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November 04, 1969 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-11-04

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Elyr 3i$ian Bai1y
Seventy-nine years of editorial freedomt
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.

News Phone: 764-0552

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



A tale of three cities

WHILE MANY Americans are pondering
last night's televised presidential
mouthings on Vietnam, a major shift in
American policy is taking place today
at the polls in three of the nation's larg-
est cities.
Mayoral elections are being resolved in
New York, Detroit and Cleveland, and
each has evolved into a contest of who
shall shape the urban center to what
The most bitterly fought contest is,
ironically, the first to be predicted with
impunity by the pollsters. John V. Lind-
say is expected to coast to victory in New
York and spend four more bittersweet
years in the Gracie Mansion. If Lindsay
loses, it will be a great political upset and
the consequences to the city will be griev-
ious; if he wins, things may well stay the
The contests in Detroit and Cleveland
have been in lower key than the flam-
boyant stompings of Lindsay and Pro-
caccino in New York. The major issue has
been submerged by both candidates and
voters; but the real question is asked by
an advertisement for Detroit Democrat
Richard Austin-"Can you vote for a
black man for mayor?"
RACISM - LATENT and blatant -- is
the ultimate issue in Detroit and
In Ohio, a black man is placing his
record before the troubled Americans of
his city. And for his record, Carl Stokes
is taking a beating. He is charged w it h
catering to blacks and ignoring white
grievances, with handcuffing the c i t y 's
police when the blacks rioted a year ago,
with permitting criminals to run wild in
the streets.

5TOKES PERSONALLY has been waging
an impressive campaign, but he has
not been concentrating his efforts where
they belong. And in the end, he may lose
not because of white backlash, but be-
cause of a distinct disillusionment and
lack of support among blacks.
That Stokes appears to be running in
a more difficult race than Lindsay, gould
be attributed to many factors, but not the
least of these is simply that Lindsay is
white and Stokes is black. The racial ele-
ment is undeniable. For Stokes' record on
black and white issues is the contested
one, although his behavior is of the
type recommended by the Kerner Com-
IN DETROIT, meanwhile, neither t h e
f black nor the white candidate has a
record in city affairs. The black man,
Richard Austin, has been able to save the
county money in his position as Wayne
County Auditor. White candidate Roman
Gribbs has a reasonably good record as
county sheriff, but all through the cam-
paign it has been difficult to determine
what he might do as mayor.
But everyone in Detroit knows voters
will be deciding if a black man can be
mayor. Unlike Stokes, Austin has no bad
memories to stave off, but like his Cleve-
land counterpart he has failed to secure
the black vote of Detroit. .
SO THE ELECTIONS will be decided by
the people, alienated from and un-
hampered by inert political machines. If
they turn out as pessimistic pundits pre-
dict, the blacks will lose.
And the war will go on.

A prin
,JHERE will b no medal of honor cere-
mony for the private first class in-
volved in this story. His valor was of a
nature that brings no military citation.
But he has won at least a measure of im-
mortality in the remarkable chronicle
written by Dan Lang and published in The
New Yorker.
It is the condition of our time that the
young man's name is not even mentioned
because to do so, Lang- notes, "might add
to the danger he may be in."
For the heroism of "Sven Eriksson,"
the pseudonym assigned to him, was an
act of conscience (or guilt or shame if we
allow psychiatric jargon to deny nobility)
that may render him a marked man.
IN BRIEF, he was a member of a five-
man patrol, four of whom took time out
from war to rape a Vietnamese girl,
murder her and thereafter leave her mu-
tilated body in a mountain brush.
Eriksson was the only one of the five
who refused to participate in the assault
and subsequently realized that he could not
endure existence on ┬░arth unless he ex-
posed what had happened. '
Despite discouragements and warnings
(some seemingly ugly and hard-boiled and
others that might be called well-inten-
tioned , Eriksson persisted in his lonely
THAT courts martial ultimately ensued.

zitive story of moden

and three of tha four finally were given
varying sentences is some small redemp-
tion; there are armies in which an Erik-
sson would have been summarily banish-
ed, in one form or another, for daring to
speak out against a savagery of war and
acting, one can almost hear it said in a
barracks, like a Boy Scout or a Christer
or some other breed of sissy.
Yet he met frustration and rasistance
on many levels in seeking justice within
"the system"; at many moments during
the four proceedings (the record on the
cases now fill seven large volumes) he was
made to feel that he was defendant rath-
er than accuser, with his motivations and
manhood under fire.
And since his return to civilian 1 i f e
eighteen months ago, he and his young
wife have been shadowed by the aware-
ness-among other things-that two of
the four who exhibited no remorse o v e r
their deeds may be eligible for parole be-
fore long and free to seek revenge.
IN ALL the cases it would be difficult
to say that the punishments fit the crime:
one of the defendants was spared entirely
because his confession was ruled "tainted"
by failure to apprise him of his rights and
a second was liberated by tha command-
ing general at Fort Leavenworth who com-
muted his term to 22 months, including the
months he had already served.
A judicial body might find it hard to

equate the sentences-no one finally re-
ceived more than an eight year term, with
parole possible in less than half that time
-with sentences administered to some
young men whose offense is a distaste for
killing unfounded on any history of rs-
ligious objection..
But such questions must be viewed
against the larger screen of war, in which
distinctions between legal and xv a n t o n
brutality are continuously blurred.
TO RECAPITULATE the harrowing de-
tails of the rape, the slaying, the shadings
of sadism - and the torment of Eriksson
as he stood by without undertaking some
desperate if surely doomed intervention -
is impossible here. A recital of fragments
would be an inadequacy and an injustice
to Lang's brilliant, shattering 23,000 word
One can imagine the full text being re-
cited in its entirety at a moratorium rally,
and perhaps it would say more than much
of the rhetoric that has inevitably be-
come repetitive.
But it would be a distortion if it were
read by anyone carrying a Viet Cong
flag and piously imptting to "our side" a
mnonpoly on barbarism.
It can be spoken only by someone to
whom war itself is the adversary. and who
pities both the victim and, the brutalized

FOR THIS is, above all, a new glimpse
of the ancient countenance of war, ren-
dered only more hideous by the know-
ledge that innumerable Vietnamese have
been subjected to such agonies for so many
years by many who profess to be rescu-
ing them.
Now, near the end of the seventh decade
of the twentieth century, we are still
quarreling about qualitative degrees of
The Green Beret case is abruptly drop-
ped because it might reveal too much
about officially-sponsored murder: what
this patrol did to a weeping Vietnamese
girl becomas the subject of trial, but such
episodes rarely achieve the notice accorded
a local mugging,. and, except in this rare
instance where the story has been dili-
gently explored, they ;re merely added to
the archives of the business of war.
CONCEIVABLY Lang's work, if faith-
fully reproduced as a film and widely cir-
culated as a book. could resurrect issues
that transcend Vietnam,
That one enlisted man rejected the mad-
ness (thereby inviting speculation about
his sanity and gallantryi is the affirmation
which peculiarly elevates this horror story.
T' in the end he remains a haunted,
perhaps hunted figure. It is on the battle-
fi'ld wxhere awards for bravery are won.
Will th at be the aternally primitive story
of modern man?
New Ytork Post


More praise


Dave McMurray

Exceeding the speed' limit

UNTIL LAST WEEK, it seemed that the
only similarity between Chief Justice
Warren Burger and his predecessor was
the name Warren. But now h o p e s are
slightly higher that the vigor of the War-
ren Court will not be lost in the absence
of Earl Warren. In a unanimous decision,
the Court left no doubt that segregated
school systems had run out of time, and
that full integration must be accomplish-
ed immediately.
Realistically, Warren Burger's first de-
cision approaches the closest thing to an
"open and shut" case that the Supreme
Court can claim jurisdiction in. Fifteen
years ago, in Brown v. Board of Edu-
cation of Topeka, the Supreme C o u r t
cast aside the doctrine of separate but
equal established in Plessy v. Ferguson
(1895). The argument was clear then and
the Court was unanimous as it is now.
THE FOURTEENTH Amendment guar-
antees "equal protection of the laws."
It was decided fifteen years ago t h a t
"separate but equal" dual school districts
are inherently unequal. "Segregation of
white and colored (sic) children in pub-
lic schools has a detrimental effect upon
the colored children. The impact is great-
er when it has the sanction of the law;
for the policy of separating the races is
usually interpreted asrdenoting the in-
feriority of the Negro group." H a v i n g
broken through the fiction of dual school
systems prevalent in the South, the
Court ordered integration "with all de-
liberate speed."

But Southern cops don't like speeders.
The Court in its carefully-worded opinion
of 1954 avoided putting too much pres-
sure on the South to comply immediately
with its integration order. At the time,
it was believed (and probably rightly so),
that to force rapid compliance would be
bloody a n d impossible, especially since
Eisenhower might not have backed up
the Court's order with the force which
would have been necessary.
AFTER FIFTEEN years of waiting, the
Burger Court feels that dual school
systems whereever they occur are no
longer excusable. It has ordered imme-
diate action on the part of deep South
school districts, and has refused to hear
a n y further litigation in these matters
until after desegregation orders have
been complied with.
In the interest of consistency with past
decisions, in the interest of a modern in-
terpretation of the Constitution, and in
the interest of judicial credibility and in-
dependence, the Burger Court had to do
what it did last week, and do it unani-
mously. If Nixon is hoping that Burger
will see elephants every time he decides
a case, then he is being badly advised.
The Court has hurt Nixon's "Southern
Strategy," perhaps irrevocably, and hav-
ing alienated many liberals, he and the
Republican party may now be losing their
recently-found racist support.

To the Editor:
on teaching fellow David McMur-
ray (Daily, October 26), is un-
doubtedly one of the best pieces
I have read in The Daily in the
five years I have been a faithful
reader. He has used the journal-
istic art with perception and fine
craftmanship, by letting the ob-
vious villains hang themselves
with the substance of their own
venality and crassness.
As an undergraduate, I was a
student of Dave McMurray's, and
found him to be as fine a teacher
as I encountered in my four years
in Ann Arbor; as an undergrad-
uate, I was also witness to the
so-called "professionalism" of a
university faculty that uses this
term as a smoke-screen for "pro-
Niess, and others involved in the
McMurray case really were work-
ing for was not academic excel-
lence - rather, they were only
concerned with maintaining a
counter-productive system of feu-
dal lordship. TPhey have, as ten-
ured members of the faculty, cer-
tain personal and self-seeking in-
terests to protect, and when these
prerogatives are challenged by
someone in a less firm position,
they are able to carry out their
inquisition and persecution with
The McMurray case is of cru-
cial importance to the future of
the University for it indicates the
cavalier ease with which a few
well-placed individuals can carry
out a personal vendetta with ab-
solute protection. I feel that Niels,
O'Neill, Dean Shaw, Dean Hays,
and the curriculum committee all
owe full explanations of their be-
havior in this case to the Univer-
sity community. And if they7 are
unable to justify either their com-
plicity with or failure to oppose
the dismissal (and it was, clear-
ly, dismissal) of David McMurray,
the t he University community
had better look very closely at a
tenure system that breeds rivalry
and inequity, a course-creation
mechanism that rewards coin-
placence, and, indeed, an educa-
tional system that recognizes the
self-interest of an elite while ig-
noring entirely the interests of
those who allegedly are supposed
to benefit from that system.
Daily have, in clearly and ex-

plicitly airing the matters involv-
ed in this case, performed a val-
uable service to t he University
community; if t h a t community
does not respond to the questions
raised with a full-evaluation and
re-structuring of its academic
processes, then it no longer de-
serves to call itself an educational
institution-unless it is only con-
cerned w i t h educating its stu-
dents in the methedology a n d
ideology' of elitism totalitarian-
ism and selfish comfort.
-Daniel Okrent, '69
Oct. 29
[cri fiction
To the Editor:
THE ARTICLE "Perry School
project proves method works," in
The Daily (Oct. 30), would tend, I
believe, to create some false im-
pressions. pwould like to clarify
the following points:
1. My role in the project is not
central as the repeated use of my
name might suggest. As I pointed
out to your reporter, Wayne Pat-
terson and Helen Smiler have been
doing a greatdeal of organization-
al work. I merely teach mny class.
., My experience, last spring was
not typical. There were a variety
of special difficulties that limited
my success. Most of the people
working in the project had far
more positive results.
3. The significance of elemen-
tary school pupils voting for the
extension of a math program (in
my absence) should be emphasized.
It is very strong evidence that,
even in my class, something was.
indeed, accomplished.
DESPITE v a r i o u s difficulties
that our project may have had
land who would expect a radically
new program to begin easily?
Perry School has asked us back
and we have come back.
-Prof. Art Schwartz
Mathematics department
Oct. 30
To the Editor:
ONE IMPORTANT correction
needs to be made in your report
of Wednesday night's meeting for
the Environmental Teach-in. You
said the meeting was attended by
"students and faculty from the
School of Natural Resources and
other interested persons.",
The fact is that the 300 people
there included students and fac-

. .


.2- ..
1 .

"After Spiro worms up the audience,
anything I say sounds great !"

ulty not only from Natural Re-
sources but also from a large num-
ber of other units of the Univer-
sity, including the departments of
Botany, Geography, Psychology
and Zoology of LS&A, the Law
School, and the College of Archi-
tecture and Design, to name just
a few. There were many others
from outsidehthe University com-
munity. One of the co-chairmen of
the meeting is a graduate student
in Zoology.
IT IS important that all units
of the University as well as the
Ann Arbor community involve
themselves in this teach-in as they
dia iqz: the Oct. 15 Moratorium
Every discipline, from sociology
and history to the sciences. from
law to art and architecture, can
and must contribute toward stop-
ping the rape of our environment
and restoring the world to a liv-
able condition.
Just as is the case with war.
the ultimate question is one of
human survival.
-Prof. Richard A. Cellarius
Botany Dept.
Oct. 31

f t'iN'T
A t r a


YW K6$




k(MO'? P .)W O ?A
( K(&k3, GtIAT ! (T6

icies of the Roman upper class,
who simply ignored the massive
social dislocations that resulted.
They selfishly refused to devote
resources toward the solution of
pressing social problems, and so
allowed both the agricultural and
commercial economy to deterior-
greatness' the nobility thus ach-
ieved were fraudulent in the ex-
treme, and purchased only at the
cost of internal decay and even-
tual military absolutism. Within
such an agonizing social context
Rome's alienated youth vented
their rage and frustration in the
harmless idiosyncracies to which
Reagan referred; these fads were
certainly no cause of Rome's fall.
Nor do the facts end there. One
thing especially characterizing
the age of 'greatness' w a s the
inordinate political influence be-
stowed by a whimsical power
structure on the tawdry class of
-Bruce WV. Frier
Oct. 30
'yriwi p olicy
To the Editor:
THE GENERALLY reasonable
article by Bill Dinner and Harold
Rosenthal on' Syria's ceaseless
struggle to outdo herself, neglects
to mention two pertinent facts.
The first is that Syria is the only
country that openly and clearly

kept in the notorious Damascus
prison-for over two months.
The hijackers, on the other
hand, have been released from
prison and have just been granted
significant money prizes by the
Syrian National Bank tgovern-
nent contr~olled ,
However, thy should Syria as-
sume any decent policy? After all,
Syria has just been elected to a
UN Sectuity seat to sit in judg-
ment of other internationally de-
linquent states!
AT THIS opportunity I like to
urge readers who have any hope
left in UN operations to write a
shomt letter to Secretary General
U-Thant (United Nations Plaza,
N.Y., N.Y., 10017) to act in behalf
of the two civilian prisoners whose
only crime against Syria was to
be forcefully hijacked from Rome
to Damascus.
-Prof. R. Kopelman
Dept. of Chemistry
Oct. 30
J. Frank Lawtion
To the Editor:
IN A time when the "old college
try" and "school spirit" are being
drowned out by other activities on
campus, wa feel that we should
stop and pay tribute to J. F r e d
Lawton for his many contribu-
tins and years of dedication to
the University of Michigan.
He loved this university, and he
was proud of it. We'll miss him.
--The Druids


- *" '1

cr ,.

. _
,' G ' ,

Romian history
To the Editor:
VON HOFFMAN'S bright little
satire rightly discounts the Ro-
man/American analogies in Ron-
ald Reagan's recent speeches.
Such moralistic pseudo-analogies.
which onne merev cratdi nnw

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