Democrat Driscoll Says He Would Oppose War Funding

By Beacon Staff

WASHINGTON – Montana Democratic congressional candidate John Driscoll says he would vote against future funding for the Iraq war if elected, splitting from the state’s two Democratic senators.

Driscoll, who is challenging Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg, has years of military experience and has worked in the Pentagon. But he says he has opposed the war from the start.

“We have squandered our resources on a stupid war,” he said in an interview Thursday with The Associated Press. “There is, in my mind, no strategic reason, no tactical reason to be in Iraq in the first place.”

Like most Republicans, Rehberg has consistently voted to pay for the war. He believes it is a critical part of supporting the troops and honoring their sacrifice, said spokesman Bridger Pierce.

Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester have also voted to fund the conflict — along with many others in their party — while also supporting strategies for withdrawal.

“While it’s critically important for us to find a safe and quick way to end this conflict and get our troops home, we can’t yank the rug out from underneath them while they’re in harm’s way,” Baucus said.

Tester spokesman Patrick Devlin said Tester will also continue to vote for the war money.

“Jon has voted eight times to begin a responsible conclusion to this war,” Devlin said. “As long as our troops are in the field, he will vote to provide them the funding they need for armor and other equipment and daily operations.”

Driscoll said that Tester has done a good job, but he has to listen to others who have been in the military because he hasn’t served himself.

“I am not going to say I’m not going to listen, but I don’t have that problem,” Driscoll said. “We should be out of there.”

Driscoll, a public service commissioner from the 1980s through the early 1990s and a state lawmaker before that, upset Democrat Jim Hunt to win the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House earlier this month.