By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator

JUNE 22, 2012 -- I've been an American for 90 years and drone killing is un-American. It's an excellent weapon to use in a war but not to declare war.


Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution reserves the declaration of war for the Congress -- not the President, not the CIA, not the Defense Department. Already we have a dispute in Pakistan where the Ambassador has the authority of the U.S. but the authority is now being used by the CIA.

I know about the authority of Congress a week after 9/11 to hunt down and capture or eliminate terrorists. I voted for it. But having worked on the Defense Budget for 38 years, I didn't contemplate drone killing. We had never heard of drones. We were looking for Osama Bin Laden and the crew that devastated the World Trade Towers. The majority of this crew was from Saudi Arabia. We have never used drones in Saudi Arabia but are now drone killing in Yemen and Somalia that are no threat to the U.S. In America we are able to face our accuser and defend ourselves. We know the CIA or Defense Intelligence is doing the accusing but we don't know whether they are passing on rumors or what. In this day and age Thomas Jefferson would be drone killed for writing the Declaration of Independence and Patrick Henry would be drone killed as a terrorist.

I think we are making enemies rather than eliminating them. My friend Leon Panetta keeps bragging about the accuracy but we keep reading about women, children and innocents being killed by mistake. The use of drones highlights that our foreign policy is headed in the wrong direction. We are flagellating our military power when we should be flagellating Cordell Hull's Good Neighbor Policy.

The military has been checkmated. Everyone with a nuclear weapon also has a retaliatory capacity. Nuclear is a suicide weapon. We are not going to use it first. We are sensitive to casualties. We retreated from the Yalu to the 38th parallel in the Korean War. We didn't go above Hanoi for fear of China coming in. We should have learned after ten years in Vietnam that the military can't change a country's culture. Now we've learned in Iraq the value of a tyrant like Saddam. He kept it together and after nine years they are still blowing up each other. Afghanistan is a mistake. India doesn't want an Afghan army, Pakistan doesn't want an Afghan army. The warlords that run Afghanistan don't want an Afghan army. We keep killing GI's because we want an Afghan Army to secure Karzai.

"In this day and age Thomas Jefferson would be drone killed for writing the Declaration of Independence and Patrick Henry would be drone killed as a terrorist."

-- Hollings

We haven't caught up with the competition in globalization. Globalization is nothing more than a trade war with production looking for a country cheaper to produce. We go pell-mell down the military road when everyone else goes pell-mell down the economy road.

Every country battens down the hatches to protect its economy as the United States goes quietly broke. We don't compete because it will hurt production in China and Wall Street profits. We don't compete because it will hurt contributions.

In the meantime China takes our borrowings and invests in industries and lands in Europe, Canada, the United States and South America. China becomes an economic superpower as we become militarily muscle bound. We have military deployments in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Kosovo, Turkey, Egypt, Afghanistan, Japan, and South Korea. We are trying to start wars in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and anywhere else the CIA can find someone that doesn't like the United States. After Tiananmen Square in 1989 we obtained a Resolution in the United Nations to investigate human rights in China. China went to its friends in Africa and the Pacific and there has never been a hearing on the Resolution. A couple of years ago when China seized a ship captain from Japanm, China withheld rare earth supplies from Japan and Japan promptly returned the ship captain.

In globalization it's the economy stupid! Not the military. Stationing Marines in Australia is an embarrassment. It shows we don't know what we are doing. Australia is not going to war with China. We are not going to war with China. The Congress is not going to war over Taiwan. And we are not going to war in Syria when Syria has such friends as Russia and China.

Finally a panel in the House of Representatives has just found the Attorney General in contempt of Congress. I hope in November the people will find Congress in contempt of the people. All Congress does is play politics. It fundraises around the clock and makes sure that it doesn't vote for anything that could cost votes in its re-election. It's time we act like Americans and demand that Congress represents the country rather than themselves.

Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2012, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

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NEWS: Hollings receives French honor

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