Friday, March 8, 2013

Rand Paul, Sit Yo Ass Down!

I'm going to dispense with the preamble and get straight to the point.  If you had absolutely nothing to say when George Bush was hacking away at our civil-liberties for 8 years, you don't get to have an opinion on Barack Obama's drone strike policy.  You just don't.

This past Wednesday, Kentucky senator Rand Paul launched a 13-hour publicity stunt in an effort to block John Brennen's confirmation to head the CIA.  Most of the media called it a filibuster, but in reality it was merely an homage to every right-wing conspiracy magazine and web site in the country.  He claims that it was to draw attention to questions surrounding the Obama administration's policy of using drones on enemy non-combatants.  That would be true, indeed laudable, if he and other right-wingers who were cheering him on via the Twitter hashtag #StandWithRand had expressed these same concerns under the Bush administration.

The recently discovered drone-strike policy didn't suddenly spring into existence when Barack Obama became president.  The US government conducted hundreds of attacks in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones under the control of the CIA's Special Activities Division as part of the so-called War on Terror.  In rebutting Rand Paul's rant, senator Lindsay Graham correctly implied that the very same Republicans who supported Rand Paul did not raise any questions during the Bush administration.

To be sure, liberals have been raising questions about the use of drones since the Bush administration, as well as many other aspects of the War on Terror and Homeland Security, and there are real questions to be asked regarding the administration's authority to launch strikes whenever and wherever they see fit.  Chief among them in my opinion is whether these should really be under the purview of the CIA.  However, for people like Rand Paul and his tea-bagger followers to suddenly take on the mantle of "civil-liberties" hero is not only disingenuous, it's downright hypocritical.  Where were these people when thousands of civilians were being killed overseas by drones during the Bush administration?  Where were they when we were waterboarding prisoners captured in Iraq and Afghanistan?  Where were their protests against indefinite detention of prisoners at Gitmo without trial or even access to attorneys?  Where were their shouts of displeasure at warrantless  wiretapping?  All of this began under the Bush administration with nary a peep from these newly baptized civil-libertarians.  So what happened between September 11, 2001 and now to make them so suddenly so vocal?

Oh yeah.  Now I remember.  We elected a Democrat for president, who happens to be Black, and now they're afraid he has unlimited authority to indiscriminately kill White people with impunity.

If you had nothing to say about the worse parts of the War on Terror that went on during the Bush administration, if you had nothing to say when the Bush/Cheney gang were using the Constitution as toilet paper in the name of Homeland security, or worse, if you were OK with all of it, you don't get to have an opinion on any of the same during the Obama administration.  Because any opinion you have is bullshit. 

Rand Paul's "filibuster" was nothing more than a 13-hour display of bullshitting designed for only one purpose, and it was not to draw attention to legitimate questions about drone strikes.  Rand Paul is mulling a run in 2016 and he wants to get a jump on the money raising.  His stunt on the senate floor was merely to rally his troops and start the money flowing from his rich donors, not to mention buy himself a lot of positive press from Fox News.  The only people fooled into thinking it was anything other were his tea-bagger supporters, and a few Magic-Pony progressives who don't know any better.

Rand Paul may have the media convinced that his "filibuster" may have been about something, but those of us who've had questions about how this country conducts its "War on Terror" since the beginning aren't buying the hype.  As far as we're concerned Rand Paul needs to just sit his ass down.