To the Editor:

I am a freshman at the University of California at Berkeley, and I recently read an article about the peace protests occurring on our campus (“Hey Leftists: Better start waving that American flag,” 10/11).

The writer dismisses the left here as SUV-driving neo-hippies. I can vouch for the fact that the left here is not a bunch of rich, angst-ridden white kids. I am a patriot and I love my country. Yet, fighting terrorism with aggression and violence is no better than the ideology of Osama bin Laden and his cohorts.

Something has been omitted from the political discourse in this country, and as free thinkers from the greatest universities in the United States, it is our responsibility to hold a mirror up to reality. American foreign policy clearly is centered around imperialism and domination (with the Vietnam War and the Gulf War as two examples).

If the writer were a Palestinian and he knew that America was supplying Israel with aid that buys the weapons which terrorize and kill his people, he admittedly would advocate the same violence that the terrorists used. Yet, every mainstream Palestinian organization was outraged at the Sept. 11 events.

I have been involved with the protests, but I myself have recently grown disillusioned by the tactics of the left. “Peace” and “No war” are great statements but no better than the meaningless statement “Support our troops.” It is time for the left to become a little more savvy in fighting the ideology of terrorism at home and abroad. Only if international law or the United Nations bring bin Laden to justice will freedom truly triumph.

Daniel Fitzpatrick

October 16, 2001

The writer is a freshman at the University of California at Berkeley.