Representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), who was the only member of Congress to vote against the war in Afghanistan in 2001, says the United States must learn from its mistakes and reconsider the president’s ability to control troops moving forward.
“Congress has a responsibility to debate and authorize the use of force. We don’t give it to presidents just to use in perpetuity and that’s what happened,” she told CNN earlier today. “I knew then that there’s no military solution in Afghanistan. You have to understand the history there and so we can’t nation-build.”
Lee added that she supports President Joe Biden’s decision to withdraw and stressed that no one expected the Taliban to consolidate its power so quickly.
“This is a very dire situation in many ways, it’s an emergency. “We have to use every tool we have to ensure their safety. It has to be orderly,” she said.
She added: “Our troops did everything we asked them to do. They accomplished their goals and their mission. Why in the world would we allow any president to keep our brave troops in harm’s way for this long is mind-boggling.”
Lee has also spoken out on Twitter, saying that the people of Afghanistan “are facing a terrible tragedy.”
“We have a moral responsibility to ensure the safety and security of Americans, American allies, and Afghans who stood by us,” she said. “We have no option but to use every resource at our disposal to evacuate people out of harms [sic] way.”
You can watch the speech Lee gave in 2001 in the video below.
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.