Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been taking heat from his libertarian-leaning supporters after making comments on Monday about domestic drone use that were either resultant of parapraxis or representative of a flip-flop from the positions he held just more than a month ago.
Paul said during a FOX Business interview late Monday, “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. 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.”
The Senator’s statement, which suggested that he was fine with drastically lowering the threshold at which government agents should be allowed to carry out lethal drone strikes on American citizens, stirred up a great deal of consternation among supporters who championed his anti-drone filibuster in March.
Drudge Report exclaimed in its signature headline-centric fashion: “Rand Paul Learns To Love the Drone!”
And The Daily Paul, a libertarian news and opinion blog kicked off by Ron Paul supporters, garnered heavy readership on a post entitled: “Rand Paul is a FRAUD and another Obama!”
From that piece:
He redeemed himself in my eyes when he accomplished the epic 13 hour filibuster which I actually watched more than half of. I was thrilled he was standing up for all of us and the country. I became a Rand Paul supporter once more.
NOW…. he has committed treason against the U.S. people and he has nullified his epic filibuster by going directly against it.
Rand Paul says at 2:30 point of the video below “If someone is coming out of a liquor store with a gun and $50 dollars I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”
You – Rand Paul….. Don’t Care if a drone is JUDGE JURY AND EXECUTIONER of someone ROBBING a store? So someone should be KILLED for robbing a Store?
How Dare you….. believe drones should KILL people during a crime instead of letting a jury of their peers convict them!!!! Also, who is to say the real robber didn’t toss the person out with the gun, no one knows what the real situation is, until evidence is completely provided in a COURT ROOM!
Paul responded to the criticism on Tuesday, in an attempt to recast his earlier statements in a more Constitutionally affable light.
“My comments last night left the mistaken impression that my position on drones had changed,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
Liberty advocate Judge Andrew Napolitano came to Paul’s defense Wednesday, also during a FOX Business interview, contending that poor word choice was what made the Senator’s statements seem so opposite his past positions.
“The filibuster was about the concept of targeted assassinations, about the President picking and choosing who to kill in the U.S. or elsewhere who have not received due process of law,” Napolitano said. “They have not been charged of a crime, they have not been convicted of a crime, they’ve just gotten in the President’s crosshairs. That is the essence of the filibuster.”
Napolitano went on to say, “He probably should have said ‘Coming out of a liquor store shooting and with 50 bucks.’ If someone is using a deadly weapon on police or the civilians, the police can use a deadly weapon with which to repel that person.”