Rand Paul: Drone Hypocrite

Remember the 13-hour filibuster than made Kentucky senator Rand Paul (R) a political folk hero? No drones on American citizens. The buck stops here. This is about freedom and protection of one’s rights. In fact Paul said this, “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.”

220px-Rand_Paul,_official_portrait,_112th_Congress_alternate

Looks like Paul has already changed his mind. Paul clarified his position on drones during an appearance on FOX Business Network:

Here is what the HuffPost said:

Marking an abrupt shift in tone from his epic March filibuster, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said late Monday that he would be fine with a drone killing a run-of-the-mill armed robber.

“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,” Paul said on Fox Business Network. “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. But 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 they want to watch your activities.”

Paul launched a 13-hour filibuster in March after sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to clarify whether American citizens could be killed in drone strikes. “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,” he said.

“We should not be willy-nilly looking into everyone’s backyard at what they’re doing. If there is a killer on the loose in a neighborhood, I am not against drones being used to search them out, heat-seeking devices being used,” he told Fox Business.

Last night Paul issued a statement:

“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 only may only be considered in extraordinary, lethal situations where there is an ongoing, imminent threat. I described that scenario previously during my Senate filibuster.

“Additionally, surveillance drones should only be used with warrants and specific targets.

“Fighting terrorism and capturing terrorists must be done while preserving our constitutional protections. This was demonstrated last week in Boston. As we all seek to prevent future tragedies, we must continue to bear this in mind.”

Here’s a thought, Senator: how about no drones at all? As the following post from NewAmerica.net shows how many drone strikes have occurred in the last 10 years, just in Pakistan and Yemen alone (notice the increased rate in civilian deaths):

Totals (Pakistan and Yemen)

Strikes: 428 [of which, 49 occurred under President Bush]

Total killed: 2,439 to 3,982 [of which, 395-562 occurred under President Bush]

Militants killed: 1,982 – 3,251 [of which, 211-356 occurred under President Bush]

Unknown Killed: 200-330 [of which, 65-72 occurred under President Bush]

Civilians Killed: 276-368 [of which, 118-135 occurred under President Bush]

Non-militant fatality rate under President Bush: 46%

Non-militant fatality rate under President Obama: 14%

The Drone War in Pakistan

Strikes: 355 [48 under President Bush]

Total killed: 2,003 to 3,321 [389-556 under President Bush]

Militants killed: 1,558 – 2,700 [205-350 under President Bush]

Unknown Killed: 196-330 [65-72 under President Bush]

Civilians Killed: 258-307 [118-135 under President Bush]

Non-militant fatality rate under President Bush: 47%

Non-militant fatality rate under President Obama: 16%

The Drone War in Yemen

Includes both U.S. drone and air strikes

Strikes: 73 [1 under President Bush]

Total killed: 472 to 979 [6 under President Bush]

Militants killed: 439-583 [6 under President Bush]

Civilians Killed: 15-63

Non-militant fatality rate under President Bush: 0

Non-militant fatality rate under President Obama: 10.5%

 

Estimated Total Deaths from U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan,
2004 – 2013*

YearMilitant LowMilitant HighUnknown LowUnknown HighCivilian LowCivilian HighTotal LowTotal High
2013596835006273
2012197317193155221349
201130350267722230385601
2010579991385016216061,028
2009241508441366680354721
200815726549542328229347
2004-20074376161895107155200
Total1,5582,7001963302583071,2033,321

*Through April 19, 2013

 

Types of Casualties Per Year

(calculated using high and low ends of range)

YearMilitantUnknownCivilian
201289%9%2%
201180%8-18%1-15%
201094%5-6%2-3%
200969-70%12-19%11-19%
200880-84%16-21%8-10%
2004-735-43%9-10%54-61%
TOTAL78-81%9-13%10%
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