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September 18, 1980 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1980-09-18

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OPINION

Page 4

Thursday, September 18, 1980

The Michigan Daily

I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCI, No. 13

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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I

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

1:1

A step backwards on the
road to course evaluations

E VEN AS THE Michigan Student
Assembly was moving ahead
this week with a student course
evaluation program, the faculty
Senate Assembly was taking a giant
step backward.
The faculty group passed three
resolutions Monday designed to
protect faculty members who refuse to
participate in college- or department-
conducted course evaluations from
any penalties.
Faculty leaders claim the
resolutions are not intended to
discourage student evaluations, but
are instead intended to avoid situations
where faculty members choose not to
become involved in a particular course
evaluation program.
The question becomes: Why should
faculty members be able to choose not
to take part in official course

evaluations?
Surely professors should not be
protected from student evaluations:
Whether or not they have tenure, their
teaching should come under regular
scrutiny.
In fact, evaluations serve professors
as well as students, indicating problem
teaching areas that need to be correc-
ted.
At a time when pressure for a Univer-
sity-wide evaluation program is moun-
ting, the faculty has chosen to retreat
from any such commitments. Instead,
it seems, faculty members prefer the
present haphazard, inconsistent
evaluation system in which some
departments distribute evaluations
and many others don't.
What they fail to realize is that
students won't take evaluations
seriously if the faculty doesn't.

01

A new idea: Draft the old

The Congress unites
around vast arms hike

I T DOESN'T HAPPEN very often
that Congress resounds with near
unanimity about anything, but this
week has seen 90 percent of our
federal representatives vote in favor of
ti bill that ought to have been con-
sidered controversial-and would have
been in any but this, the "silly" season.
It was Tuesday, a day that may be
remembered as a landmark of the
reblossoming of the nation's warring{
spirit, that 351 of 393 congresspersons
voted for a bill that boosts military
spending $19 billion dollars over the
current fiscal year, and $2.5 billion
over the amount that our noble
president suggested.
When even a small bloc in Congress
wants to tie up a bill on the House floor,
it can find countless ways to do so;
filibusters,,addenda or riders to bills,
and parliamentary gymnastics are
just a few of the tricks at legislators'
disposal. Evidently, no such
shenanigans were in order this time.
Not only were the House Ap-
propriations Committee's recommen-
dations passed without question, but
House members got into the spirit of

things by adding even greater ap-
propriations to our national artillery.
All around, it was a good week for
hawks. By an 89 to 3 count, the Senate
approved funds for creating a new and
improved U.S. arsenal of nerve gas
weapons. It doesn't seem to bother the
august senators that the U.S. wisely
agreed not to manufacture such
chemical weapons several years ago.
They are counting on the current
trigger-happy president, or perhaps
his even trigger-happier successor, to
make the new weapons legal through-
suspension of the agreement.
Senator Henry Jackson of
Washington, leading Democratic
warmonger, expressed excellent
reasoning for his support of the nerve
gas bill. "How do you negotiate with
the Soviet Union? That is the question
before the Senate. We don't do it from a
position of weakness."
But contrary to what the senator and
his cohorts may believe, the United
States would look a lot better
negotiating from a position of peace
than from one of 'sabre-rattling
strength.

All the schemes suggested so far for
reviving the draft envisage calling up 19-year-
olds to meet the military's manpower needs.
But if it's really necessary to resume con-
scription (big "if"-but let it go), I think a
case can be made for drafting 50-year-olds in-
stead.
Instead of calling up a couple hundred
thousand immature 19-year-olds each year
who will have to be mothered and socialized
to accept the rigors of training, the privations
of military life, and the duties associated with
their assigned soldierly jobs, the military
could draft emotionally mature 50-year-olds
who have spent their adult lives working in
organizations, patiently coping, understand-
ing and accepting legitimate restrictions,
suffering idiots, and shouldering respon-
sibilites. The military would be spared most
of the time and effort now expended keeping
exuberant and only partially civilized teen-
agers on their tight leashes. The 50-year-old
recruits would doubtless be more self-
disciplined and self-controlled. The military
could then do without whole fleets of baby-
sitting sergeants, counselors, stockade
managers, and MPs patrolling brothel areas.
Grown-up soldiers would just be a lot easier to
handle.
THEY'D BE MORE capable than your
basic incompetent 19-year-olds, too. More of
them would know technical trades. More-
would know how to read training manuals,
blueprints, maps, and the colonel's mind.
They'd have a better feel for the ins and outs.
of manipulating organizations and getting
things done. They'd be more experienced at
working smoothly with other people, typing
memos, solving problems under pressure,
staying healthy, improvising, running
machines, doing their own laundry, enter-
taining themselves, fixing stuck windows,
following orders, staying awake at night, and
all the other chores of soldiering. Ask yourself
who you'd rather go into combat with: the
gawky kid down the street who recently
barely graduated from high school, or your
grown-up grocer who used to be a truck
mechanic?
The military's needs for sound, capable
people would be better met by drafting
mature, competent 50-year-olds than by
relying on inexperienced, immature kids.
BUT, YOU'LL ASK, don't people have to be
young and strong to survive basic training,
walk and run all day long, do 30 push-ups
whenever the mean sergeant demandsthem,
and handle those heavy weapons and ob-
stinate vehicles? Not really. Maybe 50 or 100
years ago the cannon fodder still had to be
young bucks with strong backs so they could
lug 100 pounds of gear on foot all over the
European landscape. But now the soldier and
his junk are mostly hauled, and brawny
youths don't have that much of an edge.

By James Stegenga
Anyway, many of my 50-year-old friends are
in better shape than some of the lazy 19-year-
olds I see. And everyone knows that the
toughest guys in any military unit aren't the
kids but the very much grown-up sergeants
and colonels ("grizzled," they're called).
Perhaps military service would even be
less of a disruption in the 50-year-old's life
than it is for the 19-year-old. Most 50-year-olds
are past their child-rearing years (or almost
past them, anyway, even in this era of suppor-
ting "children" until they finish graduate
school at age 32). Your typical 50-year-old has
also passed that time in his life when he was
burning with zeal and ambition to trisect the*
angle, end poverty, or invent the 100-miles-to-
the-gallon carburetor. He is typically recon-
ciled to putting in time, and thus might not
resent the intrusion of Uncle Sam so much-as
the youngster with dreams and a whole Life
Plan that will be disastrously upset by a two-
year interruption that he will be more in-
clined than his elder to regard as a total waste
of time, a total loss.
The elder might also welcome the change
as an opportunity, a sabbatical after 25 years
on the assembly line or in the same dreary of-
fice. My forty- and fifty-year-old friends
would be lots more likely than my 19-year-old
students to be seduced by the Navy
recruiter's promise of adventure, travel, and
escape. The 50-year-old has pretty much
made his dent and whatever fortune he's
going to pile up. He's close to paying off his
mortgage. And if he hasn't already gone over
the wall during his mid-life crisis, he's
probably ready to.
THIS 50-YEAR-OLD recruit who's already
made his dent and his pile-however
meager-has a lot more of a stake in the
system to protect than the' 19-year-old, too.
Having spent his life producing and benefiting
from the American Way, he'll be more willing
to sacrifice to protect and defend it. Having
come to appreciate the blessings of liberty,
the market economy, comfortable eateries,
and interesting newspapers when he can find
them, he'll be a more reliable defender of the
realm than the youth who hasn't begun to ap-
preciate what's worth defending.
At the same time, the 50-year-old recruit is
apt to belessdeferential toward authorities
his own age who propose unnecessary, un-
wise, impractical, or improper foreign policy
adventuring. More so than his 19-year-oldoson
or niece, the 50-year-old soldier is likely to ask
the old civilians in Washington; "You're sen-
ding me where to do what? You gotta be kid-
ding." So, if he would be more likely to obey
sensible directives, he'd be less likely to
follow the commands of silly old men with un-

sound schemes.
But wouldn't it be an advantage to have
more skeptical and questioning troops? Isn't
that why we have a citizen army, to make
sure that the common sense of the citizenry is
brought to bear? Maybe some of our recent
imbroglios would have been avoided if the ar
chitects had been obliged to worry more
about how their proposals were going to go
over with older and wiser warriors that were
going to have to put their bodies on the line.
WE ARE UNDERSTANDABLY and ap-
propriately uncomfortable when we notice
that our military forces are blacker and
poorer than the civilians back home. By the
same token we ought to be uncomfortable that
our soldiers are so much younger than our
population. Where is it written that the young
should do the sacrificing, killing, and dying
for the old? America's men now push these
responsibilities onto America's boys. It's time
our men (and adult women, too) stepped for-
ward to shoulder the burdens of our nation's"
defense.
And is it too harsh to suggest that-whe4
soldiers must die in warfare-it's better (or at
least not quite as sad) for 50-year-olds to miss
their last 20 years than for 20-year-olds to
.miss their last 50?
Consider, finally, a couple of collateral social
benefits of drafting 50-year-olds. It would be
good for their health for 200,000 or so paunchy
recruits each year to do some physical
training, lose some weight, and strengthen
some cardiovascular systems. The nation's
medical bills might even decline enough as a
w consequence so that the recruits could be
given a pay increase.
AND i'r MIGHT be good for the nation's
economic health, too, if each year 200,000 50-
year-olds who are now clogging the upper
reaches of hundreds of civilian bureaucracies
and corporations took a two-year leave,
clearing the way for new people and 'new
ideas. When they returned to their civilian
lives, these citizen soldiers would bring back
something valuable, too, some experiences
from a different real world, some brand new
perspectives as well as a.lift in their steps.
The chance to command a basic training
company of adult dentists, mechanics, car
salesmen, corporate poohbahs,ani seven
society matrons might almost tempt.me to re-
enlist in a different, interesting, more just.
and probably better Army . . . without
waiting a few years to be drafted for the
second time.
James Stegenga, a 1959 graduate of the
University of Michigan, is a professor of
international relations and military affairs
at Purdue University. He wrote this ar-
ticle for the Central Committee for Con-
scientious Objectors.

MEMBERS OF THE PRESS! WE'RE
SETTING UP A NEW REFERENCE
SYSTEM FOR MR. CARTER'S
POSITIONS ON ISSUES!
sue

THIS FILE IS FOR HIS POSITIONS
TAKEN EARLY IN THE CAMPAIGN.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Mail-order brides article in

v m It-

THIS FILE IS FOR HIS MODIFIED
POSITIONS AFTER THE
NOMINATION!

II

1 11

HIS FILE IS FOR HIS POSITIONS
\S MODIFIED BY HIS SPOKESMEN!
r -

To The Daily:
On Friday, September 5, The
Michigan Daily ran an article en-
titled "Mail-Order Brides: Made
in Hong Kong." This was a story
about how the typical American
male in our (creature-comfort-
oriented) society can let "his
fingers do the walking" and mail
order an "oriental" bride.
Much of society bases its
stereotypes or opinions about a
whole sex or race or group on how

they are presented in the visual,
audio, or print media. Articles
like this often times perpetuate
these distortions by reinforcing
inaccurate stereotypes. In this
case, the author of the article,
Nick Katsarelas, was more en-
thusiastic in promoting these
distortions and more sensational
than he should have been. To
devote at least three-quarters of
the article to the apparent finan-
cial success of Mr. Broussard's

bride-ordering business, while
only as an afterthought (or so it
seems) presenting the objections
to such an overt "serf" trade is to
do the topic injustice. Therarticle
lacks much journalistic respon-
sibility and for The Daily to have
printed this article is to testify to
the sensational success of such a
story.
Not only are the attitudes
presented by Mr. Broussard,
owner of the mail-order bride
company "Cherry Blossoms," an
affront to the women's movement
because they treat women as a
commodity-as Broussard said,
"A man has got to be willing to
spend at least as much for an
oriental woman as he would

Sulting
spend for a good used car"-they
are also an affront to the Asian-
American movement.
In my opinion, part of a
newspaper's responsibility is to
help educate the public, not to
help perpetuate distortions for
the sake of a devoted readership.
One of the Asian American
Association's goals is to confront
such distortions and to educate
the public about Asians and Asian*
Americans. If The Daily or the
public is interested in learning
more about Asian American
stereotypes, calliour office at 996-
5799 or stop by 4319 Michigan
Union.
-Rudy Mui
September IS

Kingbees review slammed

THIS FILE IS FOR HIS
MODIFICATIONS OF HIS
SPOKESMEN'S MODIFICATIONS!

-.J

I-

AND THIS FILE IS FOR HIS
"I'M KEEPING AN OPEN
MIND" POSITIONS!

To The Daily:
Mark Coleman's music review
of the Kingbees at Second Chance
(Daily, Sept. 10) reeked of per-

does.
Perhaps your opinion was for-
med after a bit too much "gin and
hash." But of course you would

.4

Letters to The Daily should be typed,

U

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