Rick Ungar | Forbes
On March 7, I wrote a column entitled “A Kind Word For Senator Rand Paul From A Typically Unkind Critic”. In that article, I complimented Senator Paul—someone with whom I am typically at odds on most issues—for his stance on domestic use of drones and his willingness to filibuster the ‘old fashioned’ way.
The Senator’s filibuster was a response to his displeasure with the Attorney General who had failed to answer a direct question regarding whether the AG thought it acceptable to use drones on American soil against American citizens. To get his answer, Paul resolved to stage a filibuster until Mr. Holder gave him an answer to the question—a move by Senator Paul that I found to be more than appropriate and, frankly, pretty darn cool.
As I wrote the column, there was a nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach that the piece might come back to bite me in the proverbial backside. After all, I’ve never quite trusted the junior senator from Kentucky (of course, I don’t much trust the senior senator from that state either) and was ever mindful that Senator Paul has a history of saying one thing only to turn around and say something entirely different when convenient to do so.
Still, I really was impressed with what he had done on the Senate floor and it only seemed fair to compliment him for doing something right after being quick to criticize him when I thought he was doing wrong.
Last night, as I watched the Senator being interviewed on Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business Network program, I cringed with disbelief as I felt the sting of that bite I had feared now sinking deep into my posterior.
Senator Paul was doing a complete and utter about face.
Let’s go back to Senator Paul’s initial words on the evils of drone usage on American soil—
“I will speak as long as it takes, until the alarm is sounded from coast to coast that our Constitution is important, that your rights to trial by jury are precious, that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime, without first being found to be guilty by a court. (emphasis added)”
Bravo, I thought, as I listened to Mr. Paul’s dramatic statement back on March 6th of this year. I mused that while I may not be with this guy on too many things, I had to admit that this is a man who ‘gets’ the importance of the Constitution and due process under the law.
Or so I thought. It turns out that Senator Paul’s shining moment turned out to be all too brief.
Here’s what the senator had to say last night when discussing the use of drones when it comes to alleged bad guys like the Boston Marathon bombing suspect—
“I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on. If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash, I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”
As my heart sunk, I tried to focus my ears on the remainder of what Paul had to say—
“ It’s different. If they want to come fly over your hot tub or your yard just because they want to do surveillance on everyone and watch your activities. If there’s a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I’m not against drones being used.”
But, Senator, didn’t you say that our right to a trial by jury is precious? Didn’t you say that no American should be killed by a drone on American soil without first being charged with a crime and without first being found guilty by a court?
Yep. That’s what you said. I know that because I just went back and read your quote.
Now, less than two months later, here you are telling me that if a guy comes out of a liquor store with fifty bucks and a gun, it’s totally cool for the government to fire a missile at his head.