Not only did Attorney General Eric Holder have to write poor Kentucky Republican Rand Paul a letter answering Paul’s drone question in the simplest terms possible (so simple a 3rd grader can get it, we hope), when indeed, Holder already told the Senate Judiciary Committee the exact same thing on Wednesday, but then the Senator told Fox News he hadn’t gotten the letter yet…
And so Fox News’ Megyn Kelly read it to him on the air, “‘Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.”
NO. Capiche? Holder’s terse letter is but four lines long, most of that used up in repeating Paul’s question.
Paul cheered his own ignorance as if this was a big win post-Dog and Pony show, “So there is a result and a victory. Under duress and under public humiliation, the White House will respond and do the right thing. It took a month and a half to get them to admit that the CIA doesn’t operate in the United States. That’s been the law since 1947. So now, after 13 hours of filibuster we’re proud to announce that the president is not going to kill unarmed Americans on American soil.”
No, not really sir. The rest of us knew that already… Even John McCain, who has never passed up an opportunity to stick it to Obama, says Rand Paul knows better. So this is more of a YOU thing.
But also, hello Senator Paul… We assume you have access to the Internet and can read. Legal scholars have already broken down the White Papers and the administration has already clarified their interpretation and implementation of the drone policy. On February 9th, our own Adalia Woodbury quoted from the same papers Senator Paul has access to:
The White Paper acknowledges that while U.S. citizens are protected under the Due Process Clause when they are abroad, U.S. citizenship doesn’t provide constitutional immunity from attack if they are a leader of an enemy force.
“The Department assumes that the rights afforded by Fifth Amendment’s due Process Clause, as well as the Fourth Amendment, attach to a U.S. citizen even while he is abroad.” See Reid v. Covert, 354 U.S. 1, 5-6 (1957) (plurality opinion); United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259,269-70 (1990); see also In re Terrorist Bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa; The U.S. citizenship of a leader does not give that person constitutional immunity from attack.
In other words, this is about going after senior level operatives in Al-Qaeda and its allies.
If you are a senior operative in Al-Qaeda or its Allies, you can be targeted. If you are both a senior operative in Al-Qaeda or one of its allies and you are an American citizen, the constitution does not give you a special immunity from attack. However, if you are an American and you are not a senior operative in Al Qaeda or its allies, the White Paper wouldn’t allow for you to be attacked by a drone.
In plain English, the Army Field Manual 27-10* commentary on article 23 (b) of the Hague Convention IV of 1907** Article 23 (b) says that we can attack people who are part of an enemy force anywhere. The Hague Convention has been law for over 100 years. Moreover the Army Field Manual 27-10, reaffirmed it in 1956…
There is a constitutional basis to use force against a U.S. citizen who is a part of enemy forces (as per Hamdi, 542 U.S. 507)
In case this wasn’t enough, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney read Holder’s answer out loud today.
Sigh. Asked and answered already, long before the 12 hour
presidential try out filibuster. Yes, good for Senator Paul that he’s concerned about the rights of Americans, but bad on him for not knowing what everyone else who reads already knows. In other words, yes, if things were as Paul presented them, they would be dire indeed and he would be a hero (also a great candidate for 2016, eh, Paul?). However, things are not as he presented them in his filibuster and his own party is accusing him of knowing better because everyone knows that this question was answered. It is not the pressing question on the issue of drones (the pressing issues are the morality of high tech weapons and the transparency in implementation).
But oh no, better to ask loudly and often for answers to questions that have already been answered because — well, this is a good use of the American taxpayers’ money. Educating Rand Paul is of the utmost importance, the debt be damned.
NO. May we please move on to other pressing issues like Benghazi conspiracy theories while we ignore the defunding of the country and abdication of House Republicans’ Constitutional duty?