By Daniel Strauss
(The Hill) Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blasted fellow GOP Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday, saying the two “think the whole world is a battlefield.”
Paul criticized the hawkish senators for thinking the laws of war should take precedence over the Bill of Rights. The two had criticized Paul’s statements about drone policy during the Kentucky Republican’s nearly 13-hour filibuster on Thursday.
“They think the whole world is a battlefield, including America, and that the laws of war should apply,” Paul said in an interview on Fox News about McCain and Graham, who had described Paul’s comments about drones as “ridiculous.”
“The laws of war don't involve due process, so when they ask you for an attorney you tell them to shut up. That's not my understanding of the way America works,” Paul told Fox. “I don't think the laws of war apply to America, I think the Bill of Rights do and I think it's a disservice to our soldiers that our senators up there arguing that the Bill of Rights aren't important."
Paul said whether drones can be used against U.S. citizens on U.S. soil is a “very serious question” and was at the root of Wednesday’s filibuster, which delayed a final confirmation vote on John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee to lead the CIA.
“This was a very serious question. It was a question that took a month and a half to get an answer to and so I would argue — and I think a lot of the public would agree with me, both on the right and the left — that what we ask was a very serious question and it's a question that we finally got an answer to,” Paul said.
Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday responded to Paul in a letter that said the U.S. does not have the authority to conduct a drone attack against a U.S. citizen on American soil.
“Hooray, for 13 hours yesterday we asked them that question. And so there is a result and a victory,” Paul said after the letter was read to him during the Fox interview. “Under duress and under public humiliation the White House will respond and do the right thing.”
The answer just took a filibuster that lasted almost half a day, Paul added.
“So now, after 13 hours of filibuster, we're proud to announce that the president is not going to kill unarmed Americans on American soil,” Paul continued. “My next question is why did it take so long, why is it so hard and why would a president so jealously guard power that they were afraid to say this, but I am glad and I think that the answer does answer my question.”