Marine Captain Richard Lund recruits college students and graduates as candidates for officer positions in the marines. But carrying out that job in Berkeley is not always an easy task.
He has listened to a variety of complaints from members of the anti-war group Code Pink in recent weeks.
"We are so shocked and horrified that the Marines have come to Berkeley to prey on our children," said Zanne Joi, a Code Pink member.
Last week, the Code Pink group protested by defacing the recruiting center and calling the recruiters liars.
In the face of all this, one might ask why would any recruiter want to come to Berkeley?
Lund says that the office is close to the UC Berkeley campus and a BART station that it is convenient for recruits.
But what about the Berkeley attitude?
"It was a little bit of a consideration," Lund said. "But this is my home. This is America. I'm from the Bay Area. I don't mind being in any city, any neighborhood. To me it's all home."
The Marines did receive a couple of visitors who approve of their presence.
"It seems to me by trying to shut down recruiting on or near college campuses, you're really violating the principles of free speech. And I find that repugnant," said Berkeley resident Nancy Klein. "But we have to be a little bit crazy here, it's kind of our persona."
Here is how they defaced the center:
And the complaints the article spoke of? Code Pink wacko Diane Budd, who apparently was one of the organizers of the attack, was rather open on their motives, and it wasn't just to complain:
Donning pink hats, T-shirts and badges, a group of 10 braved rush-hour traffic on Shattuck Avenue to protest against the recruitment office located at 64 Shattuck Square.
“If there are to be no wars, there can be no warriors,” said Dianne Budd, one of the organizers.
“We found out a few days ago and decided to make their lives miserable,” she said, pinning up “RECRUITERS LIE, CHILDREN DIE” posters on the office windows. “We want people to know that it’s here and we want to shut them down. If people had been in there we were ready to hand out information about GI rights. We just want to speak the truth.”
As Budd and her fellow organizers held a pink banner with “No military predators in our town” written on it, hundreds of cars, buses and trucks honked their support and waved.
No one came to drag the protesters away as they stood waving banners and talking for almost two hours.
“It’s my first-amendment right,” Budd said smiling. “Who’s going to stop me?”
They sure got a nice, warm welcome from the moonbats inhabiting Berkeley. And remember, don't ever, EVER, question their patriotism.
Richard Lund, the recruiter in charge of the center, is firing back though. He wrote an open letter to the Code Pink wackjobs. Unlike just about anyone in Code Pink, he was intelligent, reasonable, calm, collected, and uninsulting (and in my opinion, makes them look even stupider than they make themselves look all on their own). Here's an excerpt, but be sure to read the entire thing:
While the protest that you staged in front of my office on Wednesday, Sept. 26th, was an exercise of your constitutional rights, the messages that you left behind were insulting, untrue, and ultimately misdirected. Additionally, from the comments quoted in the Berkeley Daily Planet article, it is clear that you have no idea what it is that I do here. Given that I was unaware of your planned protest, I was unable to contest your claims in person, so I will therefore address them here.
First, a little bit about who I am: I am a Marine captain with over eight years of service as a commissioned officer. I flew transport helicopters for most of my time in the Marine Corps before requesting orders to come here. Currently, I am the officer selection officer for the northern Bay Area. My job is to recruit, interview, screen, and evaluate college students and college graduates that show an interest in becoming officers in the Marine Corps. Once they’ve committed to pursuing this program, I help them apply, and if selected, I help them prepare for the rigors of Officer Candidate School and for the challenges of life as a Marine officer. To be eligible for my programs, you have to be either a full-time college student or a college graduate. I don’t pull anyone out of school, and high school students are not eligible.
Next, scrawled across the doorway to my office, you wrote, “Recruiters are Traitors.” Please explain this one. How exactly am I a traitor? Was I a traitor when I joined the Marine Corps all those years ago? Is every Marine, therefore, a traitor? Was I a traitor during my two stints in Iraq? Was I a traitor when I was delivering humanitarian aid to the victims of the tsunami in Sumatra? Or do you only consider me a traitor while I am on this job? The fact is, recruitment is and always has been a part of maintaining any military organization. In fact, recruitment is a necessity of any large organization. Large corporations have employees that recruit full-time. Even you, I’m sure, must expend some effort to recruit for Code Pink. So what, exactly, is it that makes me a traitor?
The fact is this: any independent nation must maintain a military (or be allied with those who do) to ensure the safety and security of its citizens. Regardless of what your opinions are of the current administration or the current conflict in Iraq, the U.S. military will be needed again in the future. If your counter-recruitment efforts are ultimately successful, who will defend us if we are directly attacked again as we were at Pearl Harbor? Who would respond if a future terrorist attack targets the Golden Gate Bridge, the BART system, or the UC Berkeley clock tower? And, to address the most hypocritical stance that your organization takes on its website, where would the peace keeping force come from that you advocate sending to Darfur?
Finally, I believe that your efforts in protesting my office are misdirected. I agree that your stated goals of peace and social justice are worthy ones. War is a terrible thing that should only be undertaken in the most dire, extreme, and necessary of circumstances. However, war is made by politicians. The conflict in Iraq was ordered by the president and authorized by Congress. They are the ones who have the power to change the policy in Iraq, not members of the military. We execute policy to the best of our ability and to the best of our human capacity. Protesting in front of my office may be an easy way to get your organization in the headlines of local papers, but it doesn’t further any of your stated goals.
Michelle Malkin is asking for any Bay Area patriots to go to the recruitment center and show your support:
It would be nice if folks in the Bay Area could show up and counter-protest the Code Pinkos and show Capt. Lund some support. As they say: Eagles Up!
If you aren't too fond of counter-protesting, or perhaps you don't think you have the time, you can still show Capt. Lund some support. Stop by, thank him for his service. Make a phone call to the recruitment center to say thank you, let him know that what he's doing is appreciated. If you can spare an hour or two though, show the Code Pink moonbats what real patriotism is and counter-protest.
Hat Tips: Michelle Malkin, Stop the ACLU