What Holder Really Saidby William Grigg, LRC Blog
Mar. 08, 2013
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It took a 13-hour filibuster from Senator Rand Paul to wring this terse statement from Attorney General Eric Holder:
"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 to that question is no."
Like all statements from people who presume to rule others, this brief message from Holder -- -- who is Nickolai Krylenko to Obama's Josef Stalin -- should be read in terms of the supposed authority claimed thereby. This means removing useless qualifiers in the interest of clarity.
What Holder is saying, in substantive terms, is that the President does have the supposed authority to use a drone to kill an American who is engaged in "combat," whether here or abroad. "Combat" can consist of expressing support for Muslims mounting armed resistance against U.S. military aggression, which was the supposed crime committed by Anwar al-Awlaki, or sharing the surname and DNA of a known enemy of the state, which was the offense committed by Awlaki's 16-year-old son, Abdel. Under the rules of engagement used by the Obama Regime in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, any "military-age" male found within a targeted "kill zone" is likewise designated a "combatant," albeit usually after the fact. This is a murderous application of the "Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy," and it will be used when -- not if -- Obama or a successor starts conducting domestic drone-killing operations.
Holder selected a carefully qualified question in order to justify a narrowly tailored answer that reserves an expansive claim of executive power to authorize summary executions by the president. That's how totalitarians operate.