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March 17, 1971 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1971-03-17

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Eighty years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan

A fast end to genial chats with Kissinger

420 Maynard Sty, 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.



.0 * 0 , .", -04- . -! - , I




"The thought that 10,000 committed
people would mass in Washington's
Lafayette Park to begin a long fast is
enticing and exciting. Perhaps the
government and the public would take
notice if their children were carried
off in ambulances, faint from hunger,
rather than in police paddy wagons."
-Tony Schwartz
Michigan Daily
March 13, 1971
r* *r*r
THE UNSHAVEN, early morning face of
the President of the United States fills
the screen. Nixon, dressed in a silk bath-
robe, sits with his lovely wife and ever-
so-marriageable daughter enjoying a White
House breakfast. In the background, at
first almost imperceptible, then becoming
steadily louder, is the mournful wail of an
ambulance siren. The camera focuses close-
ly on Nixon wolfing down a typical break-
fast of cottage cheese and ketchup. As
Nixon wipes the accumulated pink break-
fast residues from his jowls, the ambulance
siren becomes almost ear piercing and the
picture fades out.
Across the street from the White House,
Lafayette Park is filled with gaunt figures
- looking like extras from a medieval pas-
sion play - huddled on blankets, sipping
water and fruit juice, as they sniff the
cherry blossoms of a Washington spring.
Moving among them like snowflakes on a
windy day, are white-gowned teams of
doctors and nurses, checking pulses, carry-
ing a few emaciated bodies to stretchers,
and generally ministering to the simple
health needs of a tent community of 10,-
000 who haven't eaten food for over a
What is so tactically appealing about
these cinematic visions are their unabashed
emotional appeal.. These scenes are vis-
ceral, rather than cerebral, and one sus-
pects they would have a profound impact
on America's appetities when presented
by Walter Cronkite on the 6:30 news.
One fears that such a co-ordinated, emo-
tionally arresting hunger strike would be
an impossible feat for today's fragmented,
and rather moribund, anti-war movement.
(Even the phrase "antiwar movement" has
taken on the same vintage flavor of con-
cepts like "Stevensonian liberal" and
"Rockefeller Republican").
Today the anti-war movement seems
split among "influentials" who look to the
1972 elections and, in the interim, hope
to begin a rational dialogue with the Nixon
Administration; the dispirited and leader-
less masses who are torn between a desper-
ate search for an effective tactic and cyni-
cism; and the young devotees of mass de-
monstrations, little afraid of either the
often attendant clashes with the police
or thei effect in re-enforcing Middle
Americans stereotypes.
A RECENT SERIES of articles detailing
the forays of Henry Kissinger into the in-
tellectual enclaves of the Northeast pro-
vide telling evidence of how pervasive the
seemingly perverse desire for a dialogue
with the war-makers remains.
Mary McGrory reported in the Wash-
ington Star last week that Kissinger had
held a friendly discussion with three peo-
ple named but not indicted, as co-con-
spirators in the Berrigan brothers' alleged
plot to kidnap Nixon's principal foreign
policy advisor. The three visitors were
quoted by the New York Times as describ-
ing Kissinger in almost affectionate terms.
One called him "a guy you could talk
to, a guy you almost started to like . ..
Another went even further and depicte
Kissinger as "an excellent listener . . .
(who) . . . never took advantage of the
weaknesses in our presentation."
The image of Kissinger conveyed by
these deep opponents of the Vietnam War
is so thick and sticky that one suspects he
is made out of marzipan. Kissinger emerg-
es as a genial, warm, compassionate man,
attempting to explain policies over which

reasonable men may differ, but these dif-
ferences should never be clouded with
rancor or emotionalism.
The Nixon Administration has learnt
many lessons from the follies of the John-
son Administration. Perhaps Nixon's most
adroit trick has been to perfect the John-
son technique of media mismanagement,
while attempting to maintain the illusion

dle class and the working class together in
their fear of rampant, hedonistic radical-
ism. In the long run confrontation poli-
tics has merely set the War in opposition
to the law and order bias of middle Amer-
One does not have to be a devotee of
electoral politics to realize that the tradi-
tional media images of anti-war demon-
strators merely strengthen Nixon's hand.
And any attempt to end the carnage before
January 1973 rests solely with the hope of
convincing Nixon that his political self-
interest lies in withdrawing from South-
east Asia. Politics are therefore import-
ant - not because they have any intrin-
sic value - but because they are Nixon's
all-consuming interest and little that he
does as President is not devoted to this
Daniel Ellsberg (for those amused by the
incestuousness of it all, he was the one
who attempted to ask Kissinger the diffi-
cult question at MIT) argues convincingly
in the March 11th New York Review of
Books that Nixon's overwhelming fear is
being accusedrin 1972 of losing "the rest
of Southeast Asia to Communism."
Despite all the rhetoric- about Vietnam-
ization and all the implied hopes of an Al-
lied military victory, Nixon's policies in
Laos and Cambodia are merely desperate
attempts to minimize U.S. casualties, while
postponing the inevitable defeat until after
the 1972 elections.
WE ARE FAST approaching the latest
round of Washington demonstrations ,
against the war. Mass demonstrations, even
when focused around the gimmick of a
People's Peace Treaty, are likely to be
vacuous and repetitious. Planned c i v 11
disobedience, although far more emotion-
ally satisfying for the participants and
far less likely to degenerate into liberal
ineffectuality, is also far more likely to
driving Middle America into a law and
order frenzy. Such a frenzy among the
Silent Majority would be the easiest way
to convince Nixon that continued escala-
tion. is his best electoral strategy for 1972.
Herein lies the tactical appeal of a mass
fast. Far more militant than a" mere de
monstration, and far less hedonistic than
street-fighting, such a fast could have a
deep emotional effect on average Amer-
icans, without alienating their sympa-
It is easy to dismiss such a mass fast as
merely a new form of romantic bathos.
But it is a serious tactical suggestion and
its strategic possibilities should not be ig-
The fast would not just be a week long,
nor would it merely be a conversion to a
liquid diet. The fast's primary purpose
would not be to demonstrate moral com-
mitment, nor lead to spiritual insight, but

-Daily-Jim Judkis

M* A* S H

Rack ham rstudent governance

GROUP OF graduate students has
drawn up a constitution for a propos-
ed Rackham Student Government. The
proposal, which will be up for ratifica-
tion during SGC elections late this month,
attempts to avoid the structural prob-
lems, which have contributed to the de-
cline of Graduate Assembly (GA). Al-
though the plan has merit, it must be
recognized that o n 1 y if graduate stu-
dents are willing to work for the things
that everyone wants will this organiza-
tion be effective in obtaining significant
benefits. for its constituents.
As of yesterday, no one had yet filed
for the nine positions on the Rackham
Student Government's executive council
which will be filled in the coming elec-
tion. It is hoped that by Thursday, the
new deadline for filing for these posi-
tions, enough students will apply so that
the council can start operations imme-
diately after the election, assuming the
proposal for the Rackham Student Gov-
ernment is approved.
GA is currently defending itself against
a suit demanding its dissolution, filed be-
fore Central Student Judiciary. The suit
charges that GA is undemocratic and not
representative of the constituency it
claims to serve. It points out that GA
leaders are elected by GA members, rath-
er than by graduate students as a whole;
that the GA constitution does not allow
for direct action in GA by students; and
that graduate students outside of Rack-
ham (whom GA also purports to repre-
sent) are better represented through the
existing governments of these groups.
A's FAILURE is apparent first in the
lack of involvement of GA members

- its meetings draw an average of about
20 people, while the constitution provides
for an assembly of o v e r 100 members.
The constitution of the proposed Rack-
ham Student Government seems to be
carefully constructed to avoid these and
other specific problems. Under the pro-
posed constitution, t h e leaders of GA
would be directly elected by Rackham
students. Secondly, it limits the new gov-
ernment's constituency to Rackham stu-
dents, which would hopefully encourage
more effective concern for the problems
of the group.
In addition, t h e constitution's allow-
ance for direct student action through
the. initiative, referendum, referral and
recall procedures should encourage stu-
dent involvement.
IT SEEMS CLEAR that the proposal for
the n e w Rackham Student Govern-
ment has the potential for creating a
more effective organization than the
floundering GA. However, a new organ-
ization in itself is not the answer to the
problems of graduate student influence
in University decision-making, and it is
not intended to be. The only thing this
proposal can offer is a more efficient or-
ganization through which the interests
of graduate students can be pursued. Un-
less graduate students make use of their
opportunity to work for change through
this government, they cannot expect any
improvement in their current ,political
position within the university community.

of having an "open Administration." It is
this semblance of openness which Kissing-
er has been so active in fostering among
the intellectuals. Kissinger himself said
last week's meeting was designed to give
"concerned people the sense, of being
listened to."
THE VACUITY OF such pseudo-dia-
logues is effectively portrayed by Derek
Shearer in the March 8th Nation. Shearer
described in detail a meeting on the eve
of the Laos invasion between Kissinger and
an elite group of war foes, held on an
SIT-owned rural estate near Boston. Present.
at the meeting were the usual amalgam
of Ripon Society stalwarts, committed (but
well-mannered) students, former Kennedy
officials, intellectual radicals in suit and
tie, and socially concerned business lead-
Despite the aura of candor w h i c h
Kissinger was so careful to cultivate, both
his prepared statement and the dialogue
which followed portrayed the almost comic
absurdity of attempting to rationally dis-
cuss the War in Southeast Asia.
Almost all of Kissinger's interrogators
were either too polite, inexperienced or
timid to even attempt to ask questions
which might penetrate Kissinger's care-
ful surface of official lies. Even when a
stray question held the glint of acci-
dentally eliciting a revealing answer, the
gentlemanly, clubbish atmosphere enabled
Kissinger to duck the query with a friend-
ly smile. The only really difficult question
for Kissinger - prepared with almost a
logician's craft in attempting to discover
whether Kissinger's staff had ever estimat-
ed the Asian dead and wounded that would
result from Vietnamization- was snuffed
out by a chorus of "thank you, Mr. Kis-
singer" and'a well-deserved round of ap-
plause. A Mount Holyoke girl summed it
all up when she concluded judiciously, "I
think he's sincere."
interchange and the lack of insight which
Kissinger provided (no clue regarding the
then-imminent Laos invasion passed his
lips), many intellectuals and influentials
still remain willing to docily listen to Kis-
singer's circumlocutions as he attempts to
explain why this country has been devast-
ating Southeast Asia for over a decade.

What these innocents, so proud of their
own reasoning and debating abilities, fail
to comprehend is the folly of attempting
to carry on a rational discourse with re-
presentatives of an Administration who
have no compunctions about lying and will-
fully distorting in attempting to justify
the nightmarish world of America's mili-
tary excesses. Any irritating question which,
cannot be ignored or denied, can always
be parried with a misleading comparison or
an invented statistic. The press - when
they choose to play an adversary role -
must devote their full efforts to just
keeping pace with the,,steady stream of Ad-
ministration misinformation.
When intellect fails to establish contact,
emotional action remains the only way to
attempt to elicit a response. That's why
it's so easy to understand Shearer's frus
tration when he explains, "one wanted
to yell at him or douse him in blood."
The same feeling of frustration afflicts
a regular viewer of Nixon's press confer-
ences. One only wishes that just once a cor-
respondent, admittedly placing his job on
the line, would try to probe beneath the
bureaucratic justifications of mass murder
to attempt to get at the emotional reali-
ties underneath. Blunt questions like, "Why
are you murdering people in Vietnam?"
Can you sleep nights with all these lives
on your conscience? Do you ever think
that perhaps you are wrong, perhaps you
are causing hundreds of thousands to die
in vain? How many Asians equal an
American life?" Instead press conferences
are filled with such obsequious drivel as,
"Do you care to tell us anything about
this, Mr. President?"
impenetrability, against the continuing
spectacle of regional genocide, it is small
wonder that the anti-war movement long
ago turned to emotionalism. But the emo-
tionalism of. large demonstrations, draft
card burnings, and police confrontations
have only catered to the emotional needs
of the anti-war movement.
There has been almost no concern about
the effect of demonstrations like t h is
on the emotions of Middle America. At-
tempting to build a revolution when you
don't even have a movement which can
stop the War, the left has united the mid-

Henry Kissinger

rather to provide the nucleus of effective
political action.
Few protests could have more emotional
potency on television than a mass fast.-
set against the backdrop of the White
House - designed to last until the war
ends, or until the participants are too close
to physical collapse to continue.
ADMITTEDLY such a fast would require
a deeper personal commitment than mere-
ly traveling to Washington, or even risk-
ing arrest. It would require a much deeper
personal commitment than most of us
have ever given to ending the war. But
after ten years of war, after all these years
of radical hijinks, isn't it time we finally
started playing for keeps?



I VL r~~

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OR 11~v JEM V W I.
ThiK /UE A


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Letters to The Daily



Individual choice
To The Daily:
edly killed the doctrine of in-loco-
parentis several years ago, b u t
radicals themselves are bringing
it back to Michigan for a gala re-
turn engagement. The radicals' de-
mand for an end to on-campus re-
cruiting by corporations with of-
fices in South Africa is the latest
case in point. They would like to
take the decision of whether or
not to interview with Ford, Gen-
eral Motors, General Electric, et
al. out of, the hands of the indi-
vidual students.
In other w o r d s, kiddies (stu-
dents), you are not mature enough
+-A M o ..srivnf : nl*rvn

interview should be left to the in-
We all know that the old doc-
trine of in-loco-parentis proved
that thinking at the University of
Michigan is best done by blanket
University policy, not by an indi-
vidual student.
--George T. Wilson '72
Feb. 21
Sexist policy
To the Daily:
sophomore at the University, un-
der 21 and a woman.Because of
these conditions, particularly be-
ing under 21 and a woman, the
Regents have ruled that I must
1, n tw no .r.4.a l nna'.vnl o4 n . l .1ive

forming the necessary co-signine
of the lease to the daughter or
son's apartment. Therefore, in my
opinion it is none of the Uni-
versity's business as to whether I
choose to live in or outside of' the
Although the University claimr
it is making efforts to end sex
discrimination, this policy c o n-
cerning women under 21 certain-
ly provides incriminating evidence
that it simply it not.
I will refuse to submit to this
sexist policy and I encourage oth-
ers to refuse to do so.
-Katy Koffel '13
Feb. 23


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