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March 23, 1984 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1984-03-23

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OPINION
Page 4 Friday, March 23, 1984 The Michigan Daily

U.S. should shelve

'Star Wars' toys

By Jonathan Weiss
Exactly one year ago today,
President Reagan gave his famed
"Star Wars" speech, in which he laid
the "hope" for a new future, complete
with space-based lasers and all those
nifty things nobody really understood.
Well, the man wasn't kidding around.
While energy-beams are still strictly
experimental, last January, the Air
Force successfully tested the two-stage
rocketry of a new anti-satellite weapon
(ASAT)-and if all goes according to
schedule, this space weapon will ac-
tually be deployed in 1987.
BOTH the United States and the
Soviet Union use satellites to enhance
their forces and as a way to verify arms
control agreements and check their
enemy's forces.
The Soviets already have an anti-sat-
telite weapon, but it is much cruder
than the proposed American system. In
planning to outdo the Russian ASAT,
the U.S. is making a serious mistake. It
is encouraging the development of a
space rake, guaranteed to be far more
dangerous and costly than the arms
race..
Fortunately, there has been some
resistance. Congress is withholding
$19.4 million in ASAT procurement fun-
ds for this year until the Administration
submits a report on the "arms control
implications" of the weapon. That
report is due no later than March 31.
BUT DON'T expect too much from it.
Last week, a' Pentagon official told the
Senate it would be "extremely difficult,
if not impossible" to verify that the
Soviet Union would comply with any
treaty to prohibit or limit ASAT's, and
that the President's report would
almost surely conclude the same.
The implication being that we should
forget about treaties, that we have no
alternative but to continue-full-steam
ahead-to develop our satellite killers.

The logic behind such a policy makes
little sense.
In the first place, just because the
Soviets have an ASAT does not mean
the U.S. needs one. Their weapon poses
no real threat to our satellites. Not only
does their system work unpredictably,
it lacks the range to even get near many
of our satellites. And of the 18 U.S.
satellites now within its range, the
National Council of the Federation of
American Scientists reports it would
take the Soviets at best "several
weeks" to destroy them.
Still, many insist that U.S. ASAT's
are needed to deter the use of Soviet
ASAT's by threatening a tit-for-tat
response to destruction of satellites.
Such a view begins by wrongly
assuming that the Soviet weapon is ef-
fective and reliable enough to ruin our
satellites.
WHAT'S MORE, this type of
deterrence may not even work, because
the Soviet Union is far less dependent
on satellites than the U.S.. With fewer
military forces deployed beyond their
homeland, the Soviets can rely upon
ground-based lines of communication.
And if the war takes place on the
Soviet periphery, as seems likely, then
the U.S.S.R. may not even need to use
its satellites.
Finally, the increased potential for a
conflict on land as a result of a tit-for-
tat battle in space makes this entire
proposition destabilizing. Military ex-
pert Thomas Karas writes, "Military
systems in space are designed to
produce - military advantages on the
ground." Richard Garwin, a IMB
analyst, says it is thus incomprehen-
sible that "a shooting war in space
would be limited to space." Along with
Carl Sagan, Garwin circulated a
petition, which was signed by 36 scien-
tists and retired military officers,
proclaiming that -the mere testing or
deployment ofs space weapons
"significantly increases the likelihood

of warfare on earth."
THE BIGGEST weakness of' this
system, then, is that it not only brings
us closer to war, but perhaps closer to
the final war.
An attack on either country's

sophisticated ASAT could be used as a
first-strike weapon by the
technologically superior possessor.
By all accounts, our ASAT-smaller,
quicker, and able to hit more targets
than its Russian counterpart-will give

Daniel Deudny, a senior researcher at
the World Watch Institute warms, "the
next move in this deadly game of leap-
frog may well be a Soviet laser battle
station intended to cripple satellites."
Thus the arms race will be escalated
into a space race, with each side trying
to gain the upper hand technologically.
The prospect is downright scary.
ASAT's-and their possible suc-
cessors, like the laser orbit battle
station-will continue to give strong
advantage to the offense over the
defense. Plating satellites with armor
or other protective coatings may work
against conventional warheads or
ground-based lasers, but not against
more advanced weapons. A system
might be able to detect oncoming
ASAT's by using active radars of op-
tical scanners; however, it would then
become easy prey to an attacker who
could jam the sensors and exhaust
maneuvering engines of defensive
lasers.
AT THE SAME time, the very
existence of satellite killers would
destroy the reliance both powers place
on verification, hindering attempts at
arms control and maintaining parity.
In the end, continued ASAT
technology could lead to the President's
dream of a space-based anti-ballistic
missle system, designed, to "intercept
and destroy strategic missles- before
they reach our soil," which is a pretty
nightmareish thought. Because an ef-
fective system could wipe out the entire
opposing nuclear arsenal, it would in-
crease the incentive for a first strike.
Further, a nation might be tempted to
launch a pre-emptive strike against its
foe if the latter seemed on the vege of
deploying such a system.
All of this, by the way, will also cost
hundreds of billions to develop
(Already last December, the President
approved in principle a five-year, $21
billion plan for space weapons
development).

BUT WE have a choice: we can stop
the space race now. We can attempt to
sign an agreement with the U.S.S.R.
barring the use, ' testing, and
deployment of ASAT's. In fact, the
Soviets have already expressed en-
thusiasm for negotiations. In August,
the now deceased Yuri Andropov
vowed to suspend tests of the ASAT so
long as the U.S. refrains from
"stationing in outer space weapons of
any kind."
Yet the Reagan administration has
stood opposed to ASAT talks, claiming
it would be almost impossible to verify
any resulting treaty. Not so, according
to a detailed study by the Federation of
American Scientists.
Because the Soviet ASAT is launched
atop a modified SS-9/SS-18 missile
"about the size of three buses parked
end to end," its deployment and test
launching could be easily verified.
Moreover, once in orbit, the ASAT
could be readily tracked by ground-
based radar and cameras. Even if the
Russians build and possess more of
these weapons than a treaty allowed, it
would do them little good, the
federation believes, since they could
neither test nor deploy them without
detection.
So verification isn't the major
problem. And it isn't simply that the
administration dreads giving up its ex-
pected ASAT advantage either. What
the president fears most is that a treaty
barring the use, testing, and
deployment of anti-satellite weapons
would bar much of the technology'
needed to develop his prized Star Wars
missile defense scheme.
Indeed, today marks an anniversary
that is difficult to celebrate.

Photo/Aviation Week & Space Technology
'Our new sophisticated anti-satellite weapon could make satellites such as
this one an endangered species. The question is, how would that make the
world a safer place?

military satellites might by itself
prompt the "blinded" nation to launch
nuclear weapons. In addition, there
lays an increased risk that any elec-
tronic malfunction in either system
could be mistaken for an attack.
Meanwhile, by blinding the enemy, a

us a type of technological superiority.
With it, one Pentagon official boasted,
"We would clear up the skies in 24,
hours."
THE SOVIETS, of course, would not
just slough off their new-found
vulnerability. "If history is any guide,"

Weiss is a graduate student in
political science.

,;

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
LMNOP most qualified to lead MSA

4

Vol. XCIV-No. 137

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Honor, thy language

HE DECLINEof the English
language is disturbingly easy to
document. The sensitive grammarian
is constantly assaulted by the inten-
tional and inadvertant abuse of our
beloved tongue.
Too often verbs doesn't agree with
their subjects, prepositions are used to
end sentences with, and no one knows
not to use no double negatives. Kwality
advertisers often misspell words in or-
der to' catch the consumers eye, 'n'
they often abreviate the shortest of
:words. And even such venerable jour-
nalistic institutions as the New York
Times and Michigan Daily have been
:known to occassionally flub on pun-
ctuation;
Up until now Mortar Board, a
University honor society, has offered
one final bastion of proper usage amid-
st this world of grammatical
mediocrity - but no more. Now even
the most well-bred and disciplined
minds on campus are falling to the,

perhaps inevitable, deterioration of
our native tongue.
Mortar Board '83-'84 announced the
lucky recipients of the honor for the
coming year '84-'85 by way of an an-
nouncement in Tuesday's paper. In a
word of consolation to those who didn't
cut the mustard, the ad stated: "To
those that applied, we thank you for
your time. and effort, and
congratulate you on your fine
achievement." It might seem trifling
but that "that" should be a "who." And
with such an error, all must
acknowledge that the English
language is indeed in dire straights.
Where is one to turn? First
newspapers, and now college honor
societies have relinquished their grip
on the verbal standards that our
forebears held so dear. Edwin
Newman where are you?'
One shred of hope is that Mortar
Board made the mistake intentionally
in order to see if everyone else was on
their toes. Let's cross our fingers.

To the Daily:
As chairman of the College
Democrats, I had the opportunity
to co-sponsor a debate between
the MSA presidential candidates.
We had a good turnout and I was
pleased with how things ran.
With our opening question,
"Why are you qualified to be
MSA president?" it became ap-
parent that Ron Senkowski, from
YOU, has had absolutely no ex-
perience of any kind in any
organization. Considering he is a
junior, this is very bad and he is
obviously unqualified to be
president. Also, YOU had some
good rhetoric, but no new or good
ideas. I feel that YOU is
definitely a joke and the worst
man running.
Jim Frego, who is running as'
president on the RAP party, is a
closed-minded reactionary who
would turn MSA into an impotent
body. He was editor of the
Michigan Review and is chair-
man of the Students for
Academic Freedom, a group
whose sole purpose is to kowtow
to the regents and their rightwing
policies on the code and military
research. Mr. Frego is also for
the Soloman Amendment and his
V.P. doesn't even know who is
running on their ticket.
Marc Weinstein, a sophomore,
who is the head of IOU, is the
propaganda leader for PSN and
is a bigwig in the No Code group.
As you may recall, No Code
brought us the red spraypaint on
the walls of the Power Center and
other buildings. IOU is a group of
elite radicals on campus. They
are intent upon using MSA as a
tool for their revolutionary
politics and not as a servant of
the student body. His big goal is
to "pressure" the regents
whenever they disagree with his
policies. I'm sure you know what
"pressure"means.
Although Scott Page, of the
SMART party, is a very com-
petent and good man, he istoo
tied with the administration.
When asked what distinguishes
him from the others, he replied,
". . .I like the regents and the
administration." I believe that
Mr. Page is qualified for the job,
but he will be looking out for the
regents more than for the studen-

toward serving the student body.
He has some great and in-
novative ideas about campus
security and strongly values a
liberal arts education. Drew
Plevin and LMNOP are realistic
with their goals and have very
good ideas.'
To sum up, YOU is totally

Column misrepresented Barnet

unqualified, RAP is reactionary
and will sell out to the regents,
IOU is a PSN radical who is more
concerned with his own politics
than with student needs, SMART
is a good party but it is
questionable whether their
loyalties lie with the ad-
ministration or with the students.

Drew Plevin from LMNOP is the
Wiest candidate with the best par-
ty.
In order to have an effective
MSA which is respected and
which represents the students, I
urge you to vote for Drew Plevin
and LMNOP.-Andrew Hartman
March 22

To the Daily:
I fail to see the motivation
behind the column "Answering to
one kind of conservatism"
(Daily, March 21) by Daily
writers Pete Williams and Ben
Yom'toob. There are, however,
enough factual errors nestled
among the personal insults to
justify a response.
I have never advocated
abolition of the MSA. What I said
was that some people "think we
should get rid of MSA." Neither
did I say that conservatives don't
vote in student elections. My
point is that the MSA has made
itself irrelevant to students .by
failing to focus solely on campus
issues.
My claim that "if you really
scratch the surface, you'll find
that the University was once a
bastion of radical leftist politics.
Daily editorials to the contrary, I
think that the campus has
changed with the times and left
our embarassing past behind.
I'm glad you enjoyed my,
"taxation is theft" quip. It is
fully intended as a mockery of the
Anarcho-Communist slogan
''property is theft'' (which is a
contradiction in terms). I had
hoped the joke would not need
explaining. I was mistaken:
The assumption that
Republicans or Libertarians
believe "the poor are a useless
burden to the rest of us. . . and
are, subsequently, better off
dead" reveals a kind of
ideological ignorance that has no
place in a rational discussion. I
was, therefore, not surprised to
find the accusation in your
column. If you are truly in-,
terested in the issue, I would be
BLOOM COUNTY

more than happy to explain the'
"success" of federal Welfare
programs to you. Poverty will
not be eliminated by throwing in-
nocent people's money at it.
I must admit, though, your
credentials are impressive. Sin-
ce both of you claim to be "right
of center" (whatever that
means), my political philosophy
should be clear to you. I believe
that every individual should be
free to enjoy the fruits of his-labor
so long as he does not infringe on

the rights of others to do the
same. If you find this philosophy
morally repugnant, I would like
to knowwhy.
In the meantime, though, I will
continue to defend your
inalienable right to interpret my
views as you see them, regar-
dless of the distortions made. I
trust that you will do the same for
me. -Ted Barnett
March 21
Barnet is Editor-in-Chief of
the Michigan Review.

I

Disillusioned with the 'U'

To the Daily:
In the fall df '81 1, like many
other incoming freshman, came
to the University fresh and
idealistic. I anxiously looked for-
ward to gathering further
knowledge. Well, where the
University has failed in the
classroom, it has succeed in
educating me politically. -
This week President Shapiro
recommended in a memo to the
regents that they should change
their bylaws to retrieve MSA's
right to vote on thegstudent code
of non-academic conduct. This is
one of the few things that the

students are to have a say in, yet
when we seem to be making a
decision contrary to the ad-
ministration's viewpoint the ad-
ministration wishes to take it
away.
I am upset and disillusioned
with the University for even
suggesting such actions. They
are behaving like little children
who, when they start to lose a
game, change the rules.
- Paula Bass
March'20
Bass is an art school MSA
representative.

Stop fighting the homeless

NEW SITE to house the city's
A1 homeless has been scouted out
and purchased by: the non-profit
Shelter Organization, but the search
may not end here if groups like the St.
Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church
which insisted several months ago that
they can't handle the homeless in their
backyard keep rejecting proposed
sites.
The church's charge that the
homeless would threaten "the safety of
parishioners," especially women,

children, and the elderly caused the
city to look at other sites. Ironically, if
the new site is approved it will be
located near Lurie Terrace, a senior
citizen's home. So far no one in the
home has voiced any opposition.
Members of the Ann Arbor com-
munity should stand behind the
proposed site at 420 W. Huron. The
spring thaw may arrive soon, but not
soon enough for the good of the city's
homeless.

Letters and columns represent the opinions of
the individual author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the attitudes of the Daily. Unsigned
editorials appearing on the left side of this page
represent a majority opinion of the Daily's.
Editorial Board.

by Berke Breathed

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