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Friday, February 11, 2011

Does Berkeley Hate America?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 11, 2011 at 3:14 PM

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It pains us, Dear Reader, to ask the question. We like Berkeley. It has nice fruit trees and bright college students. But ask we must, because the Berkeley City Council has given us no choice.

I mean, come on. When you schedule votes on two resolutions -- one supporting alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning, the other inviting former Guantanamo Bay inmates to live in Berkeley -- at the same meeting next Tuesday, what kind of message are you trying to send?

It is no consolation -- none -- that our East Bay neighbors are probably right. Reports have surfaced that Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army private believed to have leaked a large cache of classified documents, is being held in atrocious conditions tantamount to torture.

It's only reasonable to argue, as the first resolution does, that he should not be subject to "cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment" while being held in the brig at Quantico. The legislation has been toned down considerably from its original form, which called Manning a "hero" and offered him a key to the city.

Same goes for those Guantanamo inmates. The invitations would be extended to a chef and ballet dancer who are among 38 inmates exonerated of any crimes. The opportunity to shop at the Berkeley Bowl seems small recompense indeed for illegal detention at a notorious military camp.

But we doubt Bill O'Reilly will see the reasonableness of these legislative initiatives when he tees Berkeley up in the No Spin Zone.

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Peter Jamison


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