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September 25, 1985 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-09-25

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Wednesday, September 25, 1985 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Star Wars on Campus

A

Vol. XCVI, No. 15

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Preventative medicine

O nce again, President Reagan
has stepped forward to
illustrate the selfish attitude that
the wealthy "have" nations of the
North traditionally adopt in dealing
with the struggling nations of the
South.
The devastating earthquake
which struck an already desperate
Mexico City last week has elicited
an outpouring of generous
assistance in both money and sup-
plies. The response of a multitude
of governments and private sector
organizations is no doubt sincere,
and certainly commendable.
But perhaps Mexico might not
need the magnitude of assistance
they are seeking if they had been
offered a little preventative
medicine.
Unfortunately, it took the drama
and horror of the earthquake to
capture the attention of prospec-
tive donors, among them
President Reagan, who conceeded
that there "seems to be a need for a
global response," but stressed
Mexico's need to conquer her own
problems.
Mexico City, home to over 18
million people, is undoubtedly one
of the world's most impoverished
and overpopulated metropolitan
centers: at twilight in the central
areas of the city, doorways fill with
women whose skirts act as dirty
blankets. Homeless and hungry,

they huddle with their children and
beg. Such are the daily realities
which persist despite Mexico's
growing oil industry and develop-
ment efforts.
The enormous foreign debt which
plagues Mexico should be indicative
of economic progress, or at least
investment; but the World Bank
and other prospective lending
nations remain wary. The
historically inefficient and ill-
managed Mexican government
can't seem to shake the economic
plague and the chaos caused
the earthquakes will only
frustrate attempts to recover.
At present, so much aid is
pouring into the stricken city that
Mexican officials have asked
donors to curb shipment while
distribution is organized. The In-
ternational Development Bank has
announced its intention to extend
$800 million in relief aid, all of
which will surely help to ease the
pain.
Certainly no one could have
prevented the natural disaster.
However, if the "have" nations
were not so reluctant to share their
resources, and the milder sym-
ptoms were taken more seriously,
Mexico's condition might not be so
anguished today. More consistent
attention and assistant to our
neighbor could have meant a more
speedy recovery.

By Ingrid Kock
The Strategic Defense Initiative or Star
Wars research program is one of the largest
research initiatives to. be undertaken by the
Federal Government. Estimates for the total
cost of the initiative range up to one trillion
dollars, with approximately seventy million
dollars a year for the next five years target-
ted for University research, the SDI program
will result in drastic increases in the amount
of weapons research done on campuses
across the country, including the University
of Michigan.
Star Wars is a proposal that envisions
ground or space based weapons systems
made up of laser and particle beam weapons
which, if the system were technically
feasible, would shoot down enemy missiles en
route to their targets. The system has been
widely criticized. According to Nobel
laureate plhysicist Hans Bethe, "It is dif-
ficult to imagine a system more likely to in-
duce catastrophe." Thousands of University
researchers and scientists across the country,
including 54 Nobel Laureates, have signed
petitions indicating that they will not par-
ticipate in any research for SDI because they
believe it is likely to violate existing arms
control treaties, most notably the 1972 Anti-
Ballistic Missile treaty, and increase the
build-up of offensive nuclear weapons. Such a
petition is currently being circulated in
various U-M departments.
One cause for this campus alarm is the
nature of the SDI research. SDI director
James Ionson has clearly stated that SDI is
not just basic research with many potential
applications. "That's not our mode at all. This
is mission-oriented basic science. The luxury
to sit in an ivory tower and do wonderful good
science ... that's a luxury that this country
may not be able to afford for a
while ... that's not why we're here." Thus
the seven million dollars worth of SDI
proposals submitted by U-M researchers on
chemical lasers, particle beam and electron
beam weapons and computer systems for Star
Wars are likely to result in highly applied
specified research with few spin offs.
Considering that last year U-M received a
little over six million dollars in research
awards from the pentagon, the seven million
dollars worth of proposals submitted for U-M
Kock is the Michigan Student Assem-
bly's military research researcher.

SDI research could result in a substantial in-
crease and possible double the amount of
defense work done at U-M. This huge increase
in Pentagon research money at U-M could
significantly alter the research development
at U-M by providing the Pentagon with un-
precedented control over the direction of
University research.
Marvin Goldberger, President of the
California Institute of Technology has
outlined the effect of Star Wars research on
campus."The infusion of such a large amount
of money can distort activities within the
University. It can draw professors into
research areas they might not otherwise pur-
sue."
University officials have responded quite
positively to the SOL research program. Last
week the UniversityaRegents voted to "en-
courage" U-M faculty to submit SDI
proposals. The Regents took this unilateral
action without consulting students or faculty.
After a meeting in Washington with SDI of-
ficials, engineering Dean Duderstadt respon-

research, along with U-M professor's
willingness to submit proposals for SDI are
being manipulated by the SDI officials in or-
der to obtain Congressional funding. SDI
Director James Ionson recently explained
how this process works, "... . this office is
trying to sell something to Congress. If we can
say this fellow at MIT will get money to do such
and such research, its something real to sell."
This use of University endorsements has
been sharply criticized on campuses other
than U-M. Paul Grey, the President of MIT;
highlighted the serious iimplications of SDI's
inolvement with universities. "What I find
particularly troublesome is the effort to short
circuit debate and use MIT and other univer-
sities as instruments to obtain implicit in-
stitutional endorsement," said Grey. The
University of Michigan needs to be raising
similar concerns over the extent to which
Duderstadt and other members of the
University community are providing the SDI
office with fuel for successful Congressional
fundraising.
All of the proposals for SDI research funds
to emerge from U-M have been unclassified.
however, since this "mission oriented resear-
ch" is directed towards building very specific
new weapons systems, SDI officials have ex-
plained that successful research contracts
could be classified at any time. While other
Universities, such as MIT have set up official
committees to take on the task of reviewing
the possible impact of such a change in
classification of research, U-M ad-
ministrators have remained strangely silent.
Sussman has admitted that this classification
"could be a problem", yet there has been no
official inquiry into the matter and SDI
proposals continue to be submitted from U-M.
U-M students and faculty concerned with
the ramifications of the Star Wars research
on contract have been organizing a number of
activities, including a national conference to
be held at Rackham Auditorium on October
fourth and fifth, which will include a panel
featuring SDI Director James Ionson, and
Edith Ballantyne, Secretary. General of
Womens International League for Peace and
Freedom. On Saturday, October 5 there will
be a series of workshops addressing the
possible classification of University-SDI'
research, the nature of SDI research to be
done on campuses and its effects on the
University research environment.

MILITARY RESEARCH
A thrae- part series
ded glowingly. "I was very impressed," he
was quoted as saying in Science magazine,
"this will be one of the few sources of basic
research ... in coming years ..." This en-
thusiasm has been echoed by former Vice-
President for Research Alfred Sussman who
was recently quoted in a Michigan Daily ar-
ticle as saying that Star Wars research would
help fulfill an essential part of the Univer-
sity's "mission". U-M officials need to under-
stand that these endorsements of Star Wars

Wasserman

Fair weather fans

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A

Y DEFINITION, Spring is the
harbinger of fair weather. As
snow melts, warm weather returns
to wash winter's despondancies
away.
Now however, on the other side of
the year, fair weather is returning
in another guise.
Back to back drubbings of top
twenty football teams have blown
away the dark clouds hovering
over Coach Bo Schembechler's
football squad, and to and behold,
the fans are as summery as they
have ever been.
Last year's team wound up with
the worst record in Schembechler's
16 year career at Michigan. This
year's team has lost several key
figures from that team to
graduation, and things looked
gloomy indeed for the Wolverines.
Football tickets sold well, but
talk of Schembechler's "archaic"
style of play with "no passing
game" and "no taking chances"

became commonplace, as the bulk
of the University community - at
least those who bothered to care -
prepared for a harsh season.
832 total yards and 54 points
later, the attitude around campus
is palpably different. Pairs of
passersby no longer try to best one
another in their criticisms of
Schembechler, but now banter
statistics on defensive tackle Mike
Hammerstein, quarterback Jim
Harbaugh, or running back Jamie
Morris, or offer up scouting reports
on upcoming contests.
Scalpers who picked up piles of
season tickets early in the year
must certainly be smiling now that
they have minor gold mines on
their hands..
Winning is certainly nothing new
for a Schembechler football team,
but the campus is taking to it all the
more readily because of its unex-
pectedness; taking to it that is, as
long as the "weather" stays warm.

LETTERS
Regents'
To the Daily:
Pressure on the University of
Michigan's regents to sell off the
remainder of their stocks in com-
panies doing business in South
Africa bore some fruit Friday
when they voted to sell all but
$500,000 of their endowment stock
holdings.
Their defense for not divesting
completely is that they wish to
appeal a court order requiring
them to divest. The regents argue
that the state law upheld in the
ruling violates university
autonomy. Judge Carolyn Stell
reminded the university, correc-
tly we believe, that their
autonomy resided in the
educational sphere. Members of
the Free South Africa Coor-
dinating Committee (FSACC)
and others, including two attor-
neys, urged the regents at their
September 19th meeting to divest
completely. At that time the
regents were reminded of the role
the state has played in this coun-
try to secure civil rights for blacks
and other people of color, in-
cluding on university campuses.
The University of Michigan, for
example, does not have the legal
right (autonomy) to exclude
blacks and Jews from
matriculating; a not too uncom-
mon practice by many in-
stitutions not too long ago. Why
should the state not have the right
to prevent the university from
nracticing racism by investing in

I

divestment vote lacks muscle

44, ~

children are dying every day at
the hands of the police and the
military, is a morally indefen-
sible one. (It should be noted that
South African newspapers
carried the story on the univer-
sity's deliberations on the mat-
ter.)
Regent Deane Baker was
quoted in the Ann Arbor News
(9/21/85) as having said that
Michigan businesses "'Worked so
hard in South Africa to improve
the situation for the black people
Strategic
To the Daily:
Like many others, I suspect, I
deeply resent the kind of
criticism levelled at "people like
Ingrid Kock and Andrew Boyd"
by Lipsig and Klukoff ("SDI
might make nuclear war ob-
solete" Sept. 21). I particularly
object to the use of the word
fascist in characterizing the op-
position to Star Wars research at
the University of Michigan.
However, rather than
proliferating the argument by
simply delivering a salvo in
response, we might best expend
our collective energy by attem-
BLOOM COUNTY

of that country."' U.S. companies
have been in South Africa, in
some cases, for 100 year. They
went in and wish to remain
because of the cheap labor and
political stability the repressive
regime, which they also armed,
has provided. Black unrest and
outside pressures threaten that
stability now. So now these same
companies want us to believe that
they are needed to serve as ad-
vocates for the very people whose
labor they have exploited for so
defense? Just
pting to educate the pro-SDI duo
(and others like them).
Close-mindedness is a title
more appropriately hung on
those who fail to study history or
learn from it. One needn't travel
far back in time to unravel the
important lessons. World War I,
for example, was naively touted
as the "war to end all wars". At
the close of World War II, the
United States was convinced of a
monopoly on nuclear weapons,
only to be rudely awakened shor-
tly thereafter. And the story goes
on.
The compelling reasons for op-
posing SDI research are found in

long.
We urge you not to be deceived
by this latest attempt by the
regents to obfuscate the real
issue. The issue is apartheid and
complete divestment! We urge
you to join us in our work against
racism and other forms of op-
pression in South Africa and in
this country, including at the
University of Michigan.
-Hector L. Delgado
September 22
ask Bo
history. Those who choose to sup-
port this kind of research wager
our lives on an unjustified blind
faith in the potential for merely
reprogramming the parameters
of future warfare. It is a pathetic
and futile pursuit. Moreover, it is
equally pathetic that a large
public university such as
Michigan is so eagerly partakin
of the dash for defense dollars. '
As many people well know, a
strong defense is nothing more
than another element of a strong
offense. Just ask Bo Schem-
bechler.
-Michael R. Penskar
September 24
by Berke Breathed

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