9e Sfi0 igan Bailt
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One evening gone down the drain
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Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
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WEDNESDAY, MAY 6, 1970
NIGHT EDITOR: ROBERT KRAFTOWITZ
Fighting U.S. imperialism
THERE WAS little new or even surpris-
ing in President Nixon's decision last
week to send U.S. troops and supplies into
Vainly masked as a peace keeping of-
fensive, the attack was, to be sure, a
firm rebuff to the large and growing seg-
ment of America that wishes to end, not
expand, the U.S. genocide in Southeast
The nightmare of U.S. involvement in
Vietnam is well known, but this country
has been carrying on similar, though less
dramatic activities throughout the Third
U.S. intervention in Laos, for example,
began in the early '60s and continues to-
day in the form of "military advisers"
and $90 million annually in military aid.
Thousands of troops more and millions
of dollars of equipment are being used
to bolster the Thai government.
And elsewhere in the world, the U.S. is
sending advisers and sophisticated coun-
ter-insurgency equipment to unpopular,
totalitarian pro-American governments to
help them prevent insurrection, however
WHAT EMERGES from a broad look at
U.S. activity in the underdeveloped
nations is a striking, unified policy of
repression-an attempt to destroy healthy
nationalist movements b e c a u s e they
threaten American business interests and
American political domination of the
The successful resistance to this repres-
sion by the Viet Cong and the Vietna-
mese people is one sure sign of the
strength of these nationalist movements.
Out of fear and "national interest," the
United States continues its policy of re-
pression. But the strong will of the peo-
ples of the Third World foreshadows their
T HOME, meanwhile, the government
and corporate interests of the United
Mtates are following policies similar to
those used abroad. America is the richest
c o u n t r y in the world, but millions of
Americans are forced to live in poverty
ON THIS, the fifth anniversary of the
first national protest march against
the war in Vietnam, We would like the
world to take note that the children born
the month President Kennedy commit-
ted the first American roops to Vietnam
are now eight years old.
In only ten years, they will be old
enough to draft.
Summer Editorial Staff
ALEXA CANADY .......Co-Editor
MARTIN HIRSCHMAN .... ..... . Co-Editor
SHARON WEINER..... .. Summer Supplement Editor
NIGHT EDITORS: Rob Bier. Nadine Cohodas, Robert
Kraftowitz. Anita Wetterstroem
ASSISTANT NIGHT EDITORS: Lindsay Chaney, Hes-
ter Pulling, Carla Rapoport, Debbie Thal, Harvard
TAN G. WRIGHT
PHYLLIS HURWITZ ..,. Administrative Advertising
CRAIG WOLSON...............Retail Advertising
DAVID BELL.......... .... ...... .. Circulation
MARK WALFISH ....... .. Personnel
VIDA OLDSTEIN..............Staff Coordinator
AMY COHEN ... ...............Finance
And just as the U.S. Army has enforced
the status quo abroad, so the police forces
of the nation's cities have enforced eco-
nomic and political domination over the
The Black Panther Party for Self-De-
fense was born as a response to the bru-
tal, racist oppression of the white power
structure and the police. And it has at-
tempted to provide the black community
with new hope and new dignity.
The response of the government and
the police has been predictable. Panther
leaders have been harrassed and assas-
sinated. Police have laid seige to and in-
vaded Panther headquarters. And Panth-
ers have been indicted on phony charges.
Black Panther Chairman Bobby Seale
and eight other members of the Panthers
are presently up for trial in New Haven,
Conn., on charges that they murdered
another Panther. The charge is absurd'
but frighteningly, conviction is likely be-
cause of the pervasive indoctrination in
this country against black revolutionaries.
jN RESPONSE to the war in Indochina
and the trial of Bobby Seale, students
across the country have initiated a strike
against classes this week. While of doubt-
ful value as a long-range tactic for ef-
fecting radical change in American so-
ciety, the strike is a worthy symbolic act
and deserves widespread support.
Whilenot h i t t i n g at the source of
racism and imperialism in American so-
ciety, a strike against the universities is
far from inappropriate in this struggle.
For a careful analysis of the functioning
of the nation's universities reveals that,
more often than not, they are serving
largely as the tools of American imperial-
ism and racism.
Last year, for example, the University
did $14.8 million of research, much of it
classified, for the Department of De-
fense. The University's specialty for the
DOD is its advanced capability in radar
and optical sensing devices used for target
The University also provides manpower
for the military through Reserve Officer
Training Corps programs that are par-
tially subsidized by the University.
Somewhat more indirect aid to the
military is provided by the University as
researchers perform investigations under
contracts from racist, militarist corpora-
tions, and as the University offers these
companies free recruiting facilities.
Administrators often hide behind the
statement that the universities are free
and open academic communities. But this
is so, where are the training centers for
Viet Cong? where the research is provok-
ing, rather than suppressing nationalist
revolution abroad? and where are pro-
grams, on the scale of the corporate and
military projects, for aiding the black
and other disadvantaged communities?
By taking on the dirty work of the mil-
itary-industrial complex, the universities
have become equal partners in their
crimes of racism and imperialism, and
just targets for this week's demonstrators.
WHILE NOT new, President Nixon's in-
vasion of Cambodia is an o b v i o u s
notice that he is bent on continuing U.S.
policies of imperialism in Southeast Asia.
This determined aggression must be
met with determination to resist.
NOT MANY PEOPLE have the oppor-
tunity to meet a sewer face first. In
fact, I don't think too many people would
relish that experience and I was one of
them. But a set of circumstances a few
weeks ago decreed that like it or not, I was
to become acquainted with the drain on the
corner of Main and Williams streets.
It all started with the common gesture
of giving someone a ride to work, parking
his car for him and returning the keys.
Sounds simple enough and usually is.
However, for some reason or other that
night my motor abilities seem to have been
somewhat lacking and the keys fell out
of my hands and plopped into the sewer.
I looked down, expecting, I guess, that
they might resurrect themselves or at least
float to the top.
"Oh, lord, that didn't happen," I told
myself. But no one appeared to confirm
my assertion. So I walked to where my
friend was and said hello. Then I added,
"I have something to tell you I just drop-
ped your keys down the sewer and I'm
really sorry. I just don't know how it hap-
She sat down.
"Oh, dear," she sang. "We'll have to
think about this."
"Do you have a duplicate for the car and
I'll have duplicates made for the rest of
them?" I threw in immediately.
NO, SHE DIDN'T have a duplicate be-
cause that had been lost last year.
"Oh my," we thought in unison.
Then another friend said he could hot
wire the car so she could get home and I
said I'd try the fire department or whoever
else could help.
With a small prayer, some hope and two
dimes, I called the fire, police and city
water deparments (free call) who all ex-
pressed deep sympathy, chuckled once or
twice and said they couldn't do a thing.
By this time I was, to say the least,
frazzled. But then someone suggested a
magnet-he would go home and get his
magnet and I could fish until my heart's
content for the keys.
Swell, I smiled. I knew it would work
out, I thought.
Half an hour later the magnet arrived
and during that time another friendly soul
had inserted a broom handle in the sewer
hole and found that the water four feet
below the pavement was only five inches
deep. Thus, it appeared mathematically
possible to retrieve the keys.
I quickly unwound the magnet string
and started probing the mucky bottom
waiting for a click or the slightest tug that
would indicate the keys had been located.
I DANGLED to the left, and then to the
right, forward, backwards, in the center,
back to the left and the right and no keys.
In the midst of my danglings, another man
had joined the search and suggested we
have "some teamwork and coordination."
This meant that I held one flashlight,
the other gentleman held another and the
new arrival used the magnet.
"I think I have found them," he said in
a few minutes. "Now how can we get them
"Sir," I said to him, "if you and some-
one else will hold my legs and turn me up-
side down, I'll get the keys."
"No, no dear," he protested. "You'll get
"But I don't care-these are just blue-
jeans and an old sweater and I've gotta get
"Well, all right," he consented and
promptly grabbed my left leg while the
other gentleman grabbed the right.
"Hold on tight," I suggested on my way
AH, YES. How does one describe the
feeling of sewer muck billowing 'ver one's
fingers. Lovely indeed, I thought, like fish-
ing for the meatball in yesterday's spa-
ghetti, soft and mushy and squeezy with a
delightful aroma to boot.
"Anything yet," one of my holders asked?
"No," I replied, still sloshing through the
muck and still fingering each gloppy hand-
ful for anything resembling keys.
"I've got'em-I've got 'em-I've got 'em.i" I
yelled in the next few seconds.
"OK, get her out now," someone directed.
"Yes, do," I agreed, carrying the top
layer of grime on my jeans and sweater.
But I did have them--keys to a Volks-
wagen, a Ford van, a house, an apartment
and one key to a room at the Inn America.
All safe and sound though admittedly
I washed them off, gave them to their
rightful owner, thanked the entire crew
for its help and headed home to the shower.
The only remaining dilemma: Do I take
one with my clothes or without them?
We are at war in Laos,
By JEREMY J. STONE
@ Dispatch News Service
IN THE northern highlands of
Laos, the United States is
fighting a secret war that is totally
unneccessary from every point of
view. And our willingness to en-
gage in it is playing into the hands
of the North Vietnamese and un-
dermining our policy in South
Vietnam. There is no treaty re-.
quirement for the fighting, which
is taking place on the basis of "no
defense commitment - written,
stated, or understood." And the
fighting is taking place without
any overall Congressional author-
ization, solely under the "executive
authority of the President." These
conclusions, and official quota-
tions, are based on the Symington
Committee hearings on Laos, just
released after six months - of
wrangling with the State Depart-
ment over their declassification.
THE HEARINGS reveal two
separate wars in Laos. In the
southern part of Laos, massive
American bombing strikes attempt
to reduce the infiltration of men
and supplies into South Vietnam
along the Ho Chi Minh Trails. In
the northern highlands of Laos,
the United States is also engaged
in massive bombing of Pathet Lao
anal North Vietnamese forces,
which are fighting with the Royal
Laotian Army and with the Amer-
ican-sponsored clandestine Meo
Army. Bombing capacity freed
from bombing North Vietnam has
found its way to Laos, as it did
durign the cessation of bombing
of North Vietnam in late 1965.
This capacity is shifted between
the north and south of Laos as
military priorities dictate, in a
way that indicates that the full
force of strikes previously made
on North Vietnam are now being
visited upon Laos. Judging from a
single day during the earlier
bombing cessation when a total of
378 sorties took place, and from
costs per sortie of $3,190, corties
against Laos may exceed 100.000
annually at a cost measured in
hundreds of millions of dollars.
Meanwhile, on the ground, the
United States in the most recent
year invested $90 million in mili-
tary assistance alone in a country
whose gross national product is
$150 million. A few hunderd mili-
tary advisers assist Laotian forces.
And, continuously since before the
1962 Geneva accords, the United
States has been feeding, shelter-
ing, equipping, and advising the
only army in Laos that can fight
- the Meo army - for use in
IN NORTHERN LAOS, the war
has been going on for a long time.
Since 1963, there have been seven
years of seasonal offensives and
counteroffenses in central north-
ern Laos in which increasing
American air and logistic support
has been induced by (or matched
by) increases in North Vietnamese
ground combat forces. T h e s e
Letters to the Editor
To the Editor:
AND IT CAME to pass that
David (ordered), "Set Uriah in the
forefront of the hottest battle...
that he may be smitten and die,"
and it came to pass, and Uriah
died . . . . And the wife of Uriah
made lamentation. .. . And David
sent and took her home to his
house and she became his wife,
and bore him a son. But the thing
that David had done displeased
And Jehovah sent Nathan unto
David, and Nathan said unto him,
"There were two men, the one
rich and the other poor. The rich
man had exceeding many flocks
and herds, but the poor man had
nothing save one little ewe lamb
. . And the rich man took the
poor man's lamb." Andl David's
anger was greatly kindled against
the man . . . and Nathan said to
David, "Thou art the man." (II
Samuel, 11, 12)
THERE WERE two nations, the.
one great and rich, the other tiny
and empoverished. And the leader
of the great nation made war upon
the small one. secretly and without
notice dispatching his legions and
his engines of destruction. And
thousands of men with their
women and children in that land
weremade homeless as their vil-
lages were demolished, and many
suffered and died, from the vio-
lence inflicted upon them.
And it came to pass thatnwithin
the land of the great nation there
were many who took issue with
their leader's invasion of the small
nation. In colleges-and universi-
ties the young, who had not learn-
ed the artifices of making war, as-
sembled to make known their op-
position to their leader's deed. And
when the local constabularies had
been summoned, hostilities ensued,
with shouts and rocks pitted
against guns. Four students were
killed, and others c r i t i c a l ly
And the anger of the great na-
tion's leader was kindled, and he
proclaimed that the students' dis-
sent had turned to violence, and
thus they had invited tragedy.
And the spirits of the young dis-
senters joined with the voices of
those still alive to say, "Mr. Presi-
dent, thou art the man."
--Prof. Theodore Newcomb
To the Editor:
The reasdhing of Sheriff Harvey
is something less than faultless
when he asserts that "it's natural
for a woman to have long hair and
not man." His second alibi for cut-
ting the hair of his prisoners is
much easier to accept. Long hair
may be unclean (not that it al-
ways is). But what is really behind
Sheriff Harvey's excuses?
His loathing of long hair is the
result of his particular accultura-
tion. He has until recently seen
men with shorter hair than
women. But that hardly makes it
more "natural" to have short hair
rather than long. Man did not
evolve bhiologic~aflywith shorter
struggles have been over territory
of no strategic significance. They
have stemmed from the view that
military victories would be trans-
latable into "political advantages"
that would determine the "char-
acter of Lao 'neutralism'" at some
future settlement upon a coalition
It is startling to see what the
Government spokesman responsi-
ble for all the quotations thus far,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State William H. Sullivan, was
arguing in 1968. He argued that
the extent of the then-current
Communist gains should be dis-
counted, because "75 or 80 per
cent" of the population were un-
der Government. control in the
Mekong Valley. He noted indirect-
1 how easy it would be to defend
the Mekong Valley. A Communist
invasion of the lowlands would
have to be in "quite considerable
force," and would be "susceptible
to" effective Lao Air Force Action.
And such Communist attacks
would be further deterred by pre-
senting such a "direct threat" to
neighboring Thailand as to force
America to hard choices with risks
for' all concerned.
In other words, we would simply
have refused to play this game of
challenging Communist control of
the less well populated-and much
harder to hold - highlands in
which the fighting is always tak-
ing place. And securely holding a
clear majority of population, we
could have denied that any im-
portanthchange in the internal
political balance had taken place.
INDEED IT IS increasingly evi-
dent that it has been a political
strategie blunder to place such
emphasis on territory which the
Royalist and Meo forces patently
cannot hold, even with the full
weight of U.S. air support. Recent-
ly. through easy-to-achieve diver-
sions of troops to Laos, Hanoi has
been able to raise the specter in
Washington of a widening "In-
dochinese" war. This has permit-
ted Hanoi to outflank psychologic-
ally the Administration policy of
Vietnamization. After all, from
Hanoi's point of view-and from
that of a . sizeable segment of
American opinion - the Admin-
istration intends, if it can to with-
draw troops from South Vietnam
only by such fits and starts as will
maintain our military preponder-
Thus, in Hanoi's view, the fight
for control of central northern
Laos provides a ready and nec-
essary tool to keep the Nixon Ad-
ministration off balance. Hanoi's
forces in South Vietnam will per-
iodically raise American casualty
levels. But Hanoi can avoid the
necessity of unleashing costly and
provocative major offensives in
South Vietnam while the United
States is withdrawing. As the Ad-
ministration itself asserted in
these hearings, the North Viet-
namese "orchestrate" the Laotian
young and the too old, and ques-
tioning whether they Joined the
right side in the first place.
THE ADMINISTRATION HAS
no justification for this northern
war. In the President's White Pa-
per of March 6, the Administra-
tion argued that its goal in Laos
"above all" was to save American
and allied lives in South Vietnam
by bombing the trails in southern
Laos. The Administration fears
that a new coalition under Com-
munist control might call upon
the United States to stop bombing
the trails. But the United States
need not fight in the highlands to
prevent such a coalition. It can
prevent the formation of any new
coalition - as in effect it is now
doing - by insisting that Prime
Minister Souvanna Phouma avoid
such negotiations until the Viet-
namese war ends.
The defense of Thailand it
sometimes given as "one of the
reasons" why we are "in Laos."
But, in saying so, Sullivan was
careful to indicate that what was
wanted was a "buffer" so t h a t
Vietnamese or Chinese presence
would n ot be felt "immediately
against Thailand." Since the Me-
kong Valley lies in-between Thai-
land and the highlands, it is not
necessary to fight over the latter.
The President's on1y other
White Paper reason for this fight-
ing was to support the "indepen-
dence and neutrality" of. Laos, as
set forth by the Geneva accords of
1962. But the same White Paper
conceded that Hanoi's goal was to
pave the way for the eventual es-
tablishment of a government
"more amenable to Communist
control." This is, as noted above,
only a question of the political
character of the Laotian Govern-
ment. It is a question of how
many Government ministerial
portfolios, and which ones, t h e
Pathet Lao forces get. Such ques-
tions are not treated in. the 1962
accords, which simply guarantee
and impose upon Laos the kind of
military neutrality we k n o w in
WE ARE MAKING again the
mistake we m a d e in 1959-1961.
Scholars agree widely that it was
our CIA-financed effort of that
t i m e to supplant Souvanna
Phouma's middle-of-the-road re-
gime by a clearly pro-western re-
gime which brought on the po-
litical chaos that made the 1962
Geneva conference necessary. We
should pay much less attention to
the internal political character of
the Laotian Government and to
the negotiations that precede its
The Symington Committee re-
port makes it evident that our
goal should be simply to prevent
the military conquest of the Me-
kong Valley. pending an end to
the Vietnamese war and negotia-
tions between the Laotian fac-
tions upon a suitable coalition.
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