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January 25, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-01-25

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Tuesday, January 25, 1983

The Michigan Daily

4

Reagan: (Red)

scaring the

freeze

By Katherine Gee
and Howard Simon
The nuclear freeze movement has
become the target of a Reagan ad-
ministration "red-scare" campaign.
In a throwback to the tactics of Mc-
Carthyism, the President is attempting
to discredit the freeze movement by
branding it as a Soviet front.
REAGAN had initially taken a rather
conciliatory position on the issue,
jaying that he understood the concerns
of pro-freeze people although he did not
agree with their solution to the problem
of arms proliferation. But this past Oc-
.tpber Reagan changed his stance. In a
campaign speech before an audience of
yeterans, the President asserted that
the freeze movement ". . . is inspired
not by the sincere and honest people
who want peace but by some who want
the weakening of America, and so are
manipulating many honest and sincere
people."
He was not the first government of-
ficial to attempt to discredit the
resurgent peace movement. This fall,
Sen. Jeremiah Denton went before the
{-Senate to attack an event called
"Peaceday 1982" and its sponsor,
Peace Links.
In a classic unsubstantiated smear,
Denton claimed that four organizations
{advising Peace Links were "either
Soviet-controlled or openly sym-
:'pathetic with, and advocates for,

Communist foreign policy objectives."
The organizations he listed included the
Women's International League for
Peace and Freedom (WILPF), Women
Strike for Peace, and even the Commit-
tee for National Security headed by Paul
Warnke, the former U.S. arms control
negotiator and Defense Department of-
ficial.
SEN. DENTON got surprising support
from the usually level-headed
Washington Post. In an editorial, the
newspaper criticized not Denton and
Reagan for questioning the sincerity of
the freeze movement, but then went on
to say that their allegations were
basically correct-WILPF was a Soviet
front and Women Strike for Peace had
links to a second front. The editorial
concluded that Peace Links should
eliminate such connections if they wan-
ted to maintain their credibility.
The American Civil Liberties Union
sent a strongly worded protest to the
Post, warning that their use of guilt by
association was dangerously
reminiscent of the blacklisting of ,the
McCarthy era. The ACLU's letter con-
cluded that the Denton and Reagan at-
tempts to undermine the nuclear freeze
movement through innuendo and red-
baiting - and the Post's provisional
endorsements of their statements -
were a threat to the principles of free
association and free speech.
The Post published the ACLU letter
along with a retraction of their
editorial. The editors apologized for

r
oil

sent to help instigate and help create
and keep such a (nuclear freeze)
movement going." When, asked to
document his statement, the President
refused to divulge what he termed "in-
telligence matters" but added that
"plenty of evidence" existed.
The next day the'White House press
office released its principal source: The
Reader's Digest, and he referred also to
articles in Commentary and The
American Spectator and two gover-
nment reports on Soviet activism. The
Reader's Digest article dealt with an
unverified KGB campaign called
"nuclear freeze," the objective. of
which is "to secure military superiority
for the Sovet Union by persuading the
U.S. to abandon new weapons
systems."
THE QUESTION is not whether the
Soviet Union is encouraged by the
American freeze movement. What is
crucial is that Americans be free to
debate this and all other issues openly
and on their merits and speak out
without being subjected to red-baiting.
Apparently, the President has chosen to
totally ignore the overwhelming endor-
sement which the concept of a nuclear
freeze received at the polls this past
November, including its endorsement
by Michigan voters.
We call upon President Reagan and
others to join in open debate about the
nuclear freeze issue rather than
seeking to discredit critics with un-
founded allegations that "foreign agen-

ts" are secretly in control of what is ob-
viously a patriotic and broad-based
political movement.
During the past decade, great advan- 4
ces have been made in the fight against
government disruption and harassment
of lawful political activity. The witch-
hunting House Internal Security Com-
mittee (formerly HUAC) was
abolished. The FBI's vicious COINTEL
internal spying program was ended (at
least formally). The FBI and the CIA
were subjected to congressional over-
sight and reform regulations. A
presidential administration was
brought down in disgrace because of its {
lawless disregard for political rights.
The Freedom of Information Act was
passed, exposing many government ac-
tivities to the critical eye of public
scrutiny.
The new attacks on free speech and
political liberty by the Reagan ad-
ministration and its allies have the all
too familiar sound and smell of McCar-
thyism. We cannot afford to live again
the cruel and costly repression and
stifling of free thought and free speech
which characterized the 1950s.
Gee is president of the Detroit
chapter of the Women's Inter-
national League for Peace and

any implication that the peace groups
they mentioned were Soviet stooges, as
further research had revealed that they
were in fact autonomous, and reaffir-
med the right of American citizens to
participate in international peace effor-
ts without having their national loyalty
called into question.
THE SMEAR against the nuclear
freeze movement was repeated locally
in an Oct. 14 Detroit News editorial and
a Dec. 12 column by an editorial writer.
The writer charged that groups like
Clergy and Laity Concerned ("a prin-

ciple left-wing church network that in-
cludes among its members Detroit's
own Bishop Thomas Gumbleton"), the
American Friends Service Committee,
and the Women's International League
for Peace and Freedom advocated
some positions "which would be dif-
ficult to distinguish . . . from the party
line in Moscow."
In the face of the facts, President
Reagan is continuing his smear cam-
paign. At a recent press conference, the
President contended that "there is no
question (that) foreign agents . .. were

Freedom
director
Liberties

and Simon is the executive
of the American Civil
Union of Michigan.

-
FY
R

I

4

Edie m t tsat atoig
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Sinclair

Vol. XCIII, No. 94

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

4

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Watt spouts off again

EAR OLD James Watt is at it
again. Just when things on the
ienvironmental front were quieting
*. own, the'secretary of the interior ac-
rused environmentalists of seeking the
-same type of central control of society
as the Nazis and Bolsheviks.
8 In an article in last week's Business
Week, Watt said environmentalists
:were using their concerns "as a tool to
achieve a greater objective." That ob-
jective, according to Watt, is "cen-
tralized planning and control of
society.
"Look what happened in Germany in
the 1930s," he said. "The dignity of
-nan was subordinated to the powers of
,Nazism. The dignity of man was
subordinated in Russia. Those are the
forces that this thing can evolve into."
According to Watt, those who want
the nation to preserve its natural
resources and fragile ecosystem are
really interested in turning the gover-
nment into an authoritarian regime.
Were Watt not in such an important
position with so much control over

federal land, his comments would be
laughable. Unfortunately, the man is
in a powerful position and he knows it.
And he skillfully uses these sorts of
comments to stir up controversy -
controversy that deflects attention
from his big business-oriented
programs.
The secretary knows that he can
tolerate personal attacks. But he can't
be sure about attacks on his programs.
If he shifts the focus of protest from his
programs to himself or his comments,
the programs will be a little safer.
Watt has not gone bonkers, as
Gaylord Nelson, the chairman of the
Wilderness Society claims. Quite the
contrary, Watt is a shrewd politician
willing to use every trick in the bag to
see his programs succeed.
Environmentalists should let Watt
spout off. They should ignore his
hyperbole and concentrate on their
real objective - protecting the wilder-
ness from the menace of Watt's
programs.

14

4

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

4

Misrepresenting a grotesque gov't

,
\
/ /riiii, /iir
/'dir.,. ..

To the Daily:
This letter is in response to the
decision by the Reagan Ad-
ministration to certify that
human rights have improved in
El Salvador. Mr. Reagan claims
the conflict is the result of outside
forces; that it is an East-West
struggle. This assumes that
revolutions are exported like cof-
fee and bananas.
This anti-communist rhetoric is
too simple-minded to describe the
civil war in El Salvador.
Liberation struggles are home-
grown, the conflict stemming
from internal economic and
social inequities. In El Salvador
there has been a repressive elite
in power for nearly one hundred
years.
The elite is composed of the
"fourteen families," or the
oligarchy, in an alliance with the
military. The group composes a
mere 2 percent of the population
but controls 60 percent of the best
land. They grow coffee and cotton
and use the peasants for har-

military to brutally silence the
peasants. The evidence of
grotesque government violence
glares in the face of Reagan's
claims of human rights im-
provements.
Many human rights groups
have shown that the killings con-
tinue, while the administration
claims that the killings are
decreasing. A group of professors
from South Carolina in-
vestigating human rights abuses
interviewed a general from the
Salvadoran army who said,
"Subversives have no human
rights." He further commented,
"Take this message to your
president: If he expects the El
Salvador army to respect human
rights as a condition for aid, he
can take the aid and shove it."
These comments reflect what the
ruling elite feels about human
rights.
In spite of these facts, the ad-
ministration continues to
misrepresent the situation to the
American people. Any American

you were to go out and try to bury
the body, they would come for
you next.
For those who are interested in
finding out what is really hap-
pening in El Salvador and in Cen-
tral America, visit the Latin
American Solidarity Committee.
LASC is a student and com-

Errors on review coverage

munity group dedicated to sup-
port the people in their struggles
for self-determination and to
counter the misrepresentation of
the truth by the Reagan ad-
ministration.
-Ken Naffziger
January 22

To the Daily:
I want to thank you for giving
front-page coverage to the com-
ments made by students at the
Regent's meeting concerning the
School of Natural Resources
review ("NR students protest
cuts," Daily, Jan. 21).
The review process at the
school is at a critical phase right
now, however, and any inac-
curacies that are in print hurt our
credibility as students laying the
case for reducing budget cuts.
The reporter covering the
Regent's meeting inaccurately
OW WI riP the famef .tA *.n 4nn C ta.*nfa

requesting department syllabi.
What I said: "In recommen-
ding the shift from a five
program orientation to a con-
solidated two program approach,
did the committee request depar-
tment syllabi in an attempt to go
beyond a course catalogue
analysis of the curriculum? This
would have been essential to
fairly evaluate an integrative ap-
proach and to be able to deter-
mine the uniqueness or
duplication of effort with other
courses in the university. To my
knowledge. and TI snkewith five .

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