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Whatís the deal with Rand Paulís latest drone remarks?

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Whatís the deal with Rand Paulís latest drone remarks?

04.27.15 12:10 PM

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Monday defended President Barack Obama against criticism over the accidental killing of innocent hostages in a January strike near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Media outlets have reported that a strike on an al-Qaida stronghold near Pakistan earlier this year killed American Dr. Warren Weinstein and an Italian man named Giovanni Lo Porto. The White House said last week that the president was briefed on the botched CIA operation two weeks ago and the administration issued a brief apology for the loss of innocent life Thursday.

Given Paul’s past spirited criticisms of U.S. drone policy under the Obama administration, media outlets wasted no time asking the 2016 presidential contender to weigh in on the issue.

But despite the Kentucky lawmaker’s aversion to allowing the U.S. government to violate American citizens’ due process with drone technology (most famously displayed during a 13-hour filibuster in 2013), he says he welcomes the U.S. of drones on the battlefield.

ďThere is a valuable use for drones and, as much as Iím seen as an opponent of drones, in military and warfare, they do have some value,Ē Paul told ďFox and Friends.Ē

Paul also said that he hopes that the latest reports of a botched drone strike isn’t the result of the armed forces replacing human intel with drone strikes.

ďIíve been an opponent of using drones about people not in combat; however, if you are holding hostages, you kind of are involved in combat,Ē Paul said, adding that the abductors we’re “in a warzone and probably got what was coming to them.”

The lawmaker also said that he believes President Obama was “trying to do the right thing” by ordering the botched strike.

“The world is so partisan, I tend not to want to blame the President for the loss of life here,” he told the Fox cast.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who has long criticized Paul as an isolationist, took advantage of the Kentucky lawmaker’s apparent effort to clarify his position on the use of drones on the battlefield. On Twitter, the South Carolina senator insinuated that Paul had flip-flopped on the drone issue, saying: “Glad to see your new position on drones/targeting Americans who join al-Qaeda & affiliated groups. They do so at their own peril.”

Paul also caught flack from journalist Glenn Greenwald, who pointed out that the Kentucky senator’s current stance regarding due process in war zones doesnít jibe with earlier his statements.

“[I]f his big maverick view is now reduced to ‘no drone killings of Americans on US soil,’ it’s hardly interesting,” Greenwald said on Twitter.

In a separate tweet, Greenwald mused: “I don’t get his strategy: he’s never going to attract GOP hawks, so why dilute what makes him interesting/unique?”

Indeed, Paul has previously criticized the Obama administration for killing Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and terror sympathizer killed in a September 2011 drone strike in Yemen.

Certainly voters havenít seen the last of Paul the presidential candidate having to reconcile his current political situation with remarks made when he was Paul the libertarian GOP firebrand. If he does so without walking back on too much of his libertarian-ish background, he may be in a position to draw broad support. If not, he may join Mitt Romney on the list of presidential candidates who’ve had their faces printed on pairs of flip flops.

The post What’s the deal with Rand Paul’s latest drone remarks? appeared first on Personal Liberty.

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