This is a pretty volatile situation brewing in northern California. Berkeley is a world renown institution that is also associated with the anti-War protests of the 60s and 70s, that helped turn the tide of public opinion regarding the Vietnam war. The Iraq War has become a highly unpopular war and the students and campus officials have had enough of the brutality, so they’ve made a decision to oust the military from recruiting on campus.
CNN has a story on the situation:
Berkeley, the famously liberal college town in California, has taken aim at Marine recruiters, saying they are “not welcome in our city.”
Republican lawmakers in Washington fired back this week, threatening to take back more than $2 million of federal funding to the city as well as money designated for the University of California-Berkeley, the campus that became a haven of protests during the Vietnam War. The battle erupted after the Berkeley City Council approved a measure last week urging the Marine recruiters to leave their downtown office.
“If recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders,” the item says. It goes on to say the council applauds residents and organizations that “volunteer to impede, passively or actively, by nonviolent means, the work of any military recruiting office located in the City of Berkeley.”
Polarization in our political system is at an all-time high it seems and it shouldn’t surprise you that legislation is in the works that would deny Berkeley of federal funding and divert the money to the military as ‘punishment’. The Republicans that are spearheading this agenda are trying to send a message to Berkeley (and the country) that “they need to know their actions have consequences”. That’s not stopping the activists from doing their best to fight our federal government on the issue.
One giant sign said, “No Military Predators in Our Town.” Another message on a pink placard read, “Join the Marines. Travel to Exotic Lands. Meet Exciting and Unusual People — And Kill Them.” Zanne Joi peered out from under her straw hat. “This Marine recruiting station is trying to recruit our youth to go to Iraq to kill and be killed. And we are against that,” said Joi, a member of Code Pink Women for Peace.
“This is part of a multi-pronged effort to end this war.” Protester Sharon Adams added: “This recruiting station recruits people to go fight and then once they fight and they serve their country, our country doesn’t take care of them. That’s a shame.”
There’s another side to the story,of course. Anti-protesters were quick to point out their disgust with the situation at hand.
A group of young students who strolled down the sidewalk shared that sentiment. They derided one of the protesters who argued the United States was involved in an illegal war in Iraq. “Where’s the logic in that whatsoever?” one of the young men said. “That’s our national security, and you’re here protesting the Marines.” Another said, “It makes me sick. It makes me sick.” Gunnery Sgt. Pauline Franklin, a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told CNN there is “no plan for that office to move.”
She said recruiters are there to “provide information to qualified men and women who are looking for opportunities that they may benefit from by serving in the military.” “The Marine Corps is here to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, which does guarantee the freedom of speech,” Franklin said. “In terms of the situation in Berkeley, the City Council and the protesters are exercising their right to do so.”
Super Patriots were working hard to do their part and fight back against the anti-War un-Americans. (rolls eyes)
In Washington, a group of Republican lawmakers have introduced the Semper Fi Act of 2008 — named after the Marine motto — to rescind more than $2 million of funds for Berkeley and transfer it to the Marine Corps. “Like most Americans, I really get disturbed when taxpayer money goes to institutions which proceed to take votes, make policy or make statements that really denigrate the military,” said Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, a co-sponsor of the bill.
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