Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Thursday went after Sen. Rand Paul’s talking filibuster of CIA director nominee John Brennan, calling the Kentucky Republican’s claim that the U.S. could have hypothetically conducted a drone strike on Jane Fonda during the Vietnam War “ridiculous.”
“To somehow allege or infer that the President of the United States is going to kill somebody like Jane Fonda, or somebody who disagrees with the policies, is a stretch of imagination which is, frankly, ridiculous,” McCain said on the Senate floor. McCain said he agrees with Paul that more discussion on targeted killings is needed, but he said he does not believe that American citizens have reason to fear for their lives.
“So we’ve done a, I think, a disservice to a lot Americans by making them believe that somehow they’re in danger from their government,” McCain said. “They’re not. But we are in danger. We are in danger from a dedicated, longstanding, easily replaceable leadership enemy that is hellbent on our destruction. And this leads us to having to do things that perhaps we haven’t had to do in other more conventional wars.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who often moves lock-step with McCain on many issues, also directly called out many of his Republican colleagues who joined Paul’s filibuster last night for not taking such a bold stand during the previous administration.
“This is an important issue,” he said on the floor. “We should be talking about it. I welcome a reasoned discussion. But to my Republican colleagues, I don’t remember any of you coming down here suggesting that President Bush was going to kill anybody with a drone.”
Graham continued to rebut Paul’s demand of Obama: “Noncombatants under the law of war are protected, not subject to being killed randomly. So to suggest that the president won’t answer that question somehow legitimizes that the drone program is going to result in being used against anybody in a room having a cup of coffee, to me, cheapens the debate.”
Igor Bobic contributed to this report.