Letters to the Editor

Editor:

In Emily Vizzo’s recent article, “”Protesting for Peace”” (Nov. 19), she describes her trip up to our campus to attend an antiwar conference. We would like to applaud her for accurately representing the views of these people, yet also scold her for so misrepresenting their motivations and goals.

First, the praise. She is right to quote them as claiming that the most dangerous man in the world is the president of the United States. However, the antiwar protesters do not mean that he is the leader of a nation that has been attacked and is determined to defeat those who have declared war on her own people.

No, rather the protesters were speaking along the lines of “”Bush is the world’s greatest terrorist.”” They routinely carry signs that read this. On the evening of Sept. 11, at a rally on the UC Berkeley campus, some even proclaimed that the WTC attacks were nearly perfect and would have been totally perfect if only they had succeeded in killing the president. We should know. We were there. Also, she quotes a “”poet”” who declares that “”the world is dominated by imbecilic assholes.””

This is true — the vast majority of the human race is not made up of angels. What is particularly fitting is that the conference also appears to be dominated by imbecilic assholes, wishing death upon a man (George W. Bush) because they disagree with him, sometimes openly reveling in the carnage in New York and ideologically defending the enemies of their country while at the same time refusing even to praise that country for providing them the opportunity to do so. We should know. We were there.

Now for our blame. First, she quotes the “”five to seven million Afghans will die”” figure. This figure was arrived at before the stunning advance of the Northern Alliance opened up land roads from Uzbekistan and the Bagram airport was seized by British troops, which greatly facilitate food transport to the Afghan people. Indeed, as we write this, 8,000 more tons of food than before arrive in Afghanistan. As the airports are brought into service and overland convoys increase, even more food will find its way into Afghanistan.

If there is any widespread starvation, it will not be due to the United States, but rather the Taliban, and will be confined to Taliban areas, as the previous years’ famines in Afghanistan were. As much as she and other antiwar protesters loathe to admit, the United States and Britain are not the bad guys, nor are they sentencing millions of Afghans and tens of thousands of their own soldiers to death. The situation right now is more Paris, 1944 than Vietnam, 1969.

Also, she, perhaps unwittingly, represents these activists as possessing “”fierce idealism.”” Nothing could be further from the truth on the Berkeley campus. Rather, these people are professional protesters and activists, often lurking on multi-year graduate student fellowships or taking seven or eight years as an undergraduate. They move from cause to cause like locusts moving from plant to plant. Affirmative Action? Done. Palestinians vs. Israel? Done. Globalization? Done. Election 2000? Done. You get the idea.

If she had wanted to see true bravery and idealism that wasn’t backed up by a horde of lawyers or an army of fellow students ready to riot at the moment a single one was arrested, she would have done better to come to a meeting for the Berkeley College Republicans, who have been counterprotesting at the antiwar rallies and staging their own patriotic rallies on campus.

Unlike the antiwar people, they don’t have the ACLU protecting our freedom of speech. The campus police stand by idly as our literature is stolen and burned. Reports of assault by the dominant “”idealistic protesters”” go ignored. Yet in spite of all this, they still carry on expressing their ideas, fighting what they see as wrong and refusing to be intimidated by the majority of the campus. Tell me, who are the idealists? Ask us — we know.

We were there at the book burnings, the assaults, the thefts and the triumphs of patriotism. We are the true idealists, not the cynical and entrenched cadre of students who run the Berkeley Stop the War Coalition.

We would recommend that she truly open her eyes and not be so easily seduced by the “”we’re good simply because we’re different and we say we’re good”” claptrap that comes from the “”progressive”” element of our campus. She misses a lot.

— Kelso G. Barnett, Chairman & Rory S. Miller, Fellow

Berkeley Conservative Foundation

Editor:

On page three of Nov. 19’s (“”Muir Quarterly spoofs Koala””) edition of the Guardian, Sharon Lee writes, “”In the last month, both the Thurgood Marshall College Student Council and the Revelle College Council passed resolutions condemning The Koala.””

While I believe that readers should be able to interpret resolutions passed by the Revelle College Council as they see fit, the resolution RCC passed several weeks ago in no way condemns The Koala, even by the most liberal of interpretations.

I would ask that before your writers attempt to interpret what resolutions mean, they read them first. The RCC resolution regarding the controversy surrounding The Koala states that “”the Revelle College Council is opposed to the censure of any speech whatsoever.”” Interpret that as you will, but I don’t think you can interpret that as condemning The Koala.

— Mark Stickel

Chair, Revelle College Council

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