Let’s make this short and sweet.For around 13 hours yesterday and into this morning, Kentucky senator Rand Paul (R) conducted a filibuster in the United States senate chamber. Ostensibly a delay to the probable confirmation of John Brennan as CIA chief, Paul allowed numerous times his main purpose was to draw attention to the targeted killing program operated by the Obama administration. Said program is primarily carried out by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, commonly known as “drones.”
While some may argue the necessity of drones in wartime, even considering the differences of the “War on Terror” (I do not), Paul’s argument with the administration was different. Currently, the Obama administration, via Attorney General Eric Holder, holds to the position of possible killing of American citizens on American soil without due process, without charge, without trial.
In ALL criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to BE INFORMED OF THE NATURE AND CAUSE OF THE ACCUSATION; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense. [EMPHASIS ADDED.]
All of these rights are set aside in each and every case of targeted killing. The nature of targeted killing is secrecy, not openness. It’s a secret list, a secret process, secret decision making, secret rules, secret records, and secret secrecy.
To put it another way: There is no due process when the charge is on the business end of a missile in your morning latte.
The Constitution must protect the worst of us if it is to protect the rest of us. No matter how strong the evidence against a person, a “day in court” is a constitutional guarantee. It is this guarantee that has historically separated the Republic from banana republics. Violation of this right by any president or administration is not only unconstitutional, it is uncivilized.
I take issue with Bush, Rice, Obama and Brennan that drone warfare is legitimate or the “collateral damage” acceptable. I also take issue with Holder that Americans may be killed by the government based on little more than circumstantial evidence. Murder by suspicion is not a comforting thought.
The years since 9/11 bear witness to the hurricane force erosion of the 4th Amendment. It appears the shores of the 5th will be the next to wash away.