Rand Paul defends Obama on drones

RTR4WK36Reuters/Joel PageSen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky).

Presidential candidate and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) doesn’t believe you should blame President Barack Obama for the inadvertent death of an American hostage and an Italian hostage of al Qaeda in a US drone strike last January.

“I tend to not want to blame the president for the loss of life here. I think he was trying to do the right thing,” Paul said Monday on Fox News.

Paul was responding to last week’s revelation that a US counterterrorism operation killed American doctor Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto along the Pakistani-Afghan border. They had been held by al Qaeda for years, according to reports.

Paul, an outspoken libertarian-oriented lawmaker, has railed a number of times against US drone policy. In 2013, Paul launched a marathon, 13-hour filibuster against Obama’s CIA director nominee as he demanded the White House clarify its position on using drones on US soil. 

But Paul said on Fox News that it would be unfair to simply characterise him as anti-drone. His position is more nuanced, he explained, and he supports the use of drones against military targets.

“I do think that there is a valuable use for drones. And as much as I’m seen as this opponent of drones, I think that in military and in warfare, they do have some value,” he said. “I’ve been an opponent of using drones about people not involved in combat. However, if you’re holding hostages, you kind of are involved in combat.” 

He went on to compare the US hostage situation to a kidnapping scenario on American soil. Paul said the NYPD would not need a warrant to respond to that type of event with deadly force.

“If there’s a kidnapping New York, the police don’t have to have a warrant to go in. You see what I mean? So you really don’t get due process or anything like that if you’re in a war zone. So these people were in a war zone and probably got what was coming to them — the captors. Unfortunately some innocent people lost their life,” he said. 

Watch his full Fox News interview below:

 (via Talking Points Memo)


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