Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Berkeley eases anti-Marines stance

Berkley relaxes anti Marine position

By MICHELLE LOCKE Associated Press Writer
Article Launched: 02/13/2008 02:12:03 AM PST

Click photo to enlarge
American Legion Veterans Service Officer Robert Cacy sits at a rally... ((AP Photo/Jeff Chiu))«1»BERKELEY, Calif.—City council members who were criticized for telling Marine recruiters they don't belong here have moderated their position, saying they oppose the Iraq war but support the troops.
The Berkeley City Council voted two weeks ago to send a letter to a downtown recruitment station advising the Marines they were not welcome.

After a marathon session that stretched into early Wednesday, the council decided against sending the letter, saying it recognizes recruiters' right to be in Berkeley. The council members say they still strongly oppose the war and the recruitment of young people, but "deeply respect and support" the men and women of the armed forces.

Some on the council had pushed for issuing an apology. Others rejected that, saying they just wanted to clarify their position.

Councilwoman Linda Maio said the council opposes recruitment, not the military. "It's behavior that we oppose, not the people," she said.

The meeting drew hundreds of people on both sides of the issue who rallied outside City Hall from dawn until well into the night.

Inside the chamber, scores of speakers addressed the council, some decrying its earlier action.

"You owe our military an apology," said Kevin Graves, a San Francisco Bay area resident who said his son died serving in Iraq.

Others applauded the council's stand.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink, said her group supports the troops—"we support them so much that we're desperate to get them back home."
In rallies outside, pro-troop group Move America Forward sponsored one protest, holding signs that said "Stop Bashing Our Boys." On the other side, anti-war group Code Pink held bouquets of flowers and waved signs saying "Peace Now" and "Bring Our Troops Home."

Police estimated the crowd at about 2,000 at its height. A handful of people were arrested for scuffles between protesters, police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said.

The recruiting office opened in Berkeley in late 2006. It operated quietly until four months ago, when Code Pink began holding regular protests.


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Robert Hallett said...

I've read many articles and blogs on this issue and it seems as if most people are missing the point. If Code Pink wants to protest against the Marines, whatever. I guarantee you the Marines really don't care. But what Code Pink and more importantly, the City Council who gave them free parking, have demonstrated is their ignorance on issues of governance and policy. That would worry me more if I was a Berkley resident. (Thank God, I'm not) The Marines and other servicemembers serve a civilian government that carries out policy. This is not a miltary running amuck! If you truly want to change the policy, vote! Or if you feel a need to protest, protest in front of the Capital Building, not in front of some recruiting office. Again the Marines could care less - they've recruited, served and died for this country for over 200 years and will continue to do so for another 200. God bless 'em and all who serve. These protestors and the city council have embarrassed themselves by showing how ignorant they are about how this country is run. I laugh at them, not for what they believe - that is their right as Americans but how they go about it. I'd recommend that they revisit their endstate and how they want to get there. Get smart - read the Constitution and then come see me when you're ready. Another fine example of how incredibly dense our elected officials really are - think about that when you vote next time!

Mike (Beetle) Bailey said...

Berkley has always been off the main stream of America, I do not approve of Code Pink and their methods but they do have the right to be idiots, better to be an American and have to deal with stuff like this, than be Chinese or Russian and get locked up for opening your mouths.