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December 03, 1969 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-12-03

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d I

Seventy-nine years of editorial freedom
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 Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in all reprints.

NIGHT EDITOR: JiM NEUBACHER

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1969

I

What a lousy day
to be I orn

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-I teve aizalone

MOTHERHOOD has just been dropped
as a sacred national value. Men of
draft age unfortunate enough to be born
on a lousy day have all the reason they
need to curse the day, or date, they were
born. And millions of distraught parents
are bearing the brunt of criticism f o r
Nixon's lottery. Now all we have left to
venerate are apple pie and hot dogs.
If people are wondering what this all
means to a II-S, especially to those who
"didn't pull through," see if this sounds
familiar:
An unsuspecting, yet studious fellow is
at work on the night of December first.
Not having watched t h e seven o'clock
news, he has successfully persuaded him-
self that the spreading panic on campus
will not reach him. Not that night, any-
way.
Suddenly his roommate and a friend
storm in, one of them half in tears, the
other laughing hysterically. The laughing
one controls himself long enough to spit
out two words: "twenty-one." After the
two are helped back to sanity, they re-
'Filthy' repression
ANN ARBOR'S facsimile of Atty. Gen.
John Mitchell, Washtenaw County
Prosecutor William Delhey, has been
about his business of repression for sev-
eral months on the Ann Arbor Argus ob-
scenity case.
Although most readers of the under-
iground paper have by now forgotten
about the publication of a photo of City
Councilman James Stephenson with a
drawing of a penis superimposed on it
which resulted in an obscenity suit for
Editor Ken Kelley, the case drags on.
Legal briefs have been filed, press con-
ferences held and, most recently, the
ACLU has backed the Argus position. In
the civil liberties brief, Law School Prof.
David Chambers said the underground
paper should not be subject to obscenity
laws because it is "devoted almost ex-
clusively to comment and criticism of
government policy." Still, the costly legal
battle goes on.
AND IT IS all quite ridiculous. If, as
offended citizens charge, the ques-
tionably picture was tasteless, gross and
personally insulting, it should be ignored,
not celebrated. If the Argus cartoon was
damaging, then the councilman should
have sued for libel, and the county prose-
cutor, like the more prudent city attor-
ney, should have declined to label the
picture "obscene."
In the final analysis, obscenity statutes
cannot preserve the moral fiber of society
and serve only to stifle freedom of ex-
pression.
--H.G.

veal to their friend that they are both in
terrible position for getting drafted.
Just out of curiosity, the young man
asks what number September 14 drew in
the lottery.
THE REST OF THE NIGHT was spent,
no doubt, making frantic, even angry
phone calls to friends, and to parents.
What is a poor mother to reply when her
son demands an answer to "Why couldn't
you hold me in that damned w o m b of
yours for one more day?"
It is shameful that one of the f i r s t
windfalls of this draft "reform" has been
its disasterous affect on t h e American
family unit.
It is difficult to look at this lottery sys-
tem with a straight face, and probably
this is best. Just as it is bad to take other
forms of gambling too much to heart -
or wallet - so it is now with the draft.
The humor ends, though, when a draft-
eligible person with a lousy birthday
realizes that life is a giant bingo card,
and that he lost the game nineteen' years
ago.
BUT LOTTERIES have a long history in
America. One of the most recent is the
New York state education lottery, in
which the state government has bdt the
people that paying t a x e s can be fun.
Judging from the condition of schools in
that state, it looks like Albany is losing
the bet.
Then there are the two lotteries which
the whole nation can play: the color and
religion game. Everyone is automatically
entered at birth. The object of this one
is to draw the parents with the best racial
and religious genetic makeup. The stakes
in these games are obvious, and you can
almost always spot the losers.
In keeping with this spirit of chance
and arbitrariness, what could be more
natural than to make a new lottery in
which a man's date of birth could well be
a matter of life and death?
This is a reform, this lottery of Nixon's,
which really gets to the heart of the in-
equities of the draft. And how ingenious
it is. If a person gets drafted now, and he
happens to get killed, to whom can he
point an accusing finger but to L a d y
Luck?
THE NEW LOTTERY'S solitary benefit
is that draft eligibles can plan their
futures with a good deal more certainty
than under the old system, w h e r e 26
year olds were often in as much or more
jeopardy as 19 year olds.
But all t h e injustices based on resi-
dence, race, occupational deferments,
student deferements, and yes, exemption
on account of sex, a r e still allowed to
keep their grip on the draft laws of Amer-
ica. But to the winners of all the lotteries
in this country, congratulations.

JAMES WECHSLERs EMS
The nation goes on trial

HAS THE total, futile horror of
the Vietnam war so numbed
American sensibilities that t h e
storm over the massacre in t h e
My Lai section of Song My village
will subside as swiftly as the fur-
or over the Green Beret murder
case?
One asks the- qu-stion appre-
hensively because there are al-
ready voices saying that the epi-
sode must be seen "in perspec-
tive" and that slaughter is, after
all, inherent in the nature of
guerrilla war, and remember t h e
Viet Cong at Hue, and so forth.
On the floor of the U.S. Senate
there is Sen. Hollings (D-S.C.)
querulously asking whether we are
"going to take every helicopter
pilot who makes a mistake and
call him a murderer."
For many Americans (how can
one precisely estimate the num-
ber?) soothing sounds multiply
the infamy and the tragedy. If
a large part of the country is pre-
pared to accept and forget what
occurred-and surely there is no
longer real doubt about the mag-
nitude of the crime--there can be
no more serious excuse for fur-
ther debate about an "honor-
able" settlement. A small Com-
munist power and its Viet Cong
allies, unaided by Chinese or Rus-
sian troops, will have finally done
to America what the massive leg-
ions of the Berlin-Tokyo-Rome
axis could not accomplish - de-
stroyed our sense of humanity and
rendered us indistinguishable from
those we brand uncivilized.
Perhaps the poisons of t h i s
wretched war has already infected
us so deeply that a fatal sickness
of spirit was already irretrievable.
But this some of us have still re-
fused to believe; that is why My
Lai becomes so crucial a test of
our capacity for moral passion and
why it reduces to criminal absurd-
ity any arguments for prolonga-
tion of our presence in Vietnam
and all the tortured dreams of
"Vietnamizing" the war. Can we
redeem My Lai Lai by insuring

that Vietnamese are encouraged to
'nurder each other while we revert
to the role of "advisers"?
Perhaps most important, is there
a vestige of justification left for
our protection of the Saigon re-
gime that still so coldly and cyni-
cally seeks to hide a story that has
shaked the world?
THE COMPLICITY between the
American military "investigators"
and their Saigon counterparts who
successfully delayed disclosure of
this barbarism for some 20 months
is beyond dispute. Many men must
ask themselves too-as Vice Presi-
dent Agnew will not-how the
atrocity escaped the notice of TV
and press representatives for so
long, and why it might yet remain
untold if it had not been for the
conscience of a lone ex-GI whose
initiative triggered the troubled
outcries of others.
It is (of course, a point for "our
side," if any scorecard can mean
anything in these matters, that a
light was finally flashed on that
dark hielIlhole, and that a measure
of pursuit has begun. But will it
be relentlessly carried forward, or
will a handful of scapegoats suf-
fice? Plainly, too many men have
known too much for too long, and
some of them must retain v e r y
high rank. Will we ever meet
them? And will Thieu's henchmen
be spared lest full disclosure of
their role in the cover-up embar-
rass this military cabal in whose
dubious cause we have squandered
so much precious life-and for
whom we serve as bodyguard?
IN THIS morbid moment there is
perhaps the fateful, merciful coin-
cidence that the revelations have
taken place almost simultaneously
with confirmation-by indirection
--of earlier signs that our part-
nership with Thieu's crewv has
been a basic barrier to progress at
the Paris peace talks. The key
sentence in Henry Cabot Lodge's
"denial" of the charges leveled by
Xuan Thuy, the North Vietnamese

delegate, is that we were being
asked to "overthrow" the Saigon
government as a prerequisite to
fruitful private negotiations with
Hanoi.
In the aftermath of the My
Lai monstrosity, will Thieu remain
our indispensable man in Saigon?
Can we maintain the fiction that
many of his countrymen w o u 1d
prefer to continue this war under
his leadership than endure the
risks of a coalition? We have of-
ten and justly decried the false-
hoods that are commonplace in
Communist propaganda. But it is
difficult to cite a bigger lie than
Thieu's assertionthat nothing of
serious significance happened in
that blood-drenched hamlet.
TO THIEU and those in Bunk-
er's establishment and in the
Pentagon who have been his spon-
sors, there can only be a single
word now: "Enough." Enough of
the fantasy that he is a man of
his people, a bulwark against pri-
mitive Hanoi hordes, or, in our
President's disastrous phrase, "one
of the five greatest politicians" In
the universe. He is a shrunken
despot whose squalid squad chose
to conceal the massacre of Viet-
namese women and small children
rather than endanger his Amer-
ican connections. It was in h i s
service that war-weary, frustrat-
ed young Americans were plunged
on that ghastly day intothe bes-
tial madness now belatedly ex-
posed.
We are on trial now, perhaps as
it was inevitable we would be once
we, became entrapped in t h I s
deadly misadventure, If we fail
to respond as a nation, if we heed
the rationalizers and the on-the-
other-hand scholars, we have been
beaten more calamitously t h a n
Hanoi ever dared to visualize. And
we will never know real peace in
our lifetimes.
tNew York Post

Number Four
in quiet desperation
December 2
S[HEN I HEARD that I placed fourth in last night's sweepstakes,
my first reaction was that it was rigged, a deliberate attempt by
the Nixon Administration to intimidate and silence the dissident stu-
dent press. I envisioned Spiro instructing the youth draft advisory
council in methods of sleight of hand, getting them to palm the cap-
sules of some of the more vocal critics of the administration.
That kind of reaction proves just how hard we cling to the Amer-
icap Dream, and how we try to impose some kind of logic-even if it
is a kind of conspiratorial order-to the irrationality of modern life.
And now that the surrealistic and alcoholic illusion of last night has
worn off, the terrifying reality of the draft lottery proves instructive.
Even the most cynical and alienated members of this generation
who are still in school tended to see the draft as something that ulti-
mately could be avoided. Not even the horrors of the Vietnam war
could squelch the last vestiges of this optimistic naivete spawned by
the American Dream. Too many of us still believed that the possibilities
and promise of American life were so infinite that somehow in some
unknown way we'd never have to face the draft.
BUT THEN ONE evening, a bunch of people we don't even know,
acting for a government we don't even like, extricates our destinies
out of a glass jar. All of a sudden the world looks exceedingly bleak,
and the American Dream evaporates,
There is one thing to be said about the old method of selection.
If you get called for service, you can think that your draft is through
the spite or malevolence of real people-whether they be in Washington
or on your local draft board. It is at least a point to focus your anguish
and wrath. But this way, who can
you blame? The will of God?
Here is a painful lesson of
modern life. American society does 4
not promise boundless opportuni- -
ties. In fact, the possibilities for
many are now quite limited. Nor.
can we believe that modern life
is governed by any kind of logic, M'
either benevolent or evil, when so
much of our destiny can be de-
cided by a lottery. Our govern-
ment, which is the steward of the
omniscient technology of the
twentieth century, has given
sanction to the anonymous vicis-
situdes of fate as a way of deter-
mining our future.
This confrontation with reality
has shown us the seeming ir-
relevance of a whole body of social
criticism. We grapple with such
illusory concepts as "power elites"
and "political and economic self-
determination" when now they ap-
pear to miss the point. It is a
realization that tells us if we are
to understand our society, we
should look to Franz Kafka rather than to Karl Marx.
AND AMID THIS confusion on the day after, we the chosen ones
must ask ourselves just what the hell we are going to do. For many of
us, the only constant factor in the macabre absurdity of our situation
is the intention not to serve in the armed forces. Not as long as they
are bent on their present course of aggression in the domestic affairs
of both this nation and others as well.
This decision is not an easy one to live up to. Perhaps it will be
the only thing we do that is even faintly heroic. Perhaps it will be our
only contact with a metaphysical realm higher than our personal lives
and our grandiose technology.
I had once suspected that maybe many people would be denied
the opportunity to make this decision, and many have been. It is
not inconceivable that a society that has insulated us from many of.
the agonies of life-almost even from death itself-would deny those
who came to feel that this decision was the only meaningful one left
for an individual to control his own life. But those that haven't can per-
haps be grateful.
So, we will try to escape just as we would before through a few
remaining deferment possibilities, through bureaucratic bungling, or
through a blessing of some kind of physical ailment. And if they fail,
a brave few will go to jail, and the rest will leave the country. The
latter prospect is perhaps as bleak as the first.
Then what do you tell your parents and the folks back home?
They think it is all right to avoid service by some method of sneaking
out. But when these "legal" ways fail and all that is left is a moral
decision, then you will probably hear about your duty to serve your
country.
YES, THE SWEEPSTAKES have come and gone. I'm happy for
all the winners. And the losers would do well to begin reconciling them-
selves to the ominous realities of modern life. It may be useful to re-read
Kafka's The Trial. The plight of Joseph K is indeed typical. Instead of
a letter for your name you get a number. But your future is based
upon the same kind of absurd irrationality.
My birthday is February 14, Valentine's Day, Aquarius. Well, this
is the Age of Aquarius, and personally I fear what the heavens portend

for this "bright" new age.

-LEE MITGANG

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Clarifying the actions of the Residence Hall Rate Commi

ttee

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'To the Editor:
THE ARTICLE of Nov. 25, 1969,
in The Daily on a "Hearing Set
on Fee Hike for Dorms" is some-
what misleading and calls for
further elaboration and clarifica-
tion. I would like to address myself
to some of the concerns I have
after reading Miss Linden's article.
The 1970-71 Residence Hall
Rate Committee has six members,
with the Associate Director of
Housing serving as non-voting
chairman of the body. As to the
composition of the committee, two
of the members were selected by
the Inter House Assembly, two of
the members of the committee
were selected by the Student Ad-
visory Committe on Housing, and
two of the members are from the
staff of the Office of University
Housing. The committee does not
consist of five resident assistants
and another student as alleged in
the article but rather the compo-
sition of the committee is four
students and two staff members.

increases in services and the sub-
sequent need for an increase in
rates, but no single item received
support from all the students in
all the halls.
The questionnaire and its results
are being examined by the Rate
Committee. The committee has
some concerns with the question-
naire since only 560 of the 1700
students sampled returned a com-
pleted questionnaire.
IN REFERENCE to the point of
taking $20.00 of the anticipated
1970-71 increased expenses from
an educational fund, the commit-
tee was merely trying to identify
the appropriate sources of funding
certain services in the halls. As-
suming acceptance of the principle
that certain services now provided
from room and board monies more
appropriately are educational fund
expenditures, the committee hoped
to be in a position to influence the
expenditure of the current general
fund monies available as well as
make a substantive contribution to

WHEN THE committee com-
pletes its report, it will be dupli-
cated and will be made available
to any student desiring a copy.
Several groups, specifically SACH
and IHA, will be asked to consider
the recommendations contained in
the report and many of them will
no doubt do so. Following discus-
sion of the committee's recommen-
dation, it will be the responsibility
of John Feldkamp as Director of
University Housing to make his
recommendation on rates to Mrs.
Barbara Newell, Acting Vice Pres-
ident for Student Affairs. She, in
turn, will have the responsibility
of making a recommendation to
Mr. Fleming and the Regents.
The committee, I am sure, ap-
preciates the attention called to
its deliberations and invites The
Daily to send a reporter to all its
meetings.
-Edward C. Salowitz
Associate Director
University Housing
Nov. 25

people are under voting age. They
work hard and effectively to fur-
ther t h e election of candidates
like Boulding, McCarthy, a n d
Hart, to organize and run New
Mobe, and to improve the lot of
the poor. We should give them -
they must wrest from us - the
right to vote.
How can they act as they do,
considering their probable histor-
ies? Twelve years of suffering an-
tiquated, irrelevant, abrasive, bar-
gain-grade education in a society
that is gorging itself to death on
materialism.
GO GET THE RIGHT to vote,
kids. There are many of you and
you are potentially a force that
c a n accomplish through politics
what violence will never do.
'-Michael Parkis
Nov. 26
History lesson
To the Editor: '
ON READING Brue Tevine's

Anyone who saw "The Battle of
Algiers" must have been struck
by the frightening similarity to
the scene where the French com-
mander in Algiers puts out the
same line to the French press: the
longer you fellows keep reporting
all that's really going on here, the
longer and bloodier this whole
thing is going to be.
Too bad the French didn't real-
ize they could never beat down the
Algerians or keep the truth from
the French people at home. And
too bad our boys in Washington
didn't learn a little from the his-
tory of that conflict regarding our
present involvement' in Vietnam :
Hegel is probably correct in that
we learn from history t h a t we
cannot learn from it.
B u t there is another parallel
situation right n o w in America
that can no longerbe ignored or
dealt with in the same old "Civil
Rights Movement way."
"Black people in this country
form a colony, and it is not in

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