It seems my last piece about Obama and his use of drones may have been a tad bit misunderstood and caused some sparks to fly. So, in the immortal words of Richard M. Nixon, I thought I'd make myself perfectly clear on the matter.
First off, the piece was NOT about Rand Paul, per se. Though his filibuster became the center of attention throughout most of Wednesday, my main purpose was to shine a light on what I felt was a potentially serious issue for the Administration. I am acutely aware of who Paul is and, more importantly, what he has become since being elected to the Senate in 2010, which is a laughingstock. And, yes, invoking Hitler during his Jimmy Stewart impersonation was beneath contempt, even for Paul.
But, again, the focus here was the Administration's use of drones. The testimony given both by John Brennan and Eric Holder was ambiguous at best and should be of concern to any and all who were paying attention. The fact that it is highly unlikely that drones would ever be employed on American soil does not change the fact that, absent a complete renunciation by Administration officials, it remained a tactical option.
Statements like, "We do not view our authority to use military force against al-Qa'ida and
associated forces as being limited to 'hot' battlefields like Afghanistan," are indicative of a mindset that is problematic from a Constitutional perspective. Regardless of how one feels about Obama, it is unacceptable that he, or any president, should be allowed to wield that much power over citizens within the confines of their country.
The White House finally put the matter to rest when press secretary Jay Carney read aloud a letter written by Eric Holder which stated that the President did not have the authority to use drones to kill Americans on U.S. soil. Why it took so long to state what should've been obvious is anybody's guess.
But the real crux of the matter might go a little deeper. And this is where things get a little touchy. The Left sometimes suffers from what I call selective amnesia. The circling of the wagons over this issue is a case in point. Imagine, for a moment, if instead of Barack Obama, we were talking about George Bush or John McCain or Mitt Romney being in a position to actually kill an American citizen on U.S. soil? What do you suppose the reaction of liberals would be? We would be all over it like white on rice. Sorry, people, the fact that the current occupant of the White House happens to be a Democrat changes nothing.
I realize that for most of his first term, Obama was treated more like a human pinata by the GOP than a sitting president. It's understandable for the Left to be protective of one of their own and to be sensitive to the seeming hypocrisies coming from the opposition. Where I draw the line is when that protectiveness and sensitivity comes at the price of relinquishing basic human rights afforded all of us, regardless of political affiliation or ideology.