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September 09, 1967 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1967-09-09

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The Tragicomic Elections in

ere Opinions Are Free, 420 MAYNARD ST., ANN ARBOR, MICH.
Truth Will Prevail

NEws PHONE: 764-05521

Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.




i . _

Mr. MeNamara' s Wall:
A Very-Offensive Idea

IN ONE OF HIS infrequent press con-
ferences Defense Secretary Robert Mc-
Namara warned Thursday of a growing
"frustration" and "lack of patience" in
this country that could lead to "irrespon-
sible actions" that could in turn widen
the Vietnam war.
The potency of these pressures was il-
lustrated a few minutes later as McNa-
mara unveiled his latest Vietnam toy-
an anti-infiltration barrier of barbed
wire, mines and electronic gimmicks
stretching across South Vietnam just
south of the formerly demilitarized zone-
which to be even minimally effective
must expand the conflict to Laos.
It is difficult to believe that the great
administration historians so familiar with
the "Munich Analogy," could not have
heard of the "Maginot Line Analogy."
For if as the government insists the
Ho Chi Minh- Trail in neighboring Laos
is as busy as the Gov. Thomas E. Dewey
Thruway, there is no reason why the ene-
my would not bypass this new "impene-
trable" barrier.
McNamara, however, refused to com-
ment on whether the barrier will even-
tually be extended into Laos. Using a
ploy which must be envied by bureau-
crats everywhere, the. defense secretary
turned aside virtually all questions on the
ground that any elaboration would aid
the enemy.
Those "informed sources," so dear to
the New York Times, however reveal that
such an extension is not contemplated
"at present." The key words, "at present,"
indicate that the smart betting among
"informed sources" is that the govern-
ment will announce a decision to extend
the barrier in Laos before the New
Hampshire primary.
HE IDEA of extending the Berlin-
type wall into Laos has almost an
pnotic fascination for mini-doves who
ave grown tired of General Gavin's en-
lave theory. For example, Mike Mans-
ield, the Senate's phlegmatic majority
eader, said Thursday, "I have advocated
that a defensive barrier be built across
Vietnam and Laos as an alternative to
an extension of the ever-expanding aer-
ial bombardment."

Even if Mansfield is not incredibly
naive in believing that anything can halt
the air war, he tragically errs in under-
estimating the consequences of attempt-
ing to stretch a barricade across Laos.
Such a barrier would have to be de-
fended. And here we would not only have
to engage the North Vietnamese troops
in Laos, but the indigenous Pathet Lao
as well. Here, as in Vietnam, America
would have immense difficulty in win-
ning. "the hearts and minds" of the Lao-
tian people. For our exceedingly ran-
dom bombings in the vicinity of the Ho
Chi Minh Trail have won us few new Lao-
tian friends.
A massive injection of American man-
power will probably not be tolerated even
by Souvanna Phouma, the, ever-obliging
Laotian premier. For while he permits
the presence of U.S. "military attaches,"
he insists America keep her violations of
the 1962 Geneva Accords limited and co-
While the 1962 settlement has not been
rigidly observed, it has served a very use-
ful function in keeping the conflict lim-
ited and most foreign belligerents out.
Even more importantly, the Geneva Ac-
cords by taking Laos off the front pages,
have destroyed the fiction that virility
demanded American participation in that
civil war.
With over 40,000 troops in Thailand,
untold members of "military attaches"
in Laos, and a major war in Vietnam, the
Great Laotian Barricade could serve as
the trigger to touch of the Asian land
war to end all land wars.
HOWEVER, THERE IS a possibly more
comforting rationale behind the anti-
infiltration barrier. For it is conceivable
that the Pentagon envisions it merely to
serve as a massive turnstile in order to
accurately assess the amount of infiltra-
tion from North Vietnam.
While such an action would show a
rare concern for dispelling the adminis-
tration's "credibility gap," such a barrier
would be far more usefully placed around
this nation's suburbs to keep, the middle
class in.

Tran Van Dinh is a free-lance
journalist working out of Washing-
ton, D.C. He is a doctor of politi-
cal science and holds a professor-
ship at Buddhist University in Hue,
South Vietnam. A former Vietna-
mese acting ambassador to the
United States, Dinh writes reg-
ularly for the New Republic (most
recently, September 2 issue), appear-
ed bi-weekly in the past summer
Daily, and is now syndicated
through Collegiate Press Service.
He has been active in the Vietnam
Summer project, and spoke at a
University Law School symposium
last spring. His background in-
cludes service in the anti-French
nationalist movement in the late
1940's, and he has the distinction,
in later years, of being Vice-Presi-
dent Ky's superior officer.
This is the first of a number of
special articles which will appear on
The Daily editorial page throughout
the year.
POLITICS IN South Vietnam in
the recent years have always
had elements of a tragi-comedy:
the main theme of the play is
"democracy," the interested audi-
ence "American," the actors have
to wear a mask which suits the
purpose. The mask is "elections."
Balloting would take place, over
80 percent of the people would
vote, and Washington would call
it a success until the stage col-
lapses leaving dead bodies and
broken furniture scattered around
like so much debris.
For the seventh time (two Pre-
sidential elections in 1955 and
1961, and four Legislature elec-
tions in 1956, 1959, 1963, 1966)
since Vietnam was divided "tem-
porarily" by the 1954 Geneva
Agreements, the tired people of
South Vietnam went to the polls.
ON SEPTEMBER 3, 83 percent
of 5,853,251 voters proceeded to
8,824 polling places to cast their
ballots and elect a president, a
vice-president and 60 senators.
The number of registered voters
increased by 300,000 in the last
month before the election.
"We are prolific in Vietnam.
but not that prolific," said Tran
Van Huong a civilian presidential
candidate who finished fourth in
the balloting. Replied General
Nguyen Van Thieu, the head of
state and military candidate, with
touching candor: "Some soldiers
have been given two voting cards."
The voter was given first eleven
ballots, one for each presidential
ticket (two names, President and
Vice-President, one symbol) then
48 other ballots, one for each
senatorial slate, (10 names on
each). He had gone over 502
names (22 presidential, 480 sena-
torial) scrutinized 59 symbols (11
for presidential, 48 for senatorial).

PRESIDENT-ELECT NGUYEN VAN THIEU has makeup applied as he prepares to "Meet the
Thieu refused to appear with Vice-President-elect Nguyen Cao Ky, and a Ky aide commented,
is number two now."

The voter could hardly be that
fast a reader, but he did not care.
He looked at the familiar police-
man who will be around in his lo-
cality long after the election day.
General Nguyen Ngoc Loan, the
Chief of Police, often called "The
Saigon Himmler," had declared
on August 23: "National police-
men would be stationed inside and
outside booths all over the coun-
try. As the national police are the
people in closest contact with the
lowest echelon, there will be po-
lice telling them where to vote,
how to vote and when to vote."
(Saigon Post, August 23). The Vi-
etnamese voter is a captive voter:
the police have stamped his status
on his registration card and any-
one subsequently searched - a
routine in South Vietnam - and
found without the election day
stamp on his card will be in dan-
ger of automatic classification as
a Viet Cong and subjected to pri-
son or death.
BUT EVEN WITH these pre-
cautions, the military junta was
not sure. Dictators everywhere,
and at all times, are afraid of
their own people or even of their
shadow. On the eve of the election
day, two dailies in Saigon, the
Than Chung (Sacred Bell) and
Sang (Light) were closed; three
weeks earlier, another newspaper,
the Dan Chung (People), was shut
down. All this occurred despite the

fact that officially censorship was
abolished and the Constitution
guarantees the freedom of the
press. Several officers, among
them, Brigadier General Phan
Trong Chinh, commander, 25th
division near Saigon, and Colonel
Pham Van Lieu, former Chief of
Police, were put under house ar-
rest. Several students, mostly
Buddhists, disappeared from their
homes. Some were imprisoned,
some liquidated.
General Thieu, when asked
about the closure of the news-
papers, declared: "Even in a de-
mocracy, one has the right to
suppress newspapers that aid
one's enemies." Echoed Chief of
Police Loan: "Democracy is fine
for the politicians, but me, I fav-
or national discipline." (Wash-
ington Post, September 3). Earlier
General Ky had been more spe-
cific on "democracy" and had
stated that he "might respond mil-
itarily if a civilian whose policies
he disagreed with won the elec-
tion. In any democratic country,
you have the right to disagree
with the views of others."
And on July 27, General Ky re-
peated, "If any opposition ticket
in South Vietnam's presidential
elections should win by trickery,
I will overthrow it." Who else
in South Vietnam could use trick,
but the junta itself? General Ky's
threat came at the time when,

at his instigation, a
committee" was formed
as a kitchen cabinet for
government if the Thieu-
et won.
All these unnecessary
tions and threats were ta
even possible competitors
cluded in advance from1
General Duong Van M:
Minh) former chief of s
Dr. Au Truong Thanh
Minister of Economy and
who planned to run on
platform, were banned f
the September 3 show. V
ton put the final touch by
a 22-man Presidential
guided by former Am
Henry Cabot Lodge who
enly favored previous mil
gimes in South Vietnam.r
sion members, feted by
government and U.S.1
escorted by government
communicating with p
government interpreters
half a dozen polling stat
824 in all) and has passe
dict: Good show. "Good
wholesome," Ambassado
The results of the elec
percent of people voted
as predicted by the U.S.
in Saigon. The Thieu-Ky
ticket won - 35 percen

votes. Already 7 out of 10 civilian
candidates have lodged protest of
fraud with the Constituent As-
sembly, which will have until Oc-
tober 2 to certify the validity of
the elections. Dh. Phan Khac Suu,
the civilian candidate who finish-
ed third and who is also the
Chairman of the Constituent As-
sembly, complained that "in many,
many areas, his workers had esti-
mated the turnout at only 10
Lots of complaints will come but
it is not going to change the sit-
uation anyway.
ONE SURPRISE to Washing-
ton: A Saigon lawyer, Mr. Truong
Dinh Dzu who campaigned on the
platform of peace and against the
military junta in the clearest
terms possible, finished second
with 17 per cent of the votes. Why
were Washington and the U.S.
mission in Saigon surprised? If
there is any indication at all of
the mood and desire of the Viet-
Press." namese people, it is their obvious
Mr Ky concern about war and about the
Mr KYcorrupted dictatorship of the mili-
tary. Of all the 11 candidates, only
one advocated war. Even General
"military Thieu talked about peace and ne-
to serve gotiations. But the Vietnamese
the new have no voice in this war. La-
-Ky tick- mented columnist Joseph Kraft
from Saigon: "But as long as Sai-
precau- gon thinks victory, it is very hard
%ken, and for Washington to move toward
were ex- settlement. And thus the present
the race, outlook despite the new setting
inh (Big created by the new elections, re-
tate, and mains barren."
, former Washington and Saigon do not
Finance think only victory but they ex-
a peace pect "representative, democratic
rom run- government" to emerge even with
an old cast. But the elections are
only the first act of the show-
ill set for there is more to come.
Washing- In the coming weeks there will
y sending be a deadly struggle between Gen-
mission eral Thieu and Vice Air Marshal
abassador Ky. Ky is not going to be a fig-
had op- urehead vice-president who will
litary re- easily relinquish both the prem-
The mis- iership and the air command with
y Saigon the attendant profits and powers,
Embassy, But Thieu, cunning and less talk-
t agents, ative may strike first. There will
eople by be organized opposition which
s, toured logically will 'join the Buddhists
tions (8,- who are preparing for their com-
d its ver- ing struggle against the illegal,
, orderly, unjust Buddhist Charter imposed
r Lodge on them by the junta on July 18.
In the final act of the show,
tions: 83 there will be a lone actor: the
-exactly United States, with its suffocat-
Embassy ing military might, against a back-
military ground of dead bodies and burned
at of the villages of a deserted Vietnam.


A New Hope in Washington

Washington as head of the newly-re-
rganized government of the District of
Columbia is to be heartily applauded. In
a time when increasing attention is being
turned to the plight of our major cities,
the nation's capital is fortunate in pro-
curing an able administrator who is also
a local resident for its top executive.
.The city is doubly fortunate in that
tlie appointment of Washington, a Negro,
represents a major step-in the direction
of representative government for its citi-
zens. Formerly headed by three Presi-
dent-appointed commissioners, the D.C.
gdvernment has long been a model of in-
If approved by Congress, Commission-
er-designate Washington will become the
city's first single executive since the last
elective government was dissolved in 1876.
The President's reorganization plan,
which passed a test vote in the House of
Representatives August 9, provides for a
commissioner to act as the city's "mayor,"
aided by a nine-man city council. All 10
positions are President-appointed and
must be approved by the Senate. Sup-
porters of eventual home rule for the
District of Columbia hope that the new
organization will be both more repre-
sentative of the city's residents and more
conducive to a dynamic local government
The Daily is a member of the Associated Press and
Collegiate Press Service.
Summer subscription rate: $2.00 per term by carrier
($2.50 by mail); $4.00 for entire summer ($4.50 by
1aily except Monday during regular academic school
Daily except Sunday and Monday during regular
summer session.
second class postage paid at Ann Arbor, Michigan.
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48104.
Edtofril Staff

than the old scheme. A demonstration
that area people can handle the city's
problems might well be a maj or step on
the road to self-government for Wash-
Race relations and other District prob-
lems are going to require superhuman
corrective efforts. Like other cities, the
nation's capital is plagued with more than
its share of slums, crime, air and water
pollution, poor schools, traffic chaos and
other similar troubles.
No one in any large urban area has
come up with any "sure-fire" solutions
to these problems, but it seems highly
likely that a single "mayor" would pro-
vide much more effective leadership in
tackling the issues than a three-man
Board of Commissioners.
UNFORTUNATELY, no amount of ad-
ministrative finesse can solve the cap-
ital's chief problem, finances. Due to its
peculiar statusrunder therConstitution,
the city is forced to operate on...a very
tight budget, since most of its funds must
be appropriated by Congress in lieu of
real estate taxes on some of the city's
most valuable property, which is govern-
But the Congress is notoriously tight-
fisted in regard to the District, so Wash-
ington, who is fortunately experienced in
dealing with Capitol Hill, will have to be
prepared to use all his, persuasive powers
in convincing Congress to give the city
a workable budget.
WASHINGTON HAS a challenging job
ahead of him, but it is a challenge
which he is capable of meeting. If he
succeeds as the District of Columbia's
first "mayor" in almost a century, the
success may well pay off with a model
city for the nation and an elective gov-
ernment for himself and his fellow-Wash-

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Draft Counseling: A Measure of Growing Dissent

ing is creating a newer New
Left, presenting a common pro-
gram for usually-divided militants,
liberals, and moderates, and cre-
ating a new and commanding pro-
test against the war in Vietnam.
The resistance appeals to pre-
viously disaffected or uninterested
youths whose protest can be a
powerful impetus for any new po-
litical thrust. And the basis of the
resistance is a simple, direct belief
that the refusal of thousands to
make war can parry government
resolve-and that everyone from
blond suburbanites to black ghetto
militants can participate.
and aversions to the draft and

dergraduates. But along with grad-
uate students and non-students,
undergraduates are increasingly
seeking advice on the draft, father
than forgetting about it in the
comfort of their temporary defer-
Over 60 new counselors came
out of a training seminar late last
month at Antioch College, and they
will work throughout the Midwest.
Jim Lafferty, a prime mover of a
year-old program in Detroit, says
that there are counseling services'
in almost every large campus and
major city in the country.
Student Government Council is
currently developing its own draft
counseling service with seven ad-
visors trained this summer by the
American Friends Service Com-
mittee. On campus the SGC coun-
seling sessions can be used by

The counselors' problems are
often knottier than those of per-
sons who seek their advice. One
Detroit counselor last year was en-
rolled for graduate study in four
schools at once including an On-
tario school; he had moved to
Canada without informing his
draft board. He plans to leave the
U.S. again this year, although
possibly temporarily, to attend
classes full-time at the University
of Western Ontario. He says it
would take him five years' resi-
dence in Canada to become a cit-
izen, and that he also wants to
study in Europe next year. He isn't
sure he will be able to get either
an American or a Canadian pass-
port although he plans to apply
for a Canadian identification
passports, something that generally
is issued only to displaced persons
cnfiliiir i r~a nfin rr a noin ,,or'

Their advice is pragmatic. Even
counselors who strongly believe in
conscientious objection usually ad-
vise persons to seek "easier" de-
ferments when they can, mainly
because they discourage drawing
attention to a potential draft re-
sistor. C.O. requirements are still
difficult to meet despite court de-
cisions which open the classifica-
tion to persons who are outside
pacifistic religions. "Don't apply
for C.O. status," says a Detroit
counselor, "unless you plan on
spending some time in jail."
Similarly, while the counselors
cooperate with Canadians eager to
bring draft resistors to their coun-
try, they rarely advise an anti-
draft exile. The counselors feel
Canada-bound resistors will be
arrested if and when they return-
and they urge less radical resist-

lers can present effective hardship
cases to their draft boards. College
drop-outs working in hospitals, for
example, can often be deferred be-
cause their work is classified as
vital to the welfare of the nation.
The impact on the selective
service is still uncertain, accord-
ing to Lafferty, and although he
says up to 100 persons may be
counseled in the Detroit area per
week, there are no indications
how many have avoided the draft.
But the program has drawn to-
gether various groups which usual-
ly cannot agree on programs.
While black power advocates-who
regularly counsel Negroes on draft
hLternatives-cannot agree with
white liberals on some issues, they
meet collectively to plan draft re-
sistance tactics.
COUNSELING has received sur-

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