The Libertarian Denial: The Truth About Rand Paul and Drones

randpaulhypocriteI wrote an article yesterday covering the comments made by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on Monday, when he shockingly said he supported the use of drones to kill Americans on American soil without a trial.  This, of course, is a complete contradiction from his 13 hour filibuster in March where he spoke out against the “vague wording,” as he called it, of the Obama administration’s policies on using drones.

It didn’t take long before Libertarians were out in force to defend Paul.

I was accused of “twisting his words,” even when I used exact quotes and linked the video where he made the comments.

I was accused of “distorting the truth,” when Senator Paul clearly states that he would support the use of a drone to kill an armed robber as they walked out of a liquor store with $50.

So, how in the hell can I be “twisting his words” or “distorting  the truth” when quoting comments as specific as those?  When did directly quoting someone, using the same context for which they were speaking, become a distortion of the truth?

It was ridiculous.

And then comes the response from Paul regarding the backlash his comments had received:

“My comments last night left the mistaken impression that my position on drones had changed.  Let me be clear: it has not.  Armed drones should not be used in normal crime situations. They may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat.”

Excuse me?  Are you kidding?

Here are his exact words from Monday:

“Here’s the distinction: I have never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an act of crime going on.  If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and $50 in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”

Am I missing something?  When did someone committing an armed robbery of a liquor store, taking $50 in cash, become “an extraordinary lethal situation where there is an ongoing, imminent threat?”

Besides, during his ridiculous filibuster he cited the vague language used by Attorney General Eric Holder  in response to Paul’s inquiries about President Obama’s possible use of drones on Americans.

In fact these are the exact words from the letter Eric Holder sent which Senator Paul took exception with:

“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.”

And what was Paul’s response in March to this letter?

“The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening – it is an affront the Constitutional due process rights of all Americans.”

So I’ll break this down.

  • Senator Paul requests comments from the Obama administration covering their policies about using drones on Americans and on American soil
  • Attorney General Eric Holder responds saying that there could possibly be extraordinary circumstances where drones might be used on American soil
  • Senator Paul, concerned with this comment, then proceeds to stage a 13 hour filibuster (where all he really did is display his ignorance about the rights the Constitution gives our President) claiming the White House response might possibly constitute an endorsement on ignoring our rights as Americans to due process
  • Eric Holder then responds, very simply and directly, to Paul’s filibuster stating that no, the president does not have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil
  • On Monday Senator Paul uses a very specific hypothetical situation, of an armed individual robbing a liquor store of $50, as his circumstance for which he would have no problem with a drone (or police officer) killing the suspect
  • On Tuesday, Paul issues a statement saying his policy on drones has not changed and he’s always believed that under extraordinary lethal circumstances drones should be used

That last one is particularly ironic considering in Eric Holder’s first statement to Paul the word “extraordinary” was the term used, which Paul cites as the basis for his fear mongering filibuster in March.

So tell me Libertarians, and other Paul supporters,  how am I “twisting his words?”  I didn’t pull these comments out of thin air.  I didn’t summarize some speech he gave, adding my own personal opinion on what he said…

I’m using direct quotes from Rand Paul himself.

Any “twisting” comes in the form of your delusion about your cult-like heroes Ron and Rand Paul.  You ignore racism, ignorance, bigotry, hypocrisy and contradiction because these men shout “Liberty!” every other word and you eat it up like sheep.

Or are you telling me some random armed individual robbing a liquor store of $50 constitutes an ” extraordinary, lethal situation where there is an ongoing, imminent threat?”

Because if that’s the case, that happens in American cities at least once or twice a week.

But this whole situation just shows the depths at which Libertarians will deceive even themselves, claiming the use of direct quotes somehow constitutes the “twisting of words.”  Then again, this is the party that often thrives on hyperbole and conspiracy theories.

An ideology where it often seems rational thinkers need not apply.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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