Matt HealeySunday,24 March 2013

The Snap:

I recently wrote an article about Rand Paul. The point of the article was that I thought that Rand Paul should be commended for his filibuster based on his opposition to drone strikes. However, in the comments section the topic of discussion moved into the drone strikes themselves.

The Download:

In the article I mentioned that I could see both sides of the issue on drone strikes in the U.S. I still can, but I think I need to clarify why I can see both sides. Let’s start with Rand Paul’s side. Paul objects to the administration’s position that they can order a drone strike without any due process or review of the action. They only have to assert that the strike was against a suspected terrorist. American citizen or not. This is very disturbing. I am not sure where this authority came from, but one commentator implied that it was a hold over from the W administration. I do not know if this is true, but given some of the things that W did — warrentless wire taps, suspension of habeas corpus, etc. — I can believe it. Regardless of where it came from, if it is true, then it needs to stop.

On the other hand I can see the need to use drones in law enforcement. They can be a useful tool and conduct surveillance in situations where a person would be at grave risk for harm. They can also be used to kill a suspect when that suspect is threatening others. In this context a drone should be viewed as an extension of an officer’s gun. However, when a cop shoots a suspect there should be an open investigation into the shooting. I understand that the investigation is conducted by the police and the officer will almost never be held accountable, even if the shooting is not justified — but there is at least fig leaf of cover.

So I guess that I am OK with drone strikes if theyare subject to the same minimal and ineffective oversight as the police.

Hat Tips:

Rand Paul, Objections to drone strikes, Warntless wiretaps, Habeas Corpus, Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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