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October 28, 1983 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1983-10-28

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Friday, October 28, 1983

The Michigan Daily

4

Why are

Marines

(dying) in Beirut?

By Margo MacFarland

a What can the continued presence of the
American Marines in Lebanon possibly ac-
complish? The regional, ethnic, religious, and
intra-Arab conflicts engulfing Lebanon are so
deep-seeded and so complex that we cannot
hope to find any kind of short-term solution to
the current crisis. And the mission of the
Marines has not been mapped-out in a long
&4 term way; to do so now would be naive at best;
'' suicidal and immoral at worst.
So what are we doing in Beirut? I am one of
millions.of people asking this question, and
because more than 200 Marines have just died
there, this question urgently demands an an-
y w Fswer.
THE MARINES' mission, and the policies
5 > directing it, has become a Frankenstein of sor-.
ts, taking on a life of its own and going far
's Nbeyond the scope and objectives first en-
' k visioned by the Reagan Administration. The
° troops were originally sent to Lebanon in
August of 1982 as part of a multinational con-
tingent to oversee the withdrawal of the PLO,
- Syrian, and Israeli forces from Beirut.
x,,y'qA dShortly after that they were called back to
"give a kind of support and stability" to the
central government after the massacres at
' Sabra and Shatilla. The international force
' then remained to watch over what was hoped to
V ° be a quickly negotiated withdrawal of Syrian
and Israeli forces from Lebanon. When it
became obvious that the Syrians, backed by the
Soviet Union, had no intention of pulling out,
AP Photo Washington decided that the Marines would
All of Lebanon is a crime scene and the United States is one of the criminal factions, propping up a stay as a counterveiling force to strengthen the
minority government and using the turmoil to stage a confrontation with the Soviet Union. More Lebanese government.
than 200 Marines died needlessly Sunday as a result. Then in August, the situation took a dramatic
and frightening twist with the outbreak of

hostilities between the Lebanese Army and the
Sunni and Shi'a Muslim, and Druse factions
vying for power. The function of the Marines
ostensibly became that of impartial
peacekeepers, holding warring groups apart so
that a political solution could be hammered
out.
THE UNITED STATES, however, is not im-
partial; the Marines are backing Amin
Gemayel's Christian Phalangist government
despite of the fact that the Christians are a
minority within Lebanon.
Why are we shoring up a minority gover-
nment? Not surprisingly, because it is a gover-
nment that is supportive of American and, in-
directly, Israeli strategic interests in the area.
President Reagan confirmed that fact for the
first time Monday, publicly re-defining the
Marines' role as being symbolic of American
determination to protect its interests in the
region and to resist the Soviet Union's "domino
theory" approach to the Middle East.
Thus, the U.S. Marines are not in Beirut
primarily as neutral peacekeepers, as the
public and the Marines themselves had been
told, but as the American front in a debacle
that the Reagan Administration perceives in
primarily globalist terms. This view is myopic
and inaccurate: While East-West conflicts are
clearly an element in the situation, the regional
and internal forces at work are the overriding
basis and substance of the issues in Lebanon.
FOR EXAMPLE, not only is the government
dominated by the Christian minority, it is also,
like most of the regimes of the Arab world, fun-
damentally illegitimate. Herein lies one of the
most basic problems in these countries, and a
key to the endemic instability of the region. It is
this crucial factor, as well as ethnic, religious,
class, and intra-Arab animosities, that
Reagan's Middle East policy all but ignores in

order to focus erroneously on superpower
rivalries.
To support this incorrect logic by continuing
the American military presence in Lebanon is
to needlessly endanger the Marines' lives. In
addition it will even further involve the United
States in a multi-faceted, multi-layered conflict
that a Marine force of 1,600 cannot hope to
change in any lasting way.
So, far from being partof the solution in
Lebanon, the American Marines have become
part of the problem. The U.S. force has become
nothing grander than a factional ally or sym-
bol of an inappropriate obsession with East-
West antagonism.
Beyond being outrageous, it is unspeakably
sad that this well-intentioned but fatally
misguided policy is the "cause" for which men
are dying. And though I am afraid for what
might happen if the Marines pull out of
Lebanon - the Syrians could very well annex
part of the country - these are regional and in-
ternal problems to which answers hust be
found in regional and internal settlements.
Perhaps the United States .could best
facilitate this process by assisting in a truly
impartial, background fashion. I can not.
however, see any fair or decent rationale for a
continued American military presence in
Lebanon. We are entangled in a conflict we do
not fully understand and that is beyond our
power to heal. To remain for reasons grounded
solely in Soviet-American rivalry - and if the
Marines stay this will undeniably be the case -
is morally reprehensible and politically un-
viable.
MacFarland is a Daily staff member.

f
.4

Edits ahens t Mi
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

LaBan

/ nuu i ..
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Vol. XCIV-No. 45

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor. MI 48109

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il \

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

Another fo
EAR IS gripping the Reagan
administration foreign policy.
It, has a hold so tight that it has
squeezed the life out of hundreds of
U.S. soldiers in the past week alone.
It is a fear of creeping communism
that propels Reagan to prevent
another Vietnam in El Salvador;
another Cuba in Nicaragua; another
Iran in Beirut or the Philippines or
Grenada; even fear of another Beirut
in Grenada. What it signals is that the
1Ieagan administration is so fixated on
Avoiding another whatever it is
ignoring the pecularities of each new
"crisis."
In the Philippines the administration
supports a rightwing dictator, Fer-
dinand Marcos, who has ruled by mar-
tial law for over a decade and, most
likely, had some role in the murder of
his regime's most popular opponent.
Instead of ending that support,
Reagan, fearing a Marxist or
Khomeini-type takeover that would
supposedly endanger Americans living
there, continues his allegiance to the
Marcos government.'
The Reagan fear of losing a friend in
the South Pacific ignores the longtime
friendship between the Philippine
people and Americans. Administration
policy seemingly doesn't recognize
that Philippine Marxism is not (yet)
significant and that the Catholic chur-
c dominates the nation religiously.
In El Saliador, Reagan desperately
is fighting a strong leftist rebellion;
following the same path that sucked
the U.S. military into Vietnam. Instead
of attempting to affect necessary
political and economic changes, the
president again is maintaining a
corrupt and deadly rightwing regime
with little popular support.
'!1 % ie. rt ac n D% nn fin in f

reign policy
Soviet factions from gaining control of
Lebanon. The Marines were and are
nothing more than sitting ducks
waiting for some crazy faction - and
there are plenty of crazy factions in
Lebanon - to pull something like Sun-
day's suicide massacre. The Reagan
braintrust steadfastly has refused to
recognize Lebanon's history of
warring factions, all of which are
minorities and no one of which can con-
trol the country alone.
Tuesday's invasion of Grenada, the
minute Caribbean nation with a
population that could all watch a foot-
ball game on a Saturday afternoon in
Michigan Stadium, was the latest in the
long line of Reagan's "prevent
another" foreign policy.
Administration officials said the
United States was trying to avoid
"another Iran," "another Beirut"
(strangely enough, considering the
Beirut saga has hardly begun),
"another Nicargua," or "another
Suriname." Yet again, the ad-
ministration ignores the obvious fact
that Grenada is none of those places. It
has its own set of problems, concerns,
loyalties, and dislikes - just like the
Philippines, El Salvador, Nicaragua,
Lebanon, and Vietnam.
Why doesn't the Reagan ad-
ministration treat those nations that
way?I
The only clear theme of Reagan
foreign policy is its opposition of the
Soviet Union. Reagan's foreign policy
aims at curbing Soviet influence
everywhere at every chance, whether
or not Soviet influence exists in the
particular crisis spot of the day. This
plan abandons the pluralistic world of
today in favor of yesterday's cold war
bipolarism.
Reagan has made up his mind that if

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THE A6A w

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Daily, not Greeks, stuck in

To the Daily:
Last week, you devoted quite a
large portion of the front page to
an article on serenading within
the Greek system ("Sororities
question 'raids' and 'serenades,' "
Daily, October 18) and how
true ithas asupposedly become.
As is usual with the Daily, it
took one incident and had a field
day with it, hurling biased insults
at the Greek system.
On Saturday, October 22, the
49th annual Mud Bowl game was
East Quad
petitioning
To the Daily:
We, the undersigned residents
of East Quad, feel that the
harassment of Alexander Haig
and his ifew as highly inn-

held at the Sigma Alpha Epsilon
fraternity. The Mud Bowl game
is one of the longest standing and
most attended Homecoming
events on this campus. On Sun-
day morning, I eagerly ran out to
buy the Daily, knowing that you
would have full coverage of the

Mud Bowl game.
Much to my dismay, you only
devoted one sentence to this
event. Is it not ironic that the
winning fraternity, Phi Delta
Theta, whom you found so much
room to abuse last week only
warranted one sentence worth of

the mud
attention this week?
Not only do I want my 15t back:
but I want to know when thej
Daily's petty prejudice against
the Greek system will end?
-Kathleen Hommel
October 27
can football
(Washington and Moscow) play a
nuclear game of chicken."
Maybe so, congressman. But if
they let us have football games,;
they can go right ahead and
destroy the world!
(My thanks to Brede for his
Sunday cartoon - which said all'-
this much better than I have said
it!)

4

European pro test and A meri

To the Daily:
All over Europe this past
Saturday, people gathered by the
hundreds of thousands to protest
against nuclear arms. Here at
home, where the idea of nuclear
arms was born and where the
strategies for nuclear holocaust
are dreamedup, there were afew
small demonstrations in a few
scattered places.
Why? Why weren't we out
BLOOM COUNTY

protesting? Because it was
Saturday, and in Ann Arbor and
all the other centers of intellec-
tual activity, the crowds were at-
tending football games - and
the rest of America was sitting
comfortably at home, watching
the big game on television.
Congressman Ted Weiss of
Manhattan told a rally at the
United Nations headquarters,
"We will not stand idly by while

4

-- Bert G. Hornback
October 23
by Berke Breathed

I

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