The Berkeley California City Council has stated that the U.S. Marines recruiting center is not welcome in the city “due to their discriminatory policy against gays and lesbians in the military”. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, said, "I believe in the Code Pink cause. The Marines don't belong here, they shouldn't have come here, and they should leave."
This issue was on the agenda for the Berkeley’s City Council meeting of January 29, 2008 and was accompanied by a unanimously adopted report by Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission that included the following “Whereas’s” (without the civil code references):
1. WHEREAS, the Peace & Justice Commission advises the City Council on all matters relating to the City of Berkeley’s role in issues of peace and social justice and;
2. WHEREAS, the United States has a history of launching illegal, immoral and unprovoked wars of aggression and the Bush Administration launched the most recent of those wars in Iraq and is threatening the possibility of war in Iran and;
3. WHEREAS, the United States armed forces, including the Marine Corps, explicitly refuse to hire openly non-heterosexual individuals, and will discharge an individual in their employ “who engages in, attempts to engage in, has a propensity to engage in, or intends to engage in homosexual acts” and
4. WHEREAS, “Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation,” provides that “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire, or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment on the basis of such individual’s sexual orientation”, and applies the same standard to employment agencies and job-training programs; and
5. WHEREAS, these wars have produced catastrophic loss of human life, both civilian and military, as well as physically maiming and deforming and psychologically destroying countless numbers of civilians and military personnel; and
6. WHEREAS, the people of the City of Berkeley have long voiced their stand for peace and against unnecessary wars; and support people following their consciences to do what is morally and ethically right to resist illegitimate authority; and Marine Recruiting Office in Berkeley and
7. WHEREAS, the United States Marine Corps is being used as one of the means of perpetrating and prolonging illegal, unconstitutional and unnecessary wars of the United States; and
8. WHEREAS, military recruiters are sales people known to lie to and seduce minors and young adults into contracting themselves into military service with false promises regarding jobs, job training, education and other benefits; and
9. WHEREAS, many enlisted persons never see the benefits they are promised and find out they are not eligible for the educational benefits due to loopholes and they did not receive the training promised or it did not qualify them for jobs outside the military; and
10. WHEREAS, the people of Berkeley should want the Marine Corps present near Berkeley High School, Berkeley City College, and University of California no more than they would want other violent influences downtown.
And the report concludes with two resolutions:
1. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Berkeley direct the City Manager to send letters to the Marine Corps Recruiting Station at 64 Shattuck Avenue and to General James T. Conway, Commandant of the United States Marine Corps, advising them that the Marine recruiting office is not welcome in our city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.
2. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Council of the City of Berkeley encourage all people to avoid cooperation with the Marine Corps recruiting station, and applaud residents and organizations such as Code Pink, that may volunteer to impede, passively or actively, by nonviolent means, the work of any military recruiting office located in the City of Berkeley.
The above speaks volumes on its own; commentary thereon adds very little to the discussion.
This is both an event and an issue that should be addressed by candidates for President of the United States. Answers would help establish clarity with respect to their positions regarding our military in general, homeland security and actions of local government in harming the ability of the United States to recruit members to our armed forces.
My question for the next Presidential debate would be:
1. Please, in your answer, do not discuss free speech. Everyone understands the right of the Berkeley City Council and any American to express their views:
One word answer: Do you condemn or support the actions of the Berkeley City Council and their Mayor, Tom Bates?
2. What actions, if any, would you support in response to the actions of the Berkeley City Council?
2. Within the City Council Chambers in public session, the Berkeley City Council represents the views of the people of the City of Berkeley. If the people of Berkeley do not want the Marines to recruit in their city, the Federal government should be interested only in performing the minimum activities required by Federal law in the City of Berkeley. Therefore, I recommend the following:
? Close any Federal office operating in the City of Berkeley where the services can be performed in another city (regardless of any inconvenience to the citizens of Berkeley).
So fine, if the Berkeley City Council wants to decide who can join the military, as well as why and where it should fight, the Federal government should decide where it wants to do business. In making this decision, the Federal government should withdraw its non-essential operations from Berkeley, California and move them elsewhere.