- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) Nine months after casting the lone vote against authorizing President Bush to use force against terrorists, Rep. Barbara Lee is drawing praise from peace activists and disdain from critics.
In the March Democratic primary, she received 85 percent of the vote. Her Republican opponent trying to block her bid for a third term to represent the Oakland-Berkeley area says he is lagging in his attempt to raise money.
Saturday was declared "Barbara Lee Day" in Santa Cruz, where a sold-out crowd packed the aisles of a revamped movie theater. Supporters jumped to their feet, hooting and cheering, when she told them part of democracy is questioning authority.
"It must not be unpatriotic to question a course of action; it must not be unpatriotic to raise doubts," she said.
Mayor Christopher Krohn gave Lee a key to the city, which is south of her district. "She's become a national moral leader in awakening the movement for justice, peace and a thorough re-examination of United States foreign policy," Mr. Krohn said.
Three days after the September 11 attacks, Miss Lee voted against a resolution giving sweeping war powers to the president.
"It was giving the president unlimited authority to wage war against any country as long as it was being excused with September 11," she said.
"If we rush to launch a counterattack, we run too great a risk that women, children and other noncombatants will be caught in the crossfire," she told the House on the day of the vote. "Nor can we let our justified anger over these outrageous acts by vicious murderers inflame prejudice."
She later voted to spend $40 billion on humanitarian aid to terror and disaster victims.
Miss Lee's stance has drawn sharp criticism from people who felt she was unwilling to stand up for her country.
Council Nedd, a member of a Washington-based network of conservative blacks known as Project 21, said Miss Lee doesn't deserve to be called a hero. "She gets a lot of attention for her wild rhetoric and vapid platitudes, but I wouldn't say she's an effective legislator, and that's what she was elected for," he said.
Jerald Udinsky, a Republican financial economist, said her anti-war vote was what motivated him to challenge her in the election.
"I was outraged that she didn't support America defending itself from a direct attack," he said.
But Mr. Udinsky said he has been unable to raise anywhere near the $500,000 Lee has collected from labor organizations, peace groups and others.


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