For the record, I’m a hawk on enhanced interrogation techniques and am supportive of drone strikes in the prosecution of terrorist abroad. So I certainly CAN imagine a time when the President could authorize a drone attack on American soil used against Americans.
For example, if Timothy McVeigh had left a note on the kitchen table describing what he was planning to do and we had him en route to the target; take him out. Same for the scenario that Senator Feinstein described:
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who is the chairwoman of the Intelligence Committee, said one such situation would be the shooting down of a plane hijacked by terrorists.
Clearly where traditional methods would be allowed, a drone ought be allowed. In fact, often time preferred.
But for the life of me I don’t understand why Obama, Holder and the whole of the administration won’t admit that the United States can’t use drones to strike American citizens “sitting in a cafe”:
Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, suggested a hypothetical situation in which a terrorism suspect was not presenting an immediate threat — like “sitting in a cafe” rather than “pointing a bazooka at the Pentagon” — and asked whether it would be unconstitutional for the military to simply kill that citizen.
How can the answer to that question not be an immediate “no”?
The politics are baffling to me. This isn’t a President who would have to worry about his base being upset with the answer. The reaction from the opposition wouldn’t be any worse than it currently is by hedging.
The answer and the “play” are so obvious that it’s mind blowing watching this play out.