The drone filibuster

March 9th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Jeffrey Tucker writes at Not PC:

Twitter began by calling it “libertarian porn” — the longest and most sustained attack on the State leviathan from the U.S. Senate floor in modern history. But then it became more. And more. It went on for 13 hours. It was about halfway through when the junior senator leaned over to an aide and whispered: “Can I get a candy bar?” 

He deserved it. Before the end of the night, the significance of what he was doing was being described as “epic.” What began as a surprise political move became a bipartisan cry against all the evils of our times, which somehow all come down to the egregious power of the executive state and its omnipotent power over our lives and property. It became political theatre unlike any we’ve seen in many years. The target: all terrible things. 

In short, it was a beautiful day on Capitol Hill. 

It all came courtesy of Senator Randall Paul, the man who has brought truth, excitement, fun, and the appearance of real-life morality back to the Senate. …

Senator Paul’s action began just before noon. He started by standing alone against the nomination of John Brennan for the head of the CIA. This Brennan guy is the top advocate of the drone program and the White House’s super-creepy claim of the right to kill American citizens on American soil using unmanned aircraft.

Sen. Paul seemed to break the taboo. He finally said it: This winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is asserting the right to kill citizens right here, without any recourse to courts or law or anything related to the dead letter called the Constitution. …

Again, his one question: Why won’t the president say that he won’t kill non-combatants with on American soil? The White House pretended none of this was happening. …

Just before noon yesterday, stood alone. Then others joined him. Still others. Rand talked and talked. He went on and on. The online crowd began to grow. And grow. The tweets grew and grew. Facebook went nuts. It went on all day. The Senate chamber filled up by the evening. The fracas became frenzy and then became a mania. Hashtag #StandWithRand became the Internet meme of the night.

The drone debate has been fascinating. Obama has used drones to kill hundreds or thousands of targets (and collateral casualties) in Pakistan and other countries. Most Americans support the use of drones (83% in February 2012). The opposition has been a few muted liberals. I suspect if Bush had been carrying out the same numbers, there would have been massive protests.

I personally have no problem with using technology to kill people at war with you. However in one recent case a drone was used to kill a US citizen and for some that was a significant step – maybe one too far.

Now wars are no longer between states, but between states and loose groups of militias or terrorists, I think drone strikes are a sensible way to fight such wars. There are some risks of course – namely that it becomes “too easy” to kill – an issue some US Generals have said is why drone use should be limited.

But wars are basically against foreigners. Should a war power be used against a citizen of your own country born in this case in the United States?

The argument in this case is he was based in Yemen and actively advocating attacks on the US by Muslims living there. And if you look at his history, you can see why he was seen as a danger. But it means the line has gone from killing foreign combatants to killing US citizens overseas.

And then that raised the question – what if a US citizen is in the United States and thought to be a terrorist. Can the President add his name to the list and send a drone in to kill him? If US citizens can now be killed by drones – does it matter where they live?

To my mind, it does. If they are in the US then you can arrest them and should try to do so (if they surrender peacefully). It is impractical to think you can fly into Yemen and try and arrest someone in the middle of the mountains.

But the Obama administration when asked by Rand Paul would not rule out using drones in the US. The Attorney-General said:

Mr Holder stressed in his letter that the prospect of a president considering the assassination of an American citizen on US soil was “entirely hypothetical” and “unlikely to occur”.

Yet “it is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the president to authorise the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States,” he wrote.

Appearing in front the Senate judiciary committee on Wednesday, Mr Holder reiterated that “the government has no intention to carry out any drone strikes in the United States”.

That response is what led to Rand Paul to do his filibuster of the CIA nomination. And it worked. After 13 hours the Obama Administration then clarified:

“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘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.”

So the filibuster is over. But the issue of the limits of drone strikes is now mainstream, and occurred not due to any Democrats but the libertarian Republican Senator from Kentucky.

Tags: , ,

54 Responses to “The drone filibuster”

  1. tas (655 comments) says:

    I object to the implicit assumption that someone’s citizenship should affect their most basic human rights. It should be no more acceptable to kill NZ citizens than to kill US citizens.

    [DPF: You miss the point. It is about wars. It was acceptable for NZers to kill Nazis in WII but kill NZers]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 11 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. speters (108 comments) says:

    tas – morally you are probably right but the problem is that drone use in a domestic context is governed by fundamentally different legal concerns than in an international context.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Redbaiter (10,443 comments) says:

    “the libertarian Republican Senator from Kentucky”

    Senator John McCain and Lindsay Graham (both long term Republicans) called Rand Paul and Ted Cruz “wacko birds” for their stand on this issue.

    Just like the National Party here in NZ, the US Republican party is a derelict shell of a political force and not different to the Democrats to any degree that is worthwhile.

    Ted Cruz is the man who will shake US politics. (Remember you heard it first in NZ from Redbaiter.)

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Fentex (1,136 comments) says:

    But wars are basically against foreigners. Should a war power be used against a citizen of your own country born in this case in the United States?

    The writers of the U.S Constituiton being a group of people who such powers would have been used against were they available to their opponents knew the answer to this question and explicitly addressed it in their Constitution.

    It is absolutely illegal.

    Declaring a citizen guilty of a crime without a trial and proceeding to punish them with the states powers and priviledges as Obama did when he killed Anwar al-Aulaqi and then Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi is a process known as a Bill of Attainder and it is explicitly outlawed in the U.S Constitution.

    There is no honest argument against this. All efforts to pretend otherwise are just gymnastics attempting to justify the use of force without accountability

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    “Nuke the Gook” is a policy that will have little opposition in the “Newyited States”.

    Never mind if the Gook in question is a citizen! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. speters (108 comments) says:

    Given that U.S. citizenship can be forfeited by serving in foreign armed forces, could the US Govt make a case (particularly in today’s world of assymetrical wars against non-state militia/terrorist groups) that by participating in one of these groups the citizen in question has forfeited citizenship?

    Does anyone know the process or guidelines for a U.S. citizen to have their citizenship revoked in this way?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    One really interesting aspect of the debate is the fact that it has been the use of drones that has brought it out. However, there’s no reason for why a drone should be considered any differently than any other weapon of war – like a helicopter or fighter bomber. In that respect, this debate has tinges of the “law of the horse” about it.

    The central question, however, is the extent of presidential war powers and what can and cannot be said to be an exercise of them. That’s not really a simple debate. Nobody thinks burning Atlanta to the ground in the civil war was ultra vires – even though Lincoln maintained that Confederates were US cutizens. I think it all comes down to whether the US is really prosecuting a war. I’d argue not.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    You wouldn’t be related to FE Smith by any chance would you Cato?

    I only ask because my Posturing Waffleometer readings have gone off scale again! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. Scott (1,807 comments) says:

    ” If Bush had been doing this I suspect there would have been massive protests “.
    Quite right DPF. Apparently one needs to know the rules of the anti war left. Bush water boarding foreign adversaries was incredibly bad, a crime against humanity and directly responsible for inflaming America’s enemies and swelling the ranks of jihadists.
    Obama having combatants killed by drone attacks is wholly unremarkable and justified and need not disturb the conscience of even the most peace loving activist.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. speters (108 comments) says:

    Scott – I think there is at least a tenable argument that drone weapons shouldn’t be considered any different to a bullet, a rocket, or a nuke in that ultimately it is just a tool of warfare. Any question that applies to the correct use of a drone also applies to those other forms of weaponry. The use of drone weapons per se really isn’t that remarkable, and certainly isn’t comparable to torturing captive enemy combatants (in my opinion).

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    “Should a war power be used against a citizen of your own country born in this case in the United States?”

    I don’t think it is as simple as “no, it shouldn’t”.

    If (say) a US citizen is helping a group like al-Qaeda, or is actually plotting to commit terrorism themselves, then I’d suggest that they are a *traitor.* Given that, they deserve everything that happens to them.

    Most treason laws were written with the assumption that a traitor would be helping another *country* attack his country. With non-government terrorist groups, that is no longer the case.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. speters (108 comments) says:

    thor – agreed, and as mentioned above, could the U.S. Govt not revoke citizenship on either of two grounds: either membership in a foreign military group or treason?

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Neil (577 comments) says:

    I have very little time for Rand Paul. Incodentally, he is the son of maverick GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas.
    Rand Paul’s filibuster was the opening shot in his 2016 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination. Heaven help if he wins it,if he does look for faux pas and bliather from him. He is liberatarian and his issues are reduced defence spending,return to the gold standard and a few other zonky matters.
    I question Paul’s support of GOP candidates. he’s very much for himself like his father.
    Ted Cruz,senator from Texas, mentioned in posts, is another Republican with loose lips and an ego as big as the Lone Star state. He is wacky and another Tea Party supporter. He suffers from “foot and mouth disease”, after expressing opinions about abortion.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Johnboy – excuse me? Didn’t know you were the comment police.

    i tried to keep everything down to four syllables or less for you.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. speters (108 comments) says:

    Cato – I agree that one of the more fascinating aspects of this debate are the questions it has raised that are in no way specific to drones.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    That would be three syllables too many from you for most folk Cato however you haven’t answered my primary question. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Nah I’m not. But I do admire Lord Birkenhead.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    He drank himself to death you realise. :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Yeah but, as Churchill said: “If he was with you on Monday, he would be the same on Tuesday. And on Thursday, when things looked blue, he would still be marching forward with strong reinforcements.”

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    I’m glad to have pointed you toward that font of all knowledge…..Wikipedia….. Cato (elder or younger? )! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Carthage must be destroyed!

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Yoza (1,926 comments) says:

    In an ideal world, weapons wielded by US agents should only be used against US citizens. Using drones against foreign nationals on foreign soil should be seen as a crime against humanity, unless it can be proved that those foreign nationals constitute an immediate threat to the citizens of the US on US soil.

    If drone strikes were being carried out against US citizens on US soil by a foreign government the mainstream media would be screaming blue murder, as the thousands of victims of US drone strike are dark-skinned ‘unpeople’ it is taken for granted that their deaths are either justifiable or, at worst, ‘unfortunate’.

    The attack on the CIA torture chamber in Tunisia, where the US diplomat was killed, had far more legitimacy than any drone strike the US has carried out anywhere in the world.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. gump (1,684 comments) says:

    Ron Paul was a certifiable lunatic.

    I hope that his son Rand hasn’t inherited the mad parts of his father’s mind.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Scott (1,807 comments) says:

    S peters @ 3.18pm, well we have a difference of opinion. It was terrible of the USA under Bush to use water boarding to interrogate enemy combatants. The media was all over it. But Obama is killing enemy combatants with drone strikes all through the region. Even US citizens can be assassinated stealthily with a drone strike, in Pakistan and apparently even in the USA!
    Isn’t this exactly the sort of CIA dirty tricks / assassination thing that the anti war left has been going on about for years? But because it’s Obama no problem?
    Again the relevant question is, what if George Bush was doing it? Would you feel the same then?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Scott – agreed. Bush waterboarded 3 guys. Obama has assassinated hundreds through the drone program.

    Is there any doubt there would be howls for impeachment from the media if a repub was still in charge?

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    I wish you guys would stop confusing a Democratic Obama led administration with say a Helen led or Julia led Labour administration.

    Obama is so far to the right of those two Ladies he makes John Key look like a socialist.

    I’ve never worked out why the left in NZ regard the US Democrats as soulmates! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Johnboy – only on some things. US politics doesn’t translate well. Obama, for instance, is far to the left of Labour on, say, abortion.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    Touche Cato (The Elder)! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. wat dabney (3,849 comments) says:

    Ron Paul was a certifiable lunatic.

    He voted against nearly all spending bills, on the unarguable point that they were unconstitutional.

    It says something for the state of US politics when this is taken as a sign of lunacy.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. SPC (5,667 comments) says:

    How is Obama to the left of Labour on abortion? Are they delivered through publicly owned institutions in the USA? And how is this a left and right issue anyway?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    I agree with Wat Dabney – Rand Paul has the whiff about him of being an American Cato (the Younger) – another inflexible constitutionalist (and master of the talking filibuster). As the American system continues to break down, you can really imagine him sticking to the principles of its founding.

    Obama supports an unlimited right of taxpayer abortion at any time for any reason from conception through to (and beyond) birth. The Labour Party do not support that. As far as I can tell, they support the status quo of medical abortion until a certain period.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. gump (1,684 comments) says:

    @Cato

    Ensuring that women have access to abortion is a right-wing principle (as are most issues that involve personal choice).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Gump – you are ignoring political reality.

    Is Rand Paul right-wing or not?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    I say that becauase Rand Paul opposes abortion – as did his father – despite them being both libertarians. Ron Paul spoke quite movingly about it at the RNC convention, actually.

    Traditionalists and conservatives (one component of the political right) oppose abortion because they believe the sanctity of human life is the highest right. Libertarians are mixed on the issue – but there are plenty who believe that abortion violates the non-aggression principle and therefore justifies legal intervention. The overlap comes from the fact that both traditionalists and conservatives subscribe to the idea that rights are negative (and more properly called liberties).

    Of course, if you don’t accept life begins until birth (or if you choose to confer personhood at that point or some time thereafter) then you’re entitled to disagree. I know there are plenty of libertarians who disagree. There are some libertarians and socialists who think that it’s irrelevant as to when life begins – Ayn Rand and Naomi Wolf, for example.

    However, the majority of people on the right – at least in the United States where the right is most vibrant – do accept that the right to life is pre-eminent and does begin at, or soon after, conception. Rand Paul included.

    That’s just political reality.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. SPC (5,667 comments) says:

    Cato, on the point of the limited term to on demand abortion (medical is not an accurate discription) yes, that sounds like Labour’s position (some want to be honest and open about medical being really on demand but most find the status quo enough).

    I am surprised to hear that is Obama’s policy, as I had not heard that before. Are you sure his policy is not just one of taxpayer funding of abortion (where the abortion is legal)?

    Clinton advocated abortion as something rare, legal and affordable.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. tas (655 comments) says:

    DPF: You miss the point of my comment. If it is just about jurisdiction, then why is citizenship mentioned? The implication is that the acceptability of an extrajudicial assassination in the US depends on the nationality of the victim.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. SPC (5,667 comments) says:

    Cato, back to the thread topic. You have to distinguish between right to life and right to take life – as many Americans who oppose abortion also support the death penalty. Many call themselves conservatives. Whereas Obama is probably not a conservative. Obama is for a legal right to abortion and once he has the legal right to order the death of an American in America would in certain situations do so (all he did this time is say he does not yet have the legal right to kill, but might if he did).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. Scott (1,807 comments) says:

    My 2 cents worth is that Obama has never voted for any restriction on abortion no matter what the circumstances. For instance as a state senator he even voted against a bill that would allow fetuses who survived an abortion to be given medical treatment. It is no hyperbole to say that Obama is an abortion extremist who has never been called to account by the media.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    SPC – I am glad we can kind of agree. Perhaps ‘medical’ is not the right term – though a medical reason needs to be supplied (even if it is a pscychological reason). As an opponent of abortion, however, I would agree that the present state of affairs is conceptually muddled. Nobody wants to touch it so there there is an uneasy non-enforcement of the law that nobody in the mainstream of politics wants to touch. It seems ridiculous that, if the practice of the law is that there is a limited right to abortion on demand, the parties involved need to contrive a mental health reason for it.

    Obama supports the status quo on abortion – that is, Roe v Wade coupled with its companion case, Doe v Bolton (which is actually arguably the more sweeping case). The effect of this is that no jurisdiction – local, state or federal – can put any substantive restriction on abortion. Further than this, though, Obama opposed efforts to outlaw partial-birth abortion and legal protection for infants born following botched abortions. I think you’d be hard pressed to find many Labour MPs who would support those positions.

    As to funding – yes, he supports taxpayer funding. I had thought that was what I had said. This takes the form of direct provision of funds to organisations like Planned Parenthood and through health care mandates (now recognised to be a tax). Importantly, his political platform last year included the right to “a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay.” As presumably abortionists aren’t going to work for free – that means taxpayer funding.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. SPC (5,667 comments) says:

    Scott, in a country that allowed euthenasia, if there was an attempt to drug someone to death and this did not work, would they be given treatment and the attempt to kill them re-scheduled? More likely they would still be killed then.

    In the type of case you mentioned, there would have to be two categories,

    1. whether there was a prospect of the child suriving with medical treatment or not. If so, then right to life would apply.
    2. where the independent living being could not survive, how and when to apply euthenasia.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    SPC – I don’t want to get into a big abortion comment but am quite pleased to be having a more or less friendly discussion with you for once.

    You are quite right of course, that many Americans who oppose abortion also support the death penalty. Many don’t, however. You might be surprised to learn that Bill O’Reilly, for one, opposes the death penalty (an interesting man, despite his bullying persona). However, those who do hold those seemingly opposed views are able to make a logical distinction that the prohibtion on killing only extends to innocent life and does not apply in the context of war. There is a huge debate to be had on that, of course, if it ever comes up.

    Circling back to DPF’s post, however, the issue is whether drone killings of American citizens are made justifiable because of the War on Terror (or the Overseas Contingency Operations as the Obama administration has renamed it). There are some who analogise to the Civil War – Lincoln authorising Sherman to wage a really bloody campaign and so on – despite the fact that the rebels legally remained US citizens. Nobody really questions if Lincoln’s actions were illegal (though they might had the South won).

    Accordingly, the question is to determine whether or not the US is in a real war in which American citizens may be rebelling against the state. On balance, I support Rand Paul because I think that the so-called War on Terror isn’t really being prosecuted as a proper war.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. AG (1,833 comments) says:

    “It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘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.”

    I suspect the bolded part of that quote is highly important, given that “the war on terror” is so diffuse. For instance, I’m willing to bet that the justification for hitting al-Aulaqi with a drone was that he was “engaged in combat” against the United States.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    SPC – I think you will find (and may be shocked to find) that Obama’s position was (and presumably is):

    1. whether there was a prospect of the child suriving with medical treatment or not. Even if so, however, then the right to life does not apply.

    I can understand your credulity on the matter. However, it is a fact. Even the Washington Post acknowledged in the most tortured fact check you will ever see last year.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Fletch (6,529 comments) says:

    I don’t know what Obama’s cooking up there at home, but it can’t be good.
    The U.S Dept of Homeland Security has just bought another 2,700 armoured vehicles for domestic use.

    The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these ‘Mine Resistant Protected’ vehicles for service on the streets of the United States.
    Although I’ve seen and read several online blurbs about this vehicle of late, I decided to dig slightly deeper and discover more about the vehicle itself.

    Observations and Questions:

    These MRAP’s ARE BEING SEEN ON U.S. STREETS all across America by verified observers with photos, videos, and descriptions.

    Regardless of the exact number of MRAP’s being delivered to DHS (and evidently some to POLICE via DHS, as has been observed), why would they need such over-the-top vehicles on U.S. streets to withstand IEDs, mine blasts, and 50 caliber hits to bullet-proof glass? In a war zone… yes, definitely. Let’s protect our men and women. On the streets of America… ?

    It is understandable that these may be beneficial to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) in hot zones on our southern border, however these are being seen all over America, far from her borders…

    There are rails along the perimeter windows/gun ports to help displace the impact of RPG rounds… seems a bit much for a Police/Rescue vehicle…

    They all have gun ports… Gun Ports? In the theater of war, yes. On the streets of America…?

    Seriously, why would DHS need such a vehicle on our streets?
    What is DHS expecting or preparing for?

    http://modernsurvivalblog.com/government-gone-wild/latest-homeland-security-vehicle-street-sweeper/

    According to other things I’ve read, the DHS has also purchased 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the last 10 months for use at home.
    Why do they need that much?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    Fletch – I don’t usually advocate giving the state the benefit of the doubt – but I’m not sure it’s Black Helicopter time yet.

    Here’s a good article from a conservative website about why the ammo buy up isn’t cause for concern: http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/342161/great-ammunition-myth-charles-c-w-cooke?pg=1

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. SPC (5,667 comments) says:

    Cato/AG

    The war against terrorism is both an act of self defence and a crime prevention operation. But within the USA there is an existing process for the latter.

    Extending the war against terrorism as an action of national self defence to targets within the USA does raise the question of what in combat means – simply being part of a group prepared to use violence? And how one treats foreigners in the USA and local American citizens differently (consider the civilian bystander casualties offshore) if they are part of the same group.

    And more indirectly the development of military capabaility to “police” the streets of the USA – police use of non armed drones, then later receive supply of armed drones. More capable combat vehicles on the streets etc.

    A classic case of how fear of resistance to imperial government results in that government seeking to secure its power base (increase capability to suppress domestic opposition).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    SPC

    I think there is a fundamental difference between how the two parties have seen terrorism. Clinton took a law and order approach, to be sure. Bush – after 9/11 – clearly took a military approach. Obama has rhetorically reverted to a law and order approach – but has inappropriately retained some military aspects to his counter-terrorism efforts – that’s why the ‘drone memo’ was provided by a civilian official rather than a military official.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. SPC (5,667 comments) says:

    Cato, things changed in 2001. Democrats supported intervention in Afghanistan, that is a national right of self defence interventionism where local government is unable or unwilling to provide on the ground policing.

    Obama’s law and order semantics (not demonstrated in deed at GB) served to reinforce his opposition to the involvement in Iraq (politicking for advantage), but don’t indicate much real party difference (Republicans don’t oppose the increased drone use etc).

    Though I imagine Republicans in the Senate enjoyed Paul playing law and order politics with Obama.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. Cato (1,095 comments) says:

    I think there has been a real turning point in the GOP on drone use outside of a military context.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. V (765 comments) says:

    I wonder what a 50km undersea twin rail tunnel between NI/Si would cost purely out of interest?

    The thing with Chunnel was sure it was expensive, over budget, delayed, original investors lost money etc, but is anyone seriously suggesting it shouldn’t have been built?

    Thats not to say a NI-SI tunnel would be viable unless we grow to the population size of Japan. Bt if we struck oil it could be a ‘nice to have’.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Scott (1,807 comments) says:

    Mark Steyn at National review notes that Al Awlaki’s son, born in Denver and aged 16 was vaporised by a drone launched missile while dining outside at an eatery in Yemen. Who knew that the liberal American media would be utterly sanguine about it? Imagine the outcry if George Bush was doing this? Who knew that teenage American citizens could be assassinated so readily? Maybe Rand Paul has a point?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. Redbaiter (10,443 comments) says:

    Rand Paul voted FOR Chuck Hagel. (for Sec of Defence)

    Fuckwit.

    End of story.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. cha (4,144 comments) says:

    I don’t know what Obama’s cooking up there at home, but it can’t be good.
    The U.S Dept of Homeland Security has just bought another 2,700 armoured vehicles for domestic use.

    I know you swallow all sorts of shit Fletch and a quick fisking shows that you’ve got it wrong again. But you will persist with parroting the dumbest man on the internet.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. Ed Snack (1,940 comments) says:

    Actually the huge ammunition buy is easily explained, just look up what you can about the (newly formed) company that made the purchases on behalf of the US government. Think what sort of money could be made in commissions for simply passing on the orders, and ask yourself to which party (actually which party’s fund raising) does the new company have very strong links. Why look for malice when straight out corruption will explain it just fine.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote