Road to vindication for California’s Barbara Lee, lone congressmember to vote against Afghanistan war

Twenty years ago, Rep. Barbara Lee stood before her House colleagues and pleaded with them not to give President Bush a blank check to wage war against the remote, lawless nation accused of harboring the Sept. 11 terrorists.

“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,” she said to them days after the attacks.

With the stunning fall of Kabul to the Taliban this week, the Oakland lawmaker has been heralded as an ignored oracle, the only member of Congress to foresee an endless war in Afghanistan that would leave thousands of Americans and Afghans dead.

Lee didn’t know in September 2001 that she would be the only no vote on the Authorization for the Use of Military Force that the House approved, 420 to 1, after the attacks that felled the twin towers of the World Trade Center, left the Pentagon billowing in smoke and downed a passenger airplane in Pennsylvania.

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