Angry letters to the one member of Congress who voted against the War on Terror
Barbara Lee was the lone dissenter in the post-9/11 vote authorizing military force. Many called her a traitor. But her constituents shared her concerns—and history has vindicated them.
In the hours after the attacks of September 11, 2oo1, they were angry at the terrorists who flew planes into the Pentagon and World Trade Center. They wanted the attackers brought to justice. They mourned the victims, cheered the firefighters, felt united in sorrow with their countrymen, and dreaded more attacks. But in Berkeley, Oakland, and Alameda, the ultra-liberal, historically anti-war East Bay communities, a significant bloc also feared how their country would react. They didn’t trust the instincts of George W. Bush or the public that elected him. The mistrust was mutual. East Bay residents would favor hunting down the perpetrators of 9/11. What worried them, even as smoke rose from the ruins at Ground Zero, was that America’s judgment would be clouded by fear, anger, and lust for vengeance; that we would lash out recklessly, killing innocents; and that we would strategize foolishly, overestimating the threat posed by terrorism and the degree to which foreign wars could reduce it. Majority opinion was calling for “unity” in a war on terror. East Bay liberals stood athwart history yelling, “Stop!” Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, 9-14-14.