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May 11, 1974 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-11

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THE
Michigan Daily
Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Saturday, May 11, 1974
News Phone: 764-0552
upport or IXon s
ouster a good omen
THE FIRST GLIMMERINGS of my political awareness
were glimmered during the 1968 presidential cam-
paign. It was then, at the ripe old age of twelve, that I
learned about Nixon's political history: about his red-
baiting, about his dirty political tricks against Jerry
Voorhis and Helen Gahagan Douglas. My reaction was,
"He doesn't play fair." That he managed to snare the
Presidency, and what he did with it, made me hate him.
And when he won a second term after Viet Nam and
Cambodia, my estimation of the American voter plunged
to below ground level, McGovern's shortcomings notwith-
standing. His shortcomings seemed microscopic compared
with Nixon's.
Now big name Senators and Representatives are re-
commending that the President be impeached or resign.
They don't do things like that unless they are confident
that the folks back home won't decide to elect someone
else to Congress next term in outrage.
So if we can trust the judgement of members of
Congress where their political lives are at stake, the-
American people have begun to believe that Nixon may
well be a crook.
That Watergate has precipitated this belief indicates
that the political dirty tricks are the most disturbing to
most people. New revelations about Southeast Asia have
had minimal impact.
JAD THE NIXON VOTERS forgotten the man's pre-
vious political misdeeds. did they not consider them
misdeeds, or did thes think that he couldn't commit any
more? Probably a n-mhination of the three.
Were the Amerienn voters stunid in electing Nixon?
More important than their past behavior is their present
and future behavior. It is certainly good for American
government that a substantial number of constituents
support Nixon's ouster.

I solemnly swear that these edited transcripts
tell the truth, the whole truth and nothingbu
the truth . .. as I choose to tel i.'
Congessonalheaings
or
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GORDON ATCHESON
JEFF DAY
CHERYT PILATE
JUDY RUSKIN
JEFF SORENSEN
BARBARA CORNELL
JANET HARSHMAN
ANDREA LILLY ..
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DAVID wITTING

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Editor
MARNIE HEY]
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Arts Editor
MARC FELDIMA
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C ARE COGSDTIi Contributing Sport
lEOtijEi IASTINx . S .... Executive Sport
JOHN KAHLER .. Associate Sport
ROCEP ROSSITER.. Maaiging Sport
JOAN ADES .. ..Circulation
KAREN LOPELAND Display
EMILY ITiRN . . .... . Offi
KATHY KELlER ..Off
CASSiE ST 'CLAIR . ..CAssified
TOM (;OTTLIETR . Phot(
KAREN KASS-AUSKI.Phot
THE JUNE S -Asrv
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By RICHARD FINEBERG
A NEW, SAFER" nerve gas, which theUnit-
ed States Army proposes to deploy around
the world, has triggered major congressional
hearings on U.S. chemical warfare programs
and policies.
Rep. Clmeent J. Zablocki, (D-Wisc.), who chairs
the House National Security Policy and Scien-
tific Developments subcommittee,^ says hearings
set for May 1-14 will examine international agree-
ments and current U.S. policies on chemical
and biological warfare, as well as the need
to retain a retaliatory chemical warfare cap-
ability, including the newly developed binary
nerve gas,
In another expression of congressional con-
cern, the House Armed Services Committee re-
cently cut by approximately half the Pentagon's
request for $6 million in development funds for
the binary gas.
UNLIKE PRESENTLY deployed chemical
weapons, the binary gas consists of two separate
non-lethal components which mix to form a
lethal nerve gas only after the projectile has
been launched toward its target. The Army
believes the new gas will be safer to produce,
ship and store - an important selling point,
it light of a string of embarassing and poten-
tially dangerous nerve gas accidents in the last
decade.
Testing of chemical weapons has been a
headache for the Army since .1968, when an
aerial nerve gas experiment at the Dugway
Proving Ground in Utah killed more than 4,000
sheep scattered across the desert south of Salt
Lake City. The following year, Congress suspend-
ed all open-air nerve gas tests not specifically
approved by the Secretary of Defense and cleared
with public health officials and local authorities.
The Pentagon has not announced field-test plans
for binary weapons, and informed sources be-
lieve this reluctance reflects concern over the
public outcry that would greet the resumption
of open-air testing. Some observers believe the
Pentagon may be considering deployment of
the new nerve gas without the customary field
trials, to avoid such a controversy.
According to the Pentagon, converting t h e
Army's 82" and 155 mm. artillery shells to bin-
ary use, and destroying current stocks, will cost
an initial $400 million. Other bina'ry weapons are
slated to follow.
SINCE 1969, WHEN President Nixon dis-
avowed first strike use of lethal chemical wea-
pons, the United States has spent $129.6 million
on chemical warfare research. The nation cur-
rently maintains a worldwide stockpile of nerve
gas weapons as a deterrent-in-kind against a po-
tential Soviet nerve gas attack, but some arms
specialists question the need for this arsenal,
Dr. Fred C. Ikle, director of the government's
Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, believes
that the threat of a U.S. nuclear response should

be sufficient to dissuade the Soviet Union from
launching a nerve gas attack. Ikle also feels that
U.S. introduction of binary nerve gas weapons
may complicate negotiations at the United Na-
tions Conference of the Committee on Disarma-
ment, which has been working on a chemical
warfare ban since 1972.
MILITARY ADOCATES of nerve gas as a
deterrent maintain that chemicals reduce the'
likelihood of all-out nuclear war by providing a
less drastic alternative to conventional w a.r-
fare. But arms experts like Dr. Herbert Scoville,
Jr., a former high-ranking Defense Department
and C.I.A. official, suggest the opposite may be
frue: by interjecting chemical weapons be-
tween conventional and nuclear war, says Sco-
ville, "you are putting an intefmediate step in
the escalation of warfare to weapons of mass
destruction." Nerve gas, he suggests, may serve
as a stepping stone, rather than' an alternative,
to thermonuclear weapons.
British chemist Julian Perry Robinson fears
that recent U.S. developments in chemical war-
fare technology will make nerve gas easier to
use and that the reduced expense and hazard
of binary technology might tempt smaller na-
tions to acquire binaries as a "poor man's nuke",
thus leading to a new proliferation of chemical
-weapons.
THE ZABLOCKI hearings will focus on a re-
soluntion introduced in the House by Congress-
man Wayne Owens (D-Utah) calling for a total
re-evaluation of U.S. chemical warfare policies.
The resolution, which has gathered some fifty
co-sponsors, also calls for the Senate to con-
sider #immediate ratification of the 1925 Geneva
Prptocol, an international agreement which bans
first use in combat of "asphyxiating, poisonous
or other gases and all analogous . . . devices."
President Nixon promised to submit the Pro-
tocol to the Senate for ratification in November,
1969. When he finally did so eight months later,
he added a controversial rider excluding riot-
control gases and herbicides.
In -March, 1971, after hearings on the Protocol,
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman
J. W. Fulbright asked the President to consider
"whether the need to hold open the option to use
tear gas and herbicides is indeed so great that
it outweighs the long-term advantages to the
United States of strengthening exising barriers
agains chemical warfare".
THE WHITE HOUSE has never responded
to Fulbright's query and the United States re-
mains the lone major power that has not acceded
to the 1925 agreement.
Richard Fineberg taught political science
of the University of Alaska until 1971,
when he resigned to devote his efforts to
research and writing. Copywright, Pacific
News Service, 1974.

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