There is a contingent within Republican politics that is deeply concerned with the idea of government drones flying over American soil. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) may not understand the issue quite as well as he should, but he nevertheless once held the Senate floor for about 13 hours to draw attention to this very issue.
It came as something of a surprise, then, when Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson campaigned in Arizona last week and raised the prospect of drone strikes along the U.S./Mexico border.
The retired neurosurgeon, asked about the use of military drones, was quoted saying, “I’m suggesting we do what we need to do to secure the border whatever that is.” Carson reportedly added, “You look at some of these caves and things out there – one drone strike, boom, and they’d [be] gone.”
Since national candidates don’t usually make “boom” references when talking about using military resources over American soil, CNN pressed Carson for some kind of explanation over the weekend. He responded:
“Read my lips. Listen very carefully to what I am saying. I said there are caves. There are caves that they utilize. Those caves can be eliminated. There are a number of possibilities. [Drones] could be one of them.“I am not talking about killing people, no people with drones.”
So, a President Carson might use military drones to strike on American soil, but only to blow up caves, which hopefully won’t have people in them.
Recent polling averages suggest the retired doctor is running third nationally in the Republican presidential race, third in the Iowa caucuses, and fifth in New Hampshire.