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Despite Death Threats, Berkeley Council Condemns U.S. Bombing of Afghanistan

by John Nichols / The Nation Thursday, Nov. 01, 2001 at 1:08 AM

Despite death threats, members of the Berkeley City Council Tuesday night voted to urge a quick halt to the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.

Berkeley Council condemns U.S. bombing of Afghanistan

After a bitter debate that divided one of the most liberal cities in the United States, members of the Berkeley City Council Tuesday night voted to urge a quick halt to the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan.

The Council voted 5-4 to endorse a measure that honored victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon while at the same time criticizing the military response by the United States to those attacks.

Councilwoman Dona Spring, the sponsor of the measure, argues that it is not appropriate to answer the deaths of innocent civilians in the United States by causing the deaths of innocent Afghan civilians. In addition, she says, a military response by the U.S. creates instability that ultimately will lead to greater danger. "(Bombings and other military actions) will breed more terrorism and create more instability in the Middle East -- particularly Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons," she explained.

Spring's resolution urges the U.S. to "work with international organizations" toward the goal of "bringing to justice all of those complicit in last month's violent attack."

The resolution also calls for action to combat global poverty and for the reduction of U.S. reliance on oil.

The move is believed to be the first condemnation by a local government of President Bush's response to the September 11 attacks.

Berkeley is represented in Congress by U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, the Bay Area Democrat who cast the lone vote against the resolution granting Bush broad authority to use force in response to the attacks.

While there is strong anti-war sentiment in Berkeley, Mayor Shirley Dean, who opposed the measure, said Council members received "serious death threats" after it was learned that the anti-bombing resolution was to be considered.

Responded Spring: "If we (the Berkeley City Council) can't support a nonviolent solution, when or where will some government agency do that?"

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