Rand Paul's Filibuster



Upon watching Senator Rand Paul’s March filibuster opposing the confirmation of CIA director John Brennan, the first thing that becomes apparent is his resemblance to his father, former Congressman Ron Paul. Rand may have not yet inherited his father’s grey hair or gaunt physique, but his eyes give off the same worried expression, his voice the same concerned quiver.

Minutes into Rand’s now famous 13-hour monologue, which ignited a national conversation about the Obama administration’s use of drones, the Senator mirrors not just his father’s likeness, but also his politics.

Rand mentions in passing that he is pro-life and supports the right to bear arms, stances he shares with his father. But what is admirable is that, like the Congressman, Rand shows that he wants to be heard even when what he says challenges the mainstream political wind.

Though a majority of Americans are thought to support Obama’s drone war, it is important to remember that morality has never been a function of democratic decision-making.[1] Americans once supported slavery. Americans once supported the legal subjugation of African Americans to the lowest rungs of society. And laws in many U.S. states and countries abroad continue to dehumanize gays and lesbians.

Obama’s drone policy, as Paul suggests, is not a partisan issue. Both members of the left and right have expressed concern over the President’s drone strikes, acts of war which Rand rightly says appear to have no end in sight.

“The problem is, is that we have come up with a scheme that basically has no limitations, no geographic limitations on where the war's fought. It's hard to defeat an enemy if the entire war is the battlefield,” Paul said.[2]

Yet the Senator has brought about a shortsighted attention to Obama’s “drone war,” as it has been called.

Paul and the media covering his filibsuter have mostly focused on a perceived threat Obama’s drone policy poses to American citizens, not the suffering it already causes abroad.

In his nationally focused filibuster, he discussed how Obama’s drone strikes undermine the separation of the judicial and executive branches and said he didn’t want drones being used in America the way they are abroad.

“No American should ever be killed in their house without a warrant and some kind of aggressive behavior by them,” Paul said. “To be bombed in your sleep? There's nothing American about that.”[3]

Like many other critics of Obama’s drone policy, Paul pointed to the drone strike that killed 16-year-old American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki – who has been accused of having ties to Al Qaeda – as evidence that future strikes on American nationals may not be so unlikely, after all.

Military age males killed in drone strikes unidentified otherwise are classified as combatants, a fact Paul alluded to many times.[4] Yet there was not one mention of another 16-year-old, Tariq Aziz, a Pakistani who had no clear ties to terrorism, who was in a car on his way to pick up his aunt.[5] [6]

According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as of press time, Obama drones strikes had killed 314 and Bush’s, 52.[7] Will we ever know how many other Tariq Azizes have been killed, how many other non-Americans could have lived a full life had they not been murdered by drone?

Paul’s message, while well meaning, represents not just an American problem, but a global one: in this day and age, one in which people from around the world realize a common humanity that spans across all races and ethnicities, many of us still cling to the outdated notion that a life’s worth can be measured in accordance with its citizenship.

No matter the issue at hand, we are now too interconnected, too aware of one another’s humanity, to think the colors on another country’s flag make the people who pledge allegiance to it any less human.

________________________

WORKS CITED

1. Scoblete

2. Paul

3. Ibid

4. Balko

5. Chatterjee. “The CIA's Unaccountable Drone War Claims Another Casualty."

6. Chatterjee. “America’s ‘Peace Drones’: Was This 16-year-old, Killed by a US Drone, Really a Terrorist?”

7. Wood

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  • Scoblete, Greg. “More Evidence Americans Support the Drone War.” More Evidence Americans Support the Drone War, RealClearWorld - The Compass Blog. Real Clear Politics, 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://www.realclearworld.com/blog/2013/02/more_evidence_americans_support_the_drone_war.html>.

  • Paul, Rand. “Transcript: Rand Paul's Filibuster of John Brennan's CIA Nomination.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 07 Mar. 2013. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-transcript-rand-paul-filibuster-20130307,0,3632134,full.story>.

  • Balko, Radley. “U.S. Drone Policy: Standing Near Terrorists Makes You A Terrorist.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 29 May 2012. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/29/drone-attacks-innocent-civilians_n_1554380.html>.

  • Chatterjee, Pratap. “The CIA's Unaccountable Drone War Claims Another Casualty.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 11 July 2011. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/nov/07/cia-unaccountable-drone-war>.

  • Chatterjee, Pratap. “America’s ‘Peace Drones’: Was This 16-year-old, Killed by a US Drone, Really a Terrorist?” Global Research. Global Research, 24 Apr. 2012. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://www.globalresearch.ca/america-s-peace-drones-was-this-16-year-old-killed-by-a-us-drone-really-a-terrorist/30496>.

  • Woods, Chris. “Drone War Exposed – the Complete Picture of CIA Strikes in Pakistan.” The Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 10 Aug. 2011. Web. 01 Apr. 2013. <http://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/2011/08/10/most-complete-picture-yet-of-cia-drone-strikes/>.

#volume2issue3 #unjustwar

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