Today marks 16 years of grief, terror and endless war. Today, 16 years ago, was the last time Congress authorized U.S. wars abroad.
On September 14, 2001, Congress passed the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF). The only dissenting vote in either the House or Senate was Representative Barbara Lee (CA-13), who feared the authorization would give the government a blank check for war without debate. In her speech on September 14th, 2001, Representative Lee explains why she was voting no:
September 11th, 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. 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.
Representative Lee was right: this has spiraled out of control. Americans turning 18 today and enlisting in the U.S. armed forces were literally in diapers the last time these wars were debated.
We must do better. Now is the time to advocate for peace and diplomacy, because lives depend on it. Here are four ways you can demand peace now:
1. What was your life like 16 years ago – the last time Congress debated these wars? As I write this, there are 3 people working in the PANYS office: Kate, Emily and Musabika. Kate was 12, Emily was 10, and Musabika was 2, the last time these wars were debated. Tell us what your life was like 16 years ago by taking a photo with our signs (like ours below!), and tag @peaceactionNY on instagram, facebook or twitter, and we’ll share your story.
2. Please, take a quick moment now and tell your members of Congress that you expect them to stand up and fulfill their responsibilities by repealing the 2001 AUMF, and debating whether to authorize continued, endless war in Afghanistan.
3. Call your Representative and Senators and tell them to repeal the 2001 AUMF. Use the call script here, or make your own, and call the Capitol Switchboard 3 times, to connect to both of your Senators and your House Representative. The number to call is: 202-224-3121.
4. If you are in New York City, please join us in the streets on Saturday, October 7th as we march with War Resistors League, Veterans for Peace, the Granny Peace Brigade and more to demand an end to these endless wars. The march will be Saturday, October 7th at 11:30AM, meeting in Washington Square Park.
Grassroots Campaigns Coordinator
(I was 6 when the 2001 AUMF was passed)
Director of Policy and Outreach
(I was 12 when the 2001 AUMF was passed)