Berkeley, the famously liberal college town in California, has taken aim at Marine recruiters, saying they are "not welcome in our city."
Republican lawmakers in Washington fired back this week, threatening to take back more than $2 million of federal funding to the city as well as money designated for the University of California-Berkeley, the campus that became a haven of protests during the Vietnam War.
The battle erupted after the Berkeley City Council approved a measure last week urging the Marine recruiters to leave their downtown office.
"If recruiters choose to stay, they do so as uninvited and unwelcome intruders," the item says.
It goes on to say the council applauds residents and organizations that "volunteer to impede, passively or actively, by nonviolent means, the work of any military recruiting office located in the City of Berkeley."
Outside the Shattuck Avenue recruiting station earlier this week, a handful of protesters with the anti-war group Code Pink camped out, strumming a guitar as they sang anti-war songs and held signs against the Iraq war.
"Time to end the war, time to end the war, time to end the war right now," they sang to the beat of "I've Been Working on the Railroad." Video Watch protesters sing "I Ain't Afraid" »
One giant sign said, "No Military Predators in Our Town." Another message on a pink placard read, "Join the Marines. Travel to Exotic Lands. Meet Exciting and Unusual People -- And Kill Them."
Zanne Joi peered out from under her straw hat. "This Marine recruiting station is trying to recruit our youth to go to Iraq to kill and be killed. And we are against that," said Joi, a member of Code Pink Women for Peace.
"This is part of a multi-pronged effort to end this war."
Protester Sharon Adams added: "This recruiting station recruits people to go fight and then once they fight and they serve their country, our country doesn't take care of them. That's a shame."
But not everyone here supports the protesters.
Gunnery Sgt. Pauline Franklin, a spokeswoman for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command, told CNN there is "no plan for that office to move."
She said recruiters are there to "provide information to qualified men and women who are looking for opportunities that they may benefit from by serving in the military."
"The Marine Corps is here to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, which does guarantee the freedom of speech," Franklin said. "In terms of the situation in Berkeley, the City Council and the protesters are exercising their right to do so."
In Washington, a group of Republican lawmakers have introduced the Semper Fi Act of 2008 -- named after the Marine motto -- to rescind more than $2 million of funds for Berkeley and transfer it to the Marine Corps.
"Like most Americans, I really get disturbed when taxpayer money goes to institutions which proceed to take votes, make policy or make statements that really denigrate the military," said Sen. David Vitter, R-Louisiana, a co-sponsor of the bill.
He told CNN he believes the bill will pass. "I think it's going to have significant support."
The bill's co-sponsor, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, said in a written statement, "Berkeley needs to learn that their actions have consequences."
First up, I think that Code Pink is a bunch of nitwits (they have a right to protest though, I do agree, even if what's coming out of their mouths seriously pisses me off). One of the things they have been espousing is that the recruiters are trying to go to the HS to get the young, dumb, and impressionable. This station is actually aimed at the university to get graduates to join.
Secondly, the Repugnants sponsoring that bill are right up there with them.
Thirdly, I happen to work for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and I am an University of California employee. If they really strip money from going into Berkeley, it might be an issue for, y'know my job.
gah. Idiocy is contagious.