We're asking Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert for their positions on various issues. Their responses will appear occasionally in The Seattle...
We’re asking Darcy Burner and Dave Reichert for their positions on various issues. Their responses will appear occasionally in The Seattle Times. Answers are edited for length.
Do you support the procedures passed by Congress to try enemy combatants?
Burner: I support giving our military and intelligence agencies the tools they need to protect our nation and to do so in a way that is constitutional and aligned with America’s values. The legislation passed last week fails to meet both of these basic standards. This flawed approach could weaken our standing in the world and further endanger American troops.
Reichert: I supported the creation of a new judicial system to try terrorists that contains Senator McCain’s anti-torture provision, which I co-sponsored and believed was crucial to include. This system grants prisoners rights under the Geneva Convention and allows us to hold terrorists accountable within a strict set of legal guidelines.
Do you support a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq?
Burner: Our troops have fulfilled every military objective we have given them. It’s the politicians who are failing them by not demanding a strategy for completing the mission and bringing them home with honor. I do not support an arbitrary timeline for withdrawal, but unlike my opponent I will ask the tough questions and demand a clear plan to complete the mission and bring our troops home.
Reichert: It is the role of the military commanders to establish the timeline for troop withdrawal. It is the administration’s role to make the ultimate decision on a timeline. It is the role of Congress to hold the administration accountable for this decision and others they make in Iraq. The premature withdrawal of our troops will cause additional violence in Iraq, oil prices will skyrocket and we will embolden terrorists and the regimes of those states that sponsor terrorism.
Would you have authorized military force against Iraq in 2002, knowing what you know now?
Burner: No. We now know that the Congress made a serious error when they failed to ask the hard questions prior to authorizing the use of force in Iraq. Worst of all, we now know that the Iraq War has helped spawn a new generation of radicalism, increased the global risk of terrorism and made America less safe.
Reichert: You cannot make hypothetical decisions based on the benefit of hindsight. In 2002, Congress based its decision on wrong intelligence. However, at the time they didn’t know it was inaccurate. It’s one of the reasons why I voted to increase the funding of intelligence programs in the U.S.