On September 18, 2001, the Authorization for Use of Military Force was signed into law by President George W. Bush. It had passed 98-0 in the Senate and 420-1 in the House of Representatives. The one dissenting vote against the legislation that has sent this nation plunging into the abyss which we’ve been brainwashed into believing is a war on terror, was cast by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).
This was the law that opened the floodgates for the attack on Afghanistan and the war in Iraq __ and torrents of blood spilled by tens of thousands of innocent people, torrents of death for over 6,000 of our own men and women in uniform, torrents of tears for more than 50,000 coalition troops who have been injured or who are fighting for their mental survival against PTSD or perhaps just struggling to walk without legs, a bankrupting torrential drain of $4.4 trillion of our tax money, which could have been put to good use creating jobs for millions of unemployed Americans, rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, or addressing poverty, disease, and illiteracy throughout the world.
Think of the courage it took for Barbara Lee to stand there before those other angry and agitated congressman, all of them swept up by war fever, outraged by the attacks 9/11, full of the indignity and hubris which is the real stuff of American exceptionalism, mesmerized by the animal cries for revenge and cheered on by the chest-thumping neocon visions of Imperium Americæ . . .
Think of the bold, raw courage it took to stand there in the midst of that stampeding pack of lemmings who were resolved to launch America into the past 11 years of self-sabotaging, wasteful, inhumane, immoral, destructive, and humiliating war we’ve endured, and say . . .
“Maybe we should stop and think about what we’re doing before we jump off this cliff.”
Did Barbara Lee have a crystal ball? Was her one dissenting vote the result of clairvoyance or a personal message from God or the ghost of Nostradamus?
No, it was simply a matter of conviction. Conviction perhaps rooted in the Christian values we so loudly proclaim in our moments of lofty rhetoric. We are a Christian nation, right?
As she warned . . .
“Let us not become the evil that we deplore.”
And what about that?