News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) voted against the "Military Commissions Act of 2006."

Her statement follows:

"Make no mistake; we will win the War on Terror. And we will win it by fighting tough and fighting smart, working with our allies, and being true to our country's values.

That's why today I voted against an unbalanced, politically-motivated bill that puts our troops at risk, rejects our country's values, and alienates the allies we need to win the War on Terror.

"We can be proud that America represents a beacon of hope, justice and freedom to people around the globe. We are a nation of laws, and in troubled times we look to our common values and moral compass to guide our leaders and our policies.

"We all want our government to have the intelligence necessary to prevent future terrorist attacks. We all want those who have done us harm to be brought to justice and punished accordingly. And we all want the U.S. to be seen as a fair, democratic and humane world power.

"The standards we set today will be looked to for years to come. In fact, the bill we pass today will say more about the nation we hope to be than those we hope to defeat.

"We are living in historic times. Each day it seems the rights of individuals and the power of government are being tested. We are war at overseas. We face threats from terrorism at home. And the current Administration is pushing the bounds of its power in remarkable ways.

"I support giving our military and intelligence agencies the tools they need to protect our nation. In doing their jobs, they are defending our Constitution, our rights, and our liberties from those who seek to do us harm. I want to ensure that the tools we provide will lead to convictions that are constitutional and will be upheld, so we can punish those responsible and prevent future attacks.

"At the same time, I believe it is also our responsibility to protect and preserve the rights that make America the greatest nation in the world. Unfortunately, the bill we voted on today falls far short of the standards that Congress should meet and that the American people demand. This bill doesn't reflect America's moral values.

"If we do this wrong, our international credibility is at stake. I worry that at a time that we are encouraging the growth of new democracies around the globe our words will ring hollow. We could be seen as a nation whose message to others is: "Do as we say, not as we do." That would undermine our ability to fight and win the War on Terror.

"The United States is not alone in trying to rid the world of terrorist threats. But, unfortunately, the Bush Administration is acting that way. I'm very concerned that by turning away from the Geneva Conventions we will summarily weaken the support we need to from nations around the world to fight terrorism.

"I also worry that this bill threatens the safety of our own troops should they fall into enemy hands. The standards of torture in this bill defy the Supreme Court's ruling and the Geneva Conventions. This deeply-flawed approach could further endanger American troops and weaken our standing in the world.

"Unfortunately, the wars we are currently fighting both at home and abroad will not be our last. The standards we set today will influence the treatment of our military and our country now and well into the future.

"With all of these flaws and unanswered questions, why are we moving forward with a deeply flawed bill? The answer is politics.

"Defeating terrorism, protecting our citizens and upholding our American values should not be partisan issues. The most basic questions of security and democracy should not be placed in the context of trying to influence the outcome of an election.

"The questions of how we treat those in our custody, the extent of our moral authority, what our nation stands for, and how we hope to be viewed by the world should be placed squarely in the context of what is the right policy to achieve our nation's security goals while upholding our common values.

"Today, I voted to ensure that as we protect our country, we don't forget who we are as a nation and the values for which we have always stood. I've said all along that we need to strike the right balance, and this bill still falls short. I take a backseat to no one when it comes to protecting our nation, and I know our security should be both tough and smart and should not come at the expense of the ideals of democracy upon which this nation was built. We can do better than the bill that came before the Senate today."