September 8, 2021

On September 14, 2001, three days after the attacks of Spetember 11, US Representative Barbara Lee, in advance of a vote giving then President Bush, as well as all subsequent presidents, almost unlimited power to wage war in response to terrorism, rose to address the House of Representives. Below is an excerpt from her speech.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart, one that is filled with sorrow for the families and loved ones who were killed and injured in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. Only the most foolish or the most callous would not understand the grief that has gripped the American people and millions around the world.

This unspeakable attack on the United States has forced me to rely on my moral compass, my conscience, and my God for direction.

September 11 changed the world. Our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States.

I know that this use-of -force resolution will pass although we all know that the President can wage war even without this resolution. However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint. There must be some of us who say, let’s step back for a moment and think through the implications of our actions today-let us more fully understand their consequences.

We are not dealing with a conventional war. We cannot respond in a conventional manner. I do not want to see this spiral out of control. This crisis involves issues of national security, foreign policy, public safety, intelligence gathering, economics, and murder. Our response must be equally multifaceted.

We must not rush to judgment. For too many innocent people have already died. Our country is in mourning. If we rush to launch a counterattack, we run too great a risk that woman, children, and other non-combatants will be caught in the crossfire.

Nor can we let our justified anger over these outrageous acts by vicious murderers inflame prejudice against all Arab Americans, Muslim, Southeast Asians, and any other people because of their race, religion, or ethnicity.

Finally, we must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target. We cannot repeat past mistakes…

This morning on LABC Zoom – Public Witness Bible Study and Prayer with Pastor Allison at 10:30.

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