I am breaking open the bubbly tonight - I just learned that Congress is stepping up to the plate and introducing legislation to stop the traitorous actions of CodePink and its harassment of our Marines in Berkeley, Ca.
Military expert Elaine Donnelly at NRO has details.
Time to Curb “Code Pink” [Elaine Donnelly]
Finally, a member of Congress has announced a laudable plan to do something about the abusive behavior of demonstrators of the anti-war left. Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has introduced legislation to deal with what he has described as “a growing number of our fellow citizens [who] are abusing their right of free expression through vandalism and violent protest aimed at military recruiters and those who wish to serve.”
A prime example occurred in January, when leftist agitators gathered signatures on a petition demanding that the Berkeley, California, City Council shut down a local Marine Corps recruiting office. Playing to the radical “Code Pink” group that organized the protest, all but one of the City Council members voted to send a letter to the Marines, asking them to leave the city. The Council’s letter derided the Marines as “unwanted, unwelcome intruders.” The arrogant insult drew national attention and motivated hundreds of local counter-demonstrators, led by California talk show host Melanie Morgan and others who support the military.
The Berkeley City Council’s proclamation set aside a parking spot for Code Pink’s weekly demonstrations in front of the Marines’ office, which emboldened the anti-war demonstrators. Taking advantage of the favored treatment, they reportedly blocked entry to the Marine recruiting station and vandalized it. Similar incidents of harassment and property damage have occurred on college campuses and in cities nationwide. Last March, a bike-riding bomber hit a military recruitment center in New York’s Times Square.
The Berkeley council’s resolution also directed city attorneys to pursue legal action and an ouster of the Marines for violating an ordinance barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Council members cited the 1993 law stating that homosexuals are not eligible to serve in the military, and claimed that the Marine Corps violates the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance by complying with that law. Local officials have constitutional rights of free speech, but college-town municipal governments do not set policy for the military.
The work of military recruiters is essential to maintain the volunteer force. To protect them, Rep. Akin has introduced The Freedom to Serve Act of 2008 (FSA). Rep. Akin’s legislation, HR 6023, would make it a federal crime to undermine or prevent military recruiting through vandalism and acts of violence or intimidation.
Rep. Akin, a former Army officer who served with combat engineers at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, has two sons in the military and one at the U.S. Naval Academy. In a “Dear Colleague” message seeking more co-sponsors, Rep. Akin mentioned three examples of violent protests that should not be allowed to continue and escalate:
- At Seattle Central Community College, Army recruiters Sgt. Jeff Due and Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Washington were hounded by an angry mob of anti-war students. The recruiters’ table and handouts were destroyed and objects were thrown at the soldiers.
- In East Orange, New Jersey, young protesters shattered the windows of an Army recruitment station and a neighboring Navy office.
- Protesters in Lawrence, Kansas, crippled business at an Army/Navy recruitment center, where workers’ car tires were slashed and bomb-proof glass had to be installed.
The First Amendment protects vitriolic insults to military personnel, but anti-war anarchy goes beyond constitutional rights of free speech. In trying to muscle the Marines, the Berkeley City Council and Code Pink demonstrators went too far. Rep. Akin’s “Freedom to Serve” bill would help to protect the all-volunteer force, and his efforts deserve support.