Wherever you stood on Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster to delay John Brennan’s confirmation as CIA director, or on the Senate’s confirmation hearings for Brennan and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, they all serve as a reminder of just how feeble Congress has proved to be when it comes to foreign policy.
This wasn’t immediately obvious, of course. Paul’s speech questioned whether there are limits on the president’s power to use drones to kill Americans who’ve been declared “enemy combatants.” But the CIA and military have been using drones overseas for years, and this was the first time Congress really pondered the issue. That’s a measure of its dereliction, not of stepping up to the plate. Why has it taken so long to see significant congressional review of the president’s power to use drones?
Meanwhile, if you followed the confirmation hearings, you’d have to conclude that Congress thinks U.S. foreign policy centers on Israel, Cuba, and the destroyed consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
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