During his ongoing filibuster in the well of the US Senate, Sen. Rand Paul introduced a resolution opposing the targeted drone killing of US citizens on American soil by our government. The resolution stated that “the use of drones to execute or target American citizens on American soil who pose no imminent threat clearly violates Constitutional rights” [of due process].
Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) blocked a floor vote on the resolution.
Paul began the filibuster at 11:47 am this morning to delay a vote on the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA, until he could get answers from the Obama administration on drone use against US citizens on US soil who may be in league with al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. Holder told Sen. Paul in a letter on March 4 that he could envision scenarios in which a drone killing might be justified, but rejected Paul’s questions as “hypothetical” and “unlikely.”
The fact is, the use of drones against Americans on US soil has already happened. That case did not involve the federal government and no one was killed. It involved a local dispute that began over milk. It’s only a matter of time before the federal government finds itself dealing with a US citizen terrorist operating on US soil. Hizballah already operates in the Texas-Mexico border region. It’s a virtual certainty that they will recruit Americans to stage some attack, if they have not done so already.
Beyond that, though, the current government has squandered any trust it may have had on the question of handling the rights of US citizens. The Obama Department of Homeland Security issued a report in 2009 in which it cast returning veterans and “anti-government” activists as potential terrorists. Though Obama approved the drone killing of Anwar al-Awlaki overseas despite the fact that he was a US citizen, it is currently treating the terrorist attack on Ft. Hood, Texas as “workplace violence” for purely political reasons. Awlaki is known to have exhorted the terrorist who carried out that attack.
But beyond that, Sen. Paul has done himself no favors by lamenting the global nature of the global war on terrorism. That clumsy name reflects a fact: Al Qaeda chose to make the war global when it attacked Americans on September 11, 2001 in Washington, New York and Pennsylvania. Our government has not patched up the holes in our immigration system that facilitated that attack. The global war on terrorism has been fought on American soil for more than a dozen years, and not by any US administration’s choice.