Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., took to the House floor on Thursday and
repeated her frequent call for a rapid and complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan. But one of the rationales she gave on this occasion was that “the Taliban is strong” – the implication apparently being that the U.S. is no match for the brutal Islamist fundamentalist former rulers of the country.
Her reasoning on conceding a war to a jihadist organization that helped the 9/11 hijackers kill thousands of Americans is likely to attract new attention to Woolsey’s much-noted hostility toward a legislative measure honoring Christianity – while voting in favor of such a measure honoring Islam.
It may also highlight her political alliances with Congress’ first and only Muslim member and onetime Louis Farrakhan supporter, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), who co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which Woolsey is a member.
In December, 2007, Woolsey was one of a handful of nine House members, all Democrats, including self-professed atheist Rep. Fortney Stark of California, to vote against a congressional resolution “recognizing the importance of Christmas and the Christian faith.”
Yet in September, 2007, Woolsey, Stark and all but one of the others also voted in favor of a resolution “recognizing the commencement of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and spiritual renewal, and commending Muslims in the United States and throughout the world for their faith.” The resolution, of which Keith Ellison was one of the chief sponsors, bemoaned post-9/11 “threats and incidents of violence” against “law-abiding, patriotic Americans of African, Arab, and South Asian descent, particularly members of the Islamic faith.”
One of the measure’s stated purposes was to “demonstrate solidarity with and support for members of the community of Islam in the United States and
throughout the world.”
Woolsey’s rhetoric in calling for a full and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan was explosive. “This war represents an epic failure, a national embarrassment and a moral blight on our nation,” she said in her brief floor statement.
In November, the San Francisco Bay area congresswoman was chief signer of a letter from 62 members of Congress to President Obama complaining that he wasn’t exiting Afghanistan fast enough.
“Any delay or deceleration in the pace of redeployment is unacceptable,” Woolsey’s letter warned. Rather than a repeat of President Bush’s and Gen. David Petraeus’ successful Iraq military “surge,” it stated that “It is our hope that we can work together to provide for a humanitarian and diplomatic ‘surge’ that will ensure the security and prosperity of the Afghan people.”
Woolsey and the others, which included Rep. Ellison, concluded, “We remain absolutely opposed to extending our military presence because we believe there is no military solution to the situation in Afghanistan.”
In April, 2009 she and Ellison and three other House members were arrested outside the Embassy of Sudan after crossing a police line during a demonstration against genocide in Darfur against the non-Arab Muslim Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes.
The congresswoman voted against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and in 2005 received the Edward F. Snyder Award for National Legislative Leadership in Advancing Disarmament and Building Peace, from the extreme pacifist Quaker Lobby. Her “outspoken voice for reductions in military spending, pursuit of arms control and disarmament” was cited by the Quakers’ Friends Committee on National Legislation. The award is named after the longtime Quaker Washington lobbyist.
In 2006, Woolsey brought anti-war agitator Cindy Sheehan to attend
President Bush’s State of the Union address, during which Sheehan was
arrested in the House gallery for refusing to conceal an anti-war slogan emblazed on her T-shirt.
Rep. Woolsey has represented the strongly liberal 6th congressional
district for 18 years, succeeding Sen. Barbara Boxer. Her constituency gave Barack Obama 76 percent of the vote in 2008. She claims to be “the first former welfare mother to serve in Congress” and runs on the slogan, “Woolsey Works! For You. For Families. For the Planet. For Peace.”
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