Monday, March 11, 2013

Brennan's Swearing In: No Bible. No Bill Of Rights

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Senator Rand Paul's 13-hour filibuster last week was an attempt to force nominee for CIA Director, John Brennan, and the administration to come clean regarding their intentions to kill Americans on American soil with drone planes.

After 13 hours of public duress and sometimes humiliation, the White House finally blinked and responded to what seemed to most Americans, myself included, a rather simple, easy to answer question.

Just before the vote on nominee Brennan, Attorney General Holder sent a terse letter to Senator Rand Paul which read, "It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: 'Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?' The answer is no."

Paul then said publicly, "We're proud to announce that the president is not going to kill unarmed Americans on American soil."

Rand Paul got what he wanted, and the Senate voted to confirm Brennan 63-34.

But did the American people get what we want---or deserve?

The Weekly Standard has pointed out that the White House announced John Brennan was sworn in with his hand on an original draft of the Constitution, dating from 1787, which has George Washington's handwriting and annotations on it.

The Standard also points out that, "He does not appear to have placed his hand on a Bible, a Torah, a Koran or other sacred religious text as he said his oath."

The Standard, Emptywheel and others have also observed that when Brennan vowed to protect and defend the Constitution, he was swearing on one that did not include the First, Fourth, Fifth or Sixth Amendment---or any other Amendment now included in our Constitution.

The Bill of Rights did not become a part of the Constitution until 1791---4 years after the Constitution that Brennan took his oath on.

This incident would probably not have been as significant absent the pain and pressure it took to get nominee Brennan and the administration to simply say "no" to the original question.

And were it not for the haunting premise Paul introduced to the nation: "We have to ask about the limitation of force, because what we have now is a war without boundaries."

In an editorial, the Washington Post gave a scathing analysis of Rand Paul's filibuster saying he and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, "concocted the absurd notion that Americans sitting quietly in cafes could be blasted by Hellfire missiles."

Once finished with the trashing of Paul, the Post concluded that there is indeed, "a need for greater transparency" regarding the use of drones.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein D- Ca., in a backhanded way, agreed. After telling MSNBC's Chris Matthews she thought Paul's question was "built up, hyped up and cleared up," she too agreed that it is not really cleared up and there are still questions that need to be answered.

She said, "I think the drone is a new technology. In some respects, it's the perfect assassination weapon."

With a number of nations trying to buy armed drones, it is concerning that there is no regulation as to how the drones can be used in the United States.

Interestingly, Oregon Democratic Senator Ron Wyden joined Republican Rand Paul saying, "Every American has the right to know when their government believes that it is allowed to kill them."

And there are still those asking, does Eric Holder's "no" actually mean the president does not have the authority?

I personally believe using drones in the defense of our country and our freedom is good thing.

However, killing people by remote control can be very seductive and requires both self examination and a firm understanding of life principles.

Relativistic, evolving truth and principles is, in my opinion, not a sound basis for making such decisions.

Both Paul and Wyden announced that both of them "feel this is just the beginning of this debate."

I sincerely hope so. While much of the work of the CIA is understandably done in the shadows, this is a time and an issue that needs more light and transparency.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Informed. Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.