On March 6, 2013, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), conducted an impressive filibuster to protest and/or delay the appointment of John Brennan as director of the CIA. Since Brennan has made public statements that appear to be supportive of islamic terrorism, and he has made statements that appear to be anti-Israel, should have been enough to spur a legitimate investigation into his viability as the director of the CIA. The accusation that he is a muslim convert and that he has colluded with members of the Saudi government and also with individuals with known terrorist ties should have demanded such an investigation. Apparently they did not.
The premise of Paul’s 13-hour filibuster speech involved the possibility of the president ordering the use of weaponized drones against American citizens on American soil. Sen. Paul asked for assurance from the Obama administration that this possibility could not happen. IN response, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul which stated: “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.” The filibuster ended, and today the senate voted to approve Brennan’s appointment.
One would think that this is all there is to this story, but alas, there is more to it, much more, and the implications are mind staggering.
To begin with, although Eric Holder did state that the President does not have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American on American soil, a close look at Holder’s letter reveals that Holder introduced some qualifiers to his statement. The President is not authorized to order such an attack upon Americans “not engaged in combat on American soil.” So, the question is, how does Obama and his administration define “combat.”
This is a legitimate question, especially in light of Holder’s later statement in which he said (regarding weaponized drone attacks against Americans on American soil), “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 authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.” In other words, the answer to Sen. Paul’s question is actually, yes, the President could conceivably order such an attack in an extraordinary circumstance. Not a very comfortable thought is it? So does the Obama administration define “combat”? According to a news article reported on Breitbart.com, virtually anyone who disagrees with the Obama administration could be considered an enemy of the state. This includes those who sympathize or agree with the Tea Party movement, or those who support the Second Amendment. (Read the Breitbart report here) Clearly, according to Holder’s own words, the concerns expressed by Sen. Paul are legitimate concerns, and should be shared by each and every American regardless of political persuasion.
What should also be of concern is the reaction of certain politicians to Sen. Paul’s speech. Not surprisingly, Sen. Paul was completely disrespected and dismissed by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), who told the senate that their work was done and that they should simply go home. What was a little surprising, however, was the response from the so-called conservative leadership who also dismissed Sen. Paul’s concerns, and went out of their way to publically lambast him. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on the record saying that the idea that the President would use a drone to attack an American in America was “ridiculous.” Personally, I think that in light of Eric Holder’s statement that the President could authorize such an attack, that Graham’s statement is ridiculous.
Even more surprising was the reaction of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who said in response to Sen. Paul’s speech, “I watched some of that, quote, debate, unquote, yesterday. I saw colleagues who know better come to the floor and voice some of this same concern, which is totally unfounded. I must say that the use of Jane Fonda’s name does evoke certain memories with me, and I must say that she is not my favorite American. But I also believe that, as odious as it was, Ms. Fonda acted within her constitutional rights, and to somehow say that someone who disagrees with American policy — and even may demonstrate against it — is somehow a member of an organization which makes that individual an enemy combatant is simply false. It is simply false.” [Note: During his speech, Sen. Paul made reference to Jane Fonda and the possibility of the government using a drone to kill her during the Vietnam War- TP]
I must say, McCain’s words hit me like high fly ball into center field, or left field as the case may actually turn out to be. Not only should he (and Graham) be supporting a senator from their own party, but they are supposed to be senior members of that party. They are supposed to be conservatives, or at least they lay claim to that label.
McCain’s statement that Jane Fonda was simply exercising her constitutional rights when she visited North Vietnam in 1972 (while America was at war with that country), posed on a North Vietnamese Army anti-aircraft battery (the same weapon used to attack Americans), and made propaganda radio broadcasts from North Vietnam. It was during those broadcasts (she made ten in all – broadcast to American servicemen and women) that she told our soldiers and sailors that they were “war criminals.” She called the President of the United States a “War Criminal” and a “True Killer,” accusing him of attacking North Vietnam in an attempt to colonize the country. Fonda went on to talk to Americans through her North Vietnamese propaganda broadcasts that she had witnessed the “systematic destruction of civilian targets” such as “schools … hospitals … [and] homes,” and she lavishing unceasing praise on the North Vietnamese trained female militia who became “such good fighters,” and NVA guerrillas who infiltrated into South Vietnam and killed Americans. Fonda said of them, “They did their job well.”
If “Hanoi Jane” Fonda had limited her anti-war rhetoric to stateside activities, then she would have been exercising her constitutional rights. However, since she engaged in them in an enemy country, while that country is at war with America, then she was committing seditious and treasonous acts.
Sedition is the act of stirring up rebellion against the government in power. Since Fonda was encouraging the soldiers and sailors toward whom her propaganda broadcasts to aimed, to rebel against the orders of their President and Commander-in-Chief, she was clearly being seditious. Treason is the violation of allegiance to one’s country by aiding and abetting that country’s enemies during a time of war.
Just as “Axis Sally” (Mildred Gillars) had done during World War Two, when she aided and abetted Nazi Germany by making propaganda radio broadcasts during which she called American soldiers and sailors war criminals, and launched verbal attacks at the President, so did “Hanoi Jane” when aided and abetted communist North Vietnam during a time of war. Mildred Gillars was tried and convicted of treason against the United States (serving federal prison time for her crimes against America). Jane Fonda, however, had the benefit of both money and political connections which were used to ensure that she not be punished for her acts of sedition and treason.
That John McCain, a former prisoner-of-war in the infamous “Hanoi Hilton” would defend such a person as Jane Fonda by saying she was only exercising her constitutional rights is a slap in the face to all veterans, especially Vietnam Veterans, and even more so those who suffered as POW’s in Vietnam. That John McCain and Lindsey Graham would condemn Rand Paul for taking a stand in support of all Americans, in defense of all Americans, in order to ensure the safety of all Americans (especially in light of Holder’s statement), tells me that McCain and Graham at least tentatively support the use of weaponized drones against Americans on American soil; and that is, to me, a treasonous stand against all Americans.
Simply put, Rand Paul was right, and McCain and Graham were wrong. At the very least they should be made to resign from the Republican party. If they want to join the democrat party (which would seem to be the logical choice given their stand) then so be it. If they want to continue as independents, then so be it. They are, however, an anathema and a pariah to me.
[As a side note (and I have said this before), the question of weaponized drone attacks against American citizens, seems to find its birth in the killing U.S. born al qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen in 2011. I would point out, however, that at the time of his death, al-Awlaki was a citizen of Yemen, and not an American citizen. He had renounced his U.S. citizenship (which is required to become a citizen of Yemen), and he was a ranking member of al qaeda. His death was fully justified as an enemy combatant.]