U.S. Representative Barbara Lee
[Below is the text of the statement of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)
on the floor of the House of Representatives, Sept. 14, 2001.]
Ms. LEE. 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 across 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
I know that this use-of-force resolution will pass although we all know
that the President can wage a war even without this resolution. However
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 multi-faceted.
We must not rush to judgment. Far too many innocent people have already
died. Our country is in mourning. If we rush to launch a counter-attack,
we run too
Nor can we let our justified anger over these outrageous acts by vicious murderers inflame prejudice against all Arab Americans, Muslims, Southeast Asians, or 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.
In 1964, Congress gave President Lyndon Johnson the power to "take all necessary measures'' to repel attacks and prevent further aggression. In so doing, this House abandoned its own constitutional responsibilities and launched our country into years of undeclared war in Vietnam.
At that time, Senator Wayne Morse, one of two lonely votes against the
Tonkin Gulf Resolution, declared, "I believe that history will record that
we have made a grave mistake in subverting and circumventing the Constitution
of the United States .... I believe that within the next century, future
generations will look with dismay and great disappointment upon a Congress
which is now about to make such a historic
Senator Morse was correct, and I fear we make the same mistake today. And I fear the consequences.
I have agonized over this vote. But I came to grips with it in the very
painful yet beautiful memorial service today at the National Cathedral.
As a member