Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul, who has consistently opposed U.S. military engagement overseas, said on Wednesday that the Obama administration’s killing of a U.S.-born radical cleric in Yemen was an impeachable offense and that “we have crossed that barrier from republic to dictatorship.”
Speaking to an audience at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., the libertarian Texas congressman Paul also expressed sympathy for the budding Wall Street protest movement.
He harshly criticized Obama for approving last week’s predator drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, a prominent al-Qaida figure linked by U.S. intelligence agencies to two unsuccessful attacks on U.S.-bound airplanes. Samir Kahn, a second American killed in the attack, was the editor of the online al-Qaida magazine Inspire. Paul suggested the government could begin killing American journalists with impunity.
“Can you imagine being put on a list because you’re a threat?” Paul told a crowd of 60 journalists and their guests at a luncheon. “What’s going to happen when they come to the media? What if the media becomes a threat? ... This is the way this works. It’s incrementalism.
“We have crossed that barrier from republic to dictatorship, to tyranny to empire,” he said. “… He can now assassinate people without due process, American citizens, and people cheer it? What is going on with this country?"
Paul continued in a question-and-answer session: "But you ask me if it’s an impeachable offense, and it is! Just ignoring the Fifth Amendment and assassinating American citizens without due process. They won’t even tell us what the rules are! Oh, but he’s a threat! Can you imagine being put on a list because you’re a threat? What’s going to happen when they come to the media? What if the media becomes a threat? Or a professor becomes a threat?”
Paul also said he shares the frustration of the protesters who recently occupied streets in the Wall Street section of New York City, and said he believes the demonstrations are rooted in a host of economic woes, including corporate decisions to relocate American jobs overseas. He noted that he'd been predicting the erosion of the system for years.
“Eventually our jobs will deploy overseas and the pie would shrink, and there would be an aggressive attitude to get a piece of the pie that’s no longer there,” he said. “I think civil disobedience, if everyone knows exactly what they’re doing, is a legitimate effort. It’s been done in this country for many grievances and some people end up going to jail for this. … The solution is to get a healthy economy back.”