- The Washington Times - Monday, October 1, 2001

BERKELEY, Calif. A different kind of war is brewing, and it's drawing a completely different kind of response on the University of California's Berkeley campus than the war in Vietnam or any subsequent U.S. military involvement.
For one thing, so far not a single American flag has been burned at Berkeley, the nation's foremost symbol of student protest. There have even been pro-U.S. rallies.
That's partly because Berkeley now has a different kind of student.
Yes, there have been protests against massive retaliation for the Sept. 11 terror attacks on America, but they have been largely drowned out by much larger gatherings supporting both the terror victims and President Bush's early steps toward a response.
Only about 100 protesters staged a sit-in outside the student newspaper, the Daily Californian, after it carried a cartoon depicting a huge hand about to deposit two turbaned Arabs into the fires of hell as they unknowingly are telling each other, "We made it to Paradise! Now we will meet Allah, and be fed grapes and be serviced by 70 virgin women …"
"If the Daily Cal had printed any cartoon showing Ho Chi Minh entering hell back in the Vietnam era, they might have been burned down, and there surely would have been a huge demonstration against it on Sproul Plaza," said Gloria Effort, a 1969 Berkeley graduate. "There's a huge change."
In fact, by far the largest campus gathering since the attacks was a Sept. 17 memorial service for the victims that drew 12,000 students. The night of the attacks, about 500 students staged a spontaneous candlelight vigil in Sproul Plaza. Meanwhile, the largest anti-retaliation demonstration drew 2,500 students out of the campus total of more than 32,000. It was followed the next day by an almost equally large "Rally for America."
On Sept. 24, pro-U.S. demonstrators rallied again, shouting "U.S.A., U.S.A.," perhaps the first time that chant has been heard in the heart of American dissidence. The city of Berkeley drew national outrage when fire chiefs ordered large American flags removed from fire engines last week for fear they might be ripped off the trucks by demonstrating students.
"The university has no fire department and had nothing to do with that decision," said campus spokeswoman Janet Gilmore. In fact, there have been no incidents in Berkeley since the attacks involving either ripping down or defacing flags.
Even the largest campus anti-war rally of the last two weeks, addressed by Michael Nagler, chairman of the school's Peace and Conflict Studies program, called not for no response, but for diplomatic action to bring responsible parties to justice.
"We're mostly heartsick and extremely frightened because we know the retaliation will be counterproductive," said Mr. Nagler, a graduate student at Berkeley during the free-speech movement days of the 1960s. "Retaliation will only recycle the violence."
Some longtime professors who remember the fervor of the Vietnam-era anti-war demonstrations are not surprised today's students lack similarly strong feelings.
They note that Berkeley is no longer the mostly white college it was 35 years ago, but today has a majority of minorities, with Asian students the second largest student-body component behind whites. The school has far more engineering students today and far fewer humanities students than in the 1960s and early '70s.
"One reason you got so much anti-war fervor then is that Vietnam never attacked America," said Thomas Barnes, 71, a professor of military history. "We now see that we have an enemy. Some of us weren't sure of that during Vietnam. Also, these students aren't in revolt against anything, not their parents, or sex or drugs. It's a very different time."
Yes, this is still Berkeley, and there will be teach-ins and demonstrations. But students who carry large American flags on campus are not hassled. When Gleb Brichko, a 22-year-old Russian immigrant who recently became an American citizen, carried a flag to his classes last week, he reported that "two people came up to me and said, 'Don't you know we burn the flag in Berkeley?' But my feeling is that if you don't support the country, you should get out."
So far this time, not a single flag has been burned at Berkeley, the symbol of college protest in America.
"This is 2001, not 1968," said Randy Barnes (no relation to the professor), lead organizer of Monday's pro-U.S. rally. "This is not about Vietnam, but an act of aggression acted upon us as a nation."

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