No. Holder Didn’t Say Obama Can Use Drones To Kill Citizens on American Soil.

My Wednesday column begins like so:

As I’ve written before, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to carry on a rational discussion about the use of lethal force against enemy combatants born in the U.S., as well as the use of drones as a military weapon. To backtrack by way of re-emphasizing my view: the president is on shaky ground when it comes to these related issues, given the endless nature of the war on terrorism and the war powers provided by the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force. The AUMF should be repealed, the president’s war powers rescinded and the use of drones regulated and defined, otherwise we’re allowing the president to retain war powers in perpetuity, making them ostensibly permanent.

But however much I disagree with the policy and the potential abuse of the technology, I can easily understand the administration’s position. Congress granted it the wartime authority, both in terms of war powers and in terms of funding for drone technology. Under the current status of the executive branch (which I believe ought to be repealed) the White House, the CIA and the Pentagon has the power to fight the enemy as they see it, as has every administration that’s operated under congressionally approved war powers.

Got it? I’m opposed the administration retaining its war powers. Against it.

Okay with that out of the way, you might’ve read yesterday about the memo Eric Holder wrote to Rand Paul in response to a letter the senator wrote to John Brennan inquiring whether the administration could use drones to kill American citizens on American soil. [continue reading here]

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000045073056 Caley Bovee

    The media fails us.

  • Scopedog

    Bob, thank you once again for discussing this with care and nuance and not resorting to panic harangues.

  • jeremydium

    “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. For example, the President could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances of a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11,2001.”

    Seems to me like that’s exactly what Holder is saying. And I find it incredibly hard to believe that you would give the Bush administration this much latitude if they had made a claim like this. It was wrong when the Bush administration claimed these kinds of extraordinary powers and it’s wrong when the Obama administration claims this extraordinary power.