Freedom to Serve

The Freedom to Serve Act, H.R. 6023, introduced by Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), would make the recent attacks on military recruiters a federal crime. It's about time!

National Review Online called our attention to this Congressional response to the anti-war anarchists attacking our military and its recruiters:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Elaine Donnelly

Time to Curb "Code Pink"

"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."

Indeed, they do. Please write your Congressional Representatives and Senators, asking them to support this legislation.

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Related pages:

Anti-Military Activism in the US is becoming increasingly frequent and violent.
American troops warned to "watch their backs" on American soil!
What the Hell is Going on Here?
Sound off! What are your thoughts about American troops being attacked on American soil?

The City Council in Berkeley, CA, takes an anti-military stance. This page includes:

  • Video News Report with the background of the story
  • Michelle Malkin's Feb. 6 article titled, "Berkeley vs. America, Again"
  • Video of a US Immigrant putting things in perspective
  • San Diego businessman Brian Dennard's letter to the Berkeley City Council announcing his boycott of anyone doing business in Berkeley, and his appeal to all other companies and individuals with whom he does businesses to follow suit.
  • Memo from the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission to the City Council recommending the anti-military action, going so far as to "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."
  • Contact information for Berkeley City Officials
Grannys Gone Bad.
Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Weak-Kneed Response to businessman Brian Dennard's letter.
Berkeley Chamber of Commerce is off-base in their response to Brian Dennard.
Support the Anti-Berkeley Campaign.
Leave Berkeley to Defend Themselves.
Letter to Code Pink from the Berkeley Marine Recruiting Officer.
Add your comments about Berkeley's anti-military-stance.
Thanks to the efforts of Move America Forward, with the support of readers like you, the FBI will investigate the attacks on military recruiting centers around the country.

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