Senator: “If there’s a line of traffic coming out of a camp and we think that is populated by people who don’t like America — we bomb them”
Feb 14, 2013
The Pentagon is to reward drone operators with medals, despite the fact that strikes have killed thousands of innocent civilians in Yemen and Pakistan; and the majority of Americans will support the action.
AP reports that the DoD is creating a new ribbon, called the Distinguished Warfare Medal that will be awarded for “extra achievement” related to a military operation. This will encompass sitting at a computer console and pressing a button to release Hellfire missiles from Predator drones hundreds and thousands of miles away.
The AP report notes that the medal would become the fourth-highest ranking combat decoration, placing above the Bronze Star, but below the Silver Star. The medal will be the first combat-award created by the Armed Forces since World War II.
Pentagon guidelines state that “The extraordinary achievement must have resulted in an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding as to clearly set the individual apart from comrades or from other persons in similar situations.”
Critics immediately jumped on the development, with some referring to the new medal as the “Geek Cross”, and suggesting that video game heads could soon be awarded Purple Hearts in recognition of animated wounds.
Research by the Pew Center, published Monday, found that “Overall, 56 percent [of Americans] approve of the U.S. conducting missile strikes from pilotless aircraft to target extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia; just 26 percent say they disapprove.”
The majority registered approval despite a leaked Justice Department memo earlier this month concluding that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens with drones “even if,” as NBC reported, “there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.”
Senator Rand Paul described support for the drone program as “very scary and worrisome”, Wednesday, and said he feared it would open up a “Pandora’s box” as far as federal government authority goes.
“It is very scary and worrisome to me… We don’t even name the target of people we kill with drones. If there’s a line of traffic coming out of a camp and we think that is populated by people who don’t like America — we bomb them,” Paul said.
“Is that a high enough standard for Americans maybe coming out of a city or an encampment somewhere in the U.S. where they’re meeting and saying anti-government things? Are we going to have signature strikes in America? I mean, it opens Pandora’s box once you say we may as well kill Americans in America without any judicial trial, with politicians making the decision, that’s very worrisome.” the Senator continued.
In the interview with CNN, Paul said he was considering filibustering the nomination of John Brennan for CIA director, after Brennan refused to answer Paul’s line of questioning during Brennan’s confirmation hearing.
“If you’re not going to answer, No,’ I think that means you’re telling us, ‘Yes’ — you believe that the president has the power to kill an Americans in America. That is appalling,” Paul said during the interview.
In a further statement today, Paul noted:
“I have asked Mr. Brennan if he believed that the President has the power to authorize lethal force, such as a drone strike, against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil, and my question remains unanswered. I will not allow a vote on this nomination until Mr. Brennan openly responds to the questions and concerns my colleagues and I share.”
“These issues must be discussed openly so that the American people can understand what constraints exist on the government’s power to use lethal force against its citizens. Before confirming Mr. Brennan as the head of the CIA, it must be apparent that he understands and will honor the protections provided to every American by the Constitution.” Paul’s statement reads.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.