House Dems mark 9/11 anniversary with criticism of Afghanistan, Iraq wars

"Later we were sucked back into Afghanistan on the terms of the Taliban and al Qaeda, not on our terms," he said, adding that the United States also pursued a "horribly misguided war in Iraq."

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Blumenauer blamed both Republicans and Democrats for the wars that followed 9/11, but said Republicans made "some of the worst mistakes."

"This is not merely a Republican problem, although George Bush and the Republicans were in charge and made some of the worst mistakes," he said. "There was much bipartisan support for the excesses.

"To this day there is bipartisan confusion about the best path forward to protect the nation while protecting civil liberties for the situation today and not the conditions of September 10, 2001."

Blumenauer was followed on the floor by Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.), a long-time opponent of the military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, who said one of the chief tragedies of 9/11 is that it led to "policy decisions with terrible consequences that we're still living with today."

"Over the last decade plus, violence and mayhem has just led to more violence and mayhem," she said. "Our continued military occupation of Afghanistan has not brought stability. It has not brought security. It has not brought a strong democracy to that country.

"It's time to stop conducting national security policy on the principles of revenge and retaliation, and on the false hope that we are making it better."

Blumenauer and Woolsey spoke after a handful of other members who offered their condolences to the nearly 3,000 people who were killed on 9/11 and shortly thereafter. Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) said that by attacking the World Trade Center towers in New York, the terrorists killed people from 90 countries.

"So it was more than an attack on America, it was an attack on the people of the world," he said.

Poe's colleague from Texas, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D), agreed that the attack was against "the world that was in America, a country that welcomes all."

These and other members, like Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), also praised the work of the first responders, many of whom were killed in the process of trying to rescue others.

"Today we pause to remember and honor some 3,000 people, moms and dads, friends and neighbors, who lost their lives on that fateful day," Black said. "We honor the first responders who chose to run into the burning World Trade towers, putting their own lives at risk to save others."

Members of the House and Senate planned to observe the 9/11 anniversary outside the Capitol building on Tuesday morning by singing the national anthem and holding a joint prayer.

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