Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul, the son of 2008 Republican presidential contender Ron Paul, is not as principled as his father, it appears.
In a recent statement, Rand Paul said that terrorism suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay prison, many of whom have been ordered released on a lack of evidence, do not deserve simple civil rights, saying “Foreign terrorists do not deserve the protections of our Constitution. These thugs should stand before military tribunals and be kept off American soil. I will always fight to keep Kentucky safe and that starts with cracking down on our enemies.”
With all the negligence and shameful acts at these prisons, it is hard to interpret Paul’s assumption of guilt as anything but pandering to the torture wing of the Republican Party. For example, in the case of Chinese-born Huzaifa Parhat, the government’s evidence was so flimsy that the most damning proof it could produce was that while fleeing from the religious persecution of his home country, he had camped at the same village as another suspected terrorist who had no relationship with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. That was grounds to hold him as an enemy combatant for nearly seven years. He was released in June along with three others worshipers who simply sought religious freedom.
I really wish this was my only nugget of contention with Paul. Bizarrely, he also calls for a declaration of war and continued presence in Afghanistan. Elsewhere on his site, he says he supports a law mandating English be used on documents and contracts and wants to build electric border fences patrolled by helicopters. He says that “illegal” immigrants should be punished for breaking a law they had not part in constructing, yet he does not support upholding the constitution and prosecuting the Bush administration for cases of admitted torture. What we see here is a repeated pattern that foreigners should be denied their liberties and any civil protections under the constitution, but the ruling elite are given a pass when the highest law of the land explicitly calls for the president to “faithfully execute” the law. He is caving to the party line. In essence, he is a neo-con on these fundamental issues.