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Rand Paul flip-flops as support for killing United States citizens with drones increases after the Boston Marathon bombing

April 24, 2013

In my first post with the Boston Marathon bombing as its topic I made the following prediction:

With Dzhokhar  Tsarnaev now in custody and the crisis over (we think) we are going to hear about the need for increased video surveillance on all street corners in major cities and possibly even an increased police presence in the streets, and this will probably be used to justify the domestic drone spying program which is already in the works. This will be the narrative from both the Democrats and the Republicans alike.

  That was not a very difficult prediction to make; after the Sandy Hook massacre the federal government tried to implement legislation which would make the American people less powerful, so with that effort failing it seemed only natural that the federal government would use this terrorist attack to try to make the government more powerful.

  Sadly, but not surprisingly, support is now growing in the government, and among legal scholars, for the targeted drone killing of United States citizens:

I think it’s not inherently illegal to target American citizens so long as American citizens are also combatants in a relevant war. Sometimes U.S. citizens can be classified as enemy combatants” Ilya Somin, a law professor at George Mason University School of Law, told the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.

  Okay, that is all very well and good until you remember that Dzhokhar  Tsarnaev is not being tried as an enemy combatant, he has been mirandized and is being afforded a criminal trial as any American citizen should be. We can debate whether or not he ever should have been granted citizenship but he was and now those rights belong to him.

  If this man is not going to be tried as an enemy combatant what does an American citizen have to do to be listed as such? But that might not even matter because some legal scholars believe it doesn’t matter what you call the target as long as you target the right person:

It’s not important [what technology we’re using], what matters is we’re choosing the right target,” he said. “If we’re choosing the right target then we should use the appropriate weapons, we’d be wrong to ban specific technology

  As long as the federal government believes they have targeted a criminal this legal scholar believes the targeting is justified. Forgive me if I am wrong but I thought it was up to a trail by a jury of your peers to decide whether or not the federal government got the right man. Suddenly a trial by jury is being replaced with shoot first and ask questions later.

  But the most troubling news in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing comes from none other than Tea party favorite and supposed libertarian Rand Paul: Rand Paul spent 13 hours filibustering John Brennan’s nomination in order to get the federal government to admit that it didn’t have the power to target American citizens for assassinations by drone strikes, but now he has changed his tune:

I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on,” Paul said. “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash … I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him

  If a man commits armed robbery and engages the police in a firefight of course the police have the right to shoot the man, but now walking out of the store with the money is enough justification to use lethal force from above? What happened to making every attempt to apprehend the person alive and providing him with his constitutional rights!

  We just saw what was basically a police state in Boston and the surrounding towns complete with (voluntary?) warrantless house to house searches being conducted and now we are hearing people like Rand Paul stating that drones can be used to target American citizens in a land which has been deemed a battlefield under the NDAA; if Rand Paul is not on our side nobody is.

  These are scary times we are living in my friends. Where will this end? People with pro-life and second amendment bumper stickers, along with returning veterans have been named as potential threats, can these people be named enemy combatants who would be subjected to drone strikes?

18 Comments leave one →
  1. April 24, 2013 8:33 pm

    Your last paragraph nailed it, Steve.I’d feel a lot safer if Homeland Security was disbanded and the FBI and CIA were told to do their jobs.


  2. April 24, 2013 9:13 pm

    The federal government as well as state and local governments have used this incident to flex their muscles. Police forces, be they federal, state or local will never reign themselves in , but if unchecked will always try to extend there power in the name of public safety and for the most part the man in the street will go along as witnessed by the “shelter in place” aka “martial law” in the Boston area. Honestly when I saw the citizens of that city shouting USA, USA after being locked in their homes I was taken back. But then, I remembered it was Boston, the home of lobsters and liberals. It is quite sad that those people who gave us the original “Minuteman” have fallen into the trap of progressivism and honestly believe an almost all powerful state can guarantee their security without them having to give up their freedoms—more like Nazi Germany in the late 1930’s than America.


    • April 24, 2013 9:20 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Boston used to be the cradle of liberty and while the rally cry around the bombing is “Boston stong” Boston was anything but when they succumbed to authority while one man brought the city to a standstill.


    • April 26, 2013 10:56 am

      Mr. Russell,

      An excellent comment – I agree with every point you made. I was not only taken aback by the clapping, cheering, and shouting, I was dismayed. I know some were celebrating the capture and the end to the fear – which I understand. Some were applauding and celebrating the actions of the different LE organizations – does that mean they have no problem with what was done? No problem with the house-to-house warrant-less searches by heavily armed and armored gangs? Being ordered to ‘shelter-in-place’ with those going outside subjected to being stopped and searched?

      I felt a knot in the pit of my stomach – a sick, hollow feeling that a line had been crossed. How can we fix this when it’s happening all over our country? When so many people are complacent and even approve of what the government is doing?


      • April 26, 2013 8:05 pm

        I think most of them were celebrating the capture of this terrorist but I am also taken aback at the fact that nobody in the area seems to feel as if their constitutional rights were infringed upon. They don’t seem to care Marshall law was basically instituted and they don’t seem to care that their houses were illegally searched in many cases and I am reminded of the famous Franklin quote about giving up liberty for security. These people don’t seem to understand that the constitution was trampled in order to catch this man and that is frightening to me!


  3. April 24, 2013 9:20 pm

    And rand Paul lost his wheels. As predicted as well, now they will outlaw our powder. We knew they would come for our ammo. This is the excuse. Now we are potential bomb makers.


    • April 24, 2013 9:24 pm

      Rand Paul let us down, while I have come to expect this from the GOP Rand Paul is the one guy I thought we could count on. So disappointing


  4. April 24, 2013 10:02 pm

    When the ill-advised USA PATRIOT ACT was passed, it included references to economic terrorism without clearly defning the term, and I warned then that even someone caught shoplifting could easily be accused of economic terrorism. Anything that disrupts the normal flow of business. Especially if the person caught shoplifting is Iranian, or Egyptian, or from some other country in the Middle East.

    Now we need to be concerned that the kid who shoplifts a copy of SpiderMan Comics or a Spaldeen ball (two of the items I, uh, liberated from the corner store from time to time during my misspent youth) might be the target of a drone strike. A strike endorsed by, of all people Senator Paul.

    I was pleasantly surprised recently by the Senator’s (largely symbolic) filibuster about the drones, and like Steve, I’m pretty disappointed today.

    Take good care, and may God bless us all!



    • April 24, 2013 10:30 pm

      I actually agree with you on this. The PATRIOT Act might be the best example of the feds using a crisis to infringe on our rights, and the feds have done nothing but usurp more power since then.
      Rand Paul’s sudden flip flop is more than disappointing.


    • April 26, 2013 11:01 am

      Mr. TGY,

      I agree, also. The Patriot Act, and all it’s illegitimate and illegal offspring, are frightening. What can’t the government do based on the unconstitutional ‘authority’ of the Patriot Act?


      • April 26, 2013 8:07 pm

        I do not think there is anything the government can no longer get away with because the people seem to lack a basic understanding of the constitution and the rights guaranteed within.


  5. April 24, 2013 10:06 pm

    HOWEVER . . . Constitutional rights are NOT limited to citizens! They’re available to everyone within our borders, with the possible exception of illegal aliens. But the surviving bomber’s brother would have been eligible for Miranda had he survived, even though he was not a citizen (as far as I understand).

    The only right noted in the Constitution that is reserved to citizens is the right to vote. Paradoxically, the right to vote is not guaranteed by the Constitution (it’s guaranteed by the state constitutions), even though the national Constitution limits the states’ right to limit the franchise.

    Take good care and may God bless us all!



    • April 24, 2013 10:34 pm

      Unless of course the government decides a drone strike is in order and then all rights are off the table


  6. Petermc3 permalink
    April 25, 2013 7:25 am

    The flip flopping of Rand Paul et al is no more surprising than the sun rising in the east tomorrow; unless one believes they speak with their hand on the heart rather than with the finger in the air. If the definition holds true than a tax cheat is guilty of economic terrorism, no? It is ironic that the cradle of American independence, the state that sent Ted Kennedy to Washington for 40 years before the party animal swimmer burnt out and followed this up by unseating a seemingly normal accomplished Scott Brown and replacing him with an American Indian impersonator who used her lies to play the system, that this historic locale should provide the impetus for painting a target on the back every America citizen? Years ago I read a book on the colonial American’s victory over the British called, The World turned Upside Down. History does indeed repeat itself as the greatest nation on the face of the earth is incrementally humbled by the insurgents in Washington.
    P.S. My apologies for rambling but it is hard to think coherently with the crap flying in from all directions.


    • April 26, 2013 5:40 am

      No need to apologize, part of their plan is to throw so much at us that we can’t keep up with it all. While we are distracted on one thing they are doing another and all we can do is try to follow as much as we can.


      • April 26, 2013 10:32 am


        You’re right, we are being bombarded – attacks coming at us from every side. We think we have averted one crisis, only to find out that we’ve just won ONE battle in the government’s war against us. It’s disheartening and wearying.


      • April 26, 2013 8:07 pm

        And that is the plan!


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