The drone controversy reached a boiling point this week, as Senator Rand Paul filibustered the Senate for nearly 13 hours over the White House’s reluctance to assure the American citizenry “that drones will not be used against American citizens on U.S. soil.”
I won’t get into all of the specifics and relive the drama here, but after a few emotional days of listening to both sides argue over this, I decided to weigh in a little on Facebook. I can’t help myself sometimes. At one point, I stated that I couldn’t foresee the need for any administration to use drones to kill ANYONE on U.S. soil. After all, we have law enforcement agencies that can hopefully contain and defuse most crises. I started to get riled up by the partisanship, really buying into my own assumption that many of these politicians were grandstanding…and many of them were. I kept finding myself asking if these people really believed that drones could be used to hit a Starbucks? OR Take out Jane Fonda? I heard both of these mentioned by Rand, in addition to a dozen other scenarios that spiraled into the stratosphere of ridiculous. So I thought.
A combination of thoughts and FB posts jarred me out of this reverie. A good libertarian friend reminded me that “from order comes chaos,” and that “if the capability is there, eventually it will be used.” We all know that the use of technology or available resources expands, never contracts. So, if the government starts using drones for routine surveillance of suspected terrorists, where could this go? I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask the question, though I can’t imagine Hellfire missiles hitting Starbucks. If a terrorist is ordering a triple shot, caramel latte, and we have the kind of pinpoint intelligence that puts him in that Starbucks, I’m sure the feds can arrange for a few agents to arrive on scene, instead of an 18 pound high explosive warhead.
But what about a terrorist compound in the middle of say, West Virginia? A hidden, inaccessible compound so heavily fortified that conventional law enforcement methods would certainly result in fatalities on par with the Waco, Texas raid? What if that terrorist group posed an immediate threat to the population? Would a drone strike be acceptable then? What if the terrorists were U.S. citizens? All interesting questions for sure. Sounds like a crazy scenario, right?
This is where the hypocrisy thing comes into play. The scenario described above occurs in my latest novel, Black Flagged Apex, written well before the most recent controversy reared its ugly head. When and if you read the novel, you’ll be shocked by the methods used to deal with the terrorist compound. My imagination went well beyond drones, and if I can think of this stuff, I’m sure some much brighter individuals in a government sponsored think tank can do the same. Drones are probably the least of our problems. So while I criticized the Starbuck’s drone scenario, there are hundreds of other scenarios apparently more farfetched, and I created one of them. Hypocrisy exposed.
I did some research into the Insurrection Act, and the powers it grants to the Executive Branch. I suggest you do the same, because the use of drones, special forces, and artillery that I put forward in my novel is not exactly off the table in a time of domestic crisis. Define domestic crisis? The Insurrection Act uses terms like militia, insurrection, domestic violence and conspiracy in a manner that makes the 2nd Amendment look crystal clear. Maybe my Libertarian friends have the right idea. The more transparency the better.