I'm going to beat Unseen to this one!

So Eric Holder in a recent Congressional hearing has left the door open to preforming a drone strike against terrorists on American soil in an "extraordinary circumstance."

From CNN:
"Attorney General Eric Holder is not entirely ruling out a scenario under which a drone strike would be ordered against Americans on U.S. soil, but says it has never been done previously and he could only see it being considered in an extraordinary circumstance.

He began to winnow the list of those possible extraordinary circumstances Wednesday. In testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pressed Holder whether he believed it would be constitutional to target an American terror suspect 'sitting at a cafe' if the suspect didn't pose an imminent threat.

'No,' Holder replied."

Given the fact that there are people out there who want to kill us, who want to die for their cause, and who label themselves as an enemy to America, do you think that they Attorney General makes a valid point? Might there be some circumstance where a drone strike is the best option to prevent even more loss of life including that of law enforcement? Is he just plain wrong and this can't be permitted at all? As Senator Paul is now filibustering on the Senate floor and making the point, is there zero room for a lethal military/law enforcement drone strike on an individual? Might there still be a comparison with the use of lethal force by a police officer to a person that is known to be armed, dangerous, and looking to kill?

Tags: Congress, Constitution, Drone, Eric, Holder, law, strikes

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I can imagine a circumstance where, for example, an American is driving a van through the mountains toward Denver or Seattle with a nuclear bomb on board. If he were stopped on the roadway by a team of soldiers at a roadblock, he might detonate it there and kill the soldiers. By contrast, a drone could fire a guided bomb toward his van on some isolated stretch of road. By far, the best way to handle it.

There are already plenty of situations where some level of the state kills people without arresting them and giving them due process. Think of what SWAT teams often have to do.

In any case, it should involve an imminent threat and should be a last recourse (or one of the last, it being the best of choices).

The real question is at what level and by what process is the decision to be made to use a drone strike. Should it involve judicial review or should it be something the President can simply decide to do, or should there be some board reviewing it and whatever options are available.

But it should never become routine.

It's like you are reading my mind. Well, my mind from 24 hours ago.

If we are in a situation where we consider our own citizens to be acceptable collateral damage, or themselves enemies of the state for whatever reason - then we have failed horribly as a nation.

Waco Texas, Libby Montana, Ruby-Ridge Idaho come to mind - for the most part the citizens responsible were just paranoid rednecks. The individuals involved were in violation of certain laws and may have been a nuisance to local authorities, and may indeed have committed local violent crime on a limited scale, but were no immanent threat to the United States as a whole... Rednecks with rifles in rural areas are not a credible threat - in rural areas they are NORMAL. What got them in trouble was their speech regarding their disposition towards the perceived threat of encroaching federal enforcement. Turns out they were right in the end; as they were raided, shot, and burned (including children in some cases).

There were many options available NOT including para-military style swat raids that could have diffused the situation - instead overzealous federal prosecutors decided to classify them as dangerous (they would have been called terror suspects today thanks to the Patriot act, and due process sumarilly suspended).

These individuals were paranoid perhaps, and you may not have an appreciation for the lifestyles of rural middle-Americans; but you cannot deny the fact that their own federal government ignored due process to attack and kill citizens in these cases. The point being; that no matter HOW much rhetoric or banter was coming from they were not yet guilty of crimes deserving the retaliatory response displayed.

Contrast this with the fact that certain credibly dangerous individuals committed significant mayhem WITHOUT attracting that kind of attention and were apprehended WITHOUT the use of paramilitary force - I don't see how people can feel OK with a government that thinks it is okay to apply this force domestically.

While you can certainly argue that mistakes have been made. Horrible ones in a few cases, it's hard to argue that they are the rule. 

What about the case I gave of the terrorist driving a van with a nuclear weapon through the mountains toward Denver or Seattle. What would you do, send in a negotiator or just eliminate the threat with a decisive drone strike. 

(BTW, before anyone says anything, nuclear bombs as a rule don't go off very easily unless their own detonation system detonates it. A missile strike would likely not detonate the nuclear weapon.)

@ Unseen,

What if it's a conventional truck bomb (Oklahoma style) covered with 4 lbs. of powdered Plutonium laying on top. 

And the prevailing wind will carry the resulting radioactive cloud over a major population area?

Do you still want to hit it with a Hellfire missile?

If it's a standard nuclear munitions, you still have the radioactive material getting spread by the Hellfire explosion.  The drone strike still turns the nuke into a dirty bomb.

You're better off helo inserting 19D teams ahead of the van and taking out the occupants, then recovering the van and bomb in tact.  If you have the intel on the vehicle, it's contents, and it's route, then you have a great many more options than a half-assed drone strike.

Will the second amendment cover the peoples right to own drones too?  If not, then the peoples right to bear arms is going to be a bit futile when examined from its intended perspective.

We already have the right to own drones because they are not per se weapons. The question is whether and how much to limit those rights. They seem at this point more a threat to privacy than anything else.

I did read somewhere that texas is considering bringing a law to make illegal to video, record, sample in anyway a private property. This was started following the successful prosecuting of a meat packing plant for polluting a waterway on the evidence of a privately owned hobby drone snapped shots of a river of blood flowing into a river and the corporation concerned lobbied a politician.
I am sorry i cannot recall the source, maybe Huffington.com

Hahaha...well it is Texas..LOL

The right to bear arms comes from the history of the United States as a nation founded on self-reliance and responsibility. It was intended that the citizens themselves would fight with their very lives against all forms of tyranny with whatever means they had at their disposal. Violence against tyranny is very strongly built into our culture. In fact it is very much what the Civil War was fought over, more so than mere slavery/freedom issues; the southern states call it the "War of Northern Aggression" for a good reason. From their perspective the federalists were over-reaching and needed to be stopped in the very same sense that Britain's Tea Tax led to the event in that Boston harbor which served as an ignition point for the conflict to follow.

Our 2nd Amendment is the founder's guarantee us that we are allowed and encouraged to fight off tyranny, especially from our own government. In that vein we should be allowed as upstanding citizens to own ANY sort of weapon required to do the job - not just protect us from home intruders, but from armed military-style incursions into our homes and lives.

What is glossed over mostly is that the 1st Amendment is there so that we can solve the problem WITHOUT fighting... take it for what it is worth.

Mmmmmmmm.

What if another nation considered an american on american soil a threat to them and sent in a drone strike, just as america has done in goodness know how many countries now ?

The genie is out of the bottle, bring a whole new meaning to "rubbing one off" for the pentagon.
regards,
Judith vd R.

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