At the debate between U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert and Darcy Burner in Bellevue on Wednesday, both candidates were asked: “Are enemy combatants confined at Guantanamo Bay entitled to the rights described in the Geneva Convention?”
Reichert said, “To me that’s an easy question. The answer: ‘Yes.'”
Apparently it wasn’t a very easy vote for Rep. Reichert, though.
Reichert voted against the Intelligence Authorization bill in December 2007, which included an amendment that made U.S. intelligence agencies abide by prohibitions in the Army Field Manual against torture, like waterboarding.
The bill passed the House and Senate, though, and Bush vetoed it. Reichert voted against overriding Bush’s veto, preventing Congress from getting the two thirds majority it needed to make the anti-torture bill law.
Reichert’s votes contradicted what he told the Bellevue crowd. Talking about his career as sheriff, he said: “When you talk about torture … when you talk about bullying people into confessions. That’s something I never had to do. I know that all people need to be respected, must be respected. They’re all human beings inhabiting this earth together.”
Burner said the rights guaranteed in the Geneva Conventions, “are guaranteed to all people. Our government should be treating people fairly, even when it’s inconvenient. This is a country that was founded on the idea that every individual has fundamental rights that no government is entitled to abridge. So, do I think the people at Guantanamo have the right to basic protections of the Geneva Convention? Yes.”