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October 01, 1983 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-01

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4

:Page 4

OPINION

Saturday, October 1, 1983

Y
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Striking back

against a

The Michigan Daily
first-strike MX

By Kim Miller
The shape of the argument for
building the MX missile continues to
take on new forms as Congress readies
to either approve or reject funding for
he controversial weapon in late Oc-
ober. The military has lobbied for
ore than 10 years for the production of
.his super-accurate, destabilizing, fir-
t-strike weapon on a colorful assor-
ment of arguments. Those arguments
nust be rejected once and for all.
The original selling point was simple:
Since the United States has modern,
ig, powerful and accurate weapon, it
should add it to its nuclear arsenal. If
=the military had the technology, the
argument continued, it should moder-
:te its weapons system to keep abreast
;~hhose advances in technology regar-
;cess of the military or political ends
.tward which they contribute.
CONGRESS didn't go along with that
.easoning because of the awesome cost
;,and considerable question of merit on
the necessity of the MX. So another
argument developed around the
vulnerability of existing land-based
missiles. This argument said the United
States needed the MX because its other
land-based missiles were open to attack
by Soviet inter-continental ballistic
missiles (ICBMs)..
But it soon became apparent that
though U.S. land-based missiles were
indeed vulnerable, there was no way to
base the huge, cumbersome, ten-
warhead MX to wipe out that
vulnerability.
President Reagan then took over the
flight when he appointed the Scowcroft
commission, assigning it the task of
selling the MX to an increasingly skep-
tical Congress. The commission
1
Edited and managed b
Espm
Editorials represent a ma

missiles when the Soviets were ready,
and both agree the world is less safe
today due to their deployment of
multiple independent reentry vehicles
(MIRV) weapons.
Nixon and Kissinger mistakenly
thought the Soviets would negotiate
from an inferior position. The time to
ban MIRV weapons was lost as soon as
the United States deployed them.
Likewise today, the time to bargain
away accurate, destabilizing weapons
is prior to deployment, not after the fact
when the Soviets will be forced to
develop their own first strike weapons.
WHEN THE bargaining chip
argument was exposed for the fraud it
was, Congress moved further away
from support, for the MX. But the
Korean jetliner incident now represen-
ts, in a twisted way, an important
reason to build the MX and "get tough"
with the Soviets.
This argument runs counter to any
thoughtful analysis of the situation. The
Soviets certainly fear the MX. They
view it as it should be viewed: as a first-
strike weapon capable of destroying
Soviet missiles in thier silos, as well as
knocking out communications and
command bunkers buried under
ground. More importantly, they have
made it clear to U.S. arms negotiators
AP Photo in Geneva that they will move to a com-
if the puter based launch-on-warning stance
if the MX and the Pershing II missiles
are deployed.
osals on
te-range Inversely, the United States must
es could move toward its own launch-on-war-
f 100 MXs ning policy as soon as the' MX is
hrms. deployed in existing, vulnerable
ating the Minuteman III silos. The "use it or lose
nd Henry it" logic is applicable to the MX
de when situation, as the United States will lose
ssed up a the retaliatory capability of ten
warhead warheads for each MX knocked out by a

single incoming Soviet missile.
Therefore, the United States must
launch the MX upon warning that a
Soviet attack is on its way, and is
unable to wait until a missile from th
Soviet Union lands to respond in kind as
policy has traditionally held. Of course, if
the United States resorts to a launch-on-
warning of a Soviet attack, it will be ac-
cepting the message error prone com-
puters. When both, sides are forced to
move to a policy of launch-on-warning,
the chances of accidental nuclear war
are moved from possible to probable.
It must be recognized that all of these
shifts and changes of why the United
States needs the MX covers up the reall
reason the military feels they need this
weapon. The MX represents a first step
in the progression toward developing a
capacity to deliver a decapitating first
strike against the Soviet Union. The
administration's leaks to the press
regarding presidential talk of limited
and winnable nuclear war are no
mistake. They represent a sharp shift
away from the traditional concept of
Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD)
to a very scary idea that nuclear war is
not only conceivable, but winnable.
We must not provide the strategists
sitting behind their computers with the
weapons they need to actually play the
real game. The House of Represen-
tatives and Senate will get a chance to
send a clear message to the ad-
ministration that thinkable nuclear war
planning is not acceptable to the
American public when the defense ap-
propriations bill comes to a vote in Oc-
tober by voting a decisive no to the MX.
Miller is one of two Midwest
organizers -for the Committee for a
Sane Nuclear Policy.

No, this isn't the latest basing modef
Soviets launch a first strike.
recommended that the United States
move away from multiple warhead
missiles and begin working on
development of a small, single-
warhead, mobile . missile - the
Midgetman. But, the group maintained,
plans for the MX should continue until
the Midgetman could be readied for
deployment.
HERE, THE argument shifted to

for the'MX. But the ten-warhead missiles are no better than sitting ducks

embrace a line of illogic that the United
States needed the MX for negotiation
purposes even though there was no ef-
fective answer to the vulnerability
question. Many moderate members of
Congress approved this idea until the
U.S. Arms Control Agency announced
that the MX was not actually on the
bargaining table. Instead, it was being
used as an incentive to get the Soviets to

agree to other related prop
strategic and intermedia
weapons. The United Stat
threaten to build 200 instead of
if the Soviets did not come to te
All Reagan is doing is repe
mistake both Richard Nixon a
Kissinger admit they ma
negotiating SALT I. They pas
chance to ban multiple

y students at The University of Michigan
420 Maynard St.
ajority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Stewart

PSN: Bucking passivism

1,a
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Y OU CAN DISAGREE with their
tactics, and with their ideas, but
you can't argue with the fact that the
Progressive Student Network has
managed, in a very small way, to
break a trend of student passivism.
The Progressive Student Network is
a small student political activist group
organized last year. Its members have
devised protests and 1960s-like sit-ins
to fight defense department research
on campus, the University's five-year
budget cutting plan, and national
defense policies among other things.
Students come to the University
today with the idea that they are
something like play-dough. They see
themselves as formless blobs, unable
to draw legitimate opinions about the
real world until four years of college
have molded them into "intelligent"
human beings.
And the University has done its part
to support this attitude. Ad-
ministrators and professors feel that
one or two students are great to have
around for advice on policy decisions,
but for God's sake, they aren't smart'
enough to have an actual vote. Some
administrators have even managed to
convince themselves that students do
not want to vote, that they are happy as
muted consultants.

The result is a student body mired in
passivism, always acted upon, always
excluded from the decisions which
mold the University. The passivism
has allowed administrators to openly
adopt a policy which says students do
not deserve an active role in decision-
making, even if they are most affected
by those decisions.
In their own way, PSN members
buck the tradition. They see problems
with the Univeristy and with society,
and they try to solve them. Their
solutions happen to be politically ac-
tivist ones, similar to those of the 60s.
Actually, they have little choice.
With so few members, they cannot
hope to change anything by working
within a system thousands of times
larger than themselves. With sit-ins
and protests they can at least provoke
some debate and keep issues alive.
But activism is not the only solution.
With more people, working within the
system would be much more produc-
tive.
Under its surface, the University is a
turbulent, intellectual community. It is
constantly reevaluating its role in
society - Who should it teach? What
should it teach? What should it resear-
ch?
The discussion goes on daily. Today,
however, the students are left out.

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Impoll"-

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14

Pe8a-nutts .

A

4

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
GEO leaders out of touch again

r

To the Daily:
It was with great interest that
many of us read in the, Daily
("GEO, University reach accord,"
Daily, September 28) that the
GEO had reached a contract
agreement with the University.
Are these really the same parties
who were so quick to condemn
the preceding bargaining team
for agreeing to a contract without
the full support and consent of the
membership?
I feel that a number of com-
ments are in order. The union
leadership has again shown itself
to be totally out of touch with the
opinions and concern of TAs.
Most TAs realize that there is a
far greater correlation between
the financial plight of TAs and
the University's share of the state
budget than there is between
their fiscal health and the feeble
sabre rattling of a politically
motivated GEO leadership.

their membership dues or
representation fee can be inter-
preted in no other way.
Class size is not a major con-
cern per se. When the
mathematics department offered
the option of teaching two large
instead of three small classes for
the same pay many TAs were
eager to pursue this option
despite having a preference for
teaching smaller classes. It is'
workload that counts, not class
size.
It will be interesting to see if
this new contract is ratified. It
contains nothing significantly
new over the previous contract
which was rejected by 57 percent
of the voters. In fact it is hard to
get people to the polls to vote for
what they perceive as something
BLOOM COUNTY

that the University is going to
give anyway. For the same
reason many feel that there is
nothing to lose by voting against
the contract. The main problem
with ratification is that the GEO
constitution makes it virtually
impossible because at least 50
percent of the members in good
standing have to vote in favor in a
secret ballot. It cannot be done at
a membership meeting as in-
dicated in your article.
In conclusion, many people are
questioning if there is an advan-
tage in supporting a union like
GEO. Most of the money we pay
in membership dues goes directly
into the coffers of the parent
union, which means the union has
very little money to work with.

ALK ToIMF

1%LK To TEIM
/GEC!

There is not even enough left to
meet the constitutionally
obligated payment into the strike 4
fund. The record of GEO is in-
deed a sad one. Any real gains
TAs achieved were as a result of
TAs taking action against the
University, rather than by a
weak GEO trying to exert its
pressure. We would be far better
off with an independent TA union
operating under a sensible con-
stitution which constrains union
officers to deal in the affairs of
TAs rather than in peripheral 4
political ideals, and which en-
sures that dues collected are used
for the benefit of TAs in the
University .
- Derek Westwood
September 30
by Berke Breathed

yrll

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