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October 08, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-08

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OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, October 8, 1981 The Michigan Daily

0

The world los

By Jeffrey Colman
Scholarly observers of world politics
are apprehensive to use the term "in-
dispensable" to describe world leaders.
At times of crisis surrounding the death
of a major leader, it is natural to feel
that the world is ending. Yet somehow,
once the air of the crisis is cleared, the
fallen leader is replaced and history
continues, usually unscathed.
If there was a leader in our times who
might be described as indispensable to
world peace it would be Anwar Sadat.
No man in recent years has contributed
so much to world peace at such great
_ risk as Sadat. The history of his accom-
plishments will unfortunately be writ-
ten prematurely due to his untimely
death this week.
ANWAR SADAT was one of those
rare leaders with a sense of history.
From an early age, he began to believe
that he was destined to play a
significant role in the history of his
country and the world.
He spent his life trying to fulfill what
he described as his God-given duty to
bring freedom, prosperity, and peace to
the Egyptian people.
For him this historical obligation was

not merely a philosophical vision to
dream about but a plan of action. From
his days as a young officer in the Egyp-
tian army, when he was imprisoned for
opposing British colonial rule, he
demonstrated the willingness to take
action toward fulfilling his ideals, even
at the risk of great self-sacrifice.
AS PRESIDENT of his country, when
he journeyed to Jerusalem four years
ago and later signed a peace treaty with--
Israel, he risked not only alienation
from all other Arab leaders but also his
life.
Anwar Sadat was no saint. Although
known in recent years as a man of
peace, he was never unwilling to em-
ploy violence for political purposes.
He attacked Israel on Yom Kippur
1973, the holiest day of the Jewish year,
in order to restore Egypt's pride after its
humiliating defeat in the 1967 war. On.
several occasions during his presiden-
cy, he stifled his domestic opposition
through arrest and incarceration, most
recently this past summer.
SADAT'S PUBLIC career, like those
of all leaders, was not unblemished. But
his achievements must be seen in the
perspective of history.
He should be remembered as the first
Arab leader to recognize the right of the

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life to fulfill this vision. Few leaders
alive today will have an historical
record to match this one.
PRESENT POLITICAL realities in
the Middle East will soon dominate
world headlines and history's view of
Sadat will be left to future historians.
What is relevant now is whether or not
the Camp David peace structure will
survive one of its architects.
Because the Egyptian' side of the
peace process was so dependent on the
personality and power of one man, the
chance of another major Arab-Israeli
war may now be more likely.
Are Sadat's supporters well entren-
'ched enough in the Egyptian gover-
nment and army to continue his
policies? Will radicals like the
Palestine Liberation Organization, who
pre celebrating Sadat's death, become
more powerful and threaten remaining
Arab voices of moderation vis-a-vis
Israel?
THE ANSWERS to these questions
will determine the degree of peace and
stability in the Middle East and
perhaps the world in the near future.
Even th6 optimist must be weary of the
possible consequences of Sadat's tragic
assassination.
According to Anwar Sadat, however,
tragedy must be faced and conquered.

He wrote in his autobiography:
"Faith means that a man should
regard any disaster simply;as a fate-
determined blow which must be en-
dured. From this stems a deliberate ef-
fort to fight away its consequences. No
problem should ever be regarded as in-
surmountable. There are always
solutions to everything."
OCT. 6 WILL be remembered as a
date of significance on the life of Anwar
Sadat and in the course of history.
On Oct. 6, 1973, Sadat shocked the
world by launching a surprise attack on
Israel which set into motion a series of
events which dominated Middle East
politics for eight years.
On Oct. 6,1981, while celebrating this
military initiative, he was
assassinated; his death may set into
motion another series of event whose
consequences are unknown.
"I realize," Sadat wrote, "that
significant events in my life coincided
with events %of public, even historic,
significance. So apparently destiny has
decreed."
Colman is a graduate student in
the University 's Institute of Public
Policy Studies.

0

State of Israel to exist and thrive.
He should be remembered as the man
of vision who saw the need to break out
of the cycle of warfare that brought

repeated tragedy to his countrymen
and all peoples in his region.
He should be remembered as the man
of action who sacrificed his power and

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Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Weasel

By Robert Lence

Vol. XCII, No. 25

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials'represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

The beginnings of dialogue

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B Y APPEARING before the
Michigan Student Assembly
Tuesday night, University President
Harold Shapiro has demonstrated
some interest in student concerns. In
his first appearance as president ever
before the student government,
Shapiro fielded questions from MSA
members about military research con-
tracts, financial aid for minority
students, and the University's affir-
mkive action programs.
Too often, University administrators
misinterpret the best interest of
students when making policy
decisions. Clearly, it is an impossible
task to expect them to have a feeling
for student viewpoints when they have
little or no contact with students.
* Shapiro has at least taken a step
toward soliciting student views by
meeting with MSA members.
Arguably, MSA does not always
represent the mindset of the student
body-fewer than 4,500 students turned
out to vote in the last MSA elec-
tion-but meeting with the University

' student government is perhaps the
best way for administrators to begin to
gauge student input.
Unfortunately, many of Shapiro's
responses Tuesday night seemed
evasive. When questioned about the
University's plans for financial aid for
minority students, for example,
Shapiro cited the University's com-
mitment to financial aid to minorities
and the University's lobbying efforts in
Washington to prevent further finan-
cial aid cutbacks. He did not, however,
give specific examples of what the
University currently is doing for
minority students. If the president in-
tends to have a viable dialogue with
MSA members, he must be willing to
give responsible and substantive an-
swers to their questions.
It is time Shapiro recognizes- the
need to solicit student opinions and
MSA members have been wise in en-
couraging him to do this. But now they
face an even greater obstacle: Getting
Shapiro to take an active interest in
their concerns.

1'

Reagan crack down m

II

By Seymour Wishman
In his recent address before the
International Association of
Chiefs of Police, President
Reagan was quite right to point
out that we should be concerned
about the innocent victims of
crime. Of course we should. And
he was right again to point out
that the public is outraged when a
vicious criminal escapes
punishment. Of course we are.
But the president's program
for halting such abuses misdirec-
ts our outrage at solutions which,
unfortunately, will not decrease
the number of new victims.
IN THE FIRST place, his
program assumes-as many
Americans do-that droves of
felons slip through the criminal
justice system without ever en-
tering the process, and that the
fault lies with "liberal" judges,
unscrupulous lawyers, or
ridiculous technical loopholes in
the law. The fact of the matter is
that a surprisingly high percen-
tage of those who commit serious
crimes do wind up behind bars,
as America's overcrowded
prisons attest. Moreover, the real
reason why some vicious
criminals escape punishment all
to frequently lies with the incom-
petence-or even lawlessness-of
cops, prosecutors or judges. Ex-
cessive liberalism in the system
has little to do with its shor-
tcomings.
Since becoming a criminal
lawyer 16 years ago, I have
prosecuted or defended hundreds
of people accused of serious
crimes. In the course of that work
I have found a few truths plainly
obvious in the matter of crime
and punishment: Every .time a
defendent is acquitted because of
an improperly taken confession
or an illegal search, some cop
either didn't know what he was
doing or arrogantly assumed he
could break the law himself.
Every time a prosecutor
discloses prejudicial information

THROUGH AN incompetence
or lack or integrity of their own,
most journalists rarely point to
the responsible characters when
assigning blame for a
miscarriage of justice. It is
thanks, finally, to this shor-
tcoming-the media's longtime
failure to inform the public of
who actually is at fault-that the
president now can propose a
crime program which will not
deter crime, even if it may lead
people to believe that it might.
The reality is that most judges
are not "soft" on criminals; they
often are the most eager to
punish the guilty. Rather than
being brilliant, most criminal
lawyers win their cases in spite of
their own blunders. And the legal
"technicality" that frustrates the
-effort to put a monster in prison
usually is a fundamental con-
stitutional right which has been
negligently or willfully violated.
A terrible murder case recen-
tly concluded in the Northeast
demonstrates my point. In the
summer of 1967, Plainfield, N.J.,
exploded in a race riot. As in
many other cities on fire at the
- time, one of the primary causes
of Plainfield's explosion was
pent-up hostility between the
black community and the police.
While trying to contain the riot

been charged, proved or defen-
ded in the case. In a second trial,
George Merritt, one of the two
defendants, was convicted after
the prosecutor had introduced the
damaging written statement of a
person who had not testified, and
therefore could not be cross-,
examined by the defendant. A
third conviction of Merritt was
reversed because a police of-
ficer's report was suddenly,
discovered which showed that the
only eyewitness to testify against
Merritt in his pre-trial had, at
least in part, been lying. The
newly discovered report had been
written just days after the mur-
der, and never was disclosed to.
the defense counsel over the next
12 years.
The point is not that Merritt
was necessarily innocent; he
may well have participated in the
murder. But after three trials
and 10 years in prison he still had
not been properly convicted by
the state. The state failed each
time because of a different law
enforcement officer's incom-
petence.
NONETHELESS, Merritt's fir-
st two reversals were accounted
by the media to mere
technicalities. The judge's in-
competence in the initial trial
provoked no story on why, or how

President Reagan's announced plan to crackdown
may be attacking the wrong problem.

on criminals

Sgul ded
for so long, whether there had
been a cover-up or how often
similar mistakes by police
sabotage convictions.
Journalists have not even
examined how such cops,
prosecutors or judges manage to
get and keep their jobs. And
President Reagan doesn't seem
to have any interest in these kin-
ds of questions, either.
Any successful new crime
program has to start with a basic
understanding of the criminal
justice system's present failure:
Today that system lacks an ef-
fective mechanism for preven-
ting incompetents from finding
their way into the legal process,
accumulating important respon-
sibilities, and surviving in spite of
the injustices they perpetrate.
Cops virtually never are
disciplined for conducting illegal
searches or extracting coerced
confessions. Prosecutors who
lose cases because they do not
know the law or deliberately
violate it usually must account to
no one. No statistics are kept
regarding convictions which are
regularly reversed because
judges have misunderstood or
misapplied the law.
IT IS CLEAR that steps must
be taken to attract more qualified
people to the law enforcement
profession. Some judges who now
preside over criminal trials have
themselves never tried a jury
case as a lawyer. Prosecutors of-
ten are new lawyers, just out of
school and still in the midst of
training. Once they have had
enough experience to know what
they are doing, they often leave
for private practice-that, for in-
stance, is what I did. Offering
more money to those who want to
prosecute or judge no doubt
would help improve the quality of
personnel. But once hired they
also should be scrutinized in a
systematic way to assure some
quality control.
Too many notorious cases, like
Merritt's, are simply mishan-
dled. I believe that a terrible con-
sequence of this official incom-

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