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On Thursday's Morning Rush, Brian Mudd and I discussed the story of Attorney General Eric Holder testifying before Congress on the use of Drones to kill Americans on American soil. Holder was grilled by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas on whether he, Holder, thought the use of a drone to kill an American on American soil, was constitutional. Here's the quote from Holder, "I thought I was saying no, all right no." So Holder agreed that it would not be constitutional to do so.
During our discussion I too indicated that I didn't like drone use in America, even the monitoring drones being used by more and more police departments. I said I could only envision one extreme incident where such force might be used and I was also pointing out that we were only discussing drones because they were the latest technology. This could refer to any kind of weaponry; jet fighters, missiles, guns, etc. That extreme incident would be if a terrorist, American or otherwise, had a weapon of mass destruction, like those in 911 who used our own commercial jets against us, took aiim.
If a terrorist, American or otherwise commandeered a jet and we knew their intention was to fly it into the Capitol, the Pentagon or the White House, would we do nothing to stop it? So I'm not saying we use such force against someone who doesn't pose an imminent threat to the United States. That would indeed be unconstitutional. I agree we would be lacking due process. But in the event of that extreme emergency, wouldn't that be some sort of self defense? Someone would have to make the gut wrenching call to either let the plane fly into a major government building or shoot it down.
So anyway I never thought I'd be saying I stand with John McCain and Lindsay Graham, but I do. Both took to the Senate floor to criticize Senator Rand Paul's 12 hour filibuster. Paul was doing so to delay a vote on the confirmation of John Brennan as C.I.A. Director.
While McCain said there need to be hearings and in-depth debate on the president's targeted killing policy, the conversation did not need to be about drones killing Jane Fonda and people sitting in cafes. I too don't believe this is what the president has in mind and I think anybody who seriously thinks that's what the president has up his sleeve has a serious axe to grind with the president on just about everything.
Lindsay Graham scoffed at Paul's question about whether the president thinks he has the authority to kill a non-combatant American citizen on U.S. soil. Said Graham, "I find the question offensive." He said he disagrees with the president on many things, but said he felt that question doesn't deserve an answer. In fact, Graham said flatly that Obama wouldn't use a drone against a non-combatant sitting in a cafe somewhere in the United States.
Here's what Graham said to Eric Holder during the hearing, " I want to stand by you and the president to make sure we don't criminalize the war and that the commander-in-chief continues to have the authority to protect us all. A lot of my colleagues are well-meaning, but there is only one commander-in-chief in our constitution."
So again, I agree with John McCain and with Lindsay Graham. And it appears they agree with my view.