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African-American Woman Makes History | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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If Obama made history by becoming the first African-American to become President in America, than another less well-known African-American called Barbara Lee has also entered the history books as being the only member of Congress to vote against the authorization for the use of military force granted by Congress to US President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. This authorization granted then President Bush a mandate to begin an immediate campaign of revenge against any country or group that plotted or aided in the implementation of the September 11 attacks, and Congresswoman Lee voted against this just four days after this terrible terrorist attack.

It was logical at that time for there to be no acceptance of any debate or opposition over this attack and the reasons behind it, or even of the consequences of the revenge that was enthusiastically led by President Bush. The American nation was in a state of mass shock to the extent that some pillars of the American media called for the authorities to immediately take revenge on any Arabs or Muslims, in an unprecedented reaction since World War II. Thousands of innocent American citizens were killed after terrorists hijacked a number of passenger planes putting all of America at risk. This is why Barbara Lee’s objection was so striking and amazing.

The magnitude of this event is not just due to the number of innocent victims who were killed, but also as a result of the American people’s shock at seeing their security disrupted and their economy and institutions put at risk. However despite this, 15 September 2001 was a historic day for Congresswoman Lee who chose to press the Red button record her “no” vote on the issue of authorizing the use of military force, which was something that left the American people seething with anger. Her Washington office was surrounded by plainclothes policeman for fear that she would be killed, and a “Dump Barbara Lee” website was also set-up that included fake photographs of the Congresswoman smiling at the destruction of the Twin Towers.

Gentlemen, let us consider this wise American woman, and understand that she pressed the red button because of her farsighted vision and her profound outlook towards the future. When she met with the US President, observers expected this meeting to be stormy however Congresswoman Lee calmly told the President “we must have greater faith in democracy and our constitution‚Ķand we must also emerge from this war more committed to peace and more aware of the world around us.” Congresswoman Lee was ostracized at the time and treated as an outsider. However time has proven her right and the American campaign of revenge caused even greater losses, and America became the most hated country in the world as a result of its hateful and arrogant policy. All us politicians, thinkers, and leaders are now seeking to repair the damage done by Bush, and electing Obama is one step towards this. Barbara Lee wanted to restrain Bush’s mad reaction, however she was accused of being mad herself for attempting this. Now more than every before, the Americans are aware that history sided with Congresswoman Lee’s interpretation of events, and against President Bush whose country and the entire world are facing the destructive political and economic consequences of his actions.

What I have mentioned above is just one aspect of the great book “Information War” by US author Nancy Snow which has been translated into Arab by the academic Dr. Ahmed Bin Rashid Bin Said In this book, Snow writes about dangerous types of propaganda in the US. However many of the inattentive and ignorant inside and outside of the US have failed to pay attention to such propaganda.