The SF Gate headline says that Berkeley backed down on Tuesday. And that’s what Berkeley’s leadership wants the country to think, but read between the lines of this story and see if you can figure out what the Berkeley city council actually changed.
Council members conceded that they had erred in passing a resolution Jan. 29 that condemned the Marines – rather than the war in Iraq – and some council members added that they felt they owed U.S. troops an apology as well the many Berkeley residents who were ashamed and offended by their position.
“To err is human but to really screw up it takes the Berkeley City Council,” said council member Gordon Wozniak. “We failed our city. We embarrassed our city.”
In the end, however, the council voted against issuing a public apology for its January action.
The officials said, however, that they strongly believe the Bush administration has used lies and deceit to lead the country into a war in which nearly 4,000 American troops have been killed. They also criticized the government for what they said was hiding the horrors of the war behind a “support our troops” mantra.
No apology. No change in policy. To the extent that there was a backdown, it came in the form of a shift on the council.
The backdown became apparent late Tuesday night when Mayor Tom Bates and three council members aligned themselves with the two who called on the council last week to rethink its position. The January decision created a firestorm of criticism across the nation from people who called the council’s position on the Marines harsh and inappropriate. Others cheered the council as courageous.
That move realigns the council so that a majority is against the January letter. But they didn’t pass anything and haven’t issued an apology. They voted against doing that.
They’re still on the Code Stink side of the war, and as Move America Forward reported, the local and state police didn’t lift a finger to help when the leftwingers violated the protest permits.
So what did they actually change? Nothing, at least not yet.
As a source on the Hill put it this morning:
Basically, this is a fig leaf retreat, doing the bare minimum to stop the public outcry, but still emphatically supporting Code Pink and urging everyone to “impede” military recruiters. Not to mention they voted against an apology. Berkeley hasn’t changed their stance, they’ve changed their PR strategy. Senators will still work to pass Semper Fi Act.
Code Pink spent Tuesday agitating on Berkeley’s behalf in DC. They’re not backing down. Senators DeMint, Cornyn et al will continue to work on passing the Semper Fi Act. This isn’t over.
Update: Here’s Zombie’s first of two photo essays on Tuesday’s events. It’s a work in progress, so there’s more to come.
Update: Here’s video that appears to be from yesterday of the police doing nothing while the Code Pink protesters block the recruiting station’s front door. Abortion protesters would NEVER get away with this. The police would haul them off, lock them up and throw the strongest possible charges at them. In the video you’ll hear the police officer say that they’re trying to remain as neutral as possible. They’re not. By allowing the protesters to block the entrance, they’re taking a side. It’s an outrage.
Update: The Weekly Standard’s Brian Faughnan has more, including a clip of Congressman John Campbell (R-CA) discussing the Semper Fi Act.
(front page photo from SF Gate)