The Big Question
“Do you support the use of drones to fight the War on Terror at home and/or abroad?”
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan
I support the use of drones abroad in connection with a specific authorization for use of force or declaration of war by Congress. I also support use abroad for specific intelligence-gathering operations, provided the use is pursuant to constitutional authority granted to the executive branch. But it’s unacceptable for these programs to be without oversight, and it’s imperative that standards be developed to limit the use of drones and ensure compliance with the laws of war.
I do not support the use of drones over U.S. territory, except along the immediate border for security, provided the use complies with the Fourth Amendment and other constitutional limitations. The proliferation of drone systems domestically raises serious civil liberties and privacy concerns, and Congress should act now to ensure Americans’ rights are protected.
Jack Hunter, the Southern Avenger
Perhaps the most important lesson Ron Paul has taught us is that terrorists want to come here to do Americans harm only to the extent that our country does them harm “over there.” There are probably special circumstances where a drone strike is the best logical response. But for the United States to continue carrying out drone strikes as regular policy—often killing more innocent women and children than terrorists—might be our worst policy to date in terms of needlessly inciting Islamic hatred toward America.
President Obama has not only outdone President Bush in carrying out drone strikes overseas, but now uses these unmanned hawks to spy on American citizens. Endangering Americans’ safety through our government’s actions abroad, and endangering Americans’ liberties through our government’s actions at home, clearly continues to be a bipartisan effort.
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas
The use of drones overseas may have become so convenient, operated as they are from a great distance, that far more "collateral damage" has become acceptable. Collateral damage is a polite way of saying killing innocent civilians. Is the ease of drone use a slippery slope to disregard for justice, and if so what might that mean for us as they become more widely used on American soil against American citizens?
The expanded use of drones overseas has been matched with the expanded use of drones in the United States, which should alarm every American who values the Constitution and its protections against government interference in our private lives. Do we want to live in a country where our government constantly flies aircraft overhead to make sure we are not doing anything it disapproves of? Do we really want to live under the watchful eye of "Big Brother"? It is terrifying enough to see how drones are being misused abroad. We must curtail the government's ability use drones right away lest the massacres in Yemen and Pakistan turn out to be crude training exercises for what the administration has in mind on our own soil.
Angela Keaton, Director of Operations at Antiwar.com
I will give you a few answers:
2.) No, I do not support the use of killer robots against human beings.
3.) No. No civilized morally conscious person would support the use of killer robots to tear apart the bodies of men, women and children in foreign countries with whom the American people have no quarrel.
The domestic use of drones to spy on Americans clearly violates the Fourth Amendment and limits our rights to personal privacy. We should not be treated like criminals or terrorists while we are simply conducting our everyday lives. We should not have our rights infringed upon by unwarranted police-state tactics.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky
I have introduced legislation into the Senate that restates the Constitution. This bill protects individual privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of these drones. The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2012 will protect Americans' personal privacy by forcing the government to honor our Fourth Amendment rights.
Allowing domestic drones to act as spies for the government is a complete violation of our basic right to personal privacy. Unrestricted drone surveillance conjures up images reminiscent of Orwell's “1984”—a totalitarian police-state. My bill will protect individual privacy against governmental intrusion by these drones and establish a balance by requiring judicial action and allowing protection in court.