Reporter Hits 'Fear-Filled, Nationalistic Fervor' After 9-11 Attacks

Daniel Weintraub, reporter for the Times' expanded San Francisco-Oakland bureau, marinates in the area's leftism with a profile of radical anti-war Democrat Barbara Lee, the sole member of Congress to vote against a military response to the 9-11 attacks.
Reporting for the Times' recently established Bay Area Report covering San Francisco and Oakland, Daniel Weintraub posed no challenge to his beat's hard-left mindset with a Sunday story practically marinated in Bay Area leftism - a profile lauding Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland, the sole member of the House or Senate to oppose a military response to the 9-11 terrorist attacks: "Fears Become Reality for Oakland Democrat."

In the fear-filled, nationalistic fervor after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in September 2001, Congress rushed to approve President George W. Bush's decision to attack Afghanistan, the country where the terrorist leaders had trained for their suicide voyage.

A resolution giving Mr. Bush the authority to act raced through Congress just three days after the attack. Nearly every member of the House of Representatives and the Senate voted for it. Only one member rose to oppose the measure: Representative Barbara Lee, Democrat of Oakland.

Ms. Lee said she worried that the United States, like so many other world powers before, would become hopelessly entangled in a war it could never win. And she thought the resolution for which she was being asked to vote would give too much power to the president to wage a dead-end war without an official declaration from Congress.

Eight years later, at least in her eyes, many of Ms. Lee's worst fears have come to pass. The United States remains mired in a war in which victory seems ill-defined and ever more difficult to achieve.

Weintraub doesn't bother relaying any dissenting views or even identify the radical pacifist Lee as a left-wing or at least a liberal politician. Instead, he suggested mainstream opinion was coming to her way of thinking as support for the war in Afghanistan softens: "The shift toward Ms. Lee's position among her Bay Area colleagues mirrors a broader shift in the electorate.'

To those who say the United States must stay in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban, Ms. Lee counters that the United States presence builds support for Muslim extremists as Afghanis turn to them to help fight the occupation. And to those who argue that the United States must support the country's fledgling democratic government, Lee says the corruption in that regime only hurts America's relationship with the people of Afghanistan.