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October 09, 1981 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-09

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OPINION
g 4 Friday, October 9, 1981 The Michigan Daily

0

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Weasel

Vol. XCII, No. 26

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

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THE UNIVERSITY Housing Office
announced Wednesday that as
many as 10 dormitory resident ad-
visors and resident directors may be
fired because they have failed to main-
tain a 2.5 grade point average. It is un-
fortunate that housing officials have
chosen to equate a satisfactory grade
point average with good performance
asan RA.
In past years, a student only needed
a 2.5 grade point average at the time he
or she applied for the RA position. Un-
der a new housing policy, however,
RAs and RDs are required to maintain
that average from the time they apply
in January until they begin the job in
September.
The housing office now plans to fire
those people whose grade point
average dropped below the 2.5 mark.
Dismissing an RA for low grade
point average is unjustified. Just
because an RA's grades decline does

not mean that he or she is less qualified
than when he or she was hired. RA's
and RDs are chosen more for their
ability to deal with dorm residents and
their problems than for their academic
ability.
Additionally, firing an RA at this
time of the semester could be
,detri pental to dorm residents, many
of whom are just getting acquainted
and comfortable with their advisors.
The unfairness of the decision is un-
derscored at Bursley, where up to four
students face job termination because
of declining grades. Some of these
students have alleged that the murder
of two students last April took its toll on
their grade point averages.
RAs and RDs should not be judged on
the basis of their grades. Other skills
are much more important for these in-
dividuals to properly do their jobs. For
the benefit of both dorm residents and
current RAs and RDs, housing officials
should reconsider this new rule.

0

AWACS
Gulf of Tonkin resolution revisited?

Screwing around in D.C.

P ERHAPS IT wasn't so surprising
that the House last week gave into
pressure from fundamentalist
religious groups and voted to kill a
District of Columbia bill that would
have reformed Washington's archaic
sex laws.
What was surprising was the vote.r
By a margin of 281 to 119, the House
vetoed a bill previously passed by the
District of Columbia City Council that
contained provisions that would have
legalized most sex acts between con-
senting adults in Washington.
The Moral Majority-always
anxious to keep an eye on other
people's sex lives-was offended by the
bill, and managed to get the bill
brought up for review by the House of
Representatives.
The result was that the House, for
the first time in the six year history of
home rule for the District of Columbia,
intervened in the lawmaking process
of the District.
The House veto means that
Washington will retain its old laws that
permit sex only between married per-
sons in the missionary position.
The old laws are ridiculous, of cour-
se and will be ignored by the District
population as they almost always have
been. But the House vote is something.

more than a refusal to change some
'seldom-enforced laws.
The congressional action showed
that a shockingly large portion of the
House of Representatives has little
compunction in sacrificing the
freedoms of Americans to curry the
favor of a powerful political
organization.
What happened was fairly obvious.
The District of Columbia has very little
clout in Congress; it has only one non-
voting representative in the House.
And very few people really care much
about what laws the District of
Columbia has-except the
Washingtonians who have to live under
them. Hence, politically, members of
Congress had very little to lose by
killing'the sex law reforms, while they
-had an opportunity to score some poin-
ts with Jerry Falwell.
Earlier this week, members of the
House were congratulating each other
for rejecting proposals to gut the
Voting Rights Act; they were busy pat-
ting each other on the back for being so
concerned about the basic liberties of
Amnericans. But before they wallow too
much in their sanctimonious glory,
they should remember that just last
week they were more than willing to
take away a few of the liberties of hun-
dreds of thousands of Americans.

By Franz Schurmann
President Reagan's recent
commitment to defend Saudi
Arabia against all external and
internal attacks has turned the
debate over AWACS into a Middle
East version of the Gulf of Tonkin
resolution 17 years ago.
For the first nine months of the
Johnson administration, world
tensions were mounting in the
Tonkin Gulf region of Vietnam,
and the United States was being
drawn in. For the first nine mon-
ths of the Reagan administration
the same has been happening in
the Persian Gulf . region.
President Johnson argued that
vital U.S. interests were at stake,
and now President Reagan
argues likewise.t
But if U.S. interests never were
all that clear in the Far East, in
the Middle East they are crystal
clear: Saudi Arabia is not only
the world's greatest source of ex-
ported oil, but the magnitude of
its production has enabled the
Saudis to control and hold down
the world price of oil.
Thus, one might say that the
president's entireseconomic
program is hostage to who holds
power in the Saudi capital. The
president now has vowed that the
United States never will allow the
Saudi ruling dynasty to be over-
thrown as the shah was in Iran.
What is giving the president's
remarks a note of urgency is the
growing evidence that events in
and affecting Iran are coming to
the most decisive turning point
since the Islamic revolutionpOp-
ponents of the ayatollah, notably
ousted President Abolhassan
Bani-Sadr, are convinced that the
Teheran regime is about to fall.
Yet at the same time the Islamic
regime,hdespite the unbelievable
loss of'leaders during the last
month, shows few signs of collap-
se. Foreign observers still
believe that the population as a
whole supports the regime.
But an alarming trend has been
the reheating ' of the war with
Iraq. With no correspondents to
report on either side, there is lit-
tle public knowledge of what ac-
tually is going on. Iraq has ad-
mitted to a retreat from the
territory it held north of the
Karun River, and both sides

One of five AWACS that may be sold to Saudi Arabia.

claim heavy casualties inflicted
on the other. However, much
more alarming is the apparent
resumption of attacks by the
Iranians on Iraqi oil fields.
Either way the war proceeds,
the peace and stability of all the
Middle East could be gravely
threatened. If Iran falls apart,
there could be a scramble for
power, with good chance that
the United States and the Soviet
Union would be directly drawn
in. If Iran holds together and the
war worsens, it could spell ex-
treme danger for Iraq's dictator,
Saddam Hussein. When the Iran-
Iraq war broke out, Saudi, Arabia
and Jordan made a pledge
similar to the one President
Reagan made to the Saudi royal
family. What will they do if the
Iraqi dictator should fall and a
regime representative of Iran's
majority Shi's Arab, population
comes to power in Baghdad?
The success of the president's
policy to restore health to the
American economy depends on
peace in the Middle East. If his
economic plan finally takes hold,.
then the United States, as the
locomotive of the world economy,
will stimulate a wider economic
recovery. That will mean a rise in
the demand for oil from the
present slump.
If peace and the status quo
prevail, the Saudis will be able to
manipulate OPEC production to

keep prices stable. Stable oil
and food prices and a money sup-
ply kept in check are the three
foundations of Reaganite
economic recovery. But if an
ever wider war engulfs the Mid-
dle East, that would mean raging
inflation along with a deep
slump-in short, the crash in the
world economy so many leaders
have feared.
The president's thinly veiled
warning to Israel regarding the
AWACS sale to the Saudis can
easily be translated as an ac-
cusationtthat it and its friends in
the United States are helping
bring about another con-
flagration in the Middle East and
another "Iran" in Saudi Arabia.
Israel has no interest in any
peace and stability in the Middle
East that does not go through the
Camp David process and thus in-
volve Israel directly. It also has
not made any secret of its
preference for an Iranian victory
in the war. Many Israelis believe
that a Saudi Arabia torn by
revolutionary turmoil would be
preferable to a powerful Saudi
Arabia which could become the
leader of the Arab world.
Pro-Israeli sentiment is the
most powerful factor in op-
position to the AWACS sale in the
U.S. Senate. Yet there also is the
fear of again getting involved in a
foreign conflict as we did in In-
dochina. In this sense the AWACS
issue is a lot like the Gulf of

Tonkin resolution formally sub-
mitted to the Senate by President
Johnson. Approving the saLe
would amount to a tacit signal to.
the president to go ahead, even
with military forces to protect
U.S. oil-related interests in the
region. Rejecting it would be a
no-confidence vote in the
president's Middle Eastern
policies.
What we are beginning to see
more clearly in the AWACS
debate are the three dominant
lines of foreign policy thinking
that recently have emerged in tl
United States.
There is neo-isolationist sen-
timent that developed over the
Indochina war and continues
today in opposition to dependency
on foreign sources of oil. Thereis,
the neo-conservative line that
holds that the only way to keep
the oil lifeline open is to deploy
military power in the region and
rely on countries that are stabile
and friendly to the Uniited Statos,
notably Israel and then Egypt.
And then there is the official
line which has evolved over the
last decades which holds that :in
the end there is no substitute for
complex political arrangemertts
among the powers involved. That
has taken the form of a new
alliance policy that knits China,
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and
Egypt along with the older NATO
powers into an arc of contain-
ment around the Soviet Union.
In the Senate, neo-isolationists
and neo-conservatives have
joined in opposition to the
AWACS sale, the former seeing it
as a new Gulf of Tonkin
resolution and the latter as wish-
ful policy built on foundations of
sand. The president, however,
has decided in this case to go
squarely along with every one of
his predecessors since Franklin
Roosevelt and push for a policy
that indvitably will link the
United States more closely to the
great Islamic world of the Middle
East and Africa.
Schurmann is a professor of
history and sociglogy at the
University of California in
Berkeley. He wrote this article
for Pacific News Service.

'YOU'RE RIGHT TO USE YOUNG PEOPLE JN YOUR ADS -
SMOKERS DON'T GROW TOO OLD, Y'KNOW'

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

01

Forum for everyone

4F Iltfk

To the Daily:
Since last April I have been
working with other concerned
citizens of this community to
organize a forum on the subject,
"What is National Security?"
The forum is planned as an
examination of a critical issue
and is open to everyone. We had
hoped to attract all people who
are concerned about American
defense policies-not just those
who want to hear one point of
view reiterated. a
We were disappointed to learn
that one group on campus is
planning a protest and picket line
outside the forum. This group

"lively, picket line" protest.
It is a shame that the Spartacus
Youth League lacks either the
confidence in its views or the
capacity to listen to others that is
required for intelligent,
argumentative exchange. The
SYL would prefer to spawn
ridiculous demonstrations rather
than take part in an opportunity
for balanced, democratic free
speech.
It is the hope of the forum's
organizers that everyone from
the University and Ann Arbor
communities will attend and par-
ticipate in the forum in spite of
the Spartacus Youth's misdirec-

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