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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Who said this:

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

I'll take a stab at it: TJ, as in Thomas Jefferson.

Not TJ, but indeed one of the Founding Fathers, it is sad that the incredible gift given then, is so little appreciated by those who have benefited so much.

Agreed.

Also, when thinking about the Constitution, we need to bear in mind that the founders weren't averse to updating it (how about The Bill of Rights?). They viewed it as a living and changeable document; why shouldn't we?

To quote Clausewitz:

Now, philanthropists may easily imagine there is a skilful method of disarming and overcoming an enemy without great bloodshed, and that this is the proper tendency of the Art of War. However plausible this may appear, still it is an error which must be extirpated; for in such dangerous things as War, the errors which proceed from a spirit of benevolence are the worst.

Of course situations can be imagined in which the use of drones - or any other military weapon - could be used domestically. If Lincoln had had access to drones in the civil war, should he have restrained himself from using it?

...believed it would be constitutional to target an American terror suspect 'sitting at a cafe'...

Did he even considered the collateral damage? Because there will obviously be other people in the cafe...

Well, that is certainly a big part of the question. I think that one can imagine cases where such collateral damage may be acceptable given the alternative. And we already have a real life example of accepting fairly large collateral damage as established policy...

Are you aware that on 9/11 the U.S. Federal government decided to allow hijacked airliners that threatened major targets to be shot down before they got to their targets. This could have killed perhaps 200 or more innocent people! And yet, while I would feel for the people in the plane "in the wrong place at the wrong time," I can see the logic and the necessity.

Some conspiracy theorists actually maintain that the airliner that went down in Pennsylvania was shot down.

For 25 plus years before 9/11 the American government was warned that was going to happen, and they were told how to prevent it.

And they did nothing.

And they were told about 1000 other potential threats as well. Can you blame them for not preparing for every single one of them? 

Even today, I don't think we have a satisfactory defense for this threat (one that everybody will agree is the best)? 

Do you have one?

They were advised a long time ago to seal off the pilots and cockpit, so there was no access during flight.

Of course after the fact they've done exactly that.

Probably keeping Muslim men under 40 or anyone whose religion is Islam would eliminate 90% or more of contemporary threats, too. 

Naturally, one responds to threats as they come along. Preparing for every conceivable way to hijack or explode an airplane would make flying too expensive for most people. 

They'd start taking buses or trains instead, and the terrorists would start paying attention to those alternatives.

I don't know what you expect.

For example, what are they doing to guard against exploding clothing (shoes aside)?

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