Imagine how proud his pop must be, having spent decades railing against warmongering and militarization, to see his boy rolling this one out as the opening shot in the Kentucky GOP primary. (Who was the creative team behind the first 10 seconds? The Cheney family?) If you’re wondering why one of America’s most famous libertarians would start his campaign with an ad about terror instead of a cri de coeur about Obama’s statism, read this post by Sultan Knish and this one by Paul opponent Trey Grayson. Rand is an improvement over Ron, who once introduced a bill that would limit military tribunals to “places of active hostilities against the United States where an immediate trial is necessary to preserve fresh evidence or to prevent local anarchy,” but he ain’t much of an improvement and is deeply vulnerable on this issue in a state like Kentucky. In fact, watch the second clip below from 0:40 to around 1:50. Gitmo detainees who can’t be tried should be … dropped off in Afghanistan? What?
What he actually says in the ad, in fact, is that he opposes civilian trials for enemy combatants captured on the battlefield, which I guess would exclude Abdulmutallab. But what about KSM, who was nabbed while hiding in Pakistan? Was he captured “on the battlefield” or is “battlefield” limited to firefights involving American soldiers? Hmmm.
Update: Another wrinkle on defining the “battlefield”: Does it include theaters of conflict where Congress has already authorized the use of military force or any theater where the president has deployed American troops? It’s no idle question. Three U.S. soldiers were killed recently by a roadside bomb in Pakistan, a place they’re technically not supposed to be. If they’d stumbled upon Bin Laden and captured him, does he get a tribunal or a civilian trial?