Wing where a senator held up a bill until CJ finally figured out why, and a Star Trek novel I read years ago where Bones was being held captive on some planet. He found some rule where he could speak in his own defense and basically talked non-stop for hours and hours until Kirk and team could rescue him.
posted by jquinby at 11:24 AM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


One quirk here is that if drones were deployed domestically, they would of course not be operated by the CIA, because the CIA doesn't operate in the US. It would have to be the police or, conceivably, the military.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 11:25 AM on March 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


Beyond being impressed by the old-fashioned, honest-to-goodness filibuster actually happening, I'm also impressed that he's not just reading a phonebook or something. He's seriously talking about drones and has been for over 2 hours.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:25 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wow, he's actually talking on topic. I thought he'd be doing filler, but he's really spelling out what he thinks is wrong. Can't stand the guy most of the time, but respect for this.
posted by echo target at 11:26 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


jquinby: I feel the absolutely pedantic need to mention that it was Donna who figured out why Stackhouse was fillibustering. It was just a big early moment for her character, is all.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:27 AM on March 6, 2013 [17 favorites]


Colour me shocked that he's actually being coherent and talking about something important. I'm finding it quite gripping.
posted by RokkitNite at 11:28 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


(Serious question here):

Is there anything about drone strikes per se that people find objectionable? Or is it just that they are paramilitary operations?
posted by graphnerd at 11:29 AM on March 6, 2013


Rand Paul has convinced me that *some* Americans justifiably should be able to be killed without due process.
posted by markkraft at 11:30 AM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is there anything about drone strikes per se that people find objectionable? Or is it just that they are paramilitary operations?

If the administration were dispatching helmet-clad shield-bearing parachutist hoplites to indiscriminately spear to death militants and innocents alike, I would still object to the program.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:32 AM on March 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


Today, Rand Paul is a much bigger man than Barack Obama.

If Romney was President, Rand Paul would not filibuster over drone strikes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:32 AM on March 6, 2013 [88 favorites]


Oh God, now he's saying "laws of war" means "martial law in the United States of America".
posted by BungaDunga at 11:32 AM on March 6, 2013


I hate it that I'm saying this, but:

I agree with Rand Paul. The ambiguity surrounding what the administration sees as their freedom to make war on anyone and anything anywhere in the world is something that needs attention, and needs it now. And I hope he succeeds in getting it.
posted by koeselitz at 11:33 AM on March 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


mfu: categorically stating that it is illegal under non-emergency scenarios is what I (and the lefty-civil-libertarian-blogger types who's arguments I agree with) are looking for

There are conceivable scenarios when a drone strike might have to be ordered on an American citizen on American soil. Like, I can imagine them, even if I don't think they're ever going to take place. For me, I'm pleased at the honesty of the administration, who could take a simple, "No, of course it's illegal" stance, while quietly thinking that in case shit ever went down, it would certainly be an option.

I doubt that Rand Paul actually cares much about this issue. Certainly he can come up with arguments against it, but if the last 20 years have shown us anything, it's that legislators will say anything, true or not, in an argument if it helps their case. And I'm sure that Rand Paul doesn't give a shit about drones killing brown kids "over there". This is just him trying to make Obama look bad by filibustering his CIA director nominee.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:33 AM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah, this is kind of cool. I've heard about these things, but this is the first time I've heard one. It's 1:30am here, but I might see how long I can listen.

He's onto saying what he admires about Obama. How does one even speak like a human being for upwards of two hours? Doesn't Gaddafi do this kind of speech?

Is there a US version of Hansard where all of this will be recorded for posterity?
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:34 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh Christ. He just Godwinned it all. And he was doing so well.
posted by RokkitNite at 11:35 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aaaaaand Hitler.
posted by BungaDunga at 11:35 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Its nice of Rand Paul to take some heat off of Graham and McCain, whose whole reason to oppose Brennan is "hurf durf Sunday talk show Benghazi durf durf."
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:36 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


He's seriously talking about drones and has been for over 2 hours.

Is he
.
.
.
.
.
droning on?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:36 AM on March 6, 2013 [88 favorites]


He's still making some good points, but yeah, Godwin=Randloss.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 11:36 AM on March 6, 2013


If Romney was President, Rand Paul would not filibuster over drone strikes.

On the other hand, he's saying right now that he's willing to take Obama at his word that they're being responsible, but what if the next guy is Hitler??

This is the danger of not just reading the phonebook, if you're gonna talk seriously you might gaffe it up a few times...
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:37 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heh. Any old idiot can get respect from you lot by saying "drones" enough.
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on March 6, 2013 [10 favorites]


TypographicalError: “There are conceivable scenarios when a drone strike might have to be ordered on an American citizen on American soil. Like, I can imagine them, even if I don't think they're ever going to take place. For me, I'm pleased at the honesty of the administration, who could take a simple, 'No, of course it's illegal' stance, while quietly thinking that in case shit ever went down, it would certainly be an option.”

I dispute the notion that there are such circumstances, and the fact that Eric Holder's example – another September 11th – is clearly not those circumstances is pretty telling, I think.

If the administration wanted to be forthright, they could have actually said that it's legally okay for them to kill American citizens in certain circumstances. But in fact they did not say that at all. The letter Holder wrote to Rand is remarkably vague. And I suspect he didn't say the words because saying the actual words would put them in a certain amount of trouble.

If an administration is doing something that it can't actually put into words because doing so would cause them problems, then I have a feeling that thing is a thing that needs some discussion.
posted by koeselitz at 11:37 AM on March 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


The ultimate white noise.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:39 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the administration were dispatching helmet-clad shield-bearing parachutist hoplites to indiscriminately spear to death militants and innocents alike, I would still object to the program.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:32 PM on March 6 [+] [!]


Wait, what was that bit about "horses and bayonets" from the debate?

Dear God, I think you just slipped me the Blue Pill.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 11:39 AM on March 6, 2013


I'm hoping he gets increasingly less coherent as this spins out. Eventually it'll just be armpit farts and impressions: 'But I wonder what Bobcat Goldthwait would have to say about drone strikes... WooHAAAY HARRGH'
posted by RokkitNite at 11:39 AM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Holder's statement was that domestic drone strikes were completely and utterly unlikely, but may happen in some dark future where the United States has been invaded. He was very clear that drone strikes against American citizens were not on the table.

Well that's not clear at all, now is it? Why even actively entertain this dark future where drone strikes on domestic turf might be possible? If you really want to make it clear that drone strikes against American citizens aren't all the table at all, then just say that. Don't carve out an exception that you can later wedge directly into your policy and say "see, we told you they weren't off the table."
posted by IvoShandor at 11:40 AM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


"If we rely on the whims of politicians, we've made a mistake."


Hmmmmmmmm.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:40 AM on March 6, 2013


He's talking now about the fact that even though he, and we, trust now that Obama will not use this power, we can't know who will be the leaders in the future. If we believe that democracy is imperfect (and I think we have to believe that if we look at actual facts), we need constraints on the powers of government. And we can disagree about what those constraints should be. But I think that the power to kill citizens inside the country's borders because it's too hard to give them fair trials is beyond the pale.

And now he's talking about DNA exonerations and the fact that innocent people can be convicted even with the checks in the judicial system, because determining guilt and innocence is really complicated and difficult. Right now, in this brief moment, I love this guy.
posted by decathecting at 11:42 AM on March 6, 2013 [21 favorites]



Today, Rand Paul is a much bigger man than Barack Obama.

If Romney was President, Rand Paul would not filibuster over drone strikes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 PM on March 6


Ding ding ding. We have a winner.
posted by azpenguin at 11:42 AM on March 6, 2013


I'm hoping he gets increasingly less coherent as this spins out.

Huey Long would apparently recite various recipes when he was filibustering just to eat up time.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:44 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is he allowed a water boy? I've only been listening 5 mins and he seems to be a bit dry in the throat.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:45 AM on March 6, 2013


Any old idiot can get respect from you lot by saying "drones" enough.

Well, don't we think we're just too cool for the room...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:45 AM on March 6, 2013


Wait, what was that bit about "horses and bayonets" from the debate?

Dear God, I think you just slipped me the Blue Pill.


Well, what I meant was that I don't object to drones in themselves, but rather to the indiscriminate and unregulated killing that they do, so I just invented the least drone-like program I could imagine on the spot.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:45 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


so I just invented the least drone-like program I could imagine on the spot.

Care bears with moist toothbrushes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:46 AM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Should we start a pool on how long he goes? Wikipedia says that the record was 24 hours and change by Strom Thurmond. Are there enough folks around to end this via cloture?
posted by jquinby at 11:46 AM on March 6, 2013


Is there a US version of Hansard where all of this will be recorded for posterity?

We call it the Congressional Record.
posted by zachlipton at 11:46 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


If Romney was President, Rand Paul would not filibuster over drone strikes.

Are you sure?

"These people, Republicans and Democrats, don't believe there's any limit to the war. There's no geographic limit, and there's no temporal limit." -Rand Paul, just now.

Yes, he's a Tea Party Republican. But he has historically not been a partisan on this particular issue, on which he opposes his own party vehemently.
posted by decathecting at 11:46 AM on March 6, 2013 [21 favorites]


If Romney was President, Rand Paul would not filibuster over drone strikes.

I'd like to see this alternative universe where you know these things.

The "paul political brand" is about thumping on the Constitution while claiming its more then some gosh darned hunk of paper. The issue of drone usage matters. A theoretical Rmoney's spending of our money the same way as being protested about here should get the same kind of chest thumping as is now going on.

Which other Senator/House members are willing to stand up and this? Which one would be doing this in the observed Romney president world?

Too bad that this will be about as effective at getting anything done as Ron Paul's drafted legislation was at getting signed by a president.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:47 AM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wish I could respect this, but with the Senate's current rules of order this is a pointless political stunt. The man is doing it solely to boost his name for his now inevitable 2016 run.
posted by crazy with stars at 11:48 AM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


koeselitz: If the administration wanted to be forthright, they could have actually said that it's legally okay for them to kill American citizens in certain circumstances. But in fact they did not say that at all. The letter Holder wrote to Rand is remarkably vague. And I suspect he didn't say the words because saying the actual words would put them in a certain amount of trouble.

Saying the words would be a PR problem, not a legal problem. Legally, I certainly believe that there are circumstances under which domestic drone strikes could be ordered and would be found constitutional.

In any case, my reading of Holder's letter was as straightforward as you asked for. It's hard to say that it's vague when it explicitly says, "Yes, there is an imaginable circumstance where we think this would be legal."

As to Holder's example of 9/11--that was unfortunate, but he wasn't constructing a policy brief for Paul, he was giving a quick example of a type of event where circumstances might dictate such a response.
posted by TypographicalError at 11:48 AM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today, Rand Paul is a much bigger man than Barack Obama.

If Romney was President, Rand Paul would not filibuster over drone strikes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:32 PM on March 6

Ding ding ding. We have a winner.


What's the contest? Like even if I agree with you (and decathecting makes a good point that it's not clear)...Romney didn't win. And Paul is doing the filibuster. So we're praising his filibuster. This isn't a referendum about "is Rand Paul a good person over the sum total of his life?"
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:49 AM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


If we believe that democracy is imperfect (and I think we have to believe that if we look at actual facts), we need constraints on the powers of government.

I am always impressed at people who don't seem to understand that Congress today can be undone by Congress tomorrow.

There is no immutable check against some future hypothetical bad act on the part of the president.

This is just so much high-minded showboating by a fascist small minded douchebag.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:50 AM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Rand Paul has convinced me that *some* Americans justifiably should be able to be killed without due process.
posted by markkraft at 11:30 AM on March 6 [+] [!]


Flagged as veiled threat to sitting Congressman.

Best watch the sky in your local area.
posted by rough ashlar at 11:51 AM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


The fact that Rand Paul, a man who wants to abolish the Department of Education, said "Just because a couple people on the Supreme Court declare something to be 'constitutional' does not make it so" about the ACA, opposes all gun control legislation, and thinks the government should ban all forms of abortion (though he just ranted about the un-enumerated right to privacy on the Senate floor) has managed to deserve a small modicum of respect from me gives a pretty good sense as to just how screwed up this entire situation is.
posted by zachlipton at 11:56 AM on March 6, 2013 [11 favorites]


graphnerd: Is there anything about drone strikes per se that people find objectionable?

Well, executing people without a trial is normally called 'extrajudicial assassination'.

Drones are, absolutely literally, mechanized death squads. Look up death squads to see some fairly strong objections to the practice.
posted by Malor at 11:57 AM on March 6, 2013 [19 favorites]


I feel the absolutely pedantic need to mention that it was Donna who figured out why Stackhouse was fillibustering.

I think I need to watch this episode again, because it's been sitting kind of wrong with me and I'm not sure if it's because I misunderstood or because it was stupid. Anyone interested in talking about real American politics please skip.

IIRC the West Wing crew is trying to get a law or something passed and Stackhouse filibusters because it would negatively impact him (or his family?) personally. Why does finding this out make the West Wing crew try to help him defeat what they were previously for? Did they not research their own position and know the potential impacts or was there some sort of "We'll do this guy a favour because X" conversation I've blocked out? Because finding out that your proposal is going to negatively impact one random guy personally doesn't really seem like something that should make you change your mind, all else being equal.
posted by ODiV at 11:58 AM on March 6, 2013


Is he allowed a water boy? I've only been listening 5 mins and he seems to be a bit dry in the throat.

Maybe he could borrow a water bottle from Rubio.
posted by Rangeboy at 11:58 AM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


It took me ages to differentiate between Rand Paul and Ron Paul. The latter scares me. The former? Rock on with your bad self about these drones.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:59 AM on March 6, 2013


Lemurrhea: What's the contest? Like even if I agree with you (and decathecting makes a good point that it's not clear)...Romney didn't win. And Paul is doing the filibuster. So we're praising his filibuster. This isn't a referendum about "is Rand Paul a good person over the sum total of his life?"

You have to consider the purpose of what he's doing. Is he really trying to reduce the risk of future drone strikes against Americans by the government, or is he trying to produce division within the Democratic party to undermine support for Obama? I think the latter is a much more likely reason.

I tend to think Obama would have stood against the use of drones and other such creeping militarism if the Republicans wouldn't have used it as an opportunity to paint him as weak on terrorism. So the Republicans (and the Pauls are absolutely partisan, make no mistake about it) are trying to play both sides of the issue to undermine support for purely partisan reasons. It's not good to support their efforts on either side.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:00 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Metafilter: Aaaaaand Hitler.
posted by quin at 12:00 PM on March 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


managed to deserve a small modicum of respect from me

Kinda frames how screwed up the other 500+ members of the clown car brigade are.

Any of the others could have stood up and brought up things like the drones or accountability of the banks or any 100's of other topics yet can't seem to be bothered.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:00 PM on March 6, 2013


TypographicalError: “Saying the words would be a PR problem, not a legal problem. Legally, I certainly believe that there are circumstances under which domestic drone strikes could be ordered and would be found constitutional.”

How many times do we have to say this? Domestic drone strikes are not the issue here. There is no way in which domestic drone strikes are the issue here. Acting as though they are the issue is obfuscation and dodging. The Executive has the freedom to wage war on its own soil, and has in the past. It has done so with impunity when this nation has been invaded. Attacking American citizens without due process is not something that has happened before, and it's not something that should happen.

“In any case, my reading of Holder's letter was as straightforward as you asked for. It's hard to say that it's vague when it explicitly says, ‘Yes, there is an imaginable circumstance where we think this would be legal.’”

There is nowhere in Holder's letter where he says anything like that. He dodges the question and then poses an entirely unrelated hypothetical.
posted by koeselitz at 12:00 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is just so much high-minded showboating

Hell yes it is! No one, including Rand Paul, thinks that this is actually going to stop Brennan's appointment. But he's the only one talking about issues that a lot of us believe in strongly, and on which our own elected representatives are failing to do what we'd like them to do. And I'm in favor of that. It is, as "high-minded" implies, an intensely moral thing to do, and I hope it elevates the debate at least a little. I hope it gets attention.

Now Senator Lee, another person I normally don't much like, is talking about the importance of having criteria for any extrajudicial use of force and for having those criteria made public and debated by the public.

(For those who are neither parliamentary procedure nerds nor West Wing nerds, a person can yield for a question or comment to another Senator without giving up the floor, so people trying to help out the filibusterer will ask to be recognized for interruptions so that the speaker can take a rest.)
posted by decathecting at 12:02 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]



It took me ages to differentiate between Rand Paul and Ron Paul.

And don't forget Ru Paul.

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...
posted by surplus at 12:05 PM on March 6, 2013 [13 favorites]


Why even actively entertain this dark future where drone strikes on domestic turf might be possible? If you really want to make it clear that drone strikes against American citizens aren't all the table at all, then just say that.

Why do we get so freaked out by the particular tool used when the issue is what it's used for? Are you saying that the US should be disallowed from ever employing any kind of military force against its own citizens? They you're saying that LBJ was wrong to send federal troops into Alabama, for example? The destructive power of a bunch of armed soldiers is FAR beyond that of the average drone, and the risk of their killing unintended targets in the event of a firefight is immensely higher.

We can all imagine cases where federal military power might need to be employed inside the US. Obviously we hope they will be rare. But I cannot begin to imagine why we think we should get our knickers in a twist over the possibility that this one particular military tool should be used (one that has been repeatedly demonstrated to be far less likely to cause unintended deaths than most conventional tools) rather than the ones we're all familiar with.
posted by yoink at 12:05 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Look up death squads to see some fairly strong objections to the practice.

Except for the guys running the death squads.

And as observed here Robot warriors: Lethal machines coming of age the death squads can offer no personal risks to the people running them.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:06 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


ODiV: The White House is trying to get an omnibus health care bill passed. Stackhouse comes in at the last minute trying to get some amount for autism research dropped into it, which works poorly with the expected cost and the schedule they'd put together to get the bill passed before the holidays and it's made generally clear that Stackhouse has little clout or accumen so it's not surprising that he wasn't able to get anywhere with it.

Donna figures out that Stackhouse has an autistic grandson, something he wasn't bringing up in his fillibuster because he didn't want to, you know, bring his autistic grandson into the spotlight. With this, Bartlett realizes that Stackhouse is going to go until he drops and they're going to lose their schedule anyway and so why not listen to him and try to do the right thing on this one?

That's the story in miniature, anyway.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:07 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


ODiV, I think the plot was that there was a medical health bill that Stackhouse had tried, but failed to add an amendment to increase spending on autism research. When it came time to vote, he filibustered it because he was upset that his amendment hadn't been included (and perhaps wanted more time for it to be included.) Donna realised that this was because his grandson had autism - he hadn't ever mentioned it, because he didn't want to bring his family into politics - and when the White House realised why he was filibustering (and because he was on their side) they helped him continue the filibuster so as to push the bill past the deadline, bring it back into committee and have the amendment included. So, in short, he was their friend, they had screwed up by not including his amendment in the first place, and fixed it by hacking the system, and helping to filibuster their own bill.

It is a slightly odd plot, yes.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 12:08 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


(It's a legitimately classic episode, that also happens to have the bizarre scene with Sam arguing with girl seemingly shipped in from Little Orphan Annie.)
posted by Navelgazer at 12:08 PM on March 6, 2013


A standardless standard. This is tremendous stuff and a pity that REPUBLICANS are taking up the cudgel. Where are the anti-war Democrats?
posted by three blind mice at 12:09 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


The reason we have five hundred some congressmen is so that occasionally one of them will through random acts of stupidity stumble into something that helps the American people.
posted by klangklangston at 12:10 PM on March 6, 2013 [15 favorites]


REPUBLICAN. Singular.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:10 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Drones, bad. Anthrax, we'll pretend our government wouldn't do something like that.
posted by surplus at 12:11 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


the risk of their killing unintended targets in the event of a firefight is immensely higher.

Hrmmm a firefight? How does someone on the ground have a firefight with a drone at 25,000 feet?

Seems like the "risk" here is all one sided.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:12 PM on March 6, 2013


REPUBLICAN. Singular.

At least three Republicans have participated. In addition to Paul, Lee and Cruz have both helped by interrupting with "questions" and "comments."
posted by decathecting at 12:12 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


koeselitz: How many times do we have to say this? Domestic drone strikes are not the issue here. There is no way in which domestic drone strikes are the issue here. Acting as though they are the issue is obfuscation and dodging. The Executive has the freedom to wage war on its own soil, and has in the past. It has done so with impunity when this nation has been invaded. Attacking American citizens without due process is not something that has happened before, and it's not something that should happen.

You're right, the drone strikes are not the issue.

That said, the US has used military force, especially the National Guard, against US citizens, sometimes resulting in death. It happens, and it's unfortunate, and everyone would like it to happen less than it does. We should (and must) have conversations about when military action against US citizens is warranted, but I don't think that the answer is "never".

There is nowhere in Holder's letter where he says anything like that. He dodges the question and then poses an entirely unrelated hypothetical.

I disagree that the hypothetical is unrelated. While the situations he mentioned were foreign attacks, there's no reason to believe that domestic attacks are impossible. And so Holder is saying that in that situation, the federal government might respond with lethal force.
posted by TypographicalError at 12:12 PM on March 6, 2013


Why even actively entertain this dark future where drone strikes on domestic turf might be possible? If you really want to make it clear that drone strikes against American citizens aren't all the table at all, then just say that. (my original comment)

Why do we get so freaked out by the particular tool used when the issue is what it's used for? Are you saying that the US should be disallowed from ever employing any kind of military force against its own citizens? They you're saying that LBJ was wrong to send federal troops into Alabama, for example? The destructive power of a bunch of armed soldiers is FAR beyond that of the average drone, and the risk of their killing unintended targets in the event of a firefight is immensely higher.

What the fuck are you on about?

What I was saying was: Say what you mean, enough weasely-worded bullshit. Clear enough for ya?
posted by IvoShandor at 12:13 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


via Politico: For now, the White House tells POLITICO, it has nothing to say.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:14 PM on March 6, 2013


yoink: “Why do we get so freaked out by the particular tool used when the issue is what it's used for? Are you saying that the US should be disallowed from ever employing any kind of military force against its own citizens?”

Yes.

“They you're saying that LBJ was wrong to send federal troops into Alabama, for example?”

LBJ sent federal troops into Alabama as security to prevent people from breaking the law. He did not send federal troops into Alabama to kill people who had not broken the law. And he certainly did not send federal troops into Alabama to kill people merely because he designated their ideology dangerous enough to label them "enemy combatants."

“The destructive power of a bunch of armed soldiers is FAR beyond that of the average drone, and the risk of their killing unintended targets in the event of a firefight is immensely higher.”

Yep.

“We can all imagine cases where federal military power might need to be employed inside the US. Obviously we hope they will be rare. But I cannot begin to imagine why we think we should get our knickers in a twist over the possibility that this one particular military tool should be used (one that has been repeatedly demonstrated to be far less likely to cause unintended deaths than most conventional tools) rather than the ones we're all familiar with.”

We get our "knickers in a twist" because American citizens have generally not been attacked without due process, and because this administration has made a point of stretching due process as far as it could possibly go, in fact pushing it to the breaking point. They've actually announced that a closed cabinet meeting in the White House constitutes due process. That is not due process in any sense, and it's annoying that this administration chafes so mightily against the constitutional limits our government is supposed to stay within.
posted by koeselitz at 12:15 PM on March 6, 2013 [25 favorites]


Attacking American citizens without due process is not something that has happened before, and it's not something that should happen.

This is not true. Kent State, the raid on the Branch Dividians, or various other "problematic" groups or persons. American history is rife with this - start with Lincoln and work your way forward.

Rand Paul is not interested in preventing drone strikes. It's not something he can accomplish - and while congress has some oversight and whatnot - the president has a broad constitutional authority to wage war, even on Americans in America. The only way to change this is to amend the constitution and Rand Paul isn't even suggesting that.

What Paul is interested in kneecapping the president and sapping his support so that the president loses the sequester battle and Paul can finally do away with Social Security and the like.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:16 PM on March 6, 2013 [17 favorites]


TypographicalError: “That said, the US has used military force, especially the National Guard, against US citizens, sometimes resulting in death. It happens, and it's unfortunate, and everyone would like it to happen less than it does. We should (and must) have conversations about when military action against US citizens is warranted, but I don't think that the answer is ‘never’.”

Then let's please talk about that. Can we think of some examples of the executive unilaterally using military force against citizens? We talked about LBJ standing down George Wallace; I've said why I don't think that's an example – because a security force that exists to prevent people from breaking the law doesn't constitute a military force with orders to kill. Are there other examples?
posted by koeselitz at 12:18 PM on March 6, 2013


Attacking American citizens without due process is not something that has happened before, and it's not something that should happen.

That is untrue. Many US citizens fought, for example, for Nazi Germany and they were not afforded any special protections from military engagement because of that.

This issue gets bizarrely distorted by everyone who writes on it. Obama has not claimed the right to "attack US citizens anywhere, anytime with no accountability" as the popular myth has it. What he has claimed is the authority, under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, to target people directly involved in the support of Al Qaeda. It seems to me that the whole "OMG, he's killing US citizens thing" is a complete distraction from the actual issues. The question, to my mind, is whether the US has a right to define the "battlefield" of the "war on terror" in this loose way. If it is wrong to kill Anwar Al-Awlaki in the way they did then it is just as wrong (remember, the US constitution says precisely nothing about rights depending on citizenship) to kill him even if he's a Yemeni or a Saudi citizen. If, on the other hand, we do agree with targeted killings of terrorists on the basis that we are "at war" with a terrorist organization (and that, to me, is the big if here) then it is to my mind utterly irrelevant that any given member of that organization happens to be a US citizen. Just as irrelevant as it was in the case of US citizens fighting for the Nazis.
posted by yoink at 12:18 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have mixed feelings about filibusters. On the one hand, they are counter-majoritarian and are questionable in light of Supreme Court precedent. On the other hand, having someone actually up there talking about substantive issues instead of partisan-sniping is pretty neat and shows an interesting amount of spine. I heard a member of the Republican party up there chattering about Lochner and how he actually agrees with Griswald v. Connecticut, and then tying that to a principled argument about drones. That's a pretty neat change from the usual worthless partisan bickering.

I also find Rand Paul's claimed support of right to trial by jury exhilarating, and I hope that he and the rest of his tea party friends come and join the trial lawyers associations' principled objection to tort reform which is an affront to that cherished principle of which Thomas Jefferson said: "I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."
posted by dios at 12:19 PM on March 6, 2013


I tend to think Obama would have stood against the use of drones and other such creeping militarism if the Republicans wouldn't have used it as an opportunity to paint him as weak on terrorism.

While I'm not one to say that a politician will or should always do what they think is correct/just, I think this is giving either too much or not enough credit to Obama (I still can't figure which). He is a smart person with opinions of his own who has pushed pretty hard for the expansion of drone attacks. To reduce his agency to that of "giving in to the republicans" is unfair to him, and also falls into the "Obama is a secret socialist" fantasy that does come up.

He could have avoided pushing drone warfare so far forward and kept the republicans at bay. Also...it's not like the republicans have refrained from criticizing him and calling him weak.
posted by Lemurrhea at 12:19 PM on March 6, 2013


Pogo_Fuzzybutt: “This is not true. Kent State, the raid on the Branch Dividians, or various other 'problematic' groups or persons. American history is rife with this - start with Lincoln and work your way forward.”

Lincoln is not an example – we can go over the ways he diligently made sure due process was followed if you want. As for the other examples – do those really inspire confidence that the executive overstepping due process is a good thing?

“Rand Paul is not interested in preventing drone strikes.”

As many others have said in this thread, I don't give a good goddamn what Rand Paul is interested in.
posted by koeselitz at 12:20 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I forgot to add that people arrive at the maximalist claim about what powers Obama has abrogated to himself (killing anyone, anywhere) by playing the game of "well, you could say that anyone is aiding al-Qaeda if you bent the definition far enough." But that's silly. It's like saying that we have formally recognized a legal "right" for every citizen to kill every other citizen because of self-defense laws. After all, if you bend the definition of "attacking" and "in fear for your life" far enough, then everyone is a fair target, right?
posted by yoink at 12:21 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


"My biggest problem with Rand Paul is that his first and last names are switched around."

Ah, if only the junior senator from my home state were this guy.
posted by Mcable at 12:21 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least three Republicans have participated. In addition to Paul, Lee and Cruz have both helped by interrupting with "questions" and "comments."

Oh, thanks. And my apologies.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:21 PM on March 6, 2013



What Paul is interested in kneecapping the president and sapping his support so that the president loses the sequester battle and Paul can finally do away with Social Security and the like.


There's a bit of karma in action. Obama's pledge to close Gitmo and stop torture, etc, and instead he fails to defend our rights, privacy, vote, due process, etc. And that failure gives his opponents the wedge to stop his social security and healthcare solutions.
posted by surplus at 12:21 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


Will any democrats help out or is this strictly a republican effort? Sen. Wyden has many of the same concerns.
posted by Area Man at 12:23 PM on March 6, 2013


surplus: There's a bit of karma in action. Obama's pledge to close Gitmo and stop torture, etc, and instead he fails to defend our rights, privacy, vote, due process, etc. And that failure gives his opponents the wedge to stop his social security and healthcare solutions.

Not really. They'd have attacked him, and harder, had he went the other way on those issues. In fact, I doubt he would have won re-election.
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:24 PM on March 6, 2013


Attacking American citizens without due process is not something that has happened before, and it's not something that should happen.

The Labor Movement would beg to disagree. I know that you know that, but just temporarily forgot it.
posted by eviemath at 12:27 PM on March 6, 2013 [16 favorites]


Hrmmm a firefight? How does someone on the ground have a firefight with a drone at 25,000 feet?

Seems like the "risk" here is all one sided.


And? Who cares that the risk is one sided? What moral dimension makes it less moral to put one's own people in harm when in war? He's refering to the fact that if we wanted to do the exact same thing without drones, we'd be sending in troops, and they'd probably do a worse job of not killing civilians.

People keep mixing the tactical problems with drones (It's hard to stop a war if people don't have skin in the game) with moral problems (Attacking people anywhere, anytime). Especially since the moral problems are rather divorced from the actual tool we're using. We could kill people in Yemen with cluster bombs, and they'd be just as dead, US citizen or not.
posted by zabuni at 12:29 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wait, we're using Kent State as a good example of the power our government has to prevent atrocities?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:29 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


koeslitz: Then let's please talk about that. Can we think of some examples of the executive unilaterally using military force against citizens? We talked about LBJ standing down George Wallace; I've said why I don't think that's an example – because a security force that exists to prevent people from breaking the law doesn't constitute a military force with orders to kill. Are there other examples?

The National Guard is not a police force, it is a military force. They can not prevent people from breaking the law except insofar as they kill them.

Which is sort of my point--we can imagine that a riot breaks out at the University of Alabama and the National Guard is forced to kill rioters who are threatening them and/or others. So we have a federal force which is killing US citizens without due process. Of course, the argument there is that due process can be suspended in emergency situations, when lives are at stake.

So what if there is an emergency situation that calls for a drone strike solution?

I am certainly against drone strike assassinations against American citizens, where there is no imminent threat and the drone strike is called down on someone who is an enemy of the state. And if I've read Holder's letter correctly, so is he. He points out that in those cases, domestic law enforcement is usually called upon. However, I am also able to imagine emergency situations where drone strikes might be a possible solution.
posted by TypographicalError at 12:30 PM on March 6, 2013


Rand Paul is not interested in preventing drone strikes...What Paul is interested in kneecapping the president and sapping his support so that the president loses the sequester battle and Paul can finally do away with Social Security and the like.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:16 PM on March 6

Huh? I think its pretty damn clear that this guy really believes this shit. Whether you like him or not, saying this is all a proxy issue with him seems preposterous. You have a guy who spoke for several hours on this straight, without notes, tying it into his entire political worldview. That's pretty hard to do unless you really believe it. It's also what his dad has been talking about for decades. They also are willing to undermine their own party in arguing this point.

So, there seems to be two different options:(1) the Pauls are engaged in some massive multi-generational decades-long "long game", in which they write about extensively and in which they try to start a civil war within their own party for the purpose of winning a sequester battle; or (2) they really believe what they are saying. I think most reasonable people would think it is (2).
posted by dios at 12:30 PM on March 6, 2013 [20 favorites]


I wonder what the web traffic for the wikiquotes page for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington looks like this past hour?!

NEWS PRODUCER: "We need puns damnit!!"
ASSISTANT: "I'm on IMDB and WIKIQUOTES!"
NEWS PRODUCER: "Make sure we have some footage of Jimmy Stewart as well."
ASSISTANT: "All we have is stock from It's a Wonderful Life....."
NEWS PRODUCER: "It'll have to do."
posted by Fizz at 12:32 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


the power to kill citizens inside the country's borders because it's too hard to give them fair trials is beyond the pale

My strikethrough. It's illegal for the U.S. government to do this no matter where it proposes to do so.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:33 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


And now we have Senator Moran, R-KS, talking about the use of drone strikes in situations in which we would not accept a soldier pulling out a gun and shooting someone. We've done this abroad, in that we've determined that it's okay to use drones to kill someone who is "too difficult" to capture even if the threat they pose is not imminent.
posted by decathecting at 12:33 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Will any democrats help out or is this strictly a republican effort? Sen. Wyden has many of the same concerns.

Wyden finally got to read the secret legal analysis and now he's cool with it -- green-lighting Brennan, that is.

He and Paul have collaborated in the past on this issue, but in this political climate I think he's not comfortable going so far as to filibuster with him. Which is unfortunate.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:34 PM on March 6, 2013


Rand Paul is an idiot.

The Attorney General offered an interpretation of existing law. The DOJ doesn't make law, but it can interpret existing law as it stands.

If Paul is really all bent out of shape about this interpreted exception within posse comitatus, he should be offering a bill, not wasting everyone's time with this idiotic grandstanding.
posted by NedKoppel at 12:37 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


yoink: "Obama has not claimed the right to "attack US citizens anywhere, anytime with no accountability" as the popular myth has it. What he has claimed is the authority, under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, to target people directly involved in the support of Al Qaeda."

Ahh, but that's the crux of it isn't it-- there's no transparency to that decision, so functionally they are identical. That he can kill American citizens by just saying "He's a supporter of Al Qaeda, no I can't show a court the evidence, but it's okay, trust me" is all a bit-- well, unamerican.
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:38 PM on March 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


dios: So, there seems to be two different options:(1) the Pauls are engaged in some massive multi-generational decades-long "long game", in which they write about extensively and in which they try to start a civil war within their own party for the purpose of winning a sequester battle; or (2) they really believe what they are saying. I think most reasonable people would think it is (2).

Or the Pauls actually believe this, but are only bringing it up now in the hopes of stirring up some Democratic in-fighting during a politically delicate period. And I agree with whomever above wrote that they'd never, ever bring this up if Romney was president. He's basically trolling.

I don't like the creeping militarism, but I don't think Obama's responsible for it (I think there is a lot of public support behind it, more than he can oppose) and I definitely think now is not the time to address the issue (the 2016 primary would be a good time).
posted by Mitrovarr at 12:40 PM on March 6, 2013


The Attorney General offered an interpretation of existing law.

Mind if I see that?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:40 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


So, there seems to be two different options:(1) the Pauls are engaged in some massive multi-generational decades-long "long game", in which they write about extensively and in which they try to start a civil war within their own party for the purpose of winning a sequester battle; or (2) they really believe what they are saying. I think most reasonable people would think it is (2).

I think it is (3) - that if McCain/Romney/Palin were president, he wouldn't be doing this grandstanding. Sure, he believes what he says, but even he is not stupid enough to believe this act will achieve the stated goals. He should be offering a bill - or more to the point, a constitutional amendment - instead of this showboating thing he is doing.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:40 PM on March 6, 2013


He should be offering a bill - or more to the point, a constitutional amendment - instead of this showboating thing he is doing.

He absolutely should be offering a bill, but in the meantime, if he really doesn't want Brennan in charge of the CIA, this is what he's doing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:41 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think Rand Paul is a real tool in many ways, and very much a pawn of moneyed interests. But by god, when was the last time you saw a Senator actually stand up and say, "This is bullshit, and it needs to stop!"

December 2010.

Plus it isn't bullshit. They aren't going to say we can never use a drone against anyone ever in the U.S. If a terrorist took over a cargo plane and vectored it to the Super Bowl, you bet they would shoot it down. And they would be damn right to do so. That stuff was once the thing of movies. Unfortunately, suicide attacks with multiple 737s are not fiction anymore.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:42 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Attorney General offered an interpretation of existing law.

Sure would be nice if it were existing U.S. law they were interpreting.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:42 PM on March 6, 2013


The Labor Movement would beg to disagree. I know that you know that, but just temporarily forgot it.

Should have previewed before commenting.

There is a long, long history of the National Guard (a military force, not a police force) being called out to "maintain order" during labor disputes, strikes, pickets, etc. Their actions have not been universally peaceful or order maintaining. Three notable occasions that first pop to mind are the Ludlow Massacre, various smaller skirmishes during the Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence, and the Battle of Blair Mountain... you know, when the US military bombed miners on US soil (in West Virginia).

There's also the Haymarket Square incident, or the 1968 Democratic National Convention (turns out my father's army unit was one of the ones sent to "keep order" shortly after having returned from actual war zones overseas, in the brief period before their period of service was up and they were allowed to leave the army).
posted by eviemath at 12:43 PM on March 6, 2013


Fight drones with droning.
posted by chavenet at 12:45 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Obama Administration Says President Can Use Lethal Force Against Americans on US Soil
posted by homunculus at 12:45 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I definitely think now is not the time to address the issue

Just out of curiosity, why not now?
posted by Greg Nog at 12:46 PM on March 6, 2013


Well, if you don't like drones,
you can always shoot them down!
posted by etaoin at 12:46 PM on March 6, 2013


homunculus: Obama Administration Says President Can Use Lethal Force Against Americans on US Soil

Unfortunately, that headline is wrong. Annoyingly, Eric Holder didn't say anything really in the letter. It constitutes a continuation of their "we refuse to say" line. Which is a crock, frankly.
posted by koeselitz at 12:47 PM on March 6, 2013


This is the most robust defense of the 5th amendment I have heard in a long time.

Where are the Civil Rights Democrats? Are they afraid of Drone-bama?
posted by three blind mice at 12:49 PM on March 6, 2013


Nice toupée!
posted by ericb at 12:52 PM on March 6, 2013


Obama Administration Says President Can Use Lethal Force Against Americans on US Soil

Yeah, the whole "Imminent Threat" thing is left out of that article.

If I'm pointing a gun at someone, a cop has the right to shoot me. Even if I legally own the gun. And technically even if the gun is not loaded. However, a cop does not have the right to shoot me if I'm standing next to someone and pose no threat. There's no right to drone strike a group of people hanging out by a truck. But if that's the truck bound for the Murrow building in OKC, don't we want that to happen? Or for the option to be on the table?

It's not a simple problem, and a filibuster of a nominee is NOT going to solve it. But it is going to get Rand Paul's name on the news a lot. Which was his real goal all along.

There are a lot of things about being from KY I'm not proud of, but I'm really glad I didn't vote for that guy.
posted by DigDoug at 12:53 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ron Wyden (D-OR) is speaking!
posted by decathecting at 12:54 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Alright, Wyden is on the floor, good for him.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:54 PM on March 6, 2013


This filibuster actually clears the path for Obama's administration to iron out a drone policy.

How awesome would it be if it also cleared the path for a Gitmo and detainment policy.

Or spilled over into pressing Holder to arraign some of the too-big-to-fail CEO's?
posted by surplus at 12:55 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


A stopped clock is right twice a day, but a clock that runs backward is right four times a day.

Agreed. And a clock that has one hand moving forward and one hand moving backwards is right three times as often. A clock that has spider-like hands moving in every direction is right countless times. A clock that has only one hand that is generally right but that one hand is very shaky and keeps wiggling back and forth could be right thousands of times per hour. A clock that has no hands at all could actually be right all of the time and we would never know. A clock that is exactly one hour behind is never right unless you move it to another time zone, then it is right all the time.
posted by flarbuse at 12:55 PM on March 6, 2013 [35 favorites]


OK Ron Wyden D from Oregon is on. Let's see what he has to say!
posted by three blind mice at 12:55 PM on March 6, 2013


Of course if Rand Paul gets his way, it won't be the CIA performing drone strikes, it'll be the Koch Brothers and the Waltons and Monsanto performing the drone strikes.
posted by Foosnark at 12:58 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


Agreed. And a clock that has one hand moving forward and one hand moving backwards is right three times as often. A clock that has spider-like hands moving in every direction is right countless times. A clock that has only one hand that is generally right but that one hand is very shaky and . . . .

So, this is what horology has come to.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:59 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it is (3) - that if McCain/Romney/Palin were president, he wouldn't be doing this grandstanding. Sure, he believes what he says, but even he is not stupid enough to believe this act will achieve the stated goals. He should be offering a bill - or more to the point, a constitutional amendment - instead of this showboating thing he is doing.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:40 PM on March 6


Oh, please. I guess I could point out that if Bush had said what Obama said, everything would be different as well. The people doing the "no big deal" act would be in up and arms. And there wouldn't be any "the President has the right to interpret existing law" arguments either. If this was Bush and Feingold was up there doing this, I don't think you'd be calling it showboating. Yeah, people who cannot look at an issue beyond its partisan implications--which is the vast majority of the people here who talk about politics issues--assume everyone else is only acting for partisan reasons (except the ones you agree with who do things for principled and noble reasons). Playing that game is just ad hominem designed to avoid the issue at hand.

Look, Paul may be right or wrong; Obama's DOJ might be right or wrong. It is possible to look at what Paul is doing and finding it interesting--or even applauding that he is doing it--without resolving either of those two issues.
posted by dios at 12:59 PM on March 6, 2013 [9 favorites]


Wyden is reading prepared notes.
posted by three blind mice at 12:59 PM on March 6, 2013


John Brennan and Obama's Transparency Test: Why is the information that changed John Brennan’s mind about the C.I.A.’s interrogation practices being kept from the rest of the country?
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can we think of some examples of the executive unilaterally using military force against citizens?

Jackson and the Trail of Tears. Unless one to pitch that the Indians were not Americans/Citizens.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:04 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is at least one anti-war, pro-5th Amendment Democratic Senator in the house. Good on Wyden. He's been talking for more than 30min now and he's doing his part.
posted by three blind mice at 1:05 PM on March 6, 2013


For those of you applauding Paul's efforts here, two questions:

(1) Isn't there a distinction between statesmanship and forcefully asserting your position (and the position of your constituents) and filibustering, where the latter's explicit intent is to prevent congress from doing its job (or what I see as its job): voting on things?

and

(2) We agree that if a bank robber is fleeing a bank and shooting at people on the way out, and when he sees the cops he starts shooting at them as well, that the cops can shoot and kill the bank robber, right? Where is the distinction between that and launching a rocket from a drone at a guy who is planning on detonating a nuke in the middle of a population center if we can't reach him through more traditional law enforcement means?
posted by craven_morhead at 1:07 PM on March 6, 2013


For those of us who aren't listening, is Wyden going against his statement yesterday about supporting the Brennan nomination?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:07 PM on March 6, 2013


They also are willing to undermine their own party in arguing this point.

'their party' doesn't have alot of use for either of them, so why should they defer to party wishes?

The drone issue isn't one 'the party' cares about as far as I can tell beyond expansion of the MIC.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:09 PM on March 6, 2013


Where is the distinction between that and launching a rocket from a drone at a guy who is planning on detonating a nuke in the middle of a population center if we can't reach him through more traditional law enforcement means?

You put forward the distinction yourself. In the first case the robber is actively shooting at the cops. In the second case you've used the nebulous word "planning." Were the guy driving a truck with a suitcase nuke in it or something I don't think many would object to blowing it up. But there is a difference between that case and some guy sitting at a cafe thinking.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


For those of us who aren't listening, is Wyden going against his statement yesterday about supporting the Brennan nomination?

No, he's still supporting Brennan.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:11 PM on March 6, 2013


(1) Isn't there a distinction between statesmanship and forcefully asserting your position (and the position of your constituents) and filibustering, where the latter's explicit intent is to prevent congress from doing its job (or what I see as its job): voting on things?

Given that filibustering is a known part of Congressional procedure, I would argue that your description of the intent of filibustering is wrong. Congress' job is to pass laws or not pass laws, and to debate on those topics (roughly). It accepts the use of a filibuster as a valid action. Therefore filibustering is not preventing congress from its job.

There are totally valid arguments against the use of non-speaking filibusters. Nonetheless, if they're allowed they're fair game, the solution is to change the Congressional procedure.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:11 PM on March 6, 2013


If I'm pointing a gun at someone, a cop has the right to shoot me. Even if I legally own the gun. And technically even if the gun is not loaded. However, a cop does not have the right to shoot me if I'm standing next to someone and pose no threat. There's no right to drone strike a group of people hanging out by a truck. But if that's the truck bound for the Murrow building in OKC, don't we want that to happen? Or for the option to be on the table?

I really, really don't, and to be honest I am comfortable with the risk calculus that assumes a higher incidence of terrorist attacks in exchange for the government not having that power. Anyway, the notion of "imminent threat" is not nearly so restrictive as your scenario suggests, as per the DOJ white paper:
Certain aspects of this legal framework require additional explication. First, the condition that an operational leader present an "imminent" threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons will take place in the immediate future.
posted by invitapriore at 1:12 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


He came unprepared. Someone get him the novelization of Space Jam
that's cool but I think remote warfare and stuff is more important than that
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 1:12 PM on March 6, 2013


We agree that if a bank robber is fleeing a bank and shooting at people on the way out, and when he sees the cops he starts shooting at them as well, that the cops can shoot and kill the bank robber, right? Where is the distinction between that and launching a rocket from a drone at a guy who is planning on detonating a nuke in the middle of a population center if we can't reach him through more traditional law enforcement means?

This ridiculous framing is exactly what is wrong with 99% of the news media and is 100% not helpful for discussing and understanding the issues at hand, period.
posted by kiltedtaco at 1:12 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


(2) We agree that if a bank robber is fleeing a bank and shooting at people on the way out, and when he sees the cops he starts shooting at them as well, that the cops can shoot and kill the bank robber, right? Where is the distinction between that and launching a rocket from a drone at a guy who is planning on detonating a nuke in the middle of a population center if we can't reach him through more traditional law enforcement means?

The analog is not that of cops shooting back at a bank robber. The analog is that of a SWAT team murdering a dude and then saying "hey y'all, that guy was totally plotting to rob a bank and then start shooting at people. We won't show you the evidence, but trust us, it's legit."
posted by xbonesgt at 1:13 PM on March 6, 2013 [13 favorites]


A clock that has spider-like hands moving in every direction is right countless times.

(Technically, it would still be finitely many times in any 24-hour period, and thus countable.)
posted by eviemath at 1:13 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Justinian, what if the guy is driving toward the population center with the nuke in the back of his truck. As you said, "I don't think many would object to blowing it up." But then we're still talking about a drone strike on american soil, aren't we?

kiltedtaco, what makes the framing ridiculious?
posted by craven_morhead at 1:13 PM on March 6, 2013


It's ridiculous because it's akin to Dick Cheney's bullshit "the smoking gun could be a mushroom cloud!" drumbeat which ended up murdering tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.
posted by Justinian at 1:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


what if the guy is driving toward the population center with the nuke in the back of his truck

See, they have these devices that puncture tires in order to make vehicles stop. And while I'm not exactly a fan of increased police use of tasers, tear gas, and other less lethal weapons, it strikes me that that could be an appropriate situation in which to deploy them. No extrajudicial killing needed!
posted by eviemath at 1:15 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


(Or, rather, lower chance of the threat deterrence used causing the death of the suspect.)
posted by eviemath at 1:16 PM on March 6, 2013


So the distinction between the scenarios is the imminence of the threat? I can accept that.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:16 PM on March 6, 2013


Sure, he believes what he says, but even he is not stupid enough to believe this act will achieve the stated goals. He should be offering a bill - or more to the point, a constitutional amendment - instead of this showboating thing he is doing.
===
This is just so much high-minded showboating by a fascist small minded douchebag.
===
I wish I could respect this, but with the Senate's current rules of order this is a pointless political stunt.


You mean a pointless political stunt like this one?

See, now I'm confused. I thought it was totally okay for Elizabeth Warren to do some showboating and pointless political grandstanding as long as it raised public awareness of some serious issues. But now you're telling me that it's not OK when Rand Paul does the same thing?

Wait a minute... could this have something to do with the little (D) and (R) symbols that appear in conjuction with their names sometimes when I read about them in the newspaper? Like, maybe you think that this is OK for people to do if they have a (D) in front of their name but not when they have an (R)?

In fact, could it possibly be... *gasp* a double standard?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:17 PM on March 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also, possessing a nuke, let alone driving around with it in a regular old truck, is already illegal, and thus could be dealt with under regular US criminal law, no secret assassination lists needed.
posted by eviemath at 1:17 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes, and Holder specifically refused to answer when pressed on whether the administration reserved the right to kill Americans on American soil in the absence of an imminent threat. Which is just evil.
posted by Justinian at 1:18 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Paul just kicked it to Rubio, who started with "let me just give you some free advice: keep some water handy." He should know!
posted by zachlipton at 1:19 PM on March 6, 2013


Maybe he could borrow a water bottle from Rubio.

Senator Rubio is asking a question now and started by recommending from experience that Senator Paul keep a water bottle handy. Ha.
posted by DynamiteToast at 1:20 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


(1) There is a big difference between a "procedural filibuster," in which people use complex rules avoid a vote while not even having to be present themselves, and a "talking filibuster" (what Paul is doing), where one or more Senators are willing to physically put themselves on the line for principle. The point of having the filibuster is to ensure that a minority has the opportunity, so long as they're willing to really put themselves on the line for it, to ensure that their views are heard before legislation is passed too hastily. I don't think we have a problem with legislation not being passed fast enough because too many people are so committed to defeating it that they're willing to stand there and talk long enough that everyone else gets bored and goes home. This simply doesn't happen very often.

(2) In addition to the important difference that others have highlighted between self-defense (or defense of others) from a current or truly imminent threat, and preemptive strikes, which is what we do abroad and what the president has failed to renounce the power to do at home, I'd point out that we've had a public debate about self-defense. We have it over and over again every time someone tries to pass a law modifying it, and you as a citizen can look up and read about and lobby to change that law if you think it's wrong. Your local police department has what they call an "escalation of continuum" protocol, which details what kinds of force they're allowed to use in what circumstances and requires them to use the least force possible. There are investigations, the results of which you can get under FOIA, every time a police officer uses force against a civilian. In other words, both beforehand and afterwards, the use of force by domestic police is a public matter. The debate over use of force in domestic military or quasi-military operations is taking place in secret, based on classified evidence, and we have no ability to even know whether force is being used, much less why and under what circumstances.

That's the biggest problem I have. It's not the idea that the government could kill someone in an effort to prevent them from hurting others. It's the idea that their definitions of "could" and "someone" and "hurting" are secrets I'm not allowed to know about because NATIONAL SECURITY.
posted by decathecting at 1:20 PM on March 6, 2013 [27 favorites]


And now Marco Rubio (R-FL) is up. That makes 5.
posted by decathecting at 1:21 PM on March 6, 2013


decathecting, thanks for the thoughtful response. I agree with both of your points.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:23 PM on March 6, 2013


And part of the issue is that, in America, you should be able to find other means to get the Hypothetical Terrorist or whomever, rather than scrambling drones to take them out. So "imminence" is a lot harder to demonstrate. It's arguable that in foreign states, those other options may not exist, making the expedience of drones/bombs/etc. necessary.
posted by klangklangston at 1:24 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of course if Rand Paul gets his way, it won't be the CIA performing drone strikes, it'll be the Koch Brothers and the Waltons and Monsanto performing the drone strikes.

Please do that.

Because then people could attempt to get compensation not from the Sovereign.

Thus bypassing the idea what the sovereign does is beyond the reach of the Court.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:26 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


decathecting: "And now Marco Rubio (R-FL) is up. That makes 5."

While I can definitely get on board with the idea that Paul is at least somewhat principled in his convictions, I have difficulty extending that same benefit of the doubt to Rubio, who is even more obviously prepping the stage for a 2016 run. (It's 2013. Why are we talking about the 2016 election??)
posted by Phire at 1:35 PM on March 6, 2013


(2) We agree that if a bank robber is fleeing a bank and shooting at people on the way out, and when he sees the cops he starts shooting at them as well, that the cops can shoot and kill the bank robber, right? Where is the distinction between that

A hypothetical that results in a biohazard of spilled blood.

and launching a rocket from a drone at a guy who is planning on detonating a nuke in the middle of a population center if we can't reach him through more traditional law enforcement means?

VS a hypothetical that is likely to result in a radioactive hazard which could have been also addressed in the hail of gunfire manner as the 1st one but is instead pitch as something with bigger explosions because of the diet of media Americans consume which puts forth explosions and rockets are fine solutions to problems that don't need rockets.

Should be careful with the straw men, they don't last long 'round rocket exhaust.


Now, where's the mp3 of this filly-buster so I can sync it to MLP? (or just listen later to it)
posted by rough ashlar at 1:35 PM on March 6, 2013


a "talking filibuster" (what Paul is doing), where one or more Senators are willing to physically put themselves on the line for principle.

Being required to stand and speak at a normal volume is not really putting it on the line by any reasonable definition.

The point of having the filibuster is to ensure that a minority has the opportunity, so long as they're willing to really put themselves on the line for it, to ensure that their views are heard before legislation is passed too hastily

This is false. The point of a filibuster is to allow a minority of legislators to prevail over a majority, whether permanently or temporarily.

More specifically, the only legislative purpose of a talking filibuster is to cause other agenda items to miss their scheduled debates and votes, so that the supporters of measures about to come up pressure party leaders to remove the measure being filibustered from consideration.

Paul has had ample opportunities, both formal and informal, public and private, to ensure that his views are heard without this grandstanding. Paul has had two solid months to make his views known. The idea that this appointment is moving too hastily is not credible.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:36 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, he's a Tea Party Republican. But he has historically not been a partisan on this particular issue, on which he opposes his own party vehemently.

If this was coming from Ron Paul, I might agree. But his son is vehemently opposed to the Civil Rights Act and has connections with staff and campaign contributors who are noted white supremacists. Given these facts, I have few doubts that his opposition to Obama is racially motivated — as much as by most Tea Party Republicans, who never — not once — ever expressed opposition to Bush-era violations of civil liberties.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:36 PM on March 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Like, maybe you think that this is OK for people to do if they have a (D) in front of their name but not when they have an (R)?

Not necessarily. There are plenty of people here on Mefi that said that would not vote for Obama and decided to vote Green, even though they may agree with some (and sometimes maybe most) of what the president has done. It could very well be a similar situation where people may agree with Paul on certain issues, but are in disagreement with Paul on other issues that makes them withhold their support.

Personally, I just don't like his dad, so it's not what's in front of his name, it's what's behind it.
posted by FJT at 1:36 PM on March 6, 2013


See, now I'm confused. I thought it was totally okay for Elizabeth Warren to do some showboating and pointless political grandstanding as long as it raised public awareness of some serious issues. But now you're telling me that it's not OK when Rand Paul does the same thing?

You just quoted "Pogo_Fuzzybutt" and "crazy with stars", neither of whom said anything in the linked Elizabeth Warren thread. This is different people talking about a different thing.
posted by Greg Nog at 1:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


What bothers me most in the distinction between a normal lawful police use of lethal force and a drone strike is the intent to kill. Normally, police officers are trying to effect an arrest or detain someone who they reasonably believe is violating the law. Their priorities are to protect themselves, protect others, and then to lawfully carry out that arrest. If their suspect pulls a gun on them or is about to trigger a bomb, their top priority is going to be to protect themselves and others, so they may well be justified in using lethal force. We all recognize that. But they flip side is that police, at least in law if not always in practice, have to try to resolve the situation using the lowest amount of force. Come out with your hands up, surrender, and you can avail yourself of the entire criminal justice system. Point a gun at a cop, and you may well lose that right. That's how it is supposed to work.

However, with drone strikes, the drone isn't trying to arrest anybody: it is trying to kill people. Drones don't identify themselves, order their suspects to surrender, and slap on the handcuffs. Drones observe and they shoot. Using lethal force from a drone is an admission that nothing short of lethal force is an option.

Certainly, it's a lot harder for the officers who put themselves at risk and who have to deal with the psychological aftermath, but part of living under the rule of law is that the goal is always to try to safely arrest those accused of crimes, not just kill them.
posted by zachlipton at 1:44 PM on March 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


yoink: What he has claimed is the authority, under the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, to target people directly involved in the support of Al Qaeda.

This is not correct. This is absolutely not correct.

The President has claimed the authority to target people he says are directly involved in the support of Al Qaeda, without having to bother to actually prove it. And they've gone so far as to retroactively classify any male they kill as a combatant, unless that person can prove otherwise.

And, being dead, they have a real hard time with that. Can't imagine why.

An allegation is not a crime. We require proof beyond a reasonable doubt for a whole lot of really, really good reasons.
posted by Malor at 1:45 PM on March 6, 2013 [14 favorites]


And it looks like Reid is going to bring the filibuster to an end now...
posted by zachlipton at 1:45 PM on March 6, 2013


Blazecock Pileon: I have few doubts that his opposition to Obama is racially motivated

I don't care if it's racially motivated, it's still the right thing to do. If you oppose drone strikes because you think Obama is a lizard person, that's fine with me.
posted by Malor at 1:47 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Remind me of the rules here. This only ends when we trick him into saying his own name backwards, right?
posted by .kobayashi. at 1:47 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Paul says he's "talked a lot today" and would be happy with a vote now, but wants a clarification from the White House or the AG that the drone program "will not kill Americans that are not involved in combat." Reid wants to shut down for the night and take it up again tomorrow.
posted by zachlipton at 1:49 PM on March 6, 2013


Well, people who don't believe electrons exists because they're not mentioned in the Bible get to enjoy the benefits of computers and cell phones. So I'm going to enjoy the benefit of attention being drawn to the Obama administration's continuation of the Bush administration's horrible policies by this preening asshole.
posted by benito.strauss at 1:50 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


I don't care if it's racially motivated, it's still the right thing to do.

Well I oppose them, only because we miss the opportunity to capture the target and subject them to repeated torturing.. I guess I'm doing the right thing then.
posted by FJT at 2:00 PM on March 6, 2013


It's not opposition to drone strikes, it's opposition to hypothetical domestic drone strikes. No one's been launching domestic drones strikes. The US has been launching drone strikes overseas, and the Obama admin. reserves the right to kill Americans overseas with them if suspected of engaging in terrorism or conspiring against the U.S. govt. I'm all for debating or protesting that, but not this We're gonna have A Drone Attack Waco If Obama Wants Your Gunz or Whatever business.
posted by raysmj at 2:08 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't care if it's racially motivated, it's still the right thing to do.

Okay, last post was sarcastic. I'm just saying there are certain things people can disagree on and still be able to have constructive dialogue. But there's just the whole racism thing that bugs me to the point that I don't really want to have anything to do with them.
posted by FJT at 2:08 PM on March 6, 2013


See, now I'm confused. I thought it was totally okay for Elizabeth Warren to do some showboating and pointless political grandstanding as long as it raised public awareness of some serious issues. But now you're telling me that it's not OK when Rand Paul does the same thing?

I'm sorry. I must have Changnesia. I don't recall having made any comment about Elizabeth Warren.

Even if I did, I'm not sure how it would relate to Rand Paul's behavior. They are two different things about two different subjects with two different goals.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:12 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Related: Josh Marshall, "Three Cheers for the Talking Filibuster"
posted by Chrysostom at 2:14 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rand Paul's politics are not generally my politics, but I am with him on this issue. And, further, this is EXACTLY the sort of thing that the talking filibuster was made for. I am very glad that this discussion is happening.
posted by andreaazure at 2:23 PM on March 6, 2013


No one's been launching domestic drones strikes.

No, but there was that leaked memo last month from the DOJ which describes some pretty sketchy conditions under which that could occur. That is why there's pressure for the DOJ and President to reveal more details about exactly what they have in mind.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 2:27 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Might I suggest that Rand Paul might want to **read some live Tweets** regarding the subject he is filibustering, while he is filibustering? That could provide him talking points and show that many support him, at least on this issue.
posted by spock at 2:30 PM on March 6, 2013


If this was coming from Ron Paul, I might agree. But his son is vehemently opposed to the Civil Rights Act and has connections with staff and campaign contributors who are noted white supremacists.

Meh it wouldn't change my opinion of the motivation (which is largely irrelevant anyway). But just for posterity: Ron Paul opposes the Civil Rights Act too, and has been connected via staff and campaign contributions to white supremacists.

Conclusion: Both Pauls are dickfors.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:30 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Listening to CSPAN, he's talking about Bush using signing statements.

'Maybe the Congress should be setting the rules for drone strikes.'

I am glad he is saying these things. They need being said.
posted by dragonsi55 at 2:31 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is the most robust defense of the 5th amendment I have heard in a long time.

Use of force cases are always analyzed under the Fourth Amendment. The Fifth isn't the Amendment in question.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:31 PM on March 6, 2013


No one's been launching domestic drones strikes.

No, but there was that leaked memo last month from the DOJ which describes some pretty sketchy conditions under which that could occur. That is why there's pressure for the DOJ and President to reveal more details about exactly what they have in mind.


Please read the memo you linked to. The first sentence reads "This White Paper sets forth a legal framework for considering the circumstances in which the U.S. Government could use lethal force in a foreign country outside the area of active hostilities against a U.S. citizen who is a senior operational leader of al-qa'ida or an associated force of al-qa'ida--that is an al-qa'ida leader actively engaged in planning operations to kill Americans."
posted by Ironmouth at 2:38 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Use of force cases are always analyzed under the Fourth Amendment. The Fifth isn't the Amendment in question."

Huh. So that's search and seizure rather than due process?
posted by klangklangston at 2:46 PM on March 6, 2013


I haven't been watching...Does Paul have his own camera guys there, taking hero-angle footage for the inevitable commercials for his Presidential run?
posted by Thorzdad at 2:58 PM on March 6, 2013


Mankind in general has a long history of the powerful not being bound by their own rules. American military policy is no exception. For example, that "the CIA doesn't operate in the US" is something someone might say without a hint of irony.

There's a definite hazard when you send military personnel into a situation. There's a strong precedent that they will apply excessive force, with tragic consequences. There's also the possibility that they will disobey their orders on moral grounds.

With drones, you don't have to worry about that. They will do as they are told, which is what you told their operators to tell them. To paraphrase Borenstein:
No ethically-trained software engineer would ever consent to write a KillCivilian procedure. Basic professional ethics would instead require him to write a KillPerson procedure, to which "Civilian" could be given as a parameter.
When used justly, drones will dramatically reduce the harm to innocent civilians. When used unjustly, they dramatically increase it (directly, or as part of the chilling effect on civil liberties).

I don't care for Paul, and I agree that his overall influence is very regressive. But this is a case where he's arguing for one of the few real checks on executive power. I like Obama a lot, and I probably trust him far more than most of you. But at any given moment we are (at most) four years away from another W. Bush or worse. We would all do well to remember that, when we're given the opportunity to respect someone we normally despise.
posted by Riki tiki at 3:03 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


I thought eating wasn't allowed on the Senate floor? At least the candy desk is getting a workout today.
posted by zachlipton at 3:28 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just checked the video and he's eating.
posted by smithsmith at 3:28 PM on March 6, 2013


Oh man, I think he's about to lose his voice.
posted by roll truck roll at 3:28 PM on March 6, 2013


It's not opposition to drone strikes, it's opposition to hypothetical domestic drone strikes.

What I've gathered from this thread is that it's not opposition to hypothetical domestic drone strikes, it's opposition to hypothetical domestic drone strikes where Obama doesn't have to show his work as proof that the killing was justified. I really wonder why this question is getting tied to the technology of drones - can people just not think of any other way that a US citizen could be killed by the government without a trial?
posted by jacalata at 3:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Huh. So that's search and seizure rather than due process?

Yep. Done 5 or 6 of these cases.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:02 PM on March 6, 2013


can people just not think of any other way that a US citizen could be killed by the government without a trial?

Yeah, I just do not even begin to understand what "drones" has to do with this at all. Here is Holder's comment, to which Paul is supposedly responding:
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 United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,
I just do not understand how anyone can disagree with that statement. There are numerous situations in US history where the President has ordered in the National Guard, and many of these are regarded as victories by progressives. How on earth does the presence of absence of drones in the military arsenal relate to the legal and constitutional questions Paul thinks he's arguing about? Why is it obviously (from repeated precedent) o.k. for the US President to send armed men into conflict inside US territory but somehow hideously tyrannical for the President to employ drones in the same situation?

These, obviously, are powers that a President could misuse; but there are always such powers. The proper check on such powers is a political check (elections, impeachment etc.), not some bizarre reinterpretation of the Constitution such that the President has no right to call out the National Guard in times of emergency.
posted by yoink at 4:04 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Looks like he's offering an out of sorts. Paul is offering a "sense of the Senate" resolution (not a law, simply nonbinding) that would require an up or down vote on the use of drone strikes on American soil against those who constitute "no imminent threat" (he's also used the word "noncombatants") and calling for the White House to publicly release its detailed legal reasoning on drone strikes, both internationally and domestically. Paul wants an up/down vote on this resolution and he'd let a vote on Brennan to go forward. Not surprisingly, the Democrats (Dick Durban here) object.
posted by zachlipton at 4:12 PM on March 6, 2013


Wait, is he going to the bathroom? Is that allowed?
posted by mittens at 4:26 PM on March 6, 2013


Sen. Durbin (D-IL) wants to hold hearings before he's willing to let the Senate vote on whether to pass a nonbinding resolution stating the sense of the Senate that it's wrong to use drones to kill American citizens on American soil who pose no imminent threat to anyone. He believes that it would be premature to vote on whether we believe it's okay to do that before his subcommittee bloviates on the matter.

Meanwhile, we're at 7 hours and 39 minutes, and Ted Cruz is back, talking about Twitter, and reading the tweets.
posted by decathecting at 4:26 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


no way some of those tweets are under 140 characters
posted by fuzzypantalones at 4:30 PM on March 6, 2013


I just do not understand how anyone can disagree with that statement. There are numerous situations in US history where the President has ordered in the National Guard, and many of these are regarded as victories by progressives.

And some of them resulted in the deaths by innocent and unarmed Americans. When in recent history has the President ordered the National Guard to kill people on US soil as its primary objective? When has the order been to use lethal force as the only response?

I'll grant that the line can be fuzzy in some cases (see, possibly, Waco or perhaps the Bin Laden raid), and that lethal force is not exactly unexpected when heavily armed agents storm a building where well-armed evildoers are hiding out), but the order is never, at least not publicly, "go shoot those people." If you're sending in a missile-carrying drone and authorizing the use of force, the only foreseeable outcome, short of the thing crashing (and they do seem to crash a lot) or breaking, is a strike from a lethal missile.

p.s. Senator Ted Cruz has printed off a long list of tweets from people supporting Sen. Paul's filibuster and is reading them now (though I think Sen. Paul just left the chamber, perhaps for a restroom break?).
posted by zachlipton at 4:31 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd just assumed he had some sort of fancy catheter system hooked up.
posted by mittens at 4:32 PM on March 6, 2013


I guess he had to go drain the ol' fountainhead.
posted by Atom Eyes at 4:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [14 favorites]


I'll grant that the line can be fuzzy in some cases (see, possibly, Waco or perhaps the Bin Laden raid), and that lethal force is not exactly unexpected when heavily armed agents storm a building where well-armed evildoers are hiding out), but the order is never, at least not publicly, "go shoot those people." If you're sending in a missile-carrying drone and authorizing the use of force, the only foreseeable outcome, short of the thing crashing (and they do seem to crash a lot) or breaking, is a strike from a lethal missile.

Where is the bit where Holder said "we're gonna start using these things every day! There's not going to be a single federal use of force that's not drone based!"? The issue is about whether the President has the right to order a drone strike within US territory under any possible circumstances whatsoever.

You're providing examples of situations where using a drone would be wrong. Well, duh. Obviously there are many such situations. Similarly, it is wrong for a policeman to use a gun because someone is late with their overdue library books. But the fact that a policeman who used a gun in such a situation would be doing something wrong does not mean that a policeman who uses a gun to defend himself against someone shooting at him is also doing something wrong.

Think how easy it is to conjure a situation (even if extremely rare) where a trained sniper would be ordered to kill someone who was seen as a clear and present threat to public safety. How is that situation any different from the use of a drone? Does that mean that we need some kind of special law about whether the National Guard is allowed to train snipers or whether the President can call on the snipers trained by the National Guard in the event of a deployment within US territory?
posted by yoink at 5:01 PM on March 6, 2013


Think how easy it is to conjure a situation (even if extremely rare) where a trained sniper would be ordered to kill someone who was seen as a clear and present threat to public safety.

Except that we are explicitly not talking about people who pose an imminent threat. I haven't heard anyone disagree that if, for example, there's an active shooter in a public place, it would be wrong to take that person out. What we're arguing about is whether the President can do domestically what he's already done abroad: develop a secret list of people whom he believes to be terrorists or terrorist collaborators, find those people wherever they are and whatever they happen to be doing, and blow them up, all without any opportunity for that person to know they are a target and present evidence that they do not deserve to be killed. And the White House has refused to give clear guidelines as to how it determines whom to put on its lists and how it decides that those people are too dangerous to live.
posted by decathecting at 5:11 PM on March 6, 2013 [8 favorites]


What we're arguing about is whether the President can do domestically what he's already done abroad

Except that, quite clearly, the White House has made no claim whatsoever to the power to do that. So if you are talking about that, then you are talking about an entirely imaginary will o' the wisp.
posted by yoink at 5:16 PM on March 6, 2013


Here, by the way, is one relevant portion of the relevant controlling legislation on this issue:
Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion.
Now, anyone care to craft a version of this that would say "but not drones, of course!!!" that would not look simply loony?
posted by yoink at 5:18 PM on March 6, 2013


What we're arguing about is whether the President can do domestically what he's already done abroad

Except that, quite clearly, the White House has made no claim whatsoever to the power to do that.


The White House has refused to say one way or the other whether they have the power to do that. What Eric Holder has said is that there are some circumstances under which the President could order drones to kill U.S. citizens. He gave examples of some circumstances he could think of. But he did not say, and he refuses to say, that the President does not have that power in other circumstances, including the types of circumstances under which we murder people abroad.

Imagine if I said to you, "I plan to purchase a sandwich for lunch today. For example, I might buy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich." Based on that statement, you wouldn't say that I had ruled out the possibility that I might get egg salad or turkey or tuna. And if you asked me, "Is there a possibility you might get ham?" and I refused to answer, would you feel comfortable saying that I had never claimed I might have ham for lunch, and that I therefore won't be having ham for lunch?
posted by decathecting at 5:31 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


[Folks maybe stay on topic and don't turn this thread into whatever you are outraged about.]
posted by jessamyn at 5:33 PM on March 6, 2013


Think how easy it is to conjure a situation (even if extremely rare) where a trained sniper would be ordered to kill someone who was seen as a clear and present threat to public safety.

If the target is carrying a big gun and is about to shoot up a school, then sure. If the target is eating dinner or driving down the road and intelligence says he's a bad guy, then that order is an order for an extrajudicial assassination of the target, not an order to enforce the law and prevent imminent harm. If a guy bought a bunch of weapons or bomb-making supplies and was seen scoping out a school, I'd certainly want law enforcement to investigate and take all lawful steps necessary to prevent harm. But it really is pretty hard to conjure a situation where it would be lawful to blow up his house or car to neutralize the threat on the basis of intelligence.

Overseas, the standard doesn't seem to require a smoking gun or even a gun at all. Rather, it involves locating one or more men who meet certain suspicious signatures, watching them for a while, and eventually blowing them up, sometimes without knowing so much as their names. Just consider the former US Ambassador to Pakistan's explanation:
“What is the definition of someone who can be targeted?” I asked. “The definition is a male between the ages of 20 and 40,” Munter replied. “My feeling is one man’s combatant is another man’s—well, a chump who went to a meeting.”
Do I think President Obama is going to support the same practice on US soil? Not bloody likely. But if the Administration believes that this conduct is lawful and acceptable overseas under secret legal memos, we frankly have no idea what would be lawful and acceptable here at home. We're not talking about "clear and present threats" here like a foreign military invasion or someone actively in the process of committing murder. We've seen that the use of lethal force by drone strikes extends far beyond imminent threats overseas. Mr. Holder has pretty much refused to publicly justify this policy, and won't rule it out on US soil either.
posted by zachlipton at 5:34 PM on March 6, 2013 [5 favorites]


And yet use of force when its not warranted happen enough to prompt March 15t h as the International Day against Police Brutality.

Yes, of course. So what? Police brutality is a terrible thing. When the cops sodomize some poor sod with a nightstick that's an outrageous wrong. It is not, however, cause to ban nightsticks.

That people can misuse power is not an argument that no one should be given power. Soldiers can, and do, misuse rifles; that is not an argument that all soldiers should be stripped of their rifles. A drone is simply yet another military tool--which can be used well or badly. If it is used badly then the people responsible should be held accountable. As a tool it seems rather less prone to bad uses that most military hardware (far less indiscriminately destructive than mortars or bombs or tank shells or mines etc. etc.).

An argument about "is this or that particular use of drone power by President Obama acceptable" is perfectly reasonable. Rand Paul's "OMG, Holder said that he can imagine hypothetical cases in which it would be appropriate for a president to order the use of drones in the US!!! Tyranny is upon us!!!!" argument is not.
posted by yoink at 5:38 PM on March 6, 2013


flarbuse: " And a clock that has one hand moving forward and one hand moving backwards is right three times as often. A clock that has spider-like hands moving in every direction is right countless times. A clock that has only one hand that is generally right but that one hand is very shaky and keeps wiggling back and forth could be right thousands of times per hour. A clock that has no hands at all could actually be right all of the time and we would never know. A clock that is exactly one hour behind is never right unless you move it to another time zone, then it is right all the time."

There is no clock.
posted by notsnot at 5:38 PM on March 6, 2013


That people can misuse power is not an argument that no one should be given power.

It's an argument that it should be limited to the absolute minimum necessary.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:43 PM on March 6, 2013 [4 favorites]


But if the Administration believes that this conduct is lawful and acceptable overseas under secret legal memos, we frankly have no idea what would be lawful and acceptable here at home.

But that's ridiculous. That's like saying "if the government can hold one secret, then it could hold any secret! That's PROOF that they're planning to send seahorses armed with mini-nukes to destroy all members of the Ba'hai faith!"

Holder's letter is completely clear: the Obama administration has no intention whatsoever of employing drones in the US. They can imagine hypothetical circumstances in which drones might be deployed, but those circumstances are currently unforeseeable. To try to squeeze this desperately to mean "Oh yeah, as soon as terrorist-suspect-X sets foot on US soil we're going to blow his brains out, drone style!" is just delusional. I'm surprised to see so many mefites willing to follow Rand freaking Paul, of all people, down that delusional rabbit hole.
posted by yoink at 5:46 PM on March 6, 2013


If it is used badly then the people responsible should be held accountable.

To my mind, what's going on here is that people are trying to hold the President accountable by asking, "Mr. President, will you use this power badly?" And the President is refusing to say that he will not use the power in a way that we think is bad. He promises only not to do things that he thinks are bad, but refuses to articulate what standard he's using to judge the difference between good and bad. I don't think it's crazy at that point for us to want answers to a couple of follow up questions.
posted by decathecting at 5:48 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's an argument that it should be limited to the absolute minimum necessary.

Sure. I would say--and centuries of US statute law agrees with me--that one of the necessary powers of the President is to be able to deploy military force in the event of rebellion or other such emergencies. Do you disagree? If not, then what's so special about the drone that we ought to be getting our panties in a wad about hypothetical future uses of drones in the US any more than about all the other weaponry (much of it vastly more destructive than drones) at the disposal of the President?
posted by yoink at 5:50 PM on March 6, 2013


He promises only not to do things that he thinks are bad, but refuses to articulate what standard he's using to judge the difference between good and bad.

Are you talking about use of drones overseas or use of drones domestically? Because if you're talking about the former, then that's not what Rand Paul was talking about. If you're talking about the latter--what Rand Paul was talking about--then it's entirely untrue. He has said he has absolutely no intention of using them domestically. So his standard is "not at all so long as normal law enforcement means are available." That is what Eric Holder says in his letter.

It is obvious that Holder cannot specify all the possible future scenarios in which a drone might be used. It would be laughably absurd to try and no matter how many imaginary scenarios you conjured up no one (especially not a delusional paranoid like Rand Paul) would be satisfied that this in any way ruled out uses that they might not approve of.
posted by yoink at 5:54 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


If the President refused to answer the question, "Mr. President, will you categorically state that you will not send snipers with rifles to blow the brains out of American citizens on American soil whom you consider terrorists, at times when those people pose no imminent threat and without trial or due process of any kind?" I would be similarly outraged, and I would similarly demand an answer to that question.

This problem isn't uniquely about drones; the conversation is just (mostly) about drones right now because that happens to be the current topic of conversation. And, as you may have noticed, Sen. Paul and others haven't just been talking about drones. They've also been talking about due process more generally, and about the right to privacy, and about the proper constraints on government, and about our conduct abroad, and about lots of other issues that many of us are upset about.
posted by decathecting at 5:54 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


If the target is carrying a big gun and is about to shoot up a school, then sure.

So now the drones have the ability to detective motive from 25,000 feet?

I'm just wondering in what world where the intent is known that somehow a drone is the correct solution to the proposed problem.

When did the present system of due process stop being good enough that the answer is drone?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:54 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


If the President refused to answer the question, "Mr. President, will you categorically state that you will not send snipers with rifles to blow the brains out of American citizens on American soil whom you consider terrorists, at times when those people pose no imminent threat and without trial or due process of any kind?" I would be similarly outraged, and I would similarly demand an answer to that question.

That's not the question Paul asked (what he asked was whether "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"), but as it happens Holder's letter does, in fact, answer it. He states quite categorically that they intend to work within normal law enforcement structures in fighting terrorists inside US territory. He then goes on to say that it is possible to imagine hypothetical future situations in which a President might order the use of drones--which is simply a statement of the obvious.
posted by yoink at 6:02 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rachel Maddow lead with Mr. Smith tonight ;-)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:04 PM on March 6, 2013


Fair enough, it's completely true that I've been conflating the two questions. I don't read Holder's letter as categorically ruling out the possibility that they might change their minds (without telling anyone). But I do agree with you that what we're really talking about, what we should be talking about, is whether the executive powers granted by the Constitution include the power to make such a decision. Because you're absolutely right about that.

And to that end, it's actually sort of offensive for Holder to say, "Obama does not intend to do that," as though it's a decision he's empowered to make, and as though it's laudable that he's made the better choice. Because it's not his decision to make, and that's what he should be telling us. He should be saying that he can't do that, because he's not empowered to do that by the rules that empower him to act as Commander in Chief. The fact that he's making the right choice right now is irrelevant, because it's not a choice he has the right or the power to make.
posted by decathecting at 6:08 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or, if he does think he has that power, he, like every other domestic law enforcement official, should have to make himself publicly accountable for its use. He should make public the standards by which he makes the decision to use such force, make public his escalation of force criteria, and agree to submit himself and his subordinates to public review procedures every time such force is used. And he's definitely not doing those things, even where we're talking about more common stuff, like sending in snipers in domestic terrorism operations.
posted by decathecting at 6:12 PM on March 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Twitter is buzzing with establishment and media rightwingers granting Rand Paul national stature as a result of this filibuster.

Wait a second. They're rallying around a guy who has no conscience regarding secret overseas drone strikes.

He probably would have been OK with bombing Cambodia.
posted by surplus at 6:19 PM on March 6, 2013


Holder's letter is completely clear: the Obama administration has no intention whatsoever of employing drones in the US.

Yeah, just like politicians are always completely clear about how they have "no intention" of running for president (until they start running for president).
posted by John Cohen at 6:45 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd just assumed he had some sort of fancy catheter system hooked up.

That wouldn't be unprecedented:
Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina gave what remains the longest speech in Senate history—24 hours and 18 minutes—against the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Mr. Thurmond, a Democrat at the time who later changed parties, prepared beforehand like an athlete, dehydrating himself so he wouldn't have to use the bathroom. To avoid the same problem, Sen. Estes Kefauver (D., Tenn.) once rigged up a bag so he wouldn't have to leave the Senate floor.
posted by John Cohen at 6:52 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nonbinding resolution my ass. If Rand Paul is serious, he would issue a call to revoke the Authroization of Use of Military Force. I would support that. Let's have this debate right now. Bin Laden is dead, Al Qaeda is in tatters, the conditions under which this "war" started no longer exist. Let's end the "war". We're done. Bring the boys home, slash the military budget, declare peace. Then there won't be a legal question about whether or not striking people with drones or helicoptering in some SEALs to shoot them in face. It will be illegal.

Do that, Rand Paul, and I will support you. But the rest of the goddamned Republican party won't.
posted by vibrotronica at 7:30 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't perused the entire thread yet, but has anybody linked to this yet?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 8:01 PM on March 6, 2013


Well, looks like Rand Paul's fillibuster is having a direct effect on the conversation -- according to this article*, Robert Gates, Diane Feinstein, and Angus King now support more oversight.

*from February 10th
posted by weston at 8:41 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dick Durban is on now
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:59 PM on March 6, 2013


'Maybe the Congress should be setting the rules for drone strikes.'

I am glad he is saying these things. They need being said.


That's a pretty stupid thing to say, though, since it's unconstitutional. Congress can't set the rules for drones any more than they can set the rules for using tanks. That's totally up to the President. What Congress can do is to declare war (aka, AUMF) and issue letters of marque. If Congress doesn't want drones aimed at "terrorists", they need to go back and fix the original AUMF which made war on terrorism rather than specifically al-Qaeda in Af-Pak.

American citizenship does not mean you can't be an enemy combatant- we didn't hold 94,000 trials for all the Confederate soldiers killed on the battlefield. What does matter is whether there on the "battlefield", (as in, a legitimate military target, not necessary running in a meadow with a musket.) I think we can safely define within the United States as not the battlefield. Obama has said he won't use them domestically, which is about all one could expect him to say; authorities generally don't make sweeping statements about hypothetical legal situations.
posted by spaltavian at 9:06 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


Libertarians are adorable.
posted by bardic at 9:26 PM on March 6, 2013


I tend to think Obama would have stood against the use of drones and other such creeping militarism if the Republicans wouldn't have used it as an opportunity to paint him as weak on terrorism.

So let me get this straight. You win two elections, but you do what the other side wants, because you're afraid they're going to make you look bad?

And in fact they have painted him as weak on terrorism, so it didn't work at all.

It always astonishes me when people say things like this, that the President needs to tiptoe carefully so as not to offend the other party. Certainly it would be completely ridiculous if you were talking about the Republicans - can you imagine, say, Bush holding off on warrantless wiretapping because the Democrats would portray him as "weak on civil rights"?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:32 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


And there it goes, at almost 13 hours Rand Paul yielded the floor and the Senate adjourned until Thursday at 10:00 AM (ET).
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:42 PM on March 6, 2013


lupus_yonderboy: So let me get this straight. You win two elections, but you do what the other side wants, because you're afraid they're going to make you look bad?

And in fact they have painted him as weak on terrorism, so it didn't work at all.

It always astonishes me when people say things like this, that the President needs to tiptoe carefully so as not to offend the other party. Certainly it would be completely ridiculous if you were talking about the Republicans - can you imagine, say, Bush holding off on warrantless wiretapping because the Democrats would portray him as "weak on civil rights"?


A few republicans tried to paint him as weak on terrorism, but it did not catch on with the American public and polls around the time of the election showed that most people, even a large number of republicans, respected the way he was handling the issue.

And yes, because you win an election does not mean you get to do every single thing you want. Compromises are necessary if you want anyone else to work with you at all, which you will need if you intend to get anything done. If we had a majority in the house, perhaps it would be different, but yes, he has to compromise. Before the election, he also had to worry about his future image if he ever wanted to win an election. You know the republican party would be even worse about things like this.

And I'm sure that Bush would have done a whole lot more of worse things if he hadn't had to worry about Democratic push-back. Because he accomplished some negative things doesn't mean that he wasn't prevented from doing others.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:46 PM on March 6, 2013


Is another one expected for tomorrow, or will it be business as usual? Or do we not know?
posted by spinifex23 at 9:46 PM on March 6, 2013


Is another one expected for tomorrow, or will it be business as usual? Or do we not know?

I'm not big on Senate procedures, but from the way they ended it and the tone Sen. Paul was using it would seem tomorrow morning there will be a vote and no more filibuster.
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:48 PM on March 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you oppose drone strikes because you think Obama is a lizard person, that's fine with me.

I just wish that serious political opposition to Obama's drone policies wasn't coming from the brownshirt brigade that the Paul family represents. Sort of makes it more difficult to get across how important civil liberties are with regular folks, when neo-Nazis are the only ones in opposition.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:00 PM on March 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


If the administration were dispatching helmet-clad shield-bearing parachutist hoplites to indiscriminately spear to death militants and innocents alike, I would still object to the program.
Presumably there would be fewer civilian casualties.
If Romney was President, Rand Paul would not filibuster over drone strikes.
His dad did vote against the Iraq war and the Patriot Act, Unlike, say, Hillary Clinton. But Rand Paul is actually more of a mainstream republican then his dad.
He's still making some good points, but yeah, Godwin=Randloss.
Oh for fuck sake people. Goodwin's law simply states that the longer a thread is, the probability of comparing the other side to the Nazis approaches one. It does not say "Whoever mentions Hitler first loses"

Also, unless he directly compares Brennen or Obama to Hitler, it's not even an actual example, simply mentioning hypothetical future Hitlers doesn't qualify.

(It's also especially ironic to complain when the Administration is justifying it's positions open just in case the US is invaded or there's a rebellion or something)
What's the contest? Like even if I agree with you (and decathecting makes a good point that it's not clear)...Romney didn't win. And Paul is doing the filibuster. So we're praising his filibuster. This isn't a referendum about "is Rand Paul a good person over the sum total of his life?"
they're not criticizing him based on the sum total of his life, but rather the double integral over all of his possible lives in this and all parallel universes.
There is no immutable check against some future hypothetical bad act on the part of the president.
Uh no. Congress can't control future congresses, and the president can't control future presidents. But congress today can restrict the president tomorrow. If they passed a law banning domestic assassinations, or assassinations of citizens anywhere then a future congress would actually have to undo the law, publicly.
This is not true. Kent State, the raid on the Branch Dividians, or various other "problematic" groups or persons. American history is rife with this - start with Lincoln and work your way forward.
Those people were killed accidentally, they weren't people who the government had an official policy to kill.
What Paul is interested in kneecapping the president and sapping his support so that the president loses the sequester battle and Paul can finally do away with Social Security and the like.
Social security is not a part of the sequester. In fact, it's Obama who has proposed cuts in Social security (chained CPI) as an alternative to the sequester. In fact, the Sequester only affects entirely discretionary spending, which Social Security is not. Do try to pay attention to what's going on.
Justinian, what if the guy is driving toward the population center with the nuke in the back of his truck. As you said, "I don't think many would object to blowing it up." But then we're still talking about a drone strike on american soil, aren't we?
Because you are targeting the weapon, not the person. This is about killing specific people, not destroying equipment in a way that may harm people as collateral damage.
If this was coming from Ron Paul, I might agree. But his son is vehemently opposed to the Civil Rights Act and has connections with staff and campaign contributors who are noted white supremacists.
Rand Paul said he was against the civil rights act when asked, then he backtracked and said he made a mistake and was for it.
Wolf Blitzer: All right, I want to give you a chance to explain, because there’s a lot of confusion right now about precisely where you stand. I’ll ask you a simple question. If you had been a member of the Senate or the House back in 1964, would you have voted yea or nay for the Civil Rights Act?

Rand Paul: Yes. I would have voted yes.

Wolf Blitzer: So why is there all this confusion emerging right now? Give me your analysis, because you’ve had to issue a statement today. There have been interviews on NPR yesterday and MSNBC. Tell us what’s going on.

Rand Paul I thought I was supposed to get a honeymoon. When does my honeymoon start after my victory? ... For several hours on a major news network yesterday, they reported repeatedly that I was for repealing the Civil Rights Act. That is not only not true, never been my position, but is an out and out lie..... There was an overriding problem in the South that was so big that it did require federal intervention in the Sixties. The Southern states weren't correcting it, and there was a need for federal intervention...
Somehow this is interpreted as "vehement opposition to the civil rights act", which is only true in delusional fantasy land.

Even if you think he's secretly opposed to the civil rights act, that would actually be the opposite of 'vehement'
That people can misuse power is not an argument that no one should be given power.
That's the only argument that people shouldn't be given power. If they (or someone else in their position in the future) weren't going to misuse it, there wouldn't be a problem with them having it.
That's a pretty stupid thing to say, though, since it's unconstitutional. Congress can't set the rules for drones any more than they can set the rules for using tanks.
WTF are you talking about? The president is the commander if chief of the military, not the King of the military. There isn't anything in the constitution that says congress can't set laws about what can and can't be done by the military - congress already decides what weapons the military buys and what operations get funded.
A few republicans tried to paint him as weak on terrorism, but it did not catch on with the American public and polls around the time of the election showed that most people, even a large number of republicans, respected the way he was handling the issue.
Jesus Christ. Voters didn't give a shit about these issues. Bush got reelected in 2004 because of his opposition to gay marriage. Obama won in 2012 because Mitt Romney looked like a plutocratic asshole.

This cowardly idea that Obama just has to do whatever Lindsay Graham wants on national security or he would have lost in '12 is based on nothing at all except the idea that somehow you have some kind of psychic mind meld with the American public and know exactly what they want, which is obviously impossible. There is zero evidence whatsoever that this is true.

And beyond that Obama never has to worry about re-election, and he is still pushing this stuff. It's obviously what he believes in, why even bother pretending otherwise?
posted by delmoi at 1:00 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


from the brownshirt brigade

If one wishes to tie brownshirts to fascism ( 2. a member of any fascist party or group) and one then looks to Benito Mussolini Quotes (Author of The Doctrine of Fascism - can we agree that Ol'e BM is authoritative on the subject?) I present Benito:

“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”

Now go ahead with a straight face and explain how the melding of Corporate power with State power is not expressed with things like 'too big to jail/fail', Citizens United or more than a few of the laws and actions of Congress over the years. If you wish to defend the present system from such a charge as now made, can you be so kind as to state where the 'line in the sand' is so we can all know when its crossed?

I'd like to hope that this filibuster becomes one of many trying to address or at least bring up on a national stage many of the issues that have just been glossed over - but history says the "leaders" in Washington are not up for the task.

Libertarians are adorable.

In the sense that a political party needs to show that they can deliver services or even straight up gifts from the public purse to be a viable party, yes. Over in the KKK thread its pointed out how KKK members were asked to participate in their community as they understood the KKK could only exist in a community by doing things in the community. Other than chest thumping, the Libertarians do exactly what in a community? Individual Green party members and groups of Green party people do things, but in my mind, what do they do on a national level to show they can govern and would be good stewards?

The national level of (D) and (R) are bad enough at leading things a man from 'a family of brownshirts' was able to get in the news cycle for a day because he actually used the rules and brought up a topic being ignored.
posted by rough ashlar at 3:27 AM on March 7, 2013


From what I understand, Congress could actually declare that the present war is over and the President has no recourse to the war powers, including his claimed right of assassination. Can anyone confirm this?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:01 AM on March 7, 2013


WTF are you talking about? The president is the commander if chief of the military, not the King of the military. There isn't anything in the constitution that says congress can't set laws about what can and can't be done by the military - congress already decides what weapons the military buys and what operations get funded.

What are you talking about? Congress can defund the drone program if they like; (an even there, the President has a lot of wiggle room). But Congress cannot regulate anything on the tactical level. Saying "no drones" would be like saying "no snipers". They can't do it at all.

From what I understand, Congress could actually declare that the present war is over and the President has no recourse to the war powers, including his claimed right of assassination.

Well, it's not clear that the President and Congress hold that these drone strikes are "assassinations", because they are aimed (or claimed to be) aimed at military targets, not political ones. And the President can make war for a limited time before needing Congressional approval if he determines there is a clear and present danger.

So, basically, the situation is fairly murky. Without an AUMF, he would probably only to be able to legally make the kinds of strikes we are talking about when there is an imminent threat, a higher standard than the current "military target".
posted by spaltavian at 4:16 AM on March 7, 2013


rough ashlar: “Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”

Now go ahead with a straight face and explain how the melding of Corporate power with State power is not expressed with things like 'too big to jail/fail',


Not this again. "Corporatism" and "corporation" sound similar but are not closely related. It is specifically not the run-away capitalism you're trying to talk about here. It's about political and social organization of society into corporate (from the Latin for body, as in the "civic body") groups, such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labor, military, patronage, etc. It's also sometimes called a "cartelized" state: several large cartels, or social power structures that form society, are used by the state to regulate society.

What you wan to talk about is business interests overriding the state. This would never happen in fascism, where the state is all powerful. What you are describing is run of the mill plutocracy, or even more prosaically, corruption.

So no, too big to fail has nothing to do with fascism
posted by spaltavian at 4:25 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's not clear that the President and Congress hold that these drone strikes are "assassinations", because they are aimed (or claimed to be) aimed at military targets, not political ones

Unfortunately, the White House currently claims that the death of the targeted individuals is proof that they were legitimate targets. It's rather obvious why this has no legal basis.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:34 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


From what I understand, Congress could actually declare that the present war is over and the President has no recourse to the war powers, including his claimed right of assassination. Can anyone confirm this?

Which war? No wars have been declared by the US of A from the 1940's - WWII.

Korea was a 'police action' (and note how the cease fire may cease firing), along with Vietnam. The present 'kinetic actions' are not declared per the Consitution wars. What was Lybia? What is Syria/Yemen? How about voting to embargo Iran along with drone flyovers? (Kinetic action upside: at least there is law supporting the actions VS boats around Somalia.)

Anyone care to make a suckers bet now that any use of the military drones for attacking some civilians in nation would get called a police action and cite Korea/'Nam?


Oh, and history has Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill who was willing to blow off what the Supreme Court said and had the Army go in and with the force of arms and remove the Cherokee people and set them on the Trail of Tears. The system of checks and balances only goes so far as history shows.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:44 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not this again. "Corporatism" and "corporation" sound similar but are not closely related. It is specifically not the run-away capitalism you're trying to talk about here. It's about political and social organization of society into corporate (from the Latin for body, as in the "civic body") groups, such as agricultural, business, ethnic, labor, military, patronage, etc.

"Fascism's theory of economic corporatism involved management of sectors of the economy by government or privately controlled organizations (corporations). Each trade union or employer corporation would, theoretically, represent its professional concerns, especially by negotiation of labour contracts and the like. This method, it was theorized, could result in harmony amongst social classes."
Mark Mazower, Dark Continent: Europe's 20th Century p29

Then you have Alfredo Rocco (Corporate law professor) who was critical of the European plutocracies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom and sought to raise his Nation by doing many of the things France, Germany and the UK were doing.

And from The Routledge Companion to Fascism and the Far Right p.143 we have:
"Italian Fascism involved a corporatist political system in which economy was collectively managed by employers, workers and state officials by formal mechanisms at the national level."

Now ya can either embrace what the system is and go "ok" or perhaps decide All one can do for the moment is to use the word with a certain amount of circumspection and not, as is usually done, degrade it to the level of a swearword.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:03 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was one of the people who chimed in on the Elizabeth Warren thread, saying that if it was a stunt then fine, because stunty or not, those things she was saying needed to be said. But I like Warren, and I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I feel the same way here. I have such little use for Rand Paul or Republicans in general that it can hardly be quantified. I can't stand the Pauls, or the Rands, and I give none of them the benefit of the doubt. I voted for Obama twice and am a lifelong Democrat. But we need to have a national conversation on things like drone warfare, extrajudicial killing and assassination of citizens, and if it takes Rand Paul standing up against the black guy he can't stand being in the White House to start that conversation, so be it.

I guess I'm getting old, because I don't really much care anymore what the motivations might be of random assholes who object to incredibly objectionable things. The past 13 years have seen things go incredibly far south incredibly quickly in this country, so much that I'm simply happy when people I have no use for stand up for important things, even if they're doing it as a photo op for their future pre-doomed presidential run.
posted by nevercalm at 5:28 AM on March 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


I really wonder why this question is getting tied to the technology of drones - can people just not think of any other way that a US citizen could be killed by the government without a trial?

In the end the drone part makes people mad (from earlier responses in other threads) because it is not "fair" that the American flying the machine cannot be hurt in battle. I've pointed out that a bow and arrow does the same thing.

As for the issue of striking non-imminent threats in the US, Cruz directly asked Holder about that yesterday with a hypo of a man sitting at a cafe threatening no one in the US. Holder said that would not be appropriate and not constitutional. So this is a tempest in a teapot.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:59 AM on March 7, 2013


This is a red herring. Americans don't need to worry that the government is going to kill them with drones, whether they're sitting at a cafe or anywhere else, for precisely the reason Mr Holder articulates: inside America, the American government is capable of arresting people, jailing them, and bringing them to trial. The entire reason why drones exist is precisely that America is now carrying out police operations in areas of the world where it can't arrest people, both for legal reasons and more importantly for strategic ones. American forces do not control the territory in Afghanistan, much less Yemen or Pakistan's northwest territories. Even when we had 110,000 troops in Afghanistan, we did not have effective tactical control of most of the country's territory, most of the time. Indeed, nobody did. Drones are, in a sense, a weapon of weakness; they're an acknowledgement that we have given up trying to pacify the countries where terrorist organisations are based, to "drain the swamp" as counter-insurgency parlance has it. We kill suspected terrorists with drones because we lack the capability to arrest them.
- Rand Paul's Filibuster: An Off-Target Drone, The Economist
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:22 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


When in recent history has the President ordered the National Guard to kill people on US soil as its primary objective? When has the order been to use lethal force as the only response?

The answer is never. No President, Obama included, has ever done that. Ever.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:23 AM on March 7, 2013


"Italian Fascism involved a corporatist political system in which economy was collectively managed by employers, workers and state officials by formal mechanisms at the national level."

Exactly. Corpratism is a 1920s political philosophy which involves each level or grouping of society as a body corporate--in other words, the unions get a big federation which can talk to the leader and ask for things. Just don't ask for the right to vote, or strike.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:26 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


In the end the drone part makes people mad (from earlier responses in other threads) because it is not "fair" that the American flying the machine cannot be hurt in battle.

How about this explanation:

It takes a certain kind of Psychopath to look another Human in the eye and kill them. In the Christopher Donner manhunt thread/timeframe I make a 'joke' about how 40+ shots were fired and the ppl involved couldn't hit the white skinny "donner suspect" in his not-nissian truck. I don't remember anyone from the Blue linking to the various military studies about how well adjusted humans won't kill another in cold blood, even though they were given a reason to do exactly that.

Sticking the killer 1,000's of feet from the actual killing allows the Human to have a mental disconnect from the direct taking of a life.

I've pointed out that a bow and arrow does the same thing.

Where? Please post a link to this claim so we can all see it.

Because Bow/arrow VS handgun is "unfair"?
Because handgun VS small rifle is "unfair"?
Because small rifle VS .50 cal is "unfair"? (reach out and touch someone over miles. Punch thru 3/8 plate steel. How is that "fair"?)
Because .50 cal VS missle is "unfair"?
Because having fission/fusion weapons VS not having 'em is "unfair"?
posted by rough ashlar at 7:38 AM on March 7, 2013


Rand Paul And Washington's Night Of Hypocrisy
And therein lies the first part of the hypocrisy. Republican senators who had embraced Cheneyism--enhanced interrogation, Guantanamo, rendition, military tribunals--last night evinced a touching, tender sympathy for civil liberties and due process. Conservative bloggers were quick to say there was no hypocrisy: Cheney-era policies were about enemy combatants, foreigners with fewer if any rights, as opposed to American citizens. But that doesn’t explain why the same conservatives had nothing to say for the rights of Bradley Manning, the Army soldier who transferred thousands of files to Wikileaks. Whether he’s a traitor or simply a well-intentioned whistle-blower gone awry, the point is that he was treated with questionable due process, and none of the Republicans who had hastily refashioned themselves as ACLU members had said a wit about it even though Manning is very much an American.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:43 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


When in recent history has the President ordered the National Guard to kill people on US soil as its primary objective? When has the order been to use lethal force as the only response?
The answer is never. No President, Obama included, has ever done that. Ever.


That is because the National Guard is run by the States who's Guard it is. Thus unless the below happened - "the law" says it can't happen.

There are numerous situations in US history where the President has ordered in the National Guard, and many of these are regarded as victories by progressives.

Ok Yoink -show where your claim is true .... that the President did issue that order. Because I don't think that is legally possible and I apologise to the Blue for not calling this out sooner.
posted by rough ashlar at 7:44 AM on March 7, 2013


Except that we are explicitly not talking about people who pose an imminent threat.

So what we would really need is an explicit declaration on this by the Attorney General. Gee if we only had that.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) pressed Holder with a hypothetical: “If an individual is sitting quietly at a café in the United States, in your legal judgment does the Constitution allow” use of lethal drone action “if that individual is not posing an imminent threat of bodily harm.”

Holder answered: “The use of lethal force would not be appropriate” in such a situation.

Parried Cruz: “You keep saying appropriate. My question isn’t about propriety. It is about whether it is constitutional.”

“Well then, no,” Holder said.

That was yesterday, people. The Administration holds that it is unconstitutional to target a non-imminent threat with a drone within the borders of the United States. How do I know that? The Attorney General so testified when directly asked that question yesterday.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:49 AM on March 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've pointed out that a bow and arrow does the same thing.

Where? Please post a link to this claim so we can all see it.


That would be here:

I think fully autonomous firing ny drones at people would be a mistake. I could see it like the Phalanx anti-missile gun, which fires autononomously at incoming missiles directed at ships.

But as an anti-personnel weapon it makes little sense, especially when we can have operators with ease.

I see no moral problems with drones per se. Arguments against drones that revolve around the fact of the user not being exposed to fire make zero sense to me. Its like outlawing flak jackets or even more accurately bows and arrows which also allow action at a distance.

Any job an F-15 can do a drone can do better, cheaper and safer, even for those around the target. Its long loiter time and slow speed allow the operator to be more certain and use a smaller munition, creating fewer casualties.

posted by Ironmouth at 7:50 AM on March 7, 2013


rough ashlar Which war? No wars have been declared by the US of A from the 1940's - WWII.

An AUMF is a declaration of war. Or since there is no such specific document defined in the constituion as a "declaration of war" it might be more correct to say that a declaration or war is an AUMF.

Because I don't think that is legally possible

What? The National Guard can be nationalized at the President's order. Eisenhower and Kennedy both sent them in to enforce civil rights decisions/laws over governors' objections.

one more dead town's last parade: Unfortunately, the White House currently claims that the death of the targeted individuals is proof that they were legitimate targets. It's rather obvious why this has no legal basis.

This is exactly the same standard as shooting a soldier on a battlefield. Enemy combatants don't get trials in a war; why are you saying they are not enemy combatants? That's the real debate, not the phony debate about the President's clearly defined military powers.
posted by spaltavian at 7:51 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I suspect that the only reason Paul was allowed to do this was because Washington was shut down by the snowstorm yesterday and there weren't any votes or anything scheduled in the Senate. Much like how Bernie Sanders's talking filibuster was on a day when there wasn't any Senate business scheduled. If he wasn't filibustering, all that would have been happening was the clerk calling the roll for hours at a time or something.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 7:55 AM on March 7, 2013


And therein lies the first part of the hypocrisy. Republican senators who had embraced Cheneyism--enhanced interrogation, Guantanamo, rendition, military tribunals--last night evinced a touching, tender sympathy for civil liberties and due process.

Alas Rand wasn't round to hang the albatross of hypocrisy 'round Rand's neck.

I'm rather certain that someone made statements in 2007 which, in light of their later actions, allows one to hand a 20+ lbs bird 'round their neck if you are looking to hang a rotting bird 'round a neck.

"While we're at it," he said, "we're going to close Guantanamo. And we're going to restore habeas corpus. ... We're going to lead by example _ by not just word but by deed. That's our vision for the future."

At least with drones and hellfire missiles the amount of "body" to show under habeas corpus is small.

(and is Rand even talking anymore? Is the 'buster over?)
posted by rough ashlar at 7:57 AM on March 7, 2013


If the President refused to answer the question, "Mr. President, will you categorically state that you will not send snipers with rifles to blow the brains out of American citizens on American soil whom you consider terrorists, at times when those people pose no imminent threat and without trial or due process of any kind?" I would be similarly outraged, and I would similarly demand an answer to that question.

How about his Attorney General testifying under oath saying that? Would that be enough?


Here are the facts about this filibuster. Earlier today Obama's #1 legal officer stated under oath that it would be unconstitutional and improper to do what Rand Paul has been yelling about.

This is all about the gay-hating, torture ordering, illegally invading, GOP trying to pull the wool over your eyes and trying to make you support them.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:57 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


"While we're at it," he said, "we're going to close Guantanamo. And we're going to restore habeas corpus. ... We're going to lead by example _ by not just word but by deed. That's our vision for the future."

Congress stripped all possible use of funds to close Gitmo. By a veto-proof majority. Obama lacks the power to even send the troops from there home permanently. Why didn't you call your congressman when Obama asked that the measure not be passed? I sure would have if I had a congressman.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:58 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


why are you saying they are not enemy combatants?

You seem to have missed the part where the administration claims that someone being killed by a U.S. military strike is proof that they were an enemy combatant.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:00 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Eisenhower and Kennedy both sent them in to enforce civil rights decisions/laws over governors' objections.

Before I ask 'please link to such' the following:

Ironmouth - thank you for posting a link to where you made the previous statement.

and now:

spaltavian - would you please be so kind as to post a link to the law and decisions that support such a claim?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:00 AM on March 7, 2013


wellitsbeenfunthanks
posted by shakespeherian at 8:02 AM on March 7, 2013


spaltavian - would you please be so kind as to post a link to the law and decisions that support such a claim?

Support which claim? That the National Guard can be federalized? Or that National Guard tropps were sent to the South to enforce intergration?
posted by spaltavian at 8:06 AM on March 7, 2013


You seem to have missed the part where the administration claims that someone being killed by a U.S. military strike is proof that they were an enemy combatant.

Again, this is exactly the same as all wars. What is your real objection? To the war on terror? That's valid, but you haven't said that. Or is it that you don't think the targets are actually enemy combatants, that the military is routinely misidentifying them?

Or are you trying to redefine war?
posted by spaltavian at 8:07 AM on March 7, 2013


This is all about the gay-hating, torture ordering, illegally invading, GOP

1)Other than the 'gay hating' part - do show how the not-GOP in any form of power is NOT illegally invading or is working hard to NOT use torture.
2) given the deleted posts and the mods saying "keep on topic" I'm not 100% sure how filibuster and drones become what you state this is "all about." Perhaps you can enlighten us simple non-lawyer readers who don't live in Washing DC?

(I only exempt the 'gay hating' because it's hard to show that "person X" is hated due to "the gay" and tying such to a broad "party" idea. Log Cabin Republicans show that "gay hating" isn't 'party wide'.)
posted by rough ashlar at 8:09 AM on March 7, 2013


Sorry for the Wikipedia cut and paste, but I wasn't aware this was in dispute:

"Federal Duty Title 10, service means full-time duty in the active military service of the United States. The term used is federalized. Federalized National Guard forces have been ordered, by the President to active duty either in their reserve component status or by calling them into Federal service in their militia status.[22] There are several forms:

Voluntary Order to Active Duty.
Federalized with the Soldier's or Airman's consent and the consent of their Governor.
Partial Mobilization.

In time of national emergency declared by the President for any unit or any member for not more than 24 consecutive months.

Presidential Reserve Call Up.
When the President determines that it is necessary to augment the active forces for any operational mission for any unit or any member for not more than 270 days.

Federal Aid for State Governments.
Whenever an insurrection occurs in any State against its government, the President may, upon the request of its legislature or of its governor call into Federal service such of the militia of the other States. This is a statutory exception to the PCA

Use of Militia and Armed Forces to Enforce Federal Authority.
Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, assemblages, or rebellion make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State or Territory, he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State. This is another statutory exception to the PCA
Interference with State and Federal law.

The President, by using the militia or the armed forces, or both, or by any other means, shall take such measures as he considers necessary to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.

Air and Army National Guard.
Air and Army National Guard can specifically be called into Federal service in case of invasion, rebellion, or inability to execute Federal law with active forces.In the categories listed above, Army and Air National Guard units or individuals may also be mobilized for non-combat purposes such as the State Partnership Program, humanitarian missions, counterdrug operations, and peacekeeping or peace enforcement missions.[22]"

"On September 24, 1957 President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the entire Arkansas National Guard in order to ensure the safe entry of the Little Rock 9 to Little Rock Central High School the following day. Governor Orval Faubus had previously used members of the guard to deny the students entry to the school."
posted by spaltavian at 8:11 AM on March 7, 2013


This is all about the gay-hating, torture ordering, illegally invading, GOP trying to pull the wool over your eyes and trying to make you support them.

Eh. Worked for the Democrats.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:13 AM on March 7, 2013


[Folks this thread needs to not become all about one person and proving everything to their satisfaction. Feel free to use MeMail once it gets to that point.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:13 AM on March 7, 2013


Support which claim? That the National Guard can be federalized? Or that National Guard tropps were sent to the South to enforce intergration?

Thanks for responding so quickly - the original claim was deleted (so it seems) so I guess it's not considered germain to this "conversation".

Sorry to have bothered you. Keep calm and carry on.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:13 AM on March 7, 2013


Here are the facts about this filibuster. Earlier today Obama's #1 legal officer stated under oath that it would be unconstitutional and improper to do what Rand Paul has been yelling about.


Sorry--that was earlier yesterday. Before Rand Paul did the filibuster. Paul already had the answer to his question--under oath from the nation's top legal officer.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:20 AM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is all about the gay-hating, torture ordering, illegally invading, GOP trying to pull the wool over your eyes and trying to make you support them.

You mean gay-hating Republicans like these?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:31 AM on March 7, 2013


this is exactly the same as all wars

Citation strongly needed.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:37 AM on March 7, 2013


Or are you trying to redefine war?

No, Obama and Bush have already done more of that than was ever necessary.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:39 AM on March 7, 2013


Now go ahead with a straight face and explain how the melding of Corporate power with State power...

fine:

Sort of makes it more difficult to get across how important civil liberties are with regular folks, when neo-Nazis klansmen are the only ones in opposition.



blow the brains out of American citizens on American soil


I don't understand why all the focus is on American targets in the drone conversation. Didn't the Declaration say that it was self evident that *all* land-owning, white males are created equal, not just those with U.S. passports? Why should innocent Pakistani, Iraqi, or African lives matter so much less than the lives of American mass-murderers? If, as Americans, we should only really care about the lives of other Americans, aren't drones saving the lives of our service members?

Also, I thought guns didn't kill people, people kill people. Shouldn't it also be the case, then, that drones don't kill people, people kill people? Drones are just a tool like any other tool?
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:42 AM on March 7, 2013


do show how the not-GOP in any form of power is NOT illegally invading or is working hard to NOT use torture.

The United States stopped torturing, unless you consider stopping people from killing themselves by starvation on your watch as torture. I do not.

We pulled out of Iraq. As for the invasion of Afghanistan, that was legal, as Afghanistan state-sponsored a terrorist group that committed the greatest terrorist attack of all time and killed three thousand people in a day. That is an act of war justifying invasion.

Iraq had no justification at all and that's why we pulled out completely.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:51 AM on March 7, 2013


this is exactly the same as all wars

Citation strongly needed.


I've already cited the 94,000 not-trials had for Confederate soldiers killed in battle. And those were Americans on American soil. Due process is not applicable to war. That's a very strong argument for why war is bad, but it wouldn't be war otherwise.
posted by spaltavian at 10:02 AM on March 7, 2013


I've already cited the 94,000 not-trials had for Confederate soldiers killed in battle.

Nope, not the same as the current administration's take on things. Sorry.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:18 AM on March 7, 2013


I've already cited the 94,000 not-trials had for Confederate soldiers killed in battle.

Nope, not the same as the current administration's take on things. Sorry.


Citation strongly needed.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:23 AM on March 7, 2013


Citation strongly needed.

The administration's take is that they can declare anything a battlefield and kill U.S. citizens without due process, and that anyone they do end up killing was a combatant anyway, absent evidence to the contrary, and that these decisions are not subject to review by a court.

The idea that any of the above is in keeping with the Constitution is completely absurd, but it's apparently quite common within the Beltway.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:29 AM on March 7, 2013


The administration's take is that they can declare anything a battlefield and kill U.S. citizens without due process, and that anyone they do end up killing was a combatant anyway, absent evidence to the contrary, and that these decisions are not subject to review by a court

How is this different from the Civil War again?
posted by spaltavian at 10:49 AM on March 7, 2013


How is this different from the Civil War again?

"they can declare anything a battlefield"
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:51 AM on March 7, 2013


'Offensive': McCain, Graham Rip Rand Paul On Targeted Killings Policy.
posted by ericb at 10:56 AM on March 7, 2013


Rand Paul Slammed By WSJ Editorial Page Over Epic Filibuster On Drones.
posted by ericb at 10:57 AM on March 7, 2013


Lindsey Graham: John Brennan Has His Vote For CIA Director Because Of Rand Paul Filibuster.
posted by ericb at 10:58 AM on March 7, 2013


Dear Senator Paul,
It has come to my attention that you have asked an additional question: "Does the President have the authority to to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?" The answer to that question is no.
Sincerely,
Eric H. Holder, Jr.

posted by vibrotronica at 11:08 AM on March 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


Citation strongly needed.

The administration's take is that they can declare anything a battlefield and kill U.S. citizens without due process, and that anyone they do end up killing was a combatant anyway, absent evidence to the contrary, and that these decisions are not subject to review by a court.

The idea that any of the above is in keeping with the Constitution is completely absurd, but it's apparently quite common within the Beltway.


Your opinion of the Administration's position is not a citation. Multiple times in this thread, including the comment directly above this one, there has been a link to Holder's testimony and response to the direct question asked in this thread. The answer he gave is contradictory to your claim. You have provided no cite at all to a contrary claim.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:27 AM on March 7, 2013


Huh. Paul's filibuster actually worked.

And this is what the filibuster is supposed to do. It's like civil disobedience; you loudly and publicly declare yourself in an effort to bring light to an injustice or to shame others behaving badly. The Senate should make talking filibusters the only type allowed.
posted by Justinian at 11:31 AM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


spaltavian: “I've already cited the 94,000 not-trials had for Confederate soldiers killed in battle.”

one more dead town's last parade: “Nope, not the same as the current administration's take on things. Sorry.”

Ironmouth: “Citation strongly needed.”

Citation. The civil war was very carefully framed by Lincoln as a defense of Federal properties and a security measure to maintain law and order within the borders of the United States. He did not frame it in private; nor did he make fiat declarations without consulting Congress. This is because he knew that the powers of an Executive to call up troops against Americans is severely limited at best.

Eric Holder's example – a 9/11 style attack, presumably perpetrated by Americans – is utterly different. He does not believe the President should act with consent of Congress; he does not believe that due process should be followed so that the act can be framed correctly (indeed, Eric Holder has all but defined away due process); and he does not seem to care about all the things that made Lincoln hesitant to take this step.
posted by koeselitz at 11:34 AM on March 7, 2013


(And it should be noted that the Obama administration's previous strikes against American citizens have been miles away from Lincoln's precedent, since I don't think it can even be claimed plausibly that United States security was at stake in any immediate way.)
posted by koeselitz at 11:36 AM on March 7, 2013


Your opinion of the Administration's position is not a citation. Multiple times in this thread, including the comment directly above this one, there has been a link to Holder's testimony and response to the direct question asked in this thread. The answer he gave is contradictory to your claim. You have provided no cite at all to a contrary claim.

You're either forgetting about Awlaki or arguing in bad faith. Which is it?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:44 AM on March 7, 2013


Rand Paul's 12-Hour Filibuster of John Brennan in 120 Seconds.
posted by ericb at 11:48 AM on March 7, 2013


Your opinion of the Administration's position is not a citation. Multiple times in this thread, including the comment directly above this one, there has been a link to Holder's testimony and response to the direct question asked in this thread. The answer he gave is contradictory to your claim. You have provided no cite at all to a contrary claim.

You're either forgetting about Awlaki or arguing in bad faith. Which is it?


Seriously, where in any place, has the Administration declared that any location can be a battlefield? I want to see the words. Because we've had 15 cites in this thread to them saying the opposite. Yemen is not the United States. The Administration has said the opposite.

So did a soldier need a warrant to shoot at a German-American who went to the Heimat, put on a SS uniform and fought for the Third Reich?

If the answer is no, why do we need one for Al Awlaki? Please explain, as under Geneva he is a member of a non-uniformed non-state actor and is a legitimate target. I'd also like to see your court citation saying that the 4th Amendment's warrant requirement applies extraterritorially. I will save you some time. There are none.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:59 AM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


The GOP didn't filibuster Nixon, when he bombed Cambodia and Laos, killing over 150,000 civilians.

They didn't filibuster Reagan, when he bombed Libya, killing over 40 civilians, with two US pilots killed.

They didn't filibuster Bush, when he launched an unprovoked war on Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands.

No. They are interfering with the appointment of someone who many of them have no specific problems with, in order to complain about Obama using drones, which both the Pakistan and Yemen governments secretly approved of.

They are complaining about secretive guidelines regarding the use of such weapons, despite the fact that those guidelines are kept secret in order to prevent terrorists from "gaming" the rules of engagement to operate with impunity.

They are complaining about President Obama having the power of life and death, when, in fact, they gave the prior president a sweeping level of authorization to combat terrorists around the world, to the point that these drone strikes can happen without any direct presidential approval at all. In fact, what has changed is that the POTUS has *INSISTED* that he personally authorize certain drone strikes in order to increase oversight and reduce the risk of civilian casualties!

They are complaining about a lack of oversight and the risk of them being used in the United States, even though they, as legislators, could... y'know... pass a law specifically forbidding any of the kinds of uses they might be opposed to!

The simple fact is that drones have saved the lives of innocent civilians -- and US / coalition troops overseas -- by reducing car bombs, IEDs, and other terrorist attacks.

"while... levels of violence remain high in northwestern Pakistan... drone strikes are associated with decreases in the number and lethality of militant attacks..."


Indeed, news of civilian deaths from drones is *INTENTIONALLY* hyped by official sources within countries like Pakistan and Yemen, oftentimes for political purposes. Meanwhile, the actual areas where the drone strikes occur are, by definition, lawless and uncontrolled by the governments in question. As such, the insurgents themselves are oftentimes the source of civilian casualty reports.

Meanwhile, President Obama has personally intervened in the drone war -- which existed long before he took office -- to reduce civilian casualties from drones, which have fallen sharply over the past few years. He has apparently insisted upon the use of smaller munitions, such as 5.5 lb. guided rockets, as opposed to several larger options. In addition, the Defense Department now has specialized software that uses satellite data to simulate strikes beforehand and estimate the risk of civilian casualties. In cases where that risk is high, the President now personally must give the go ahead for those strikes.

Even the drone strikes themselves have decreased sharply! (Plummeted, really.)

Indeed, casualties in Afghanistan have fallen *VERY* sharply over the last few years. Do you know how many US soldiers died in Afghanistan last month? JUST ONE. He died of an IED attack on Feb. 22nd.

These IEDs are oftentimes made and smuggled in from lawless regions in Pakistan controlled by anti-government insurgents, who have killed hundreds of coalition soldiers and many thousands of Afghan and Pakistani civilians with indiscriminate IEDs and bombs. There's no way to go after them, short of airstrikes.

That's why Pakistan and Yemen covertly authorized the US to launch drone strikes with 5 lb. rockets, rather than use their own planes to drop 250 lb. bombs. By banning drones, we're actually encouraging the use of bombs, artillery, or bullets to go after the same terrorists.

And yes, some of these people are *real* terrorists, who threaten the United States. In fact, the TTP just released a video the other day, showing the grizzly beheading of six Pakistani soldiers, in which their leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, specifically threatened to carry out terrorist attacks against both the United States and Great Britain. You may be familiar with the TTP's previous work, either in the form of the Camp Chapman bombing (as dramatized in Zero Dark Thirty), assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the attempted carbombing of Times Square, their many other widescale beheadings, or simply from their involvement with a large chunk of the terrorist attacks that have killed over 30,000 Pakistani civilians.

We killed Hakimullah Mehsud's father in a 2009 drone strike, but unfortunately we narrowly failed to kill him in a 2012 drone strike. Pity.

These are fanatically dedicated terrorists who have worked closely with Al Qaeda and who helped to shelter Osama Bin Laden. Many of them aren't serious about negotiating yet. Despite convincing evidence that their position has weakened, Mehsud recently said that he would never disarm, and that peace with Pakistan would be dependent upon them changing the nation's laws to conform with his extremist views on Sharia, on breaking its alliance with the U.S., and in refocusing on India to seek revenge for Pakistan's defeat in the 1971 war.

What works, frankly, is rebuilding former Taliban-held territory, killing their leaders and militants, splintering their factions, driving a wedge between them and the civilians, and forcing the lot of them to negotiate a political compromise, or be gradually whittled away and wiped out.

The Taliban are, in fact, losing this conflict, largely because they cannot stop progress with increasingly brutal repression... but with enough people out there like Rand Paul, spouting the modern day equivalent of the John Birch Society's xenophobic, "Democrats are SOCIALISTS! / government is TYRRANY!" propaganda that his dad raised him on, partnered with well-meaning liberals who want a more honest, less grey, rather naive version of America, well... we can still lose this one, and *STILL* be the regular beneficiary of terrorist attacks, even if we do bury our heads in the sand.

Drones: They're the worst form of war, except for all the others.
posted by markkraft at 12:09 PM on March 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd also like to see your court citation saying that the 4th Amendment's warrant requirement applies extraterritorially. I will save you some time. There are none.

The Constitution applies to the U.S. government, regardless of location. The government exists only as prescribed in the Constitution, and where the Constitution does not apply, the government has no authority and no power. Apologists for extrajudicial execution may want to pretend that this isn't the case, but that's their moral failing, not mine.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:17 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Constitution applies to the U.S. government, regardless of location.

No it does not. That is completely in error.

Let's start here.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:25 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth, US v Verdugo-Urquidez had nothing to do with constitutional constraints where citizens are involved. Since that precedent has nothing to do with the case at hand, do you have another?
posted by koeselitz at 12:29 PM on March 7, 2013


No it does not. That is completely in error.

Citation strongly needed.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:30 PM on March 7, 2013


No it does not. That is completely in error.

Citation strongly needed.


The cite is linked. Try reading it.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:40 PM on March 7, 2013


had nothing to do with constitutional constraints where citizens are involved

The Constitution is surprisingly sparse with the rights of non-citizens vs. citizens, preferring to refer to "Person," "Persons" or "people." Since there are references to "Citizens" as opposed to "Persons," I think the distinction is deliberate.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:41 PM on March 7, 2013


Ironmouth, US v Verdugo-Urquidez had nothing to do with constitutional constraints where citizens are involved. Since that precedent has nothing to do with the case at hand, do you have another?

It has to do with the erroneous claim that the Bill of Right applies to every action of the U.S. Government world wide. It most certainly does not.

There is no case on point for 4th application of the 4th Amendment to a non-uniformed citizen member of a non-state actor in military conflict with the U.S., or even for a uniformed member of a state actor in military conflict.

In fact there is no on point decision regarding the extraterritorial application of the warrant provision of the Fourth Amendment regarding U.S. citizens at all.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:44 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The cite is linked. Try reading it.

Yep, doesn't apply to citizens, but koeselitz already had that covered.

Might as well cite U.S. v. Bogeyman for all the good it'll do you.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:44 PM on March 7, 2013


The GOP didn't filibuster Nixon, when he bombed Cambodia and Laos, killing over 150,000 civilians.

They didn't filibuster Reagan, when he bombed Libya, killing over 40 civilians, with two US pilots killed.

They didn't filibuster Bush, when he launched an unprovoked war on Iraq, killing hundreds of thousands.

No. They are interfering with the appointment of someone who many of them have no specific problems with, in order to complain about Obama using drones, which both the Pakistan and Yemen governments secretly approved of.

They are complaining about secretive guidelines regarding the use of such weapons, despite the fact that those guidelines are kept secret in order to prevent terrorists from "gaming" the rules of engagement to operate with impunity.

They are complaining about President Obama having the power of life and death, when, in fact, they gave the prior president a sweeping level of authorization to combat terrorists around the world, to the point that these drone strikes can happen without any direct presidential approval at all. In fact, what has changed is that the POTUS has *INSISTED* that he personally authorize certain drone strikes in order to increase oversight and reduce the risk of civilian casualties!

They are complaining about a lack of oversight and the risk of them being used in the United States, even though they, as legislators, could... y'know... pass a law specifically forbidding any of the kinds of uses they might be opposed to!


1. There's a first time for everything.

2. You know who did object to those kinds of things, constantly, for as long as he was in office? Ron Paul. You know who else? Rand Paul. Again, they may be dead wrong about damn near everything else, but they're pretty good with foreign policy. The Pauls are not and never have been the least bit representative of Republicans on the whole, and to suggest that Rand Paul is just doing this because Republicans is just silly.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:44 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


had nothing to do with constitutional constraints where citizens are involved

The Constitution is surprisingly sparse with the rights of non-citizens vs. citizens, preferring to refer to "Person," "Persons" or "people." Since there are references to "Citizens" as opposed to "Persons," I think the distinction is deliberate.


without a doubt. The court cannot decide on a case not in front of it. It must narrowly tailor its decision to the facts at hand.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:45 PM on March 7, 2013


The cite is linked. Try reading it.

Yep, doesn't apply to citizens, but koeselitz already had that covered.

Might as well cite U.S. v. Bogeyman for all the good it'll do you.


You stated that the bill of rights covers every action of the U.S. government overseas. That case stands for the exact opposite of what you said. And you have no case countering it. The application of the Bill of rights extraterritorially is limited. Those are the facts.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:47 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


2. You know who did object to those kinds of things, constantly, for as long as he was in office? Ron Paul. You know who else? Rand Paul. Again, they may be dead wrong about damn near everything else, but they're pretty good with foreign policy. The Pauls are not and never have been the least bit representative of Republicans on the whole, and to suggest that Rand Paul is just doing this because Republicans is just silly.

That's funny because Rand Paul just said he's 100% copacetic with the letter Holder just sent saying that it is the Administration's position is that it is unconstitutional for the U.S. to use deadly force against a non-imminent threat in the country and that Brennan's nomination can proceed.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:49 PM on March 7, 2013


Exactly. (Is there some contradiction there I'm missing?)
posted by Sys Rq at 12:50 PM on March 7, 2013


Exactly. (Is there some contradiction there I'm missing?)

He has no objection to the use of drones on foreign soil. I don't think he's just doing it to be a Republican. As for him being great on foreign policy, hardly.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:54 PM on March 7, 2013


You stated that the bill of rights covers every action of the U.S. government overseas. That case stands for the exact opposite of what you said. And you have no case countering it. The application of the Bill of rights extraterritorially is limited. Those are the facts.

Of course, what I've actually been talking about is how my rights as a U.S. citizen, with respect to the U.S. government, are not different when I'm in the U.S. versus when I'm not. And they aren't; that's a fact. But by all means, keep pounding on the table.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:54 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holder's letter from today does not use the word "imminent."
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 12:55 PM on March 7, 2013


Part of the reason people are "OMG Drones!" is because using drones allows the expansion of conflicts in areas and over time that the public would not permit the State to engage in if live, present soliders were there.

Information Dissemination: With Great State Power Comes Greater Responsiblity
Drones have lowered the political risk and raised the political reward of using lethal force and done so at a lower cost to the US taxpayer. In my opinion, the use of armed drones globally represents a natural and expected 21st century asymmetrical evolution of military power in our dealing with non-state actors that distributed towards smaller footprints after we engaged with overwhelming conventional military force. I see the US use of drones as a completely understandable military capability evolution. Like any new adaptation of State power that changes the rules of any battlefield in our favor, there are new considerations for using this new State power that must be addressed to insure rules of the road for others who also develop the same State power capability.
The policies that we make regarding when, how, where and why drones get used are being set at the beginning of the "Drone Era," and will eventually degrade as telepresence warfare is more accepted.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:57 PM on March 7, 2013


How is this different from the Civil War again?

"they can declare anything a battlefield"


When did we declare anything a battlefield in either case? How is Afghanistan not a battlefield?
posted by spaltavian at 1:00 PM on March 7, 2013


It's not a battlefield unless you have soldiers there, in direct conflict. If they're trying to shoot you, that's a battlefield.

Driving a Jeep on the way to a wedding is not a battlefield.
posted by Malor at 1:02 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


When did we declare anything a battlefield in either case? How is Afghanistan not a battlefield?

We didn't, and we didn't have to. They were factually battlefields.

The problem is that the executive claims the right to determine what is a battlefield (and thereby a get-out-of-jail-free card) and to make life-and-death decisions not subject to review by any court, and considers this part of "due process."
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:03 PM on March 7, 2013


Of course, what I've actually been talking about is how my rights as a U.S. citizen, with respect to the U.S. government, are not different when I'm in the U.S. versus when I'm not. And they aren't; that's a fact

Are you an enemy combatant engaged in hostile actions against the United States? If so, we've moved from the realm of "crime" to the realm of "war".

Do you not think an American can ever be an enemy combatant? Otherwise, you really don't have a basis to your objection.
posted by spaltavian at 1:03 PM on March 7, 2013


He has no objection to the use of drones on foreign soil.

Um, aside from like 8 hours of that 12 hour speech he just made, you mean?
posted by Sys Rq at 1:04 PM on March 7, 2013


"You know who did object to those kinds of things, constantly, for as long as he was in office? Ron Paul."

You're right. He's essentially a pacifist, at least as far as US involvement overseas goes. That said, he also believes that the US should pull out entirely, eliminate our overseas bases, eliminate the CIA, the FBI, the NIA, the DHS, etc.

He believes that the best way to preserve our liberty is to take away all of our security. That counts as foriegn policy, the last time I heard... but it's an entirely ideological decision that's childishly naive, based on paranoid, regressive interpretations of the Constitution that would make even Antonin Scalia roll his eyes.
posted by markkraft at 1:05 PM on March 7, 2013


the problem is that the executive claims the right to determine what is a battlefield

Congress did that with the AUMF. You have a policy objection, not a Constitutional one. Arguing that Congress needs to fix the AUMF is a prefectly valid argument, but it's Congress that created this situation, through legal means.

and to make life-and-death decisions not subject to review by any court,

Courts don't get to weigh in on military tactics.
posted by spaltavian at 1:06 PM on March 7, 2013


Do you not think an American can ever be an enemy combatant?

I don't think an American can be put on a kill-under-any-circumstances list.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:08 PM on March 7, 2013


Senate confirms John Brennan as CIA director, 63-34
posted by ericb at 1:08 PM on March 7, 2013


You're right. He's essentially a pacifist, at least as far as US involvement overseas goes. That said, he also believes that the US should pull out entirely, eliminate our overseas bases, eliminate the CIA, the FBI, the NIA, the DHS, etc.

He believes that the best way to preserve our liberty is to take away all of our security. That counts as foriegn policy, the last time I heard... but it's an entirely ideological decision that's childishly naive, based on interpretations of the Constitution that would make even Antonin Scalia roll his eyes.


Well, yeah, he's a fiscal conservative and libertarian, which I sure ain't, and I'm not going to spend any energy defending the reasons for the Paul family's foreign policy positions, but, hey.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:09 PM on March 7, 2013


He's essentially a pacifist, at least as far as US involvement overseas goes.

Isolationist is probably more accurate, or I think non-interventionist is the term Paul fans prefer, as far as I can tell because it's not the word "isolationist."
posted by weston at 1:09 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Courts don't get to weigh in on military tactics.

What you're saying is that military tactics aren't governed by laws, which is not the case.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 1:12 PM on March 7, 2013


I believe Congress absolutely needs to repeal the AUMF and the President needs to put another resolution forward redefining what he thinks is necessary to fight the unending war on Oceania, and then Congress needs to vote on that. The AUMF is out of date and way too broad. America needs to stand down from the current state of constant low-level war and redefine the role of our military and the executive in dealing with the greatly diminished threat from Al Qaeda. And I think that applies to drones, the 101st Airborne, and nuclear missile submarines equally. Focusing on the drones alone is counterproductive and misguided.
posted by vibrotronica at 1:14 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I think non-interventionist is the term Paul fans prefer, as far as I can tell because it's not the word "isolationist."

Better to call him a xenophobe, because his followers don't know the meaning of that funny lookin' word.
posted by markkraft at 1:15 PM on March 7, 2013


Charles Pierce: Curtain Call
posted by homunculus at 1:19 PM on March 7, 2013


Ironmouth: “In fact there is no on point decision regarding the extraterritorial application of the warrant provision of the Fourth Amendment regarding U.S. citizens at all.”

I haven't heard any either. We're in an era when the place of the Fourth Amendment is being rapidly defined, largely by the action of the Executive. Is it so odd to ask that that redefinition have some oversight and some review?
posted by koeselitz at 1:19 PM on March 7, 2013


"I believe Congress absolutely needs to repeal the AUMF..."

Yeah... good luck with that.
posted by markkraft at 1:21 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other news, here's something else that Rand Paul championed during his filibuster... which should only concern you if you'd rather not work 18 hours a day, seven days a week, for a dollar a day in a factory filled with toxic smoke.
posted by markkraft at 1:26 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's certainly consistent with the Walter Block-style acceptance of slave contracts that characterizes a certain branch of libertarian thinking, though as with all things regarding slime-bag R[on|and] Paul the devil is in the details of which of the implications of a libertarian social framework the man decides to emphasize. Somehow, it's always the most repugnant ones.
posted by invitapriore at 2:07 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Courts don't get to weigh in on military tactics.

What you're saying is that military tactics aren't governed by laws, which is not the case.


To the extent internatonal law exists (which is barely), there's nothing in the Geneva Conventions that would contradict the drone program.

As for domestically, you need to make the arugment that the AUMF doesn't apply to those being targeted in the drone strikes. The Constitution gives the President extremely broad authority to prosecute war.
posted by spaltavian at 2:19 PM on March 7, 2013


Do you not think an American can ever be an enemy combatant?

I don't think an American can be put on a kill-under-any-circumstances list.


No one has. The circumstances are within the context of an AUMF, when they are outside the US and have taken up arms against the United States. This kill list that everyone buzzed about was adding oversight to the process, not taking it away.
posted by spaltavian at 2:22 PM on March 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Didn't the Declaration 9of independence) say that all land-owning, white males are created equal, not just those with U.S. passports?

Sure. Why not. But lets test if the DoI has any meaning legally.

Between 1776 and March 4th, 1789 there was a different set of laws governing the land mass now considered part of the Nation - Articles of Confederation. After the money blew up* and 15 leaders later - including 1 black man - a new nation was formed.

How, exactly does the Declaration of Independence have any meaning in a situation after 1 dissolved government and no citation of legal authority in the present government?

As for the invasion of Afghanistan, that was legal

Really? Where are the court decisions at the Supreme Court showing that? Do show where someone with "standing" was able to bring a lawsuit. Because as the Surpreme's have said: Rights belong to belligerent claimant. Can you show were someone had standing and challenged the claim and the Court agreed?

All I see is someone claiming its legal with no challenge confirming its legality in court. Perhaps I missed the legal challenge and affirmation in Court.

*the money failed such that a phrase "not worth a Continental" was popular enough human beings of my generation used it as shorthand for worthless.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:26 PM on March 7, 2013


Courts don't get to weigh in on military tactics.

What you're saying is that military tactics aren't governed by laws, which is not the case.


Separation of powers means that the Court cannot weigh in on military tactics. Where the rubber is going to hit the road in the Awlaki case is that the plaintiffs are going to argue that he's not a military target and the government will say he is. If the Court agrees he is a military target he will most certainly lose.

Do you not think an American can ever be an enemy combatant?

I don't think an American can be put on a kill-under-any-circumstances list.


So an American of German or dual citizenship wearing the uniform of the SS and fighting the U.S. in World War II can't be shot at without a warrant? Nope.

As for Americans having constitutional rights relative to their government in every place, that's simply not the case.
Indeed the majority splintered on this very point. The key disagreement between the plurality and the concurring Justices in Reid was over the continued precedential value of the Court’s previous opinion in In re Ross, 140 U. S. 453 (1891) , which the Reid Court understood as holding that under some circumstances Americans abroad have no right to indictment and trial by jury. The petitioner in Ross was a sailor serving on an American merchant vessel in Japanese waters who was tried before an American consular tribunal for the murder of a fellow crewman. 140 U. S., at 459, 479. The Ross Court held that the petitioner, who was a British subject, had no rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendment s. Id., at 464. The petitioner’s citizenship played no role in the disposition of the case, however. The Court assumed (consistent with the maritime custom of the time) that Ross had all the rights of a similarly situated American citizen. Id., at 479 (noting that Ross was “under the protection and subject to the laws of the United States equally with the seaman who was native born”). The Justices in Reid therefore properly understood Ross as standing for the proposition that, at least in some circumstances, the jury provisions of the Fifth and Sixth Amendment s have no application to American citizens tried by American authorities abroad. See 354 U. S., at 11–12 (plurality opinion) (describing Ross as holding that “constitutional protections applied ‘only to citizens and others within the United States … and not to residents or temporary sojourners abroad’ ”
That's from BOUMEDIENE v. BUSH. The Bill of Rights does not follow American citizens around anywhere and everywhere. The Supreme Court uses a "functional approach" and checks each case on its own merits.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:41 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


As for Americans having constitutional rights relative to their government in every place, that's simply not the case.

It simply is. The government has only the power allowed it by the Constitution; else it has none. If I were the government, I'd pick the constitutional powers instead of none at all.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:00 PM on March 7, 2013


I am sickened by the lengths some people will go to to justify unlawful actions. We're basically at "when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal," which has never been true.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:05 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


It simply is. The government has only the power allowed it by the Constitution; else it has none. If I were the government, I'd pick the constitutional powers instead of none at all.

The Supreme Court disagrees with you. Read that cite from Boudemine. See Ross and Reid. These are the cases upon which this is based.

I am sickened by the lengths some people will go to to justify unlawful actions. We're basically at "when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal," which has never been true.

Not at all. The problem is that you assume, without researching the law and the court decisions, universal application of the Constitution. The law does not say that. See also The Insular Cases. Those are the law of our land.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:11 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


The government has only the power allowed it by the Constitution; else it has none.

The Bill of Rights does not grant the government powers. It limits the powers granted in the Constitution in certain circumstances relative to their application to citizens. This is an important distinction.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:13 PM on March 7, 2013


Ironmouth: “The Bill of Rights does not grant the government powers. It limits the powers granted in the Constitution in certain circumstances relative to their application to citizens. This is an important distinction.”

OMDTLP knows that. Everybody knows that. Nobody has contradicted this fact. The Bill of Rights, often (correctly) referred to as part of the Constitution, "allows" the government to exercise the powers granted in the main body of the Constitution under certain limits.
posted by koeselitz at 6:16 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


In other filibuster news: Senate Republicans filibuster appellate court nominee Caitlin Halligan

Senate Republicans Do The NRA’s Bidding On Judges

No, Republicans Never Intended to Cut Back on Filibusters. Why Do You Ask?
posted by homunculus at 8:03 PM on March 7, 2013


I don't agree with libertarian economic policy but they are as close to my views as you can get on foreign policy. Being isolationist isn't a dirty word. I don't want to be the world police. I wish my country was not responsible for hundreds of thousands of overseas deaths since 2001. Terrorism is a major worldwide problem, but most countries cope with it without lashing out with international violence in response.

I would probably support more UN involvement than the Pauls in an ideal situation but the bottom line is our current foriegn policy is so insane, evil, and out of control that pulling back from the brink should be the top priority for now. Find the sensible balance later.

Our recent history has shown that an administration can find among their supporters morally bankrupt lawyers to support absolutely any policy from assassination to torture to unjustified wars and anything else you need. I can't argue with their expertise on what the President is allowed to get away with, but I will vote against continuing those policies, legal or not.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:38 PM on March 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Being isolationist isn't a dirty word."
... unless great injustices and acts of inhumanity are allowed to occur, because of your desire to avoid conflict. Sure, you can ignore such acts, but that doesn't mean they won't escalate and come back to haunt you later.

Of course, this isn't the first time the United States has learned that lesson. We once spent nearly 20% of the the American budget to bribe Islamic extremists. The outcome? Americans were still held hostage, and demands for even more of our nation's wealth were made... which, in turn, was used to strengthen attacks on innocent people throughout the western world.

" I don't want to be the world police. I wish my country was not responsible for hundreds of thousands of overseas deaths since 2001."

I don't want these things either. I was against sending ground troops into both Iraq and Afghanistan, which, of course, caused most of those deaths. But if you want to talk about civilian deaths, drone warfare is not the big enemy in these countries. Indeed, terrorism, guns, and bombs were far more of a problem, in that order.

However, the US was directly attacked by Al Qaeda not once, but several, several times before 9/11, dating all the way back to 1990. As early as November 1990, plans were found outlining attacks on New York City skyscrapers, three years before the first bombing of the World Trade Center.

Attempted isolationism didn't do much good there, either. Likewise, Osama Bin Laden specifically was opposed to the US, due to it's involvement in protecting Saudi Arabia from possible Iraqi conquest... an event that wouldn't have been necessary, if not for the US saying that it had "no opinion" in regards to a possible Iraq invasion of Kuwait, and that the U.S. did not intend "to start an economic war against Iraq", should such a conflict start.

"Terrorism is a major worldwide problem, but most countries cope with it without lashing out with international violence in response."

Without lashing out? Sounds like what happened throughout most of the 1990s vis-a-vis Al Qaeda, even after numerous brutal terrorist attacks.

The question I would ask is this... would the world have been better off had the US lashed out against Osama bin Laden earlier, such as when he was named as a financier of the Office of Services in the 1993 WTC investigation, personally called from a safe house used by the conspirators behind the bombing. The CIA were prepared to apprehend him in Sudan back in 1995, but the mission didn't get the go-ahead.

"but the bottom line is our current foriegn (sic) policy is so insane, evil, and out of control that pulling back from the brink should be the top priority for now."

Okay then... in what sense is our current foreign policy insane, evil, and out of control? Do you know with any certainty that it's illogical, or, perhaps, could you acknowledge that the decisions being made by those in the current administration are based upon a greater awareness of the threats we are facing than you possess, and have been made in such a way in an attempt to minimize civilian deaths? Because, frankly, I haven't seen one iota of compelling evidence vis-a-vis the current conduct of the drone war, the continued presence in Afghanistan, or the departure from Iraq that shows me that the current administration isn't carefully weighing its decisions in order to minimize needless deaths.

One of the essential things to recognize, though, is that the choices that a President makes *WILL* kill people, either through action or inaction. If President Obama has clearly decreased the number of strikes and tightened up approval for the drone war, but if he approves some drone strikes, even if they carry with them the risk of civilian casualties, couldn't it be because he is weighing the options and is choosing what the facts suggest is the least bad option under the circumstances?
posted by markkraft at 1:52 AM on March 8, 2013


Attempted isolationism didn't do much good there

In what alternate universe are you living where America was isolationist at any point past WWI? Al Qaeda was blowback for being too involved overseas, not insufficiently involved.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:39 AM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


George Orwell: As I Please
I NOTICE that apart from the widespread complaint that the German pilotless planes ‘seem so unnatural’ (a bomb dropped by a live airman is quite natural, apparently), some journalists are denouncing them as barbarous, inhumane, and ‘an indiscriminate attack on civilians’.
After what we have been doing to the Germans over the past two years, this seems a bit thick, but it is the normal human response to every new weapon. Poison gas, the machine-gun, the submarine, gunpowder, and even the crossbow were similarly denounced in their day. Every weapon seems unfair until you have adopted it yourself. But I would not deny that the pilotless plane, flying bomb, or whatever its correct name may be, is an exceptionally unpleasant thing, because, unlike most other projectiles, it gives you time to think. What is your first reaction when you hear that droning, zooming noise? Inevitably, it is a hope that the noise won’t stop. You want to hear the bomb pass safely overhead and die away into the distance before the engine cuts out. In other words, you are hoping that it will fall on somebody else. So also when you dodge a shell or an ordinary bomb—but in that case you have only about five seconds to take cover and no time to speculate on the bottomless selfishness of the human being.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:51 AM on March 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


can't argue with their expertise on what the President is allowed to get away with, but I will vote against continuing those policies, legal or not.

I can respect that. Thinking the policy isn't right is absolutely fine. People trying to clothe their opposition in an unsupportable way is what I object to. The President may use drones against overseas armed enemies. There is no legal difference between a drone strike on bin Laden and a SEAL team attacking him personally.

Much of the dislike of drones appears to come from a dislike of the fact that the operator of the drone cannot be struck by its target. But since the dawn of time, we've used a club to strike farther than the hand can and the bow to remove the risk of combat from the archer.

But from a legal standpoint, terrorists are non-uniformed non-state actors in military conflict with the United States. As such they may be struck. It is a question of policy whether these strikes are the best way to deal with the problem of terrorism. But their legality is undoubted.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:37 AM on March 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


One method allows you to attempt capture, which is a significant difference in outcome. Again, no idea on the legal differences.
posted by Drinky Die at 12:51 PM on March 8, 2013


"Al Qaeda was blowback for being too involved overseas, not insufficiently involved."

Here's the thing though... the U.S. *WAS* involved, largely because of the necessity of having to fight World War Two.

Keep in mind that the U.S. *DID* have the choice of pure isolationism. Here's your candidate in the Republican primaries. He was opposed to Lend-Lease, to selling Britain ships or weapons, to trading with them during wartime... but he also opposed F.D.R. and felt that the U.S. should keep trading with Japan and supplying them with aviation fuel, lubricants, iron, and steel in order to keep the peace, even as they killed millions of Chinese.

In March 2, 1940, your candidate stated that Congress should not enforce the Neutrality Act or do other things that would boycott trade with Japan, saying:
"Many considerations are involved, such as the real condition of public opinion in Japan, the possible success of a Japanese attack on the Philippine Islands, the question of whether an embargo by the United States would really deprive Japan of any materials which could not be obtained elsewhere."

So, basically, he favored giving Japan special trade status... *especially* if they were capable of militarily threatening an attack on U.S. territories.

Of course, when the U.S. was attacked, Mr. Taft was steadfastly opposed to the draft. He was opposed to large-scale government efforts to mandate anything from industry, or compel them to retool for wartime production, etc. Merely creating the demand for arms was sufficient.

"War,” as he put it bluntly in March of 1941, “is worse even than a German victory." He was certain that Americans would “rather give up that trade than go to war abroad.” He also wondered why ordinary trade ties could not be established with Nazi Germany after its war against Britain; after all, he said, “a supposed hostility to Japan, a totalitarian nation, does not prevent Japan from being one of our best customers.”

Of course, he was forced by circumstances to change his tune. Here he is in 1952, talking about setting up "a control of the sea and air throughout the entire world" and letting Russia know "that if they attack Western Europe, they will find us at war". At the same time though, he opposed actually arming or otherwise helping to defend the countries of Western Europe, unless an imminent threat could be shown... at which point, it would've been too late. My dad was there in Hungary at the time. He vividly remembered Soviet tanks rolling down narrow streets, rolling straight over packs of desperate civilians trying to flee.

So I guess what I am saying is that the U.S. learned some very hard lessons from World War Two. They learned that the U.S. couldn't afford to be complacent in the world, and let it be dominated by dictators. They learned once more -- as they did with the Barbary pirates -- that free trade isn't inherently free. That it must be defended with great strength, and be defended in depth with an array of strong allies, in order to prevent another Pearl Harbor, resist the rise of tyrants, and also to give the U.S. the kind of strength where they *could* safely afford to choose winners and losers, selling to Britain, but not the Nazis, China, but not Japan.

You can argue that we were too involved overseas when we, along with numerous other nations -- many of them Arab -- and based upon numerous U.N. resolutions, decided to kick Saddam out of Kuwait. Perhaps you failed to notice that Saddam took western hostages, holding them as "guests of the state" and parading them in front of television cameras, so that he could get what he wanted.

Osama Bin Laden was, in part, a U.S. creation... but only in part. And hardly the biggest part either. OBL himself said that there were four primary enemies of Al Qaeda... and the U.S. ranked fourth, behind Israel, apostates (i.e. progressive Islamists), and sinful unbelievers.

In truth, he was primarily a creation of the conflict between a modern world of free trade, free exchange of ideas, and increasing pressure for democratic institutions -- a world which made his family multi-billionaires due to their friends and connections -- combined with religious extremist beliefs that advocated the use of terrorism to spread an expansionist form of sharia, where even Islamic civilians were considered acceptable losses, as Allah would sort 'em out.

In truth, it was more a matter Osama Bin Laden's beliefs being aggressive, confrontational, and expansionist, as opposed to the U.S. policy being aggressive, confrontational, and expansionist.

Even when we do the right thing, such as encouraging and facilitating the Israel/Egypt peace treaty, thereby diffusing the most likely hot bed for a future nuclear war, increasing free trade, etc., we inadvertently set up a status quo diametrically opposed by Al Qaeda, both within their Egyptian branch, and also within their Palestinian one... and those two branches, combined with Osama Bin Laden, were what created Al Qaeda.

The primary reason the U.S. was the enemy had largely had to do with what the U.S. is -- the world's largest trading economy, an exporter of goods and modern ideas of all sort -- as opposed to what its foreign policy is. The foreign policy largely exists to protect the rights of all of us -- and of our trading partners -- to do the kinds of things that we already do.

The simple truth is this: isolationism begets weakness. It begets appeasement. It hurts our economy. Even Jefferson, with his dreams of a peaceful, agrarian paradise, was forced to build and send a navy to deal with pirates, after paying increasing bribes to them in order to safeguard our trade. Perhaps you can show me one historic example of a country that embraced isolationism for a prolonged period of time, and grew all the stronger because of it, without having to pay the price later?

You can be against going into Iraq or Afghanistan with ground troops, or hunting down lone radicals with 250 lb. bombs capable of blowing up entire neighborhoods, but still embrace 5 1/2 lb. guided drones as the least bad choice... the one that by killing members of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, has been statistically shown to save more civilian lives than it takes, while denying terrorists the right to operate with impunity and impose a thuggish, murderous brand of radical Islam at gunpoint on innocent civilians.

Alternately, we can, by radically altering our free trade policies in a way that would allow our foreign policies to also change significantly, we can appease them. I'm sure, like the Barbary Pirates before them, they wouldn't dare take advantage of the situation, or ask for more appeasement later.
posted by markkraft at 12:52 PM on March 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I said isolationism is not a dirty word, and it isn't (most countries have no problems keeping their military to themselves and do just fine), and that we should seek a sensible balance between it and our current over-extended policy. Aggressive foreign policy has a laundry list of extreme failure that weakens the nation in question at least as long as does less aggressive policy.

When looking at our current situation, we are far too tilted in the aggressive direction. We spend beyond what the rest of the strong countries do combined. We have a massive stockpile of weapons of mass destruction that sets a terrible example for the world. We are in what appears to be a permanent state of foreign war against terrorism that has cost lives well beyond what we lost. We have a big stick, so we whack first and think later.

If your military actions are likely to provoke more terrorism rather than less, it doesn't matter how strong and non-appeasy you are being. You have made the problem worse. That is the story of our involvement in Iraq. It's not unique to that country to not like foreign military intervention.

After recent U.S. missile strikes, mostly from unmanned aircraft, the Yemeni government and the United States have reported that the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members. But civilians have also died in the attacks, said tribal leaders, victims’ relatives and human rights activists.

“These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,’ ” said businessman Salim al-Barakani, adding that his two brothers — one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman — were killed in a U.S. strike in March.
-
In 2009, when President Obama was first known to have authorized a missile strike on Yemen, U.S. officials said there were no more than 300 core AQAP members. That number has grown in recent years to 700 or more, Yemeni officials and tribal leaders say. In addition, hundreds of tribesmen have joined AQAP in the fight against the U.S.-backed Yemeni government.


You have to engage in smart policy and find a balance. Until we tilt a little back towards sense there I'm perfectly fine saying the Pauls are closer to my views even if there isn't total agreement. If the world needs police to secure trade and fight genocide, we can do it without the US acting as a lone behemoth and make it a truly international process that represents international interests instead of our own irrational reaction to Al Qaeda.
posted by Drinky Die at 2:17 PM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


markkraft, you devote like two sentences out of that comment to an actual refutation of Drinky Die's assertion that the rise of Al Qaeda is a consequence of US meddling, and those two sentences are basically just you saying "nuh uh!" How about an argument?
posted by invitapriore at 2:54 PM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


John Brennan Sworn in as CIA Director Using Constitution Lacking Bill of Rights
posted by homunculus at 6:14 PM on March 8, 2013


"you devote like two sentences out of that comment to an actual refutation of Drinky Die's assertion that the rise of Al Qaeda is a consequence of US meddling"

I made it clear that OBL and AQ's motives had less to do with US meddling than their own extremist, expansionist, interventionist beliefs, but I can provide greater clarification if you would like.

Specifically:
1> OBL's major complaints weren't originally against the US specifically, but against the insidious nature of trade, modernization, and cultural influence from people he saw as corrupt Western non-believers. That is specifically why he cited the enemy within as a bigger enemy - followers of Islam who were progressive, and allowed these things to happen. That is why he felt justified to resort to terrorism, even when it killed his fellow believers.

2> His complaints weren't primarily that the US was propping up dictatorships in the Middle East. Rather, his big complaints were that the Israel, progressive Islamists, corrupt westerners, *AND* the U.S. were all to blame, for *SUBVERTING* dictatorships to be more Western, more democratic, more culturally tolerant, more open to trade, music, art, films, new ideas, concepts such as equal rights for women, etc. OBL believed that *only* the forced institution of sharia law and the formation of a larger, aggressive Islamic state could resolve this religious / cultural conflict. His core beliefs came from the teachings of

Seriously... do you or do you not accept the fact that Osama Bin Laden's motivations were primarily related to his extremist interpretation of religion?

He was, after all, the guy who said this to the people of the United States:
"What do we want from you? . . . The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam. . . It is the religion of Jihad in the way of Allah so that Allah's Word and religion reign Supreme. . . The second thing we call you to, is to . . . reject the immoral acts of fornication, homosexuality, intoxicants, gambling, and trading with interest. We call you to all of this that you may be freed from that which you have become caught up in; that you may be freed from the deceptive lies that you are a great nation. . . you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind . . . You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator. "

3> When it comes to wars based largely on a clash of cultural and religious belief systems, the U.S., by virtue of being the biggest, most dominant exporter of free trade and western culture that the world has ever seen, was an obvious enemy of AQ and OBL, regardless of their foreign policy. Indeed, most of the reasons for OBL's hatred of America were based on our culture and its influence in/on the Islamic world.

4> OBL was opposed to corrupt dictators... except when they personally aided him, his family, and his extremist cause. He and his family benefited from their close ties with both King Fahd and the Reagan administration. It wasn't until after Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and his threats against Saudi Arabia as being "illegitimate" -- an argument similar to his claims that Kuwait was an Iraqi province -- that OBL met personally with King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and his defense minister, offering to assist him with the defense of Saudi Arabia. Instead, on Aug. 6, 1990, King Fahd met with Dick Cheney and personally requested help from the U.S. to defend his country. This was ultimately the incident that led to Bin Laden's falling out with the House of Saud.

In short, OBL was all for dictators. He just wanted them to be *his* dictators.

Like I pointed out, Jimmy Carter, whose name is now practically poison when it comes to so-called "serious", "balanced" discussion in this country regarding Middle Eastern policy and policy vis-a-vis Israel, was, by AQ's perspective, a horrible Satan, specifically because he, by cementing a peace deal, undermined Islamic extremists in both Egypt and Palestine, who formed the majority of Al Qaeda at the time of its creation. The deal also opened Egypt up to greater economic ties with the rest of the world, increased modernity, greater rights for women, etc.

In truth, US foreign policy was invariably the enemy, even when it did the right thing, effectively negating the very real risk of a nuclear exchange that almost happened during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Israel very nearly nuked Damascus, a city of 1.7 million people, and may have felt compelled to nuke Cairo, a city over four times larger, should the next war have come along... which it almost certainly would have.

So, what you consider "meddling" might also be seen as... humane? Reasonable? The kind of things that any similar-sized trading nation might do under the circumstances, to safeguard human lives?

As OBL said, "get out of our lands". He wasn't referring to our military, however, but to also to private aid organizations, teachers, businessmen, merchants, investors, journalists... many, many people invited by the many governments in question to be there, because they wanted our assistance and the skills we had to offer them.

OBL had the qualities of a religious extremist and a crass populist, who appealed to people's fears and xenophobic prejudices, and who saw Westerners in general, and Americanism, in particular, as a kind of infection. And you know, perhaps we are. But don't blame U.S. foreign policy for that.

Islamic culture isn't just on the defensive in those parts of the Islamic world that are most xenophobic, it is on the point of being changed irrevocably, by a world where ideas are increasingly harder to silence. And frankly, that's a good thing.
posted by markkraft at 6:30 PM on March 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Quit the interrogation stuff and take side conversation to email. markkraft, please have a conversation with other people here, don't just drown folks out with stuff that should maybe be on your own blog.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:28 PM on March 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


If Romney was President, Rand Paul would not filibuster over drone strikes.

But that's the value of an opposition party. We want people in Congress with a personal, selfish interest in criticizing the administration when it does something wrong.

One would hope there would be a Democratic senator who would do something like this if President Romney was refusing to rule out assassination as national policy.

I'm pleased at the honesty of the administration, who could take a simple, 'No, of course it's illegal' stance, while quietly thinking that in case shit ever went down, it would certainly be an option.”

No, that "hypocritical" stance would be much better. If there were really some crazy ticking-bomb situation where the only way to protect America from an attack is to assassinate someone right now, then of course the President would just do it and then take the heat for it. If it really was demonstrably necessary to save lives, then no jury's going to convict him. That doesn't mean we should make assassinations legal.
posted by straight at 10:15 AM on March 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Killing people by fiat with out trial or due process of law is bad, mmmmkay? In fact I don't think its too far out to make the argument that it is antithetical to democracy.

Once again the debate has sunk to justifications based on pharisaic legalisms and crazy talk about certain forms of murder being more efficient than others.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:43 PM on March 9, 2013


My filibuster was just the beginning: "If I had planned to speak for 13 hours when I took the Senate floor Wednesday, I would’ve worn more comfortable shoes."
posted by peeedro at 4:13 PM on March 9, 2013


New York Times editorial calls for Congress to repeal the AUMF.
posted by vibrotronica at 10:13 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Drone Question Obama Hasn’t Answered

“Engaged in Combat”
posted by homunculus at 11:13 AM on March 10, 2013


How a U.S. Citizen Came to Be in America’s Cross Hairs

Anwar al-Awlaki Is the New Aluminum Tube
posted by homunculus at 11:17 AM on March 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heh. "He last tried to blow us up in 2010, that's aaaaages ago." The ridiculous pretense that Al-Alwaki was a fluffy little kitten continues.
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on March 11, 2013


That's totally what was being suggested, I mean, if you think opposing the Iraq war means you thought Saddam was a fluffy little kitten.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:44 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Neocons and Obamaites Unite Against Rand Paul
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:58 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


How The Establishment Press Got Rand Paul Wrong
In light of this record, the establishment press ought to reflect upon the fact that its 2010 coverage utterly failed to anticipate the most important consequences of electing Paul to the Senate. Go back, as I just did, and read every story The New York Times published about him. Its coverage was representative: The paper paid little attention to his anti-war, pro-civil liberties, pro-checks-and-balances proclivities, though those issues were certain to loom large between 2010 and 2016; it paid some attention to the political import of a possible victory by a Tea Party Republican; and it focused intensely on Paul's position on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, legislation that passed when he was two years old and certainly won't be revisited in the foreseeable future.
Friedersdorf, you write for The Atlantic! You are "establishment press!"
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:09 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Heh. Neocons believe in Al Queda now? There's a wonder.
posted by Artw at 2:29 PM on March 11, 2013


Oh for Christ's sake. This filibuster wasn't "pro-civil liberties" or "anti-war"; it was a clever chance to polish Paul's personal mythos amongst his followers by deliberately choosing to misunderstand Holder's letter. The fact that he pronounced himself entirely satisfied the following day when Holder sent him a completely sarcastic, two-line letter essentially saying "Oh for Christ's sake you little drama queen, STFU; you know that's not remotely what we were talking about" pretty clearly shows the entire lack of substance in Paul's little piece of theater. That so many soi-disant "liberals" are falling over themselves to lick his boots now because he's provided them with a sufficiently blank slate that they can project their own (barely related) agenda onto his actions is just embarrassing. Paul must be laughing himself silly; he knew that his usual libertarian crowd would eat it up, but he can't have imagined just how big it would go over with so many lefties.
posted by yoink at 2:30 PM on March 11, 2013


Oh for Christ's sake. This filibuster wasn't "pro-civil liberties" or "anti-war"; it was a clever chance to polish Paul's personal mythos amongst his followers by deliberately choosing to misunderstand Holder's letter. The fact that he pronounced himself entirely satisfied the following day when Holder sent him a completely sarcastic, two-line letter essentially saying "Oh for Christ's sake you little drama queen, STFU; you know that's not remotely what we were talking about" pretty clearly shows the entire lack of substance in Paul's little piece of theater. That so many soi-disant "liberals" are falling over themselves to lick his boots now because he's provided them with a sufficiently blank slate that they can project their own (barely related) agenda onto his actions is just embarrassing. Paul must be laughing himself silly; he knew that his usual libertarian crowd would eat it up, but he can't have imagined just how big it would go over with so many lefties.

Well either way at least we can all agree that murdering humans without show of cause or trial is a heinous crime whether committed by Barack Obama or Bashar al-Assad.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:33 PM on March 11, 2013


The progressive 'empathy gap', a strain of liberal authoritarianism, and a distortion of Holder's letter are invoked to defend Obama
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:38 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Beloved MeFites. Doing that "I'm going to deliberately misstate and exaggerate other people's opinions just so I can provoke them into getting angry and then do that "who me" thing as if I didn't just do that" is a poor replacement for civil discussion. This is a request to knock that off so we do not have to knock it off for you. Thank you!]
posted by jessamyn at 3:51 PM on March 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The progressive 'empathy gap', a strain of liberal authoritarianism, and a distortion of Holder's letter are invoked to defend Obama

Greenwald knocked it out of the park with that one when he pointed out how common a tactic it was for the absolute worst of conservatives to mock and dismiss concerns about civil liberties before Obama's election.

Bush in his 2004 Convention speech mocking John Kerry: "After the chaos and carnage of September the 11th, it is not enough to serve our enemies with legal papers";

Rove in 2005 mocking liberals: "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments";

Palin in her 2008 RNC Convention speech mocking Obama: "Al Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and he's worried that someone won't read them their rights".

It seems troubling to me that we can't treat these concerns as serious issues. Even if you think the drone program will pass legal and moral scrutiny, it seems inappropriate not to treat it as a serious debate.

I think, right or wrong, Paul feels very strongly about these issues. There are a ton of easier ways to pull a political stunt than to stand up and speak for hours in an attempt to call attention to an issue on which you are generally at odds with how your own party sees the world. The next time there is a Republican President, they are going to use these new powers too. It isn't all about Obama.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:58 PM on March 11, 2013


Well either way at least we can all agree that murdering humans without show of cause or trial is a heinous crime whether committed by Barack Obama or Bashar al-Assad.

Of course we can agree to that. Unfortunately describing the deaths caused by drones as "murder" is simply begging the question rather than making any kind of an argument. As I acknowledged wayyyyy up in this thread there is a real and difficult question about whether the Obama administration's use of drones is an acceptable "military" action. For someone to filibuster on that issue--regardless of whether or not I ultimately agreed with their analysis--would strike me as an entirely admirable stand on what is obviously a difficult and real moral question.

To filibuster on the issue of "OMG, he's killed Americans so he's obviously going to unleash drone armageddon on us all!! We're none of us safe in our beds!!!!!!!!!" is just stupid trolling of precisely the kind one would expect from Rand Paul. And to make your excuse for it Holder's entirely straightforward, clear and reasonable letter is to publicly trumpet the fact that you're trolling.
posted by yoink at 4:03 PM on March 11, 2013


it seems inappropriate not to treat it as a serious debate.

Paul did not treat it as a serious debate. He ginned up a fake issue that was resolved to his satisfaction entirely by a two-line letter from Holder pointing out that it was a fake issue. I know that what you want is a serious discussion about use of drones overseas; that is not what Rand Paul filibustered over--and having now declared himself entirely happy with the administration's position with no changes announced whatsoever to any aspect of their overseas drone policy I do not understand how we are meant to understand that he somehow brought that issue into the daylight or made it more controversial or what have you. All he did was, in one fell swoop, paint himself as "Senator Concerned-About-Drones" and then immediately provide the administration cover by showing the world that not even Senator Concerned-About-Drones thinks there's one iota of a problem with the administration's drone policy so long as they stay short of killing Americans within US territory who are not actively engaged in acts of armed uprising. You know, something that the administration had absolutely no intention of doing in any case. Every other part of the drone program? A-OK, per Sen. Paul.
posted by yoink at 4:13 PM on March 11, 2013


"OMG, he's killed Americans so he's obviously going to unleash drone armageddon on us all!! We're none of us safe in our beds!!!!!!!!!"

I think you are engaging with a simplistic and exaggerated view of what this is all about and what those of us supporting Paul in this thread are talking about. As Greenwald points out, when Bush asserted the power to declare terrorist suspects enemy combatants and hold them indefinitely without charge, it might have been a leap to think he would immediately apply that to US citizens on US soil. And then he did that.

We need to know what our leaders believe to be the extent of their power. It's our responsibility as engaged citizens to not put absolute trust in them and to act as one of the checks against any abuse of power. It was entirely reasonable for Paul to ask the question and for him to be satisfied with the answer.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:17 PM on March 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I would indeed like him to expand his views on this towards reforming our current drone program in general and towards opposing indefinite detention of non-Americans as much as he does detention of Americans.

That does not take away from the valuable nature of having a prominent tea party Republican stand up with groups like the ACLU on the issues of drone policy/detention as they relate to Americans. That is a serious and significant improvement from having Dick Cheney be the last word on Republican terror policy.

No need to make the perfect the enemy of the good on that.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:33 PM on March 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unfortunately describing the deaths caused by drones as "murder" is simply begging the question rather than making any kind of an argument.

I shall rephrase: at least we can all agree that killing humans by fiat without show of cause or trial is a heinous crime whether committed by Barack Obama or Bashar al-Assad.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:27 PM on March 11, 2013


Drone Policy After The Filibuster
This is where a presidential speech could make a difference, as Singer says. The fact that Paul’s filibuster happened at all was a direct indictment of the administration’s own unwillingness to be forthcoming about many of the issues surrounding its counterterror policies. A direct response would allow the administration to move the conversation away from hypotheticals and explain what it is actually doing and where it sees the drone program and the broader “long war” going over the next several years.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:03 PM on March 11, 2013


The NYT and Obama officials collaborate to prosecute Awlaki after he's executed
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:59 AM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Rand Paul At CPAC
Either way, Rand Paul entered the CPAC stage yesterday to the musical stylings of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” and full-throated roars of approval from the conservative crowd. First elected in 2010, the junior senator from Kentucky has been on something of a political tear of late, and he built off of the momentum from his social media fueled filibuster to offer a textbook demonstration of his skill at covering libertarian ideas in conservative partisan trappings.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:38 AM on March 15, 2013


Foreign Policy: Mission Creep In The War On Terror
This sort of reasoning contributed to the legal theories articulated in a recently leaked 2011 Justice Department white paper, which asserted that even a U.S. citizen can be targeted and killed outside any "areas of hostilities" if an unspecified "high level official" in the U.S. government concludes that he is a "senior operational leader" of al Qaeda or an "associated force." (The DOJ white paper relies both on law of war arguments and self-defense arguments, often semi-conflating the two.) Public statements by senior U.S. officials suggest that the current standard for targeting non-citizens is far lower: Any suspected "member" of al Qaeda or "associated forces" is targetable, as are those with "unique operational skills that are being leveraged in a planned attack." Even when an individual's identity is not known, targetability may be inferred from patterns of activity detected by surveillance.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:57 AM on March 15, 2013


Appeals Court Rejects CIA Secrecy on Drones
posted by homunculus at 1:24 PM on March 15, 2013


Rand Paul wins The Washington Times-CPAC 2013 Straw Poll
posted by Drinky Die at 2:33 PM on March 16, 2013


Ron Paul and White Power Groups

Ron Paul's newsletter:
Duke1 carried baggage from his past, the voters were willing to overlook that. If he had been afforded the forgiveness an ex-communist gets, he might have won.
[...]
David Duke was hurt by his past. How many more Dukes are waiting in the wings without such a taint?
1 David Duke was a KKK "Grand Wizard" who won the GOP bids for Senator/Governor of Louisiana in 1990/1991.
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:18 PM on March 16, 2013


So because Rand Paul's father may be a crypto nazi his position on drones and executive power are inherently wrong? Is that your logic here or are you just a shill for the warmongers?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:23 PM on March 16, 2013


So because Rand Paul's father may be a crypto nazi his position on drones and executive power are inherently wrong? Is that your logic here or are you just a shill for the warmongers?

may not just be his father:

Rand Paul Aide (Hightower) Quits Over MySpace Racism, ‘Afro-Americans’ Have ‘KKK Radar’
New Rand Paul ad for Chris Hightower

So because Rand Paul's father may be a crypto nazi his position on drones and executive power are inherently wrong? Is that your logic here or are you just a shill for the warmongers?

That is not my logic. I am not now, nor have I ever been, a shill for any warmongers. Neither have I been shill for the Democratic Party. Or any political organization. A quick review of my writing on MetaFilter should inform any intelligent reader that no self-respecting organization would have an idiot like me as a "shill."

I don't see much difference between a drone, a cruise missile or, a V1/V2 rocket. To me drones in themselves seem like a non-issue. I find myself suspecting more and more that those who are constantly screaming about how Obama is a child-murder who only ran for president to have his very own kill list will probably turn out to be neo-confederates or libertarians, just trolling metafilter while taking a break from coding their next bitcoin assassination market or cleaning their battle rifles and fantasizing about Civil War 2.0.

I am not feeling isolationism or pacifism. To me it seems to be worth fighting against organizations like the Taliban and Al Queda, but I'd want to hear more from Afghans and Pakistanis before forming a solid opinion. I have positive feelings towards free enterprise, socialism, and free markets, if that possibly makes any sense. The Keynesian solution with a very large safety net, and socialism where it makes sense, seems like the best idea so far. With the problems the world faces, I think the various peoples of the world may not have much more time to mess around with lunacy like nuclear weapons and so forth. We all need to start working together and appreciating each other. I'm not sure what the U.S. can do to bring that about, but seems to me isolationism is not it.

Watching what has been happening with the 'Arab Spring,' I'm becoming more convinced that we should just openly aid and support liberals and things like education, democracy, and human rights throughout the world and fight against poverty and despotic, oppressive, and "terrorist" forces. But I'm not sure how to reconcile that with the innocent people that get killed when there is a fight. I guess this makes me something like a neo-liberal, as awful as that may be.

Three days, two breakout stars and one Big Gulp: Eight takeaways from CPAC

I wonder how bad this split in the GOP could get. Is it possible that Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and others could leave the GOP? If you ask me, the Democratic Party ought to send under-the-table invitations to sane Republicans to leave the GOP and join the Democratic Party. Isolate the modern-day racist, bigoted, neo-confederate cabal that has taken over the Republican party as much as possible.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:48 PM on March 16, 2013


I find myself suspecting more and more that those who are constantly screaming about how Obama is a child-murder who only ran for president to have his very own kill list will probably turn out to be neo-confederates or libertarians, just trolling metafilter while taking a break from coding their next bitcoin assassination market or cleaning their battle rifles and fantasizing about Civil War 2.0.

Come on, try harder to treat people that disagree with respect.

I wonder how bad this split in the GOP could get. Is it possible that Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and others could leave the GOP? If you ask me, the Democratic Party ought to send under-the-table invitations to sane Republicans to leave the GOP and join the Democratic Party. Isolate the modern-day racist, bigoted, neo-confederate cabal that has taken over the Republican party as much as possible.

Mitt Romney has won the CPAC straw poll multiple times, more than anyone else. The split is a bit overstated. Paul may prove a decent compromise candidate to compete in a Republican primary because the vast majority of his views are standard mainstream Republican but his pedigree and pandering have made him acceptable to the tea party crowd.

The primary voters also liked Romney enough to nominate him. I think in the end they might go for Christie if he pandered to them enough, he is great at being a red meat blowhard when he needs to be. Conservatives will line up behind their Presidential nominee just like liberals do, they seem to lose out more with the purity at the Senate level.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:00 PM on March 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Come on, try harder to treat people that disagree with respect.

Well, considering he/she had just been asked "Is that your logic here or are you just a shill for the warmongers?" I'm not surprised that was met with disrespect. I wish both of them would stop name calling and discuss their points.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:21 PM on March 16, 2013


I wonder how bad this split in the GOP could get.

It's all over but the admission that the Republican party exists as a single entity in name only.

Is it possible that Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and others could leave the GOP?

They are in the process of being booted out. Even if they stay they will only be able to win Republican primaries by dressing themselves in the very sort of red meat that will make them unelectable in any nationwide and most statewide general elections.

If you ask me, the Democratic Party ought to send under-the-table invitations to sane Republicans to leave the GOP and join the Democratic Party.

We don't want them. In fact, we need to heave out the "third-way" Democrats and let them go with the non-shithead Republicans to form a new party that was what the Republican Party was before they made that shitheaded deal with the guy with cloven hooves in the 1960's. I'm sure they won't win many elections being the party of the Monopoly Millionaire and shitting on labor, but at least they will be able to sleep at night.

Isolate the modern-day racist, bigoted, neo-confederate cabal that has taken over the Republican party as much as possible.

They're doing a fine job at that themselves.
posted by localroger at 7:16 AM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Comment deleted. Maybe let's do this without the namecalling and hyperbolic sarcasm.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:20 AM on March 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find myself suspecting more and more that those who are constantly screaming about how Obama is a child-murder who only ran for president to have his very own kill list will probably turn out to be neo-confederates or libertarians, just trolling metafilter while taking a break from coding their next bitcoin assassination market or cleaning their battle rifles and fantasizing about Civil War 2.0.

Ok so your logic is that whoever disagrees with the executive branch having the power to kill by fiat is a racist. Good to know. I do think that you will have a hard time dismissing the ACLU as a bunch of "neo-confederate libertarians," though.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:47 AM on March 17, 2013 [3 favorites]



Ok so your logic is that whoever disagrees with the executive branch having the power to kill by fiat is a racist. Good to know. I do think that you will have a hard time dismissing the ACLU as a bunch of "neo-confederate libertarians," though.


No. That was another idiotic comment of mine. I do question where some of the loudest voices calling Obama a murderer are truly coming from. What the ACLU is doing sounds valuable. The outdoor restaurant drone attack on Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi in particular looks absolutely awful, and the administration's explanation doesn't make a lot of sense. They launched a missiles at an outdoor restaurant? WTF? Maybe new laws/guidelines need to be put in place for modern conflict and terrorism. I suspect that is what the "kill list" is about.

If it turns Afghanistan has a functioning government and economy and children are going to school in peace in ten years, then a lot of good will have come out of the war. That still doesn't mean it was worth fighting; and that's where I'd be interested in knowing what the overall Afghan opinion of the war will be. I guess it is far more likely that Afghanistan will end up back in civil war with the Taliban, and I think that is what the drone attacks in Pakistan are intended to prevent.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:12 PM on March 17, 2013


I still fail to see what Ron Paul's supposed racism has to do with all this.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:51 PM on March 17, 2013


I personally can't take someone who associates with the KKK seriously when they speak out against extrajudicial killings and too much government. If anything, terrorists like the KKK demonstrate why we need a strong federal government.
posted by Golden Eternity at 6:32 PM on March 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I personally can't take someone who associates with the KKK seriously when they speak out against extrajudicial killings and too much government. If anything, terrorists like the KKK demonstrate why we need a strong federal government.

Again, what does this have to do with the position itself? Either you agree that the executive branch should have the power to kill by fiat or you don't. Which is it? And if you do agree that the executive should not have that power than I find your whole track here puzzling as Rand Paul's supposed racism has nothing to do with the issue at hand. You are using it as a cudgel to delegitemize his position without actually addressing his position. This is fallacious reasoning of the species ignoratio elenchi and ad hominem. So moving forward maybe we can focus the discussion on the issue at hand rather than attempting to poison the well.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:14 PM on March 17, 2013


I am not against the U.S. taking military action against the Taliban and Al Queda, or to protect innocent people, or possibly even to protect the economy as markkraft suggested. I'm not a lawyer and can not speak to the legality of U.S. foreign policy. It's hard for me to see how the U.S. could have a military conflict without any killing "by fiat." Thus the only way to take away the "power to kill" would seem to be to take away the power to take military action. If the "West" were to do that, I think it could put us and the world in a precarious position, but who knows. As I said, I'm not a pacifist. I think it makes sense to fight against horrible people like Al Queada and the KKK.

Gosh, the articles I read about Iraq today were absolutely terrible. I really hope Afghanistan turns out better, and Iraq gets better some how.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:45 PM on March 17, 2013


It's hard for me to see how the U.S. could have a military conflict without any killing "by fiat." Thus the only way to take away the "power to kill" would seem to be to take away the power to take military action.

Just to be clear you believe that the executive branch should have the power to kill anyone they see as a threat without any judicial or legislative oversight? Because that is what the Obama administration is claiming.

Here is the ACLU praising "neo-confederate libertarian" Rand Paul's filibuster. Here is also an ACLU article on the Obama administration's leaked legal justifications for its actions. From the second linked article:

According to the white paper, the government has the authority to carry out targeted killings of U.S. citizens without presenting evidence to a judge before the fact or after, and indeed without even acknowledging to the courts or to the public that the authority has been exercised. Without saying so explicitly, the government claims the authority to kill American terrorism suspects in secret.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:14 PM on March 17, 2013


Just to be clear you believe that the executive branch should have the power to kill anyone they see as a threat without any judicial or legislative oversight?

No I do not. If the word "threat" were clarified, I might have less of a problem with it. Briefly reviewing the ACLU article, it seems the administration's definition is lacking. But, the current domestic and international laws or whatever also seem lacking. I don't think the threat necessarily needs to be 'immediate.' If some terrorist were in the process of acquiring a nuclear weapon, for example, they should be stopped regardless of immediacy. The severity of the threat, and confidence in intelligence or whatever, is what should be most important, rather than immediacy, in a case like that, imo. I guess it is different if we are "at war." If militants are continually attacking Afghan and Pakistani forces or innocent civilians I'm not sure if it should matter that the 'targets' are "anywhere near the battlefield" when they are targeted.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:00 AM on March 18, 2013


If militants are continually attacking Afghan and Pakistani forces or innocent civilians I'm not sure if it should matter that the 'targets' are "anywhere near the battlefield" when they are targeted.

In this case, would the US forces be acting as soldiers or as police? That's a policing action, so they can't be acting as soldiers. But if they're police, on why are they killing people?
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:28 AM on March 18, 2013


No I do not.

Good. This means we agree on the central issue in this thread. The disconnect comes, I think, in the very real deficit between what our president professes to stand for and what he actually does in reality. I wish that President Obama would follow through on his lofty rhetoric, but so far while he has kept up with the rhetoric he has doubled down on the Bush era usurpations of executive power by codifying them into the U.S. code. The very dangerous precedents set by Bush II have not been rectified by this President and if we can't even trust a democrat to clean up the mess created by Bush II then what hope do we have down the road when inevitably we once again have another republican president who is not as "progressive" as Obama is. The problem isn't that I think Obama is going to start disappearing American citizens, but I do believe that down the road there is a clear and present danger to our democracy if policies like this are allowed to continue. To paraphrase from the federalist 41 I would say that on a small scale drone assassination is morally inconvenient, but possibly necessary in some cases. On an extensive scale its consequences could be fatal to our democratic system. In either case we need to have a very public debate about what our values really are and how to best protect them. Personally I don't think that killing our way to a national security is the best way to do that, and in many cases counterproductive to those ends.

In this case, would the US forces be acting as soldiers or as police? That's a policing action, so they can't be acting as soldiers. But if they're police, on why are they killing people?

You bring up a good point Joe. IANAL but from what I understand about international law there are very clear distinctions between the two, and as such that's where the ACLU is getting one of its main lines of argumentation against death by fiat nowhere near a battlefield.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:06 AM on March 18, 2013


In this case, would the US forces be acting as soldiers or as police? That's a policing action, so they can't be acting as soldiers. But if they're police, on why are they killing people?

I wasn't thinking of it as a policing action. My understanding is the Pakistani Military has basically been at war with the Pakistani Taliban, and the U.S. has possibly been supporting them with drones. If Taliban fighters strike a military base and then disappear into the night, it seems to me going after them is a military action more than a police action.

Not that this policy has been a success. The Taliban are still there and maybe now have more support from the people of Pakistan thanks to U.S. drone strikes.

Talk of peace with Pakistan Taliban angers victims



I do believe that down the road there is a clear and present danger to our democracy if policies like this are allowed to continue.

That sounds like a bit of a stretch to me. Though if people even worse than Dick Cheney are put in power, it seems we could be in danger regardless of the intricacies of laws guiding military conflict. I think what Obama is trying to do is attain the best possible outcome in Afghanistan, prevent future terrorist attacks, and generally make the world a better place, but I admit I am biased. And I'm not saying it's working.

The very dangerous precedents set by Bush II have not been rectified by this President

If it weren't for Robert Mueller it might have been worse. (Tim Weiner):
There is an incredibly dramatic moment in 2004 where the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller - Robert S. Mueller III, or Bobby "Three Sticks," as his agents call him - who took office, let's remember, a week before 9/11, confronts the president of the United States in the Oval Office over the White House's secret eavesdropping program that has transgressed its boundaries and overstepped the law and the Constitution.

Through its data mining tactics, through its eavesdropping technologies, they've gone beyond what even the secret court that oversees eavesdropping will authorize.
[...]
Mueller wins. Bush eventually backs down, and that is a triumph of the rule of law. And that's what the FBI does and should stand for...
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:30 AM on March 18, 2013


Politico Has A New Crush
TBOTP has noticed that the junior senator from Kentucky has gotten himself some run in the elite media over the last couple of weeks, including a win in the straw poll conducted last week in the locked ward of the monkeyhouse. (We should always remember that the only real political gift the members of the Paul family have is the ability to win straw polls and small caucuses. Give these people the kitchen and they'll have the den by dinner.) Therefore, hey, look, a new shiny thing!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:32 PM on March 20, 2013


They also seem decent at winning Senate races and congressional districts given the right circumstances.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:26 PM on March 20, 2013


Rand Paul: We shouldn’t jail people for pot use
posted by Drinky Die at 1:55 PM on March 24, 2013


The Selling Of Rand Paul
posted by homunculus at 11:15 AM on April 1, 2013


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