Tag Archives: mitch mcconnell

If Only Progressives Stand Tall Like Paul

8 Mar

060313holderNow that my Rand Paul-induced swoon through Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-tinted glasses has been flushed from my body, I’m just depressed. We still live in a world where Americans believe making war on abstract nouns and anyone or anything that says, “Boo!” or seems strange is a reasonable argument and a prudent policy. And, “[n]ot only did Paul stage a pointless piece of political theater, he managed to obfuscate and mischaracterize the debate while simultaneously helping to worsen public perceptions in a misleading way.” (via Erik Loomis)

First, let’s review Paul’s actual question. Regardless of how people want to interpret the question as being solely about targeted killing policy regarding the war on terror, Holder clearly interpreted it as whether or not there is a legal right for the President to employ lethal force within the United States in SOME circumstances. As Holder makes clear in his letter, he views the scenarios where such a use of force would be authorized and legal to be highly unlikely and illustrates the hypothetical with situations that are quite out of the ordinary.

While one might quibble about his use of Pearl Harbor as an example (as it was a foreign enemy) the 9/11 example is apt, because that was a situation where lethal force against American citizens could have been deployed without trial. How is this, you ask? Specifically we’re talking about the possibility of the Executive Branch authorizing the shoot down of hijacked airliners. While the hijackers weren’t citizens, each airliner had scores of American citizens, who, if shot down by an F-16 would have been killed without due process or trial. Does this really seem like an outlandish use of force? And let’s remember that Holder is saying that it would take that sort of extreme scenario for the contemplation of that authority to even be invoked.

Matt Binder and Michael Brooks talk about Paul’s filibuster, the cast of Republican clowns, and Matt’s refusal to kill Americans under any circumstances (~41 minutes).

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