Drone Debate Drones On

Arianna Tong, Staff Writer

Representative Rand Paul took the Senate floor on March 24 for an epic 13-hour filibuster against government use of lethal drone strikes. Paul expressed concern about a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder on a proposal for domestic drone use.

The policy would allow the Obama Administration to conduct aerial drone strikes to target and kill American citizens on US soil in circumstances of imminent threats to national security, such as the Sept. 11 attacks or the Boston bombings, without trial. However, the proposal is an invite for the executive branch to abuse their power.

Mid-filibuster, Paul asked: “What will be the standard for how we kill Americans in America? Could political dissent be part of the standard for drone strikes?”

According to the government, desperate times call for desperate drone strikes. Unfortunately, the standard has become questionable in the wake of recent events. How do we establish these standards to benefit national security without stripping citizens of their civil liberties?

While we recognize that the safety of our citizens is crucial in the wake of terror, our government can’t simply kill people to prevent more threats. The answer to solving conflict with violence is a hypocritical notion; we must remember that criminals are granted the same civil liberties as the law abiding. The problem with domestic drone strikes is that it conveys the message that the government has the right to kill anyone in the US based on an accusation. More importantly, military drones are known for their mishaps, such as destroying citizen’s homes or aiming for the wrong target.

Paul absolutely has a point: does the Obama administration have the authority to do such a thing? Is this a stretch of executive power? Our national security is crucial, but the use of drone strikes to take out American citizens is more tyrannical than democratic. Drone use in aerial space may tighten national security, but it won’t prevent terrorist bombings that bring our nation to a state of turmoil.

Instead of letting the debate over drone use continue, policy makers need to look at other alternate solutions to combat threats to our national security.