When it comes to libertopia, Rand Paul is not the perfect, but the Republican Sen. from Kentucky sure is the good. He can almost always be counted on to fight for Americans' constitutional protections from his relatively powerful position as a senator (albeit a fairly new one). Paul speechified powerfully last spring when it came time to re-up the PATRIOT Act, noting at one point "if you don't protect the entire bill of rights, you're not going to have any of it."
Today he tried again, in support of Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo) and his attempt at removing the worst bits of the proposed detainee provision amendment to the 2012 Defense Authorization Act bill. Paul noted that we already have laws and protections against terrorism, and that 9/11 was not a failure of American law, nor was it due to any omnipotence on Al-Qaeda's part.
Paul also noted that not only is the provision unnecessary, the potential for military detainment of American citizens within it is both unconstitutional and a very, very bad idea.
According to The Hill, part of the exchange between Paul and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz) went like this:
"Should we err today and remove some of the most important checks on state power in the name of fighting terrorism, well then the terrorists have won," Paul argued, "[D]etaining American citizens without a court trial is not American."
McCain, however, who has spent hours of floor time in the last weeks promoting his amendment, hurried to the floor to defend it against Paul's onslaught.
"Facts are stubborn things," McCain repeated from the floor several times. "If the senator from Kentucky wants to have a situation prevail where people who are released go back in to the fight to kill Americans, he is entitled to his opinion."
The amendment, offered by McCain, who is the ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, would technically allow the executive branch discretion on whether a terrorism suspect ought to be tried in civilian courts or the military tribunal system.
Much like last spring's fight against the PATRIOT Act, Paul fought the good fight, and he was again on the losing side. Udall's bid to rid the bill of the detainment provision was voted down 61-37. Here's hoping President Obama actually vetoes the thing.
And make sure your tinfoil hat is securely fastened and your radio dial is tuned to whoever broadcasts Alex Jones or George Noory; here is McCain puking up a rainbow of pro-America, pro-democracy, anti-terrorist drivel in response to Paul's very direct question on the issue people seem disturbingly fuzzy about—namely, could these detainment powers really be used on American citizens?
Further Reason on Rand Paul who was dubbed "The Most Interesting Man in the Senate" for the June cover. And Reason on the war on terror. Not to mention Reason on John McCain, who is so awful that he was worthy of a whole book by fearless Reason Magazine Editor in Chief Matt Welch.