Putting Code Pink In Their Place
October 21, 2007
As many of us know, Code Pink has an ugly history of protesting our Troops and their mission. For a long time, they protested every Friday night outside the gates of Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I remember the first Friday evening that I went to Walter Reed, clearly. Right outside the gates, on the sidewalk, they were standing there with their anti-military, anti-war signs screaming at the traffic as they drove by. My first instinct, was to swerve my car over and plow into them. Of course, that wouldn’t have solved a thing, so I just turned into the Walter Reed grounds and went about my business of visiting with the Wounded Warriors at Walter Reed instead.
Recently, the blog world has been full of the stories of Code Pink’s defacement of a Marine Recruiting Station in Berkeley, California. They openly and blatantly defaced the windows of the recruiting station and the sidewalk in front of it, and said that they would continue to do so. They loudly proclaim for anyone who will listen that our Troops are traitors. I’m not sure how they figure that, considering that they have proudly admitted to donating around $600,000 to the families of terrorists who are attacking our Troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Following the defacement of the Marine Recruiting Station, Marine Captain Richard Lund had this to say in an open letter to Code Pink and it’s members:
An Open Letter to Code Pink
By Richard Lund (10-02-07)
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 theyâ€™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 donâ€™t pull anyone out of school, and high school students are not eligible.
I moved my office to Berkeley in December of last year. Previously, it was located in an old federal building in Alameda. That building was due to be torn down and I had to find a new location. I choose our new site because of its proximity to UC Berkeley and to the BART station. Most of the candidates in my program either go to Cal or to one of the schools in San Francisco, the East Bay, or the North Bay. Logistically, the Shattuck Square location was the most convenient for them.
Next, you claim that I lie. I have never, and will never, lie to any individual that shows an interest in my programs. I am upfront with everything that is involved at every step of the way and I go out of my way to ensure that they know what to expect when they apply. I tell them that this is not an easy path. I tell them that leading Marines requires a great deal of self-sacrifice. I tell them that, should they succeed in their quest to become a Marine officer, they will almost certainly go to Iraq. In the future, if you plan to attack my integrity, please have the courtesy to explain to me specifically the instances in which you think that I lied.
Next, scrawled across the doorway to my office, you wrote, â€œRecruiters are Traitors.â€ 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, Iâ€™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 doesnâ€™t further any of your stated goals.
To conclude, I donâ€™t consider myself a â€œrecruiter.â€ I am a Marine who happens to be on recruiting duty. As such, I conduct myself in accordance with our core values of honor, courage, and commitment. I will never sacrifice my honor by lying to anyone that walks into my office. I will never forsake the courage that it takes to restrain myself in the face of insulting and libelous labels like liar and traitor. And, most importantly, I will never waver from my commitment to helping individuals who desire to serve their country as officers in the Marine Corps.
Captain Richard Lund is the United States Marine Corpsâ€™ officer selection officer for the northern Bay Area.
Last week, Melanie Morgan and the organization she founded, Move Forward America staged a counter-protest to show their support of the Troops. Melanie also revealed their newest T-Shirt that proclaims that Code Pink are the REAL Traitors. I couldn’t agree more! In the photos you’ll see Melanie Morgan confronting Code Pink’s founder Madea Benjamin, with the shirt proclaiming who the REAL traitors/terrorists wannabes are…. Madea and her crazy band of pinko lunatics. The other pictures are of the Pro-Troop supporters.
The “Code Pink Are The Real Traitors” shirts are available for sale by going to the Move Forward America Campaign Store.