Targeted Killing: Drones

Two Questions for Rand Paul

By Benjamin Wittes
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 7:01 AM

Rand Paul has a triumphant blow-by-blow account of his filibuster in the Washington Post. It contains the following curious sentence that to me captures almost everything wrong with his little campaign: "I wanted to sound an alarm bell from coast to coast. I wanted everybody to know that our Constitution is precious and that no American should be killed by a drone without first being charged with a crime."

I have two questions:

  1. Is it okay to kill an American by means other than a drone without first charging him with a crime?
  2. Is it okay to kill an American with a drone once he has been charged with a crime?

Put another way, Paul is really confusing here the policy with the platform. And he is confusing as well the fighting of a war with the execution of a death sentence. The two mistakes together take him and his followers down serious rabbit holes.