Much has been said and written during the past week regarding Senator Ted Cruz’ (R-Texas) stance against using military drones to target U.S. citizens on American soil. Sen. Cruz, never one to make a statement and walk away, this week filed legislation as an amendment to the Senate budget bill that would “prohibit using drones to kill U.S. citizens in the United States unless they present an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury to another individual.”
It seems obvious, but we have to say it anyway.
First of all, if the government (federal, state or local) is using military drones in the U.S. against American citizens, we have a much more serious problem. That is the issue that should be dominating the airwaves and media sites. Instead, both media and political pundits have chosen to go on the attack against Sen. Cruz, mainly by questioning his intelligence.
Obviously, Sen. Cruz felt there was a need to make this a national issue. While we are not privy to all the intelligence reports that cross the desk of a U.S. Senator, it has been our experience that where there is smoke, there is usually fire. We do not believe this was a random issue Sen. Cruz pulled out of thin air in order to make political points. More than likely, the government is already using military drones in the U.S. and it is highly probable that at least one federal agency issued a high-level contingency plan on expanding those operations against U.S. citizens. If that hypothesis is close to being correct, it would explain both Sen. Cruz’ remarks on the Senate floor and subsequent legislation.
Contrary to much of the commentary on this issue, we do not feel Sen. Cruz’ amendment goes far enough, as it leaves a loophole that opens the door to abuse by the government on the people it represents by suspending due process against American citizens — allowing government agents to serve as judge, jury and executioner at the push of a button from the security of the Situation Room. And if you do not think government intelligence is ever wrong when it comes to perceived threats of imminent danger, a decade after declaring war based solely on “reliable” intelligence; we are still looking for the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Indeed, unmanned military drones have saved countless American lives on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan as both an intelligence-gathering tool and a lethal weapon against our enemies.
But it is absolutely chilling to think now that our 10-year war in the Middle East is coming to a close, our government would even consider using these military weapons against American citizens — on our home soil, no less. That in itself should be considered a declaration of war by the government on the American people.
Sen. Cruz was right to take a stand. But he does not go far enough. Military drones should be reserved for what they were intended — the battlefield. Regardless of what intentions may be behind the government’s contingencies, there is no justification for deploying drones against American citizens on U.S. soil — under any circumstances.
In the prelude to the Revolutionary War, Founding Father Benjamin Franklin said it best when he proposed a proposition before the Pennsylvania Assembly in 1775: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
It was relevant during the creation of this great nation. It still rings true today.