Rand Paul’s New Friends

On Wednesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) made a historic stand filibustering the nomination of John Brennan over the federal government’s claim that it has the right to kill Americans on American soil, redefining “imminence,” “battlefield,” and “war” in general. The nation tuned in to see what I consider to be the most courageous political act in modern American history.

The #StandWithRand hashtag exploded on Twitter, and Rand Paul was ultimately joined by fourteen others in his filibuster: in order, Sens. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, Jerry Moran, Ron Wyden (a Democrat), Marco Rubio, Pat Toomey, Saxby Chambliss, John Cornyn, John Barasso, Ron Johnson, John Thune, Jeff Flake, Tim Scott, and Mitch McConnell (the Minority Leader).  Every Senator who joined Rand Paul should be congratulated as they gave him both physical and political strength to go longer, and therein make a HUGE stride in advancing the Freedom Movement.

Whether or not these newcomers will continue to stand with Rand Paul is another story. Nine of the fourteen establishmentarians - Sens. Moran, Rubio, Toomey, Chambliss, Cornyn, Barasso, Johnson, Thune, and McConnell – who showed up to support Dr. Paul The Younger supported NDAA 2012, which gives our government the right to indefinitely detain Americans, depriving them of their natural right to Liberty.  (Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ron Wyden notably voted against NDAA; Flake, Scott, and Cruz weren’t members during its vote.) The questionable provisions from Section 1021 is as follows, in full:

Congress affirms that the authority of the President to use all necessary and appropriate force pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40; 50 U.S.C. 1541 note) includes the authority for the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons (as defined in subsection (b)) pending disposition under the law of war.
(b) COVERED PERSONS.—A covered person under this section is any person as follows:
(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
(2) A person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces.
(c) DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR.—The disposition of a person under the law of war as described in subsection (a) may include the following:
(1) Detention under the law of war without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

We should remember Rand Paul’s newfound friends had a hand in codifying the imperialism they now protest. Congress rejected repealing the “indefinite detention” provisions again in May 2012.  As Congress willingly gave the Executive the power to indefinitely detain Americans captured on American soil without trial, the Executive only had to take one more step to deduce it could kill these Americans as well.

So did they show up out of a change of conscience? Or because #StandWithRand was the #1 trend on Twitter?  I would venture to guess fewer of these Senators would have stood with Rand had he drawn his line in the sand over Americans killed on foreign soil, such as Al-Awlaki’s 16-year old son, and even less would have been there had he addressed the 4,700 or so innocent foreign noncombatants killed arbitrarily by drones.

But this is admittedly an incremental victory.  It will get harder for those Senators who came out to stand with Rand, who may go squishy when challenged by the establishment, with which they are more comfortable. At present time, Rand Paul seems most apt at carrying this message and facilitating change within the establishment.  More steps need to be taken, and more questions need to be asked about American foreign policy, and frankly, who we are as nation. Questions like:

  1. If it’s not okay to deprive Americans of their natural right of Life without Due Process, then why is it okay to deprive Liberty through indefinite detention?
  2. Do the natural rights of Life and Liberty, endowed by our Creator, only extend to Americans? If so, do they extend only to Americans on American soil?

We can incrementally advance freedom without compromise, as I wrote yesterday.  Those of us who have been harping on these issues for some time should welcome these newcomers, foster their education on the issues, and show them why our desired end state is desirable for them.  Convincing them to continue standing with us will be the challenge. It’s on us now to be there ready.

We took a huge step last night. It cannot end today.  The fight continues.

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