Floor Statement of Representative Barbara Lee on the Authorization for Use of Military Force

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Authorizing Use of United States Armed Forces Against Those Responsible for Recent Attacks Against the United States  (2001) 
by Barbara Lee

from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on 14 September 2001. Rep. Lee was the sole member of Congress to vote against the Authorization for Use of Military Force. The text is formatted as published in the Congressional Record by the United States Government Printing Office and modified to reflect her speech as delivered.

Thank you. I want to thank our ranking member and my friend for yielding.

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 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 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."[1]

Thank you, and I yield the balance of my time.


  1. "Let us also pray for divine wisdom as our leaders consider the necessary actions for national security, wisdom of the grace of God, that as we act we not become the evil we deplore."

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).