“The reality is we cannot afford, either in blood or treasure, an open-ended war. It is wrong,” Rep. Barbara Lee told a crowd of around 100 on a sunny Monday lunch hour in front of the Federal Building in downtown Oakland.
Rep. Lee held the combination press event and rally to address the war in Afghanistan and gather support for H.R. 3699, legislation she introduced on October 1 that would prohibit funding for military escalation in Afghanistan. She called it a “clear and unequivocal message” against on-going U.S. military involvement. H.R. 3699 currently has 23 co-sponsors, including several California representatives.
Sharon Cornu, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council, introduced the speakers to a diverse gathering of about 100 people, including Code Pink activists who held signs saying “Barbara Lee still speaks for me” and “Grandmothers Against the War.”
Rep. Lee took the stage to enthusiastic applause. Lee linked H.R. 3699 to her long history of being a vocal opponent of war. She was the sole dissenting member of Congress on the authorization of the use of military force after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. She voted no on what she called a “blank check” for open-ended military action.
Lee said that while 8 years ago she was a lone voice prior to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, there are now many members of Congress and advisors who are saying no to escalation. But she added that what is needed is “street heat” all across the nation. “We have to make some noise in this country.”