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September 15, 1968 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-09-15

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Sunday, September 15, 1968


Pace Five


uyc irc


Germ warfare
in the research labs
Chemical and Biological Warfare, by Seymour M. Hersh
Dobbs-Merrill, $7.50.
THE PROBLEM OF secret research has posed itself at one time
or another to many reflective members of the academic and
scientific community. Should a university, for example, insist upon
free and open inquiry in its research and public dissemination of
scientific knowledge? Or are the interests of the university better
served by compromising with the interests of the military and
undertaking secret research in return for funds and facilities that
might not otherwise be available?
When this dilemma confronts the individual directly in his
professional activity, his final decision often demands the most dis-
criminating value judgments. The appeal, extent, and quality of
certain kinds of secret research and -its effects on scientific inte-
grity and on the scientific community in general are several of
the issues embodied in Seymour Hersh's recent book, Chemical and
Biological Warfare
The immediate goals of chemical and biological warfare
(CBW) research are diametrically opposed to those of most re-
search in medicine, public health, and agriculture. An Army spokes-
man told Congress in 1959 that "the characteristics we are looking
for in these (chemical) agents are in general exactly opposite to
what the-pharmaceutical firms want in drugs, that is, the unde-
sirable side effects." The Army's current chemical arsenal ranges
from the relatively mild chloroacetophenone, the "tear gas" used
in Vietnam and Chicago, to lethal nerve gases which kill by as-
phyxiation after paralysis of the respiratory muscles. According to
Hersh, the biological agents which are considered to be of great-
est potential use in combat include, among others, plague, anthrax,
tularemia, brucellosis, and Rift Valley fever, a viral disease to
which Asians are particularly susceptible.
HAVE THE CBW researchers actually dedicated their exper-
tise to the task of developing ch1emicals and biologicals that inca-
pacitate and kill? This appears' doubtful. One microbiologist who
worked on germ warfare at Aerojet-General Corp. told Hersh that
the workers there "never talked about politics, never talked about
the implications of their work." A new employe at the Dugway
Proving'Grounds in Utah admitted that "after five or six weeks I'd
forgotten what they're doing here"
Instead, the appeal of CBW research appears to be mainly cir-
cumstantial. A former chemist at Dugway told Hersh that the
young science graduates there "would gladly have worked content-
edly at the most dastardly of weapons had the situation been even
faintly resembling a research or development laboratory."
One of the strongest inducements to do CBW research is mon-
ey. The last CBW budget to be made public, that for fiscal 1964,
included $295 million for CBW research, development, and produc-
tion. Recent cutbacks in federal research spending due to the Viet-
nam war have given CBW research promoters a greater edge in
the scientific manpower market. Hersh tells of a microbiological
consultant for Fort Detrick, the Army's biological warfare labora.
tory, who travelled the country telling young scientists he had
money to pass out if they would participate in research on heter-
ologous recombination, a new method of breeding characteristics
such as drug resistance into bacteria.
THIS ORDER OF doing things, that is, selection of a specific
problem by the funding agency followed by recruitment of research
personnel is somewhat irregular in scientific research. Usually a
scientist conceives a research problem which interests him and
then seeks financial support from an appropriate funding agency.
The funding agency itself usually has no prior interest other than
a mandate to support research in a general area such as mental
health. The specific mission-oriented character of CBW research
allows the military an extraordinary degree of control over the
conduct of the research. In practice, this method of funding ap-
pears to have had an adverse effect on the quality of CBW re-
search personnel. According to a White House aide the Pentagon
is perplexed by its "inability to get first-rate scientists in all fields."
Hersh cites microbiology and genetics as the most critical fields.
Although the scientific quality of research related to CBW
can probably best be judged by disinterested specialists, Hersh in-
cludes personal testimony from former CBW researchers about the
quality of their work. One chemist admitted to the practice of
"dry-labbing," that is, giving his superiors the experimental results
they wanted. He indicated that the section leaders themselves par-
ticipated in this falsification of data. Such breaches of scientific
integrity are much more difficult to detect in secret research than
in research open to review and criticism.

The military establishment is understandably sensitive about
the opinion of the press and the public concerning CBW. One arti-
culate Chemical Corps officer is reported to have said, "Every time
we open our mouths we get clobbered." In 1959, the Chemical
Corps initiated Operation Blue Skies, the first of several public
relations campaigns in behalf of CBW. High-ranking officers gave
speeches before medical societies, businessmen's organizations, and..
various other gatherings. Many of these meetings and symposia
were sponsored by established professional societies such as the
American Medical Association and the American Chemical So-
APPARENTLY THE Madison Avenue approach was effective.
The sheer volume of present-day CBW research takes one by sur-
prise. Hersh's description reads almost like a who's who of univer-
sity and aerospace research laboratories. The Pentagon supplied
Hersh with a list of over 50 colleges and universities which receiv-
ed Army CBW contracts. When queried, most of these institutions
denied that they were conducting such research. (This University is
mentioned four times, the Vice President for Research once.) The
sensitivity of the high-ranking military about CBW appears to be
exceeded only by that of the college administrators.
Hersh is a former Washington correspondent for the Associa-
ted Press. It is easy to say that he had an axe to grind about CBW
and that he selected his material accordingly. But he is probably
no more guilty of this than other contributors to the same field.
Hersh's book should help to balance the public literature on CBW
which has been overshadowed in recent years by authors from the
military establishment. Two examples are B. P. McNamara, an
official at the Army's Edgewood Arsenal and J. H. Rothschild, a
retired Army general.
As in the case of nuclear weapons, there have been several
attempts to ban- CBW. These include the Geneva protocol of 1925
and a World Medical Association resolution in 1954. Future at-
tempts to ban CBW may face great difficulties. Besides the char-
acteristic inertia of the great powers, the smaller nations may be

An omelette approach to Americ

Towards a New Past: Dissenting Essays in
American History, edited by Barton A. Bern-
stein. Pantheon, $6.95.
This is Pantheon anti-textbook No. 2, in
which are clearly demonstrated the pitfalls of
knee-jerk, exploratory forays into dissent. The
editors apparently intended the series (featuring
new views in a number of disciplines; the first,
The Dissenting Academy, was a general survey
of the humanities) to mount broadsides against
the crusty dogmas that insulate the ivied halls.
And truly, for whatever it is worth, this safari
into the jungles of American history has brought
along rebuttals to every' theory now prevalent in
the historiography.
What causes this particular shot to miss its
target is some very bad collecting and editing.
This is curious because Barton Bernstein, the
editor, has also written two of the essays and
the introduction, and seems in the essays at
least to know what he is about, whatever one
may think of his arguments. The book is, on the
whole, misconceived, uneven, and frustratingly
In the first place, there is little cohesion.
Many of the essays merely summarize the find-
ings of the authors' ongoing research efforts-
Some of this research is very good, but little at-

tempt is made to put the findings into perspec-
tive, to explore their implications, or to link
them to a new dissenting overview of the Ameri-
can past.
An example of this is Michael Lebowitz's con-
tribution, entitled "The Jacksonians: Paradox
Lost." One of "consensus" historians' principle
theories holds that the Jacksonians were inci-
pient capitalists who nevertheless preached the
virtues of a less economically complex world.
Lebowitz contends, on the other hand, that his
research has shown that the Jacksonians were
more likely to be declining than rising farmers.
Taken out of perspective (taken, in other words,
as Lebowitz presents them) which of these
views is more left-leaning? Does either of them
on the face seem to pose a "dissent" to any-
thing more fundamental than the other?
This unfortunate habit of offering minimally-
explained results of research as dissent is at one
extreme of the things wrong with this book. At
the other extreme is the game Bernstein plays in
his essay "The New Deal: The Conservative
Achievements of Liberal Reform." There is noth-
ing especially novel or even radical in the ob-
servation that reforms proposed in the name of
liberalism are just the not-too-little not-too-
much adaptations the system needs to make it
viable; that is, liberalism is the best conserva-
tism, the best way to maintain the broad out-
lines of the system.

All Bernstein has done is to repeat this time-
worn analysis and then, unlike the consensus
historians, condemn this conservative impact of
the New Deal. The analysis in both cases can be,
identical; it is consistent with the views of the
dissenters and the upholders of consensus alike.
All that is different is the value judgment.
Some of the individual efforts in this book
are, to be sure, laudable. For those who like
Christopher Lasch, Pantheon has republished-
in a lengthened form-one of Lasch's better es-
says from The Nation. Robert Freeman Smith
points out the way to an analysis of American
foreign policy that takes the best of William Ap-
pleman Williams while eschewing his seeming
Open Door conspiracy theory. Stephen Them-
strom has produced some interesting research
into mobility, although the results are now a
few years old. and certainly could be taught
with honesty and impunity by most consensus
Others are not so good. Eugene Genovese
needs 40-odd pages to say what could have been
said in five or six, and at that seems to end up
more in sympathy with the masters than the
slaves. Marilyn Blatt Young's essay on 19th cen-
tury American expansion into the Far East
seems pointless.
But the real problems with the book rest
with the work taken as a whole, and not with

an history
the individual essays- Only with a full-blown
radical critique of American history (with side
essays jumping off that critique to each of the
individual problems) could a book of "dissent-
ing" essays in American history successfully be
pulled off.
Free-floating, disjointed essays in dissent, on
the other hand, end up as do those in this book:
they merely play games with the consensus his-
torians. They allow their intellectual opponents
to dictate the terms of debate, thus implicitly
agreeing that if the consensus historian should
win the battle, he will also win the war. Or,
worse, the dissenter plays another game where,
like Bernstein, he merely takes old facts and
tacks on new (or not so new) leftist opinion.
Even if the authors could reach no agreement
on such a perspective, the book would have been
infinitely betterwith stronger editing. The editor
of a work like this especially determines his
product's quality. He must do more than simply
collect copy; he must force his writers to stick
with their topics, to explain their theses and
those they are criticizing, to relate research and
arguments to the larger problems at issue. In
other words, they must explain the implications
of what they write.
Bernstein's failure to discipline his writers
and the impossibility of constructing a radical
analysis without any a priori perspective have
stripped this experiment of most of its value.


Undergrad education: Don't g

The reasons for coming have nothing to do with education
Chasing$ with Mr. Pearson

The Academic Revolution, by Christopher
Jencks and David Riesman. Doubleday, $10.00.
Why are you an undergraduate at the Uni-
versity of Michigan?'
It is striking that the most compelling reason
for attending this University has little or noth-
ing to do with the quality'of the undergraduate
education it offers. Students attend because the
University is close to home, because the Uni-
versity is (was) inexpensive, because of family
ties to Ann Arbor, or because of the high qual
ity and reputation of the graduate schools.
Students are drawn to this University and
universities like it by the aura of reputability
built up by the graduate faculty and the grad-
uate students. The freshman /arrives in Ann
Arbor, or Berkeley, or Madison and expects to
be confronted with the excellence in instruc-
tion and curriculum that he read about in Bar-
ron's Guide.
Instead he meets a rigidly structured program
filled with high school level courses taught by
graduate students too concerned, with prelim's
and their academic careers; prospective scholars
who have little or no experience or desire in the
field of undergraduate instruction.
He is mercilessly herded about the campus,
forced against his will to take part in such
laughably irrelevant time-wasters Es physical
education requirements. If he wants to be a so-
cial worker he must take courses in history of
art and astronomy. If he wants to be an astro-
nomer he must take courses in Spanish and
English literature. If he were smart, he would
But he doesn't. He stays either out of inertia
or out of a more insidious motive! a desire to
join the ranks of his oppressors, the faculty.
The Academic Revolution places the
blame for the decline in the quality of the
undergraduate's education squarely where it be-
longs-right in the faculty's lap. It is significant
that in their description of what Clark Kerr
calls "the great diversities and endless intricacies
of American higher education," Jencks and
Riesman barely touch upon the spectre of stu-
dent revolt against the administrations.
They predict, in one of their brief forays
into the field, that the undergraduates will win
increasing autonomy from the administration in
a social sense-but they point out that the
balance of power lies not with either students
or administrators, but with the faculty. When
the faculty supports the students demands,
either actively or tacitly by refusing to aid the
administration, the students will win the day.
When the faculty feels the students are going
too far and then sdes with the administration,
the students will lose.
Jencks and Riesman offer some -challenge to
the notion that the faculty protects undergrad-
ute rights through some commitment to liberal-
"They view the faculty and its apprentices
the 'heart of the university,' and the still
uncommitted undergraduates as an expendable

ivetup yet'.
penumbra. The easiest way to insure that the
penumbra does not interfere with the main
business of the university is 'to let its mem-
bers go their own way relatively undisturbed;
hoping that they will educate one another
or pick up something in the library or from
Perhaps this lack of concern with the personal
lives of the undergraduate is one of the most
distressing signs for the serious student who does'
not wish to become a scholar. The faculty is
moving away from its role as mentor over the
undergraduates, is losing its concern for all
facets of undergraduate life. The vacuum they
are creating is being filled by student power in
the social sphere but is not being filled at all
The hope for, the undergraduate in his Quixotic
quest for an educational climate sufited to his
needs lies no longer with the faculty but rather
with the graduate students. It is no longer,
necessary to adopt the curious mentality of
academia in order to desire a berth in the grad-
uate programs at the best universities. A soci-
ology grad does not necessarily want to be a
professor of sociology. A candidate for a PhD
in English might wish to. be a poet. It is students
like these who have the capability to improve
the situation.
They can not only feel/the weight of the con-
fining emphasis on the academic ideals of re-
search and - scholarship, they can speak with
some authority to the venerable centers of
academic power. They are not only forced to
satisfy irrelevant requirements, they can speak
with the weight of one of the chosen; one Who
has demonstrated his capability to take on the
load of s'cholarship.
If this sort of student can persuade those of
his colleagues who have what Jencks and Ries-
man term a "white-collar mentality"-that is,
those who assume that if they do as they are told
they will rise to something better and the myste-
ries of Old English requirements will be revealed
to them-they can form a collective voice to
lead the undergraduates and shake the scholastic
And, indeed, if more faculty members like
Riesman come along they may well be able
to do something from inside. .
The students and the dissident faculty had
best think well about their actions before they
attempt to fell the groves of Academe, though.
They must not underestimate the incredible,
massive power of the heads of the hierarchy and
the hierarchy itself that Jencks and Riesman
document. They must be prepared for the classic
response of the system: when a member of the
university community doesn't act like a scholar
or researcher the claim goes out that he "doesn't
belong at a university."
Perhaps this call will be true. It may well be
that the tumor of scholasticism has already
destroyed the ability of the university to serve
as an instrument of education. Perhaps the
answer lies not in reform but in exodus.
Maybe so, but let's not give up hope without a

The Case Against Congress,
by Drew Pearson and Jack An-
derson. Simon and Schuster,'
Long ago, the American peo-
ple stopped taking Congress
So when Drew Pearson-along
with his faithful Indian side-
kick Jack Anderson-set out to
write "a compelling indictment
of corruption on Capitol Hill,"
it is difficult to believe that
anyone not directly involved
suffered palpitations.
For Pearson has been indict-
ing Congressional ethics in his
syndicated Washington column
for years. Lifting his most po-
tent accusations from his thick
backlog of clippings, Pearson
has turned them into a hefty
book by splicing them together
with some surprisingly sensitive
biographies of the stars in his
private rogues gallery.
Undoubtedly the best writing
in the book is contained in his
capsulized biography of Con-
necticut's Sen. Thomas Dodd,
who has the dubious honor of
being Pearson's prize villain.
In a way there is a certain
tragedy that this flair for deft
writing-so conspicuously ab-
sent in, his highly pedestrian
Washington column-is subor-
dinated to Pearson's rather rep-
etitious political psychology.
For the basic underpinning of
almost all of Pearson's Congres-
sional vignettes of malfeasance
in office is "the prevailing atti-
tude that a Senator's actions
are beyond question."
Given the epic role that the
Dodd censure plays in Pearson's
narrative, one would think that
the affair involved the pocket-

that Dodd had invaluable con-
tacts with the White House.
Instead, as Pearson recounts
his cocker-spaniel adoration of
Johnson. he notes sadly, "De-
spite his determination to be
Lyndon' Johnson's best friend,
Dodd found himself frequently
snubbed by his idol."
But as Pearson reluctantly
drops the Dodd case, his list of
sins becomes so tedious, that
one begins to suspect that all
Pearson wanted to create was
a kind of Congressional Direc-
tory of corruption.

to be something peculiarly petty
about lifelong crusades to re-
form Congressional ethics.
In a way Pearson seems kin to
the Civil Service reformers who
turned away from trying to
grapple with the Reconstruction
in order to rail against the cor-
ruption of office.
Browsing through Pearson's
litany of corruption, it is sur-
prising how much influence can
be wielded by large corporations
in exchange for surprisingly
small campaign contributions.
Either Congressmen come aw-
fully cheap-and this is quite
plausible-or even without these
contributions our legislators, re-
flecting the age-old American
respect for weAlth, would be in-
clined out of pure humanitar-
ianism to reward successful bus-
iness firms for upholding Ameri-
can values.
Yet there is some underlying
merit to the Pearson brand of
muckraking. Given the depress-
ing fact that most members of
Congress are, to one degree or
another, political troglodytes, it
is welcome to see them called on
the carpet by Pearson, if not by
their own colleagues, for ethics
For instance, one takes a cer-
tain, almost obscene pleasure
in knowing that L. Mendel
Rivers, South Carolina's answer
to Curtis LeMay, "has been
found lying on the floor of his
office on Monday morning, sur-
rounded by empty bottles after
a weekend of drinking."
It's easy to suspect that Pear-
son feels the same way. In his
14-page chapter entitled "The
Good Guys - prinlarily George
Aiken and Mike Mansfield -
Pearson admits ruefully, "Prob-
ably the most far-out extremist
in the Senate, Strom Thurmond,
is a model of personal integrity."

It is indicative of Pearson's
perverse sense of values that he
devotes twice as much space to
"the fine art of junketing"
(which Pearson dramatically
admits cost "the taxpayers
$718,278 in 1966") than he does
to discuss the manifold rami-
fications of the oil depletion al-

Today's Writers...
Daily Editorial Director UR-
BAN LEHNER gets a chance to
compare the radical historians
with their consensus counter-
parts as an honors American
history major.
JOHN GRAY possesses the
qualifications most apt for
someone reviewing a book on
undergraduate education He
is, as a junior in the literary
college and a Daily night edi-
tor, definitely an undergrad-

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