The conservative editorial board of the Wall Street Journal criticised Sen. Rand Paul for his nearly 13-hour filibuster Wednesday, terming it a “drone rant” that was about “theatrical timing.”The Journal blasted Paul for not understanding the laws of war, writing that Paul’s reasoning for questioning the U.S.’s policies on drone strikes did not match his “showmanship.” And they dismissed his “theatrical” references to, among others, Jane Fonda.
From the Journal:
Calm down, Senator. Mr. Holder is right, even if he doesn’t explain the law very well. The U.S. government cannot randomly target American citizens on U.S. soil or anywhere else. What it can do under the laws of war is target an “enemy combatant” anywhere at anytime, including on U.S. soil. This includes a U.S. citizen who is also an enemy combatant. The President can designate such a combatant if he belongs to an entity—a government, say, or a terrorist network like al Qaeda—that has taken up arms against the United States as part of an internationally recognised armed conflict. […]
Such a conflict exists between the U.S. and al Qaeda, so Mr. Holder is right that the U.S. could have targeted (say) U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki had he continued to live in Virginia. The U.S. killed him in Yemen before he could kill more Americans. But under the law Awlaki was no different than the Nazis who came ashore on Long Island in World War II, were captured and executed.
The Journal closed its editorial by calling Paul’s filibuster nothing more than a “stunt.”
“If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids in their college dorms,” the Journal wrote. “He needs to know what he’s talking about.”
Paul addressed the Journal’s editorial and other conservative criticism during an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck this morning. Paul suggested that applying the laws of war on U.S. soil would be a slippery slope.
“The difference is, is that if you say America’s part of the battlefield and you want the laws of war to apply over here, just describing someone as an enemy combatant — see, a year or two ago, they described people who are pro life, people who are for strong immigration and strong secure borders, people who believe in third parties,” Paul said.
“… So we have to be concerned about just saying someone’s a dangerous person or enemy combatant, you have to prove that. You can’t just accuse someone and then they get killed.”
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