In response to a question posed in letter from United States Senator Rand Paul, United States Attorney General Eric Holder replied that President Obama is authorized by the Constitution to use drones to attack United States citizens on United States soil.
That concept, at first, shocked me. Then I read the full statement.
A.G. Holder explained that in a narrow set of extreme circumstances---such as a Pearl Harbor-style (does that mean a carrier-launched propeller-driven aircraft) attack or an attack similar to 9/11, the President would be authorized, after consultation with the A.G., to employ drones. The A.G. characterized the question/answer as hypothetical.
The examples make sense. I think it would be reasonable, and within the scope of the powers conferred by the Constitution, for the Prez to employ such means to repel an attack. "W" might have broken off reading to the second-grade class in Florida about the travails of a goat and used drones, if he had understood the nature of the attack on 9/11. Not many in the country would have argued with the wisdom of the retaliatory action, or the scope. Even Oklahoma City and the bombing carried out by Tim McVeigh would have been an incident in which there was no time to get a warrant and judicial authorization for police or paramilitary action.
What frightens me, on this morning after a night of wet snowfall, is that old slippery slope. Already drones are everywhere. They are extensions of the military and the police. Some are big, some are smaller than a baseball. Instead of saying drones would be used to fire or use force only in extreme situations, we should consider limiting their use generally only in extreme situations and, without a warrant, only in the extreme situations.
"W" was criticized, I believe fairly, for reducing parts of the Constitution to little more than toilet paper with which he wiped his anal orifice. I am afraid that we are launched on the manufacture of parts of the Constitution as segments of a roll of paper. We should ban drones.