The drone war President Barack Obama (pictured) is waging not only with presumed terrorists but with his political opponents is turning normal Washington, D.C., politics on its ear: First, you have a progressive Democratic president accused of using serious firepower against terrorism to keep the nation safe.
Conventional political wisdom says Democrats are soft on the war on terror.
And then you also have conservative Republican Senator Rand Paul criticizing the President for being a little too tough on the bad guys.
Conventional wisdom says Republicans are hawks on the war on terror.
And to make things just a tad stranger, John Woo, the lawyer who wrote former President George W. Bush‘s legal justifications for his war on terror, which Democrats called “unconstitutional” just a few years ago, has come out in support of Obama.
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Paul, a senator from Kentucky, brought the issue of Obama’s drone policy to a head earlier this week when he took to the Senate floor to protest the potential use of drones against American citizens in this country.
In answer to Paul, Attorney General Eric Holder sent the senator a letter clarifying the fact that the President doesn’t have the authority to use drones, small unmanned planes, against non-combatant U.S. citizens on American soil.
So in a way, Paul’s political exercise accomplished what he was seeking: a presidential response to his concerns that Americans could be targeted by drones inside our borders.
But did Paul really believe that President Obama — or any president for that matter — would use drones to watch and possibly attack U.S. citizens who weren’t planning some terrorist threat against our nation?
Does anyone really care if the next terrorist planning to bomb the next World Trade Center is an American plotting on American soil or not? In my eyes, all we need to worry about is stopping them before blood is shed.
And if using a drone can better accomplish that task, I’m with it.
The strangest part of this debate is how Obama’s enemies will find a way to attack him even if what he is doing is exactly what they would do (or have done, see George W. Bush) if given the chance.
Obama has expanded the use of drones in the war on terror for a very simple reason: They can provide surveillance and even deliver a killing strike without risking the lives of U.S. soldiers.
Sounds like a win-win to me.
In this very dangerous world, weapons like drones are helping to level the playing field. Obama shouldn’t shrink from using them against anyone who threatens our nation.
That should make sense to everyone — except the targeted terrorists.