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March 30, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-30

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, March 30, 1983

The Michigan Daily

Reagan

misguided on

missile defense

By Jeffrey Colman
"Dangerous" is a mild term to
describe President Reagan's proposal
the other night to develop a defense
system against Soviet missiles and to
redefine American nuclear strategy.
Unfortunately, this proposal is con-
sistent with past statements and
policies of the administration which
emphasize the possibility of and
preparation for a limited nuclear war.
The notion of defending against
nuclear attack was rejected years ago
because it was considered too costly
and unfeasible. A strategy relying on
defense and not deterrence in the era of
ballistic missiles would be destabilizing
making nuclear war more, not less,
likely. Until now, nuclear war has been
prevented because both sides knew that
if they attacked first their adversary
would have a sufficient retaliatory
strike to devastate the aggressor.
ANTI-BALLISTIC missile (ABM).
defense systems are still considered
ineffective and can always be over-
come by technological developments of
the adversary. Such 'an ABM system
puts a country under a false illusion of
security and may induce it to launch a

nuclear attack prematurely because it
has (mistakenly) lost the fear of being
destroyed by a retaliatory second
strike.
The idea of massive retaliation is not
a pleasant one, as the president pointed
out in his speech. But it is the strongest
and most sensible deterrent posture
within our capabilities. What makes
Reagan think the Soviets won't follow
our lead and develop their own ABM
system or use decoy missiles to deceive
our defenses? What would stop the
Soviets from building more offensive
missiles with more warheads to
saturate our defense system (assuming
our ABM system would be effective in
the first place)?
Even if we disable 90-95 percent of
Soviet warheads before they reach
target, what about the 10 or 50 or 100
warheads that get through? Is that an
acceptable, safe scenario? If the
Soviets believed that their weapons
would be rendered useless and they
would become vulnerable, what would
discourage them from launching a
desperate attack before our defense
system was installed?
HOW MUCH longer does the
president expect the American people
to believe doublespeak-that the only

way to control arms is to build more?
Why should the Soviets negotiate with
us when we introduce new destabilizing
technologies that make them feel more
vulnerable and appear to violate our
treaty commitments?.
Negotiating from a position of
strength is a good idea. But in the age of
multiple-independently targeted reen-
try vehicles (MIRV's), nuclear overkill
and second strike capabilities, Reagan's
notion of superiority is irrelevant and
dubious. We should have learned from
our experience with MIRV's that
unilateral development of new,
destabilizing weapons leads not to arms
control but to an arms race that in the
end makes us more vulnerable than
before development.
I resent being labelled as misled or a
dupe of the Communists for favoring
arms control measures such as the
nuclear freeze or smaller increases in
our defense budget. Some of us believe
as strongly as the president in the
security of our country but merely have
a different point of view as to the best
way to guarantee it. We believe that
pursuing serious arms control
negotiations to prevent nuclear war
makes our country safer than
preparing actual nuclear war fighting.

capabilities. "
I believe that we should spend
whatever is necessary for the security
of our country. But we should not be
spending one dollar more given the
social and economic demands of our
country today upon which our security
also depends. We must have a strong
national defense; we should enhance
our commitments to our allies; we
should present ourselves as a viable
political alternative to Soviet
totalitarianism. But:
* We should not blindly lead the world
to Armageddon through militaristic
and moralistic crusades.
* We should not develop first strike
weapons such as the MX which in a
crisis will induce both sides to launch
attacks first.
* We should not be thinking about how
to fight a protracted nuclear war or in
terms of "acceptable" losses from such
a conflict.
" We should not be developing defense
systems that put us under an illusion of
security and distance us (falsely) from
thinking about the catastrophe of
nuclear war.
Colman is a graduate student in
the Institute of Public Policy
Studies.

4

AP Photo

Reagan's nuclear arms policy: Rising to new lows.

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

MSA funds to Reader's theatre proper

4

Vol. XCIII, No. 141

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

k

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

Acid rain and propaganda

ABELLING ANYTHING as prop-
aganda attaches a stigma to that
piece of information which is difficult
to shake. When the government at-
taches that stigma to information, it
becomes' a decidedly' anti-U.S. and
inherently dangerous to the political
system. It might be understandable if
the federal government might attach
such a label to an official Soviet
political pamphlet, but not to
documentary films produced by a
close ally such as Canada.
That's the case, though, with two
films produced under the auspices of
an agency of the Canadian gover-
nment, "Acid Rain: Requiem and
Recovery" and "If You Love This
Planet." The two films were classified
"politial propaganda" by the Justice
Department last month. Under an old,
little-known regulation, a disclaimer
must appear with the films announcing
the government's disapproval. The
regulation also requires that those
showing the "propaganda" must keep
track of everyone viewing the films.
Two University professors - Com-
munication Prof. John Stevens and
Oceanic Science Prof. Perry Samson

- challenged the law by showing the
two films Monday night without adding
the disclaimer and without keeping
track of who saw the movies. Oddly, it
seems the professors will not get into
trouble for their "illegal" political ac-
tivity because there is no apparent
penalty for violating the rule.
The law appears to be silly, but there
is a danger with its application here.
The acid rain film documented the ef-
fects of acid rain on Canada while it
placed the blame for the problem on
pollution from the United States. And
the other film documented the effects
of the atomic bombs dropped on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Do these films contain subversive
propaganda dangerous to the gover-
nment? Doubtful. Do these films put
the Reagan administration in a bad
light considering Reagan's stands on
the environment and nuclear arms?
Ah, there's the rub.
The Justice Department has turned
the purposes of the regulation around
to make it apply not -just to anti-U.S.
views, but anti-administration views.
It's an interesting way to keep track of
ybur political opponents. It also sets an
ominous precedent.

To the Daily:
We are concerned with several
assertions and implications made
by Ellen Lindquist in her review
of our production of As I Lay
Dying (Daily, March 20).
The Reader's Theatre Guild
(RTG) is a student organization
in all respects. Most of its mem-
bers are students, and all per-
formances are produced, direc-
ted, edited, cast, and performed
by students, without the assistan-
ce of professors, other faculty, or
professionals.
While RTG is recognized by the
Michigan Student Assembly, as
are all legitimate student
organizations, it does not
generally receive MSA funding.
We did receive a $50 allocation to
assist with advertising of As I
Lay Dying, which was granted in
light of performance costs,
however, this was a special
request and made no different
from other student organizations
who can also make such requests.
The RTG also received funding
from the LSA-Student Gover-
nment. There is no political con-
nection, however, as the review
implies; the RTG is not
politically motivated, and it is
hard to imagine how any produc-
tion of As I Lay Dying could be so
construed.
According to the review, the
RTG "paid copywright fees to
Random House [sic]." This is
directly contrary to the situation.
Random House, Inc., gave pus
permission to use the novel at no
royalty cost contingent upon our
strict adherence to the text.
While we charged a nominal ad-
mission fee to cover performance
costs, the RTG is a non-profit
organization, and Random House
has treated us as such. The
review leaves the reader with the
impression that the intention
behind the performance was to
make profit, which it was not.
The sole purpose of the RTG is
to perform and promote reader's
theatre, and other forms of oral
interpretation. Lindquist was
perfectly correct in stating "this
is not theatre." The thrust of her
review, however, was not an
evaluation of our performance as
readers' theatre, but was a rejec-
tion of the performance as con-
ventional theatre.
There are many differences
between theatre and reader's
theatre, some of which Lindquist

did point out in her article.
Reader's theatre does not make
use of props, sets, and limits the
costume. We are allowed, ac-
cording to all sources, to use our
scripts and we do attempt to

Law Review lowers its standards .

0 0

To the Daily:
Somehow, I never thought that
the notion of academic
achievement would be given
negative connotations by any
organ of our media. But when I
read "Taking affirmative ac-
tion" (Daily, March 24) I beheld
the new term "meritocracy" - a
word used to describe an old
Michigan Law Review system,
which based entry into the
Review's ranks on the outmoded
ideal of "scholarship." It seems
that such an ideal had to give way
to the more modern philosophy of
"affirmative action."
The Daily believes that, in the
interest of advancing minorities,
departments of the University
should compensate for lack of
ability by awarding academic
distinctions based on race or
ethnic background. The Michigan
Law Review does its part, it
seems, by making sure that there
are at least two minority mem-
bers in its ranks from the top half
of all Review applicants. Though
the minority members may not
meet the more rigid academic
standards required of the other
students, the Daily feels that the
Review is playing its noble role in
correcting racial injustices
committed over the 350 years of
American history.
I will applaud anybody who
finds the way to do justice to a
race or any historically op-
pressed group. Alas, I believe
that it is only possible to do
justice to individuals, and in-
dividuals have to be judged on
their merits, not on the irrelevant
factors of race and ethnicity.
"Affirmative action," as exer-
cised by the Review and other
academic bodies, puts a price on
race. It also forces the present
generation of white students to
shoulder the blame for past in-
justices. Pardon some of us,
please, if we don't take too
readily to the burden, while we
claw and scratch for a shred of
academic distinction.
I realize only two minority

members would be subject to the
special affirmative action stan-
dards of the Review.
Nonetheless, I still stand four-
square against affirmative action
as practiced by the Review,

because the program does not
tackle the fundamental education
barriers faced by minorities, but
only lowers the standards of
higher learning.

4

present works of literature in a
method they may not have been
presented in before. Reader's
theatre is a form of drama that
has been in practice since the
time of ancient Greece, and can

be an invitation to the audience to
open up their minds and enjoy a
full theatrical experience.
-Philip A. Wahr, President
Paul S. McCarthy, Treasurer
Reader's Theatre Guild
March 23

...Plan doesn't go far

-Bruce Poindextejr
March 26
enough

To the Daily:
I am writing in response to a
recent article, "Law Review
initiates own plan," (Daily, Mar-
ch 18) by Bill Hanson. I was
disheartened, to say the least, af-
ter reading this eye-opening ar-
ticle; it is always very disturbing
to see that there are still many
who can not visualize a
legitimate link between
minorities and the privileges of
the influential.
I could, halfheartedly, under-
stand the fact that The Michigan
Law Review is an organization of
distinctive candor, and even that
there are students who are not
qualified to become members;
but I do not understand why only
two minority students will be of-
ferred membership according to
a newly-proposed program. I feel
that this aspect of the proposal is,
in itself, totally degrading and
says a great deal about the biased
opinions held by many editors
concerning the adeptness of
minority students.
Though it was recommended to
the 1983-84 editorial board that
the affirmative action plan be
adopted in their selection
criteria, there were still those
who felt that by adopting this
plan the quality of the Review
would be affected. And I do
believe that it is safe to assume
that the dissenters are not con-
cerned about the possibility of
minorities having a positive ef-
fect on the quality of the Review.
I was also unhappy to see that
Broderick Johnson was actually
encouraged by the Review's
proposal. The editorial board is
merely taking action in order to
pacify the cries of those concer-

ned with discrimination in this,
organization; their remedy
seems to be to allow a dispropor-
tionally small number of
minorities into the organization,
but then appear to be in-
discriminate because of the fact
that minorities are on staff. By
taking this action the Review can
keep their officials satisfied anda
supposedly keep minorities con-
tent.
I have been warned of the
racism that exists on this cam-
pus, but I must say that this is one
of my few encounters with such
blatant discrimination at the
University. Even though I do not
have, at present, a solution for
such injustices, I feel that it is
important for minorities to never
allow themselves to be coaxed in-
to complacency while injustices
still exist. We, as minorities,
must always remember that
freedom is never voluntarily
given by the oppressor; it must
be demanded by the oppressed.
-Yolanda M. Lyles
March 19
Correction
A sentence from Mr. Bill
Kohler's letter ("Controversy on
a whim," Daily, March 29)
should have read, "That is, the
Daily sees fraternities and not
law students as racist."

0

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