By Jeff Shipley
At 11:47 a.m. Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) embarked on a near-13 hour deliberative filibuster, stalling the nomination of CIA Director John Brennan, to gain clarity on the possibility of the CIA’s drone assassination program being used against American citizens at home.
The CIA regularly uses drones armed with Hellfire missiles to engage various targets abroad. Drone strikes have a cruel and unusual record. Afghani President Hamid Karzai demanded the attacks end, after the drone’s hellfire engulfed 30 civilian locations in 2012.
Paul exerted himself tremendously to protect the rule of law, forcing President Barack Obama to clarify his position relating to the 5th Amendment of the Constitution and centuries of legal tradition. The American people were lucky to witness Paul’s deliberation, which earned more than 1 million tweets on Twitter. Never before have I been so inspired by something seen on C-SPAN.
I only wish that our state senators were willing to put in the same efforts to address critical issues in Iowa. Senate File 276 and House File 410 are one-page bills prohibiting the flight of weaponized drones and placing a moratorium on the use of drones by law enforcement until July 1, 2015, excepting search and rescue situations and declared disasters.
I’m not claiming that this was a perfect bill, but it was a heck of a start. At the very least, this legislation deserved to be heard in committee to address the pressing issues of drones in Iowa. This is particularly important for an issue such as drones, which places the liberty and privacy of all Iowans at risk. Neither Rep. Clel Baudler (R-Greenfield) or Sen. Rob Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids) found the time to address this issue at their committees. By failing to address these bills, they failed in doing their job.
By not scheduling a committee hearing, Baudler and Hogg did Iowans a deep disservice. These men are elected to lead, and instead they find themselves passing the buck.
Hogg says he will help tackle drone regulation next session. That’s nice, and I consider myself a very patient person, so I look forward to working with him. But when the privacy and liberty of Iowans is at stake, waiting is totally unacceptable.
I call upon Gov. Terry Branstad to prohibit his state agencies from using drones and any manner which disrespects the 4th Amendment, or places Iowans at the mercy of armed police drone robots.
I wish I could trust government and police to use drone technology and weapons responsibly. Sadly, I do not.
Jeff Shipley of Fairfield is a member of the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee and chair of the Liberty Iowa Legislative Committee, http://www.libertyiowa.com/p/blog-page_27.html. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org