Rand Paul Surrenders

It’s good enough for Rand Paul:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney quoted from the letter that Holder sent to Paul today. “Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on an American soil?” Holder wrote, per Carney. “The answer is no.”

Paul said that was good enough for him. “I’m quite happy with the answer,” he said during a CNN interview. “I’m disappointed it took a month and a half and a root canal to get it, but we did get the answer.”

Carney added that, “if the United States were under attack, there were an imminent threat,” the president has the authority to protect the country from that assault.


But it is not good enough.

Carney invokes “imminent threats.” What does that mean? This administration has already sought and received lawyerly advice (in the Murder Rationalization Paper) that “the threat posed by al-Qa’ida and its associated forces demands a broader concept of imminence in judging when a person continually planning terror attacks presents an imminent threat, making the use of force appropriate.”

If a broader concept of imminence, why not a broader concept of “engaged in combat”? After all, according to the Murder Rationalization Paper “a terrorist ‘war’…is a drawn out, patient, sporadic pattern of attacks.” Who’s to say that the cappuccino-sipping dissident blogging against the state from a café in Seattle is not “engaged in [drawn out, patient, sporadic] combat”? 

The lawyerly Murder Rationalization Paper has an answer to that “who’s to say” question: “an informed, high-level official of the U.S. Government.”

I enjoyed watching the filibuster, but I am disappointed in Rand Paul. At the end of the day, his thirteen hours on his feet were nothing more than entertainment. He got a non-answer to his question, and then declared victory: “In response, Paul said Thursday that ‘we’re proud to announce that the president is not going to kill unarmed Americans on American soil.’” (Fox News.)

That’s not what they said. Not at all. The administration still takes the position it took in the Murder Rationalization Paper: that it may kill you if an informed high-level official determines that you are an imminent threat. They do not disclaim the legal authority to do this to anyone anyone—including a U.S. Citizen—anywhere—including in the US—without due process. If the president wants you dead, you are dead.

Where the administration’s lawyers make up new meanings for words to justify tomorrow what yesterday was a murder, it’s hard to imagine an answer should have satisfied Paul. But this is not it.

9 responses to “Rand Paul Surrenders”

  1. That’s how I saw and understood it. Anyone judged without benefit of a trial can be wiped off the map. Death from above, if the President says so. What really concerns me is how long will it take for this call to be made at a lower office level? Some subordinate might/will be empowered to “push the red button” instead. And, you just know that will happen. Ric

  2. If I was president and was asked that question, my answer would be “There is no constitutional authority for the killing of American citizens without trial, as long as they are not actively engaged in warfare against the American people. If it becomes necessary to engage in such killing to preserve the Republic, then my administration would have failed and I would submit, the Republic and the Constitution would be failed as well.”

  3. 13 hours then stop to pee? Pshaw! A real filibuster requires a catheter bag. I guess after Carlos Truan passed away last year everybody forgot the basics.

    If memory serves, the Texas Senate’s one-man filibuster record is more than 40 hours. Oscar Mauzy once famously tag teamed with others for more than 60.

  4. Methinks the government knows there will come a time when insurgents are everywhere attempting to take back the country from the current Occupational Government. I find it humorous that some are convinced this is a democrat vs republican issue, especially in light of the fact that Bush initiated all of this.

  5. I thought it “all began” when Clinton removed a bunch of oversight programs over the banking/investment arena. I just saw a youtube video where a wealth distribution scale chart showed exactly how much of the wealth of the 1%, in the US, has over the rest of us peons. Staggering. Sure, the spectre of social unrest is a foregone conclusion. I would hate to become arrested for writing about the obvious, so I’ll just stop. 🙂 Ric

  6. Agree totally with your analysis! Among at least 40 reviews of media and conservative
    commentors, yours is the first I’ve seen of what I perceived as the correct analysis. Even the online copies of the actual letter by Holder should be read as equivocal–not as a ‘no.’ What about “‘home-grown terrorists”’i.e. conservatives, white racists, antigovernment/religious gun clingers, militia members? When might these become
    security threats as defined by whom????

    I live on our ‘secure’ south border where several hundred aliens(300-400) are found monthly in our two county-area packed in vehicles/stash houses with 19-40 each! We
    are to double/triple last years’ numbers if this rate continues.

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