September 11, 2021
WASHINGTON — Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
“Twenty years ago today, America and the lives of countless Americans were changed forever. My thoughts are with those grieving the loved ones they lost on 9/11 and in the forever wars that followed, with those who are still grappling with the trauma and health impacts of surviving the attacks and rescue missions, the communities who faced hate and discrimination in the decades that followed, and the communities in New York, D.C., and Pennsylvania that still carry the scars of that day. No matter how many years pass, that will always be with those closest to it. The country is with them today.
“Our commemoration of this anniversary would not be honest or complete without also acknowledging that, in the aftermath of that horrible day, our country learned many wrong lessons. Following the attacks, Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh communities were unfairly targeted and profiled by the government and those around us. They experienced unforgivable hate, racism, xenophobia, discrimination, and bigotry. Many in our communities were moved to activism in that period, and I’m proud to share that background with some of my colleagues in the CPC. Even in the face of unprecedented discrimination, our communities have continued to meet those challenges with courage, compassion, and resilience. Today, I join my CPC colleagues Rep. Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), and Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) in a resolution condemning the treatment of Arab, Muslim, Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Sikh people in the two decades since the 9/11 attacks, and calling for an examination of the actions and policies so that this never happens again.
“Instead of keeping our focus solely on the healing of the communities affected, the United States allowed grief, fear, racism, xenophobia, and anti-Muslim hatred to guide much of our policy making. The government erected a vast apparatus to engage in warrantless surveillance and unconstitutional spying of American citizens; maintain racist, discriminatory watch and no-fly lists; and create a permission structure to violate privacy by invoking unproven national security concerns. Dozens were tortured and held without trial for years at Guantanamo — despicable practices the government hid from public view. The U.S. used the post-9/11 years to engage in not one, but two decades-long wars, costing trillions of dollars, the lives of hundreds of thousands of American service members, and an untold number of civilian lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and half a dozen countries across the globe.
“Two decades later, we are finally beginning to unravel the consequences of our national mistakes. Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13)’s prophetic words against the ‘war on terror’ are finally being heeded, with Congress moving to repeal the Authorizations of Military Force, and President Biden ending the war in Afghanistan. Congress has allowed Section 215 of the Patriot Act to expire, and the administration has not moved to renew it. And President Biden has ordered the declassification of documents related to the 9/11 attacks, moving to shed light on a chapter of our history that has been obscured for too long.
“Today, we must recommit to this progress. Never again can we waste trillions and kill hundreds of thousands abroad in wars and occupations, or let our communities be alienated and attacked for their religion, race, national origin, or immigration status. On this anniversary, let us bring with us the memory of those lost, and leave behind the tragic mistakes of our past to ensure this never happens again in the future.”