Viral video of Afghans clinging to a U.S. military plane departing Afghanistan circulated online Monday in the aftermath of the Taliban occupying the presidential palace in Kabul and taking control. President Ashraf Ghani fled the country on Sunday, The New York Times reported. For many, the takeover U.S. intelligence officials seemed to be ignorant of signaled a two-decade-long, $2 trillion failure of the United States government to train Afghan military forces to defend its nation.
And while social media users spent much of Sunday assigning blame, many seemed to have forgotten it was a Black Democrat who had the courage to stand alone and vote against the war in Afghanistan to start with following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Rep. Barbara Lee’s words opposing military force in Afghanistan on Sept. 14, 2001, were both moving and telling.
“Mr. Speaker, members, I rise today really with a very heavy heart, one that is filled with sorrow for the families and the loved ones who were killed and injured this week. Only the most foolish and the most callous would not understand the grief that has really gripped our people and millions across the world.
This unspeakable act on the United States has really forced me, however, to rely on my moral compass, my conscious, and my God for direction. September 11th 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. This is a very complex and complicated matter.
Now, this resolution will pass, although we all know that the president can wage a war even without it. However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint. Our country is in a state of mourning. Some of us must say, ’let’s step back for a moment. Let’s just pause, just for a minute and think through the implications of our actions today, so that this does not spiral out of control.’
Now I have agonized over this vote, but I came to grips with it today, and I came to grips with opposing this resolution during the very painful yet very beautiful memorial service. As a member of the clergy so eloquently said, ‘as we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.’”
Molly Jong-Fast tweeted on Monday: “The only person who absolutely cannot be blamed for the war in Afghanistan is @RepBarbaraLee”
Filmmaker and activist Bree Newsome similarly tweeted: “Barbara Lee was literally the only member of Congress to vote against authorizing (George) Bush to launch ‘the forever war’ in 2001. (Joe) Biden was among the senators who voted for it… 1/
“…Again, *the entire US political establishment* is implicated in the compounding disasters we’re facing right now b/c it’s literally been the same ppl in power shuffling around different positions in the government since the 1970s. We need to deepen our collective analysis. 2/2”
Biden tweeted on Monday: “I will be addressing the nation on Afghanistan at 3:45 PM ET today.”
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