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February 24, 1980 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-24
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U ~ U U


Page 8--Sunday, Febraury 24, 1980-The Michigan Daily


(Continued from Page 6)
service besides military. But Lynn says
that the Georgia Democrat admitted
his major objection to the dispropor-
tionate black population in today's ar-
my is that blacks might be less willing
than whites to fight in Third World
But proponents of the volunteer army
argue that draftees, who are forced to
fight, will be less effective on the bat-
tlefields than those who actually choose
to be soldiers.
Another consideration is that we may
not need many more troops for a viable
military force. Edith Hefley, co-
founder of the Washtenaw County
CARD, said the Pentagon claims 2.1
million persons are needed for defense
purposes, but that a recent Boston
Study Group analysis shows 1.4 million
bodies should be sufficient. "If the
(Pentagon's) number were reduced, we
wouldn't need the draft," Hefley says.
Whenever this country has had a
war, it's necessarily had its share of
conscientious objectors, pacifists who
for religious, ethical, or whathaveyou
reasons oppose and refuse to par-
ticipate in war. With student defermen-
ts extinct since 1971, conscientious ob-
jection is expected to be very popular in
the near future.
R UMORS HAVE it that the.govern-
ment may now make it even
harder to obtain the exemption than
ever. According to Lynn, a document is
circulating the defense administration
that calls for elimination of the C.O.
classification altogether. Lynn says he
thinks more likely stringent steps
might be taken to require all C.O.s to
perform national service, without
waiting for the lottery, and to federally
regiment the work they would do.
In preparation, however, anti-war
groups such as the Public Interest
Research group in Michigan (PIRGIM)
are urging people to declare their ob-
jections now
The local CARD branch is organizing
a draft counseling program. According
to Hefley, 25 people in the first week
have expressed interest in counseling
people in the rules and quirks of the
Selective Service System. In order to be
accessible to all classes of people-not
just the college clique-CARD workers
have sent notes to local high school
principals requesting that draft coun-
selors be allowed to visit the schools.
Then there are those objectors who
don't trust the motives of many new
The idea is that the students of our
fine institutions today are indeed the
"Me Generation'' and that they
wouldn't be too concerned about the

current state of world peace if it wasn't
going to affect their career pursuits.
The past decade's job crunch is forcing
many college graduates to take
positions for which they are
educationally overqualified. The jobs
race is continuing, and to lose a few
years of schooling and job hunting can
set the competitive aspiring
professionals many paces behind their
LYNN DISMISSES the charges
that students today have different
motivations than those who marched
against the Vietnam war ten years ago.
"Generations don't change," he says.
"Besides, enlightened self-interest is
sufficient reason to oppose the draft."
Sandy Silberstein, currently a Univer-
sity Women's Studies lecturer and draft
counselor during the Vietnam war,
says there can be value in protest no
matter what the reason. "If people
were able to systematically say 'no' for
the first time in their lives to a system
that's taught them to say 'yes,' they
would be making a contribution to
society," she says.
Silberstein has reservations about
draft counseling this time around,
though, because she is uncertain
whether the counselees are sincere in
their reasons for evading the draft.
"Where are the people who said 'no'
during the Vietnam war? They're not
all doing progressive and philanthropic
things now," she points out.
It might look as if not only some of the
protesters, but the draft system itself,
may be changing. At least it seems
that's what Carter wants us to think. He
emphasized from the start that the 1971
ban on student deferments will hold.
This automatically frees up for Selec-
tive Service all four million men bet-
ween the ages of 18 and 20. The Selec-
tive Service has announced it needs a
pool of four to five million bodies to
carry out a registration program. And
of course, there's the inclusion of some
women in the extra registration
These additions to the structure of the
good old American army may seem a
move toward greater equality, but (hey
actually serve as smokescreens for the
president's request for military fun-
ding. While Carter is calling for
registration of women, he says he
doesn't want them to fill combat
positions. That double standard cer-
tainly doesn't affirm any commitment
to equality. Yet Carter says he supports
the ERA, and that if women have the
same military obligations as men, they
should certainly be treated as equal
citizens in other areas. "Equal
obligations deserve equal rights," the
president recently told reporters. He

neglects to mention that he knows what
Congress won't do.
Carter explains that 18-20-year-olds
will make up a large enough pool for
Selective Service to extract its victims.
But the votes in Congress will be cast by
people who must by law be at least five
years older than the proposed
registrants. George McGovern, writing
ten years ago, characterized the
situation of uncertain, vote-grubbing
politicians exploiting American youth
to do their fighting for them thusly:
"We in the government, who are
charged by the Constitut;on with

direct responsibility over issues of
war and peace, are afraid to exercise
our wisdom. Therefore, we have
devised a clever scheme. You go
fight, take injuries, and be killed in
a mistaken war. Then perhaps your
parents and your friends will start
objecting and others like you who
have not yet been called will start
protesting, and then they'll create a
political climate in which we can act
safely. 'Clearly we should seek other
methods of innoculation against
future Vietnams."



(Continued from Page 7)
nobody can sympathize for a minute
with Bruce Dern's jockish psychotic,
the villain, by implication, is not war in
general but the policies that got us into
Would Voight have been any hap-
pier about his paralyzed legs
had Vietnam been a just war? Would
Dern have gone- any less bonkers?"
Perhaps he would have, but the
peculiarities of Vietnam that Coppola
at least touched on in Apocalypse
Now-the war's lack of leadership, its
mysteriously buried motives-are sim-
ply asserted in Coming Home with the
cloying closed-mindedness so many
liberals seem to rely on as their main
method of argument. The movie affects
a warm ambivalence toward hawks as
well as doves in the opening, semi-
improvisational scene of vets shooting
pool and rapping about the war. But by
the end, when director Hal Ashby starts
cutting between Dern's forties-movie
demise and a high school assembly with
a saintly, tearful Voight making an an-
ti-macho appeal, the lines have been
carefully drawn. However nonsensical
it may seem, emotionally we have to
come out hanging the broken
Voight/Fonda romantic idyll on the
evils of Vietnam.
Like a lot of other people my age, I've
been going around lately saying things
like, "I'm not going to war, even if it
means I have to register wearing a
dress." Just recently, though, I saw
Night and Fog, a gruesomely explicit
documentary about the Nazi death
camps, and it hit home to me just how
.much we pay lip service to the idea
that, well, of course we'd register in a
minute if we were fighting the Nazis.
We say that, but we know Hitler is gone
for good and that we'll likely never en-
counter such a drastic incarnation of
evil in our lifetime.
Sure, the mere mention of the
possibility of retaliatory military action
because of Afghanistan is an hysterical
over-reaction on the part of certain
congresspersons and political fools.
But, in a different way, so are so many,
young people's visceral anti-war sen-
timents, and I wonder whether we

would sign up if the enemy was evil
enough. (Fortunately, since most of us
don't come from places like Iran, we
don't have to answer that question.) I
wonder if we might not just take the
Strangelove route and say that all these
horrible weapons have made the notion
of defending ourselves or other people
from destructive/totalitarian forces
Y et is it reasonable to ask people to
be on guard against a medium like
the movies which wields such profound
control over our way of seeing things
and which offers such unique
pleasures? Birth of a Nation, with its
strangely paranoid racist imagination,
may not be "history written with light-
ning," but when Woodrow Wilson called
it that surely he was right about the
lightning part. Both Birth of a Nation
and Leni Riefenstahl's mystical Nazi
propaganda epic Triumph of the Will
are so historically blind that only as
psychological documents of their
twisted times can either of them be
examined with any sort of moral
seriousness. And yet great films they
are, because while all art has at least
implicit moral elements (if only in the
very act of creation), ultimately people
don't (and shouldn't) look at it with a
moral yardstick.
Perhaps that's why even today some
people will crash through every
elaborate freedom-of-speech argument
ever devised when they protest
showings of Birth of a Nation; They
sense that despite D. W. Griffith's
brainwashed history, movies had an
awesome power over our imagination,
a power that's often divorced from their
messages and that can exalt racism or
fascism or just about any other op-
pressive thought system human beings
can dream up.
Movies can shut off our thought
processes almost entirely, and if that's
one of their chief pleasures it's also
their danger. Most of the time, it's the
sort of problem that lies dormant. But
when it's time to make decisions
melodrama just won't do as any sort of
model. Regrettably, life just isn't that


(Continued from Page 5)
cut short and blow-dried to bland per-
Seeing these walking Gay Bob dolls
provokes a single burning question:
How, apart from their social security
cards, do they tell each other apart?
Recorded music played loudly
enough is supposedly enough to kill rats
in a laboratory setting, but so far it has
done little to those who work at
CBGB's, New York prime punk
progenitor. It's not the waitresses tar-
tly decked out in their mondo
minimalest that you have to worry
about; it's the doorman/bouncer with
hair on his knuckles that can do real
The report from the southern front is

that all is very, very still. The bar that
helped spawn a new generation of
headbanging, self-loathing all-Ameri-
can teens has not exactly wasted away
as much as it has simply remained a
faithful thermometer of a punk/new
wave rock scene that certainly no long-
er seems so revolutionary.
Today lots of people go there who
might otherwise hang out at some
equivalent of, dare-we say it, Goodtime
Charlie's. CBGB's has become the, real
world's animal house, replete
with hilarious ltided-out collegiate
types throwing up all over the place,
loud music, booze, and a regular cast of
fun-loving saps who have no place bet-
ter to go. Perhaps it's more like
Gilligan's Island:. for there they are, a
thigh-slapping crew of castaways who,
it seems,.will be stranded there eter-
nally for your entertainment.


Elisa Isaacson

RJ Smith

Inside the
draft scheme
Supplement to The Michigan Daily

Reviewing a
grad review


Cover photograph by Reginald Sandman '
.. r

Ann Arbor, Michigan-Sunday, February 24, 1980

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