Hammers, Nails and Filibusters

By Leslie Griffith & JP Sottile

Mark Twain: “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

The filibuster on the Senate floor was not about selling us anything. No powerful gun lobbies or military contractors interrupted America’s heartbeat so they could fill us with fear and convince us that, no matter how crazy we become, everyone is eligible to carry an M-16.

No, the filibuster was about something legitimate, something real—something clearly unconstitutional.

But if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Senator Rand Paul made a strong case and he did it beautifully…albeit inconveniently for some.

John “Dr. Drone” Brennan was set to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Before he was confirmed, Mr. Rand asked some legitimate questions of both Mr. Brennan and Mr. Obama.

When do the drones stop? When is the partially-declared war over?

Americans are killing civilians—children gathering firewood or just living their lives.

Aren’t we a country that still believes in due process?

What happens when the drones fly over civilians here at home?

Don’t we still believe in innocence until proven guilty?

It’s a problem. When all you have is a gun, everything looks like a target.

Can we kill Americans overseas who appear to be “enemy combatants?”

And, if so, we are living in perpetual war—at home and abroad. Will the mounting hatred for the war around the world come home to roost, as Americans find yet another reason to distrust their government?

Can we insulate ourselves from the inevitable drones launched by those who—so far—have only been targets?

Eventually, the other, as-yet vaguely defined “side” will have those drones.

That’s when we’ll spend all our time and much of our money “perfecting” and protecting our killing technology. Like all arms races, there is no real finish line other than death.

The time to ask questions is at the start of the race, not the end.

It is time for some answers.

It’s not a time for partisan politicians or for agenda-driving cable networks to make their hay. This is real. This is about who we are—morally and constitutionally.

Because if all we have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Ultimate question: Do Mr. Brennan and Mr. Obama have other tools hanging on their belts?

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3 Responses to Hammers, Nails and Filibusters

  1. Earl says:

    You know we’re in deep shit when Rand Paul is making the cogent argument.

  2. Don’t get the idea for a minute that I am a Republican or a apologist for the previous administration, but I want to point ouf that if this happened under Bush/Cheney the media would be all over itself with outrage and young kids in Doc Martens and piercings would be protesting from New York to San Francisco. But cool, hip I-love-Stevie-Wonder Obama does it and everyone more or less shrugs. You can get away with a lot based on image. And remember, this guy won the Nobel Peace Prize for…well, I truly have no idea, since he has never presided over any peace effort in his life.

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