Fact Check: Rep. Barbara Lee Was Only Member Of Congress To Vote No On Military Authorization In Afghanistan

Fact Check: Rep. Barbara Lee Was Only Member Of Congress To Vote No On Military Authorization In Afghanistan


Fact Check: Rep. Barbara Lee Was Only Member Of Congress To Vote No On Military Authorization In Afghanistan Photo: In this image from video, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, April 23, 2020. (House Television via AP)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA 13th District) was the only member of Congress to vote against the war in Afghanistan and for doing so, she was called a traitor.

On Sept. 14, 2001, three days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks against the U.S., the California Democrat cast the lone “no” vote against giving President George W. Bush open-ended authorization to use military force in Afghanistan. The House vote was 420-1. The Senate vote was 98-0. 

“However difficult this vote may be, some of us must urge the use of restraint,” Lee said at the time. “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.'”

Then-Sen. Joe Biden voted for it, as did then-Rep. Bernie Sanders, who went on to become a vocal critic of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Rep. Lee received stacks of hate mail over her vote, calling her a terrorist and a traitor, The Seattle Times reported.

Twenty years later, the war has cost countless lives and more than a trillion dollars. President Joe Biden just ended the longest conflict in U.S. history, leading many to reexamine Lee’s lone nay vote.

The Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali remembered Lee’s “no” vote, tweeting, “Please take this moment to thank & praise @RepBarbaraLee: the ONLY Congressman who voted against the Authorization To Use Military Force in 2001. She ‘warned her colleagues to be ‘careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target.'”

Ali continued his thread, tweeting, “She was my representative when I lived in California and went to UC Berkeley. People forget how much hate, smear, vitriol and ugliness @RepBarbaraLee had to endure for her moral, intelligent and accurate position. But she stood her ground. The only no vote.”

He later corrected himself, adding, “*the ONLY Congresswoman”.

Others praised Rep. Lee in hindsight. “She has made it her life’s work and she has never wavered. I did not agree with her at first, but her reasoning was sound and she convinced me her position was the right one. I have deep admiration for her” Sweens …Just nod if you can hear me tweeted @sweeneysjrs.

Dan Wentzel @danwentzel tweeted, “4 Trillion down the sewer. We could have had universal health care and high speed rail instead. So after Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, what misadventure is the military-industrial complex going to demand next to ‘keep the merchandise moving’? Eisenhower warned us about this.”

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