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Rand Paul Op-Ed: Who’s next on Obama’s drone hit list?

Who’s next on Obama’s drone hit list?
By Sen. Rand Paul

Fundamental right to trial by jury goes missing

The recent leak of a Department of Justice white paper on the legal justification for the use of drones to execute American citizens abroad accused of terrorism raises some very important constitutional and moral issues. Politicians should not decide the crime and the punishment for American citizens here or abroad. A trial by jury with a judge is a right to be prized by American citizens.

Now, if you join al Qaeda, bear arms and attack U.S. forces, no one will argue that you still have a right to a trial. In the heat of battle, everyone understands that those launching grenades will have no jurisprudence.

Yet, if you leave the country and take up arms or encourage others to support violence, or call for America’s destruction, you are a traitor. If you are a traitor, you deserve to be fired on by an armed drone.

If you’re launching a missile on U.S. troops, if you are launching a missile toward the United States, if you are hijacking a plane, if you are setting off a bomb, if you are leveling an AK-47 at any one of our soldiers — by all means and with great expedition, we will drop a drone bomb on you. No one is arguing against employing immediate and lethal force against anyone whose finger approaches a trigger.

President Obama’s drone killing goes a great deal further, however. Mr. Obama tells us that an “imminent threat” need not be “immediate.” What? Only a group of lawyers could argue that imminent really means the opposite.


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Well, that's what his third

Well, that's what his third sentence said, so it isn't an assumption!

"Now, if you join al Qaeda, bear arms and attack U.S. forces, no one will argue that you still have a right to a trial"

Maybe it is a unfortunate wording or use of commas, but he should know how to make sure he is not misunderstood by now.

Read it again

"Now, if you join al Qaeda, bear arms and attack U.S. forces, no one will argue that you still have a right to a trial"

In other words, force can be used to stop an attack in progress. At the individual level, we call this self-defense. If a guy is running at you with a weapon, you don't try him first (?), you shoot him to defend yourself!

As I said above, Rand's point here is to tell people that affording terrorists the right to a trial does not prevent us from using force to stop acts of terrorism in progress. This point needs to be made, because a lot of people think like this; they've been told for years that we have to deny terrorists the right to trial in order to be safe. And of course this is nonsense. A trial has nothing to do with security. A trial is about determining whether/how to punish the criminal after the fact.

"Alas! I believe in the virtue of birds. And it only takes a feather for me to die laughing."

So basically

Rand holds the same position as Obama in regards to killing US citizens abroad without trial?

Didn't they say that they

Didn't they say that they killed Alwaki because "he had joined al Qaeda?"

I think they should have given him a trial.

I didn't think Rand thought otherwise until I just read his article. So, it appeared to me, at least, that he holds the same position as Obama.

Did you read the entire aritcle?

What do you make of this section?

Now, I have no sympathy for al-Awlaki. From what I’ve read in the lay press, I have concluded that he was a traitor. As a juror, I would have voted to convict him of treason. My question is, since his targeting was public and prolonged, why did we not try him for treason? If he didn’t show up, we could have tried him in absentia. If secret testimony was needed, it could have been heard before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Why should we do all this for a traitor? Because we’re Americans. Because we prize our belief in trial by jury overseen by a judge. It is in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. Because what makes us distinctly American is our belief in adjudicated justice. Because what the terrorists wish to destroy is exactly that freedom.

It is this double speak that troubles me

He starts off with this vague "if you join Al Qaeda" exemption before he goes on to say many of the "right" things. But if the FBI gets to decide who "joined" Al Qaeda, then all those lovely passages become rather moot.

Love or fear? Choose again with every breath.

Oh, I liked some of what he

Oh, I liked some of what he said in the article. Especially some of the parts you posted.

I was just pointing out that the first comment wasn't well thought out. and is technically anticonstitution. Maybe he is trying to subtly walk the neocon tightrope, or maybe he just didn't think long enough about how that sentence could be misunderstood.

I do appreciate at least someone talking out on the issue, but I wish he would be much stronger and more careful. They have been trying to do that "if we label you a terrorist, you have no rights and can be killed immediately" thing for many years.