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October 10, 1985 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-10-10

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, October 10, 1985 The Michigan Daily

4

SDI director says Soviets have. shield

Following last Friday night's conference
on Star Wars and the Universities at
Rackham auditorium, Daily opinion
page editor Jody Becker had the
following dialogue with James Ionson, a
director of the Strategic Defense

Initiative Office in

Washington.

Dialogue
Daily: You said tonight that you have
been misquoted as saying "This office (the
Strategic Defense Initiative Office in
Washington) is trying to sell something to
Congress." Could you tell me what your
statement was?
Ionson: We get our money, all
Congressional office get their money-from
Congress - and occasionally there are in-
2novators out there and because their ideas
are a breach from conventional ideas are
considered crackpot. What we're doing is
Tomorrow, Weekend magazine takes a
closer look at the controversy in "Star
Wars on Campus.

to take those ideas to Congress and saying
hey, this is a good idea. The intent was to
expose to Congress, or whoever the money
comes from that that there are one or two or
many good ideas. It was by no means meant
to garner political support for SDI.
D: What has the response of Universities
been to the SDI offices' call for proposals?
I: Well, we've had about 2700 to 3000
proposals-3,000 proposals. And each
proposal involves at least three people.
What scares me about the thing is that I
have received a couple of letters from
graduate students who have been en-
couraged to withdraw their names from
white papers. What concerns me is this sort
of peer pressure, censoring fundamental
research. That is a gross violation of
academic freedom. We're not forcing anyone
to do research, we're giving them the oppor-
tunity.
D: Why is it desirable for the fundamental
research to be conducted at academic in-
stitutions as opposed to government
laboratories or within the private sector?
I: Well, it's not more desirable. That's
another misinterpretation. I am constantly
referring to the scientific community. And it
just turns out that academia is a fertile
ground for investigators to work at in-
creasing or adding chapters to the book of
knowledge. That's just where you find them.
D: Is the research being contracted now
weapons systems applicable? Does all or
some of it come under the Pentagon's 6.3

budget categorization? (Which expressly
defines research as weapons hardware ap-
plicable).
1: All of the research comes under the
budget categorization 6.3. But if you look at
the Chronicle of Higher Education in the
latest issue, I stated publicly that there is no
question that the classification guidelines

will be identical to 6.1. (Which has no
publishing restrictions.) And what was the
last part of your question?
D: Is the research being contracted now
weapons systems applicable?
I: Well, it depends on what you mean by a
weapon. By surveillance, space is already
weaponized in the sense that there are sur-
veillance satellites out there now... So yeah,
one road or one application road would be
superconducting sensors... but that same
fundamental research can be applied in
many different ways, and it's because of
those applications that it is counterproduc-
tive to classify it.
D: But most of the SDI money is coming
out of the 6.3 budget category.
I: Well that's just for convenience. That's
just where there was a lot of money. That's
what's strange about this. Because that
money, before there was SDI, was used for
advanced development of hardware, some
implement of war. Now, that money is being
used for research, That money is now going
into researching implements of defensive
technology. That's just where there was a lot
of money.
D: What are your concerns regarding the
possibility that research contracted to
academic institutions may become in-
creasingly sensitive and therefore
classifiable?

I: As a piece of fundamental research
evolves into an application it no longer is
fundamental research and the academic in-
stitutions are no longer interested in it. So as
it evolves, you say it will get sensitive, and
its does. But something else, some new
discovery comes in and takes its place, so
they still get funded. Because this new
research comes into fill the gap and the
other piece has evolved. They've done their
job, they have furthered the advancement of
technology. There is always a continuing, a
continuing source of new ideas coming in.
D: The State Department released a
report today that says the Soviets have 4
already developed a comparable space
based defense system. Could you comment
on that?
I: The fact is they are developing. Quite
frankly... they are developing and the
reasons we can't show pictures is because
when you show pictures, you reveal how one
obtained the data. It compromises the
ability of the agents who get these pictures.
So that's why you can't see these pictures.
But they are developing one and I think it's
very important that we talk about it in an at-
tempt to try to shift from deterrence
through nuclear retaliation, which is totally
immoral, to another form of deterrence.
And that is through a defensive system, a
cost effective weapons system. And defen-
sive systems are incapable of mass destruc-
tion.

lonson
... SDI will remain unclassified

. r_. l

Chassy

Edite anidbatTh tyo Mal
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

NO ONNA TR

14

Vol. XCVI, No. 26

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Confronting AIDS

T he death last week of Rock
Hudson has increased sorely
needed public attention on the issue
of AIDS. Education on the disease
is the only means to combat the
hysterical public reaction which has
caused, among other things, the
withdrawal of children with AIDS
from public schools.
AIDS is a killer. There is no
known cure. Some studies suggest
as many as a million people in the
U.S. will die of AIDS before a cure
is found.
There is no verdict on the means
by which AIDS is transmitted.
Studies of semen, sweat, and other
secretions of sexual activity are
going forward, but the only proven
means of transmission is from
blood to blood.
There is a more limited medical
verdict, however. AIDS has in no
case been transmitted through
casual contact. Indeed, even in
sexual contact it is difficult to get
AIDS from an infected person.
There have been several well-
publicized cases of accidental
AIDS infection, but even these cases
involve blood to blood tran-
smission-mostly in faulty needle
or blood sample handling. Why
then the hysteria about AIDS as the
new leprosy?
One source of the hysteria is the
homophobia created by opportunist
1preachers who have taken to
describing AIDS as God's punish-
ment for gay men, who have been
the majority of the early AIDS vic-
tims in the United States. It is in-

teresting that while anyone can get
AIDS, no lesbian has been confir-
med as having AIDS.
Another source of the emotional
reaction to AIDS is the newness
and severity of the disease. Unlike,
cancer, which the American public
is used to and even jokes about
casually as the list of suspected
cancer-causing agents expands,
AIDS has received public attention
in the U.S. for only a few years.
Hopefully, educational efforts
can transform the mysterious
threat of AIDS into something like
the more familiar threat of cancer
in the American mind. While can-
cer is not contagious, it is
nonetheless possible to contract
cancer from all kinds of environ-
mental causes.
There is no cure for cancer. Nor
is there any final view as to all its
causes. Yet, the American public
has learned to live with cancer and
even to educate itself about
cigarette-smoking and various oc-
cupational hazards related to can-
cer.
There is no way to escape AIDS.
Parents who pull their children out
of schools to avoid having contact
with the disease are making a
mistake. Sooner or later we will all
come in contact with someone who
has AIDS. Only educational ac-
tivity to prevent transmission
through sexual activity and blood
handling procedures can prevent
the spread of AIDS. The sooner we
all learn this, the more lives will
be saved.

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LETTERS
Protestors embarrassed student body

To the Daily:
After attending the Peace Cor-
ps 25th Anniversary celebration
Monday, I am upset at the actions
of the protestors in the crowd.
Although the students protesting
had the right to express their
views, they went beyond this
right by disrupting the speech by
Vice President George Bush. The
students in the back of the crowd
could not hear what the vice
president had to say. As one of
the students in the back, I feel
that my rights have been violated
by the protestors.
Although I feel cheated by not
being able to hear the vice
president, I am more em-
barrassed after watching the
evening news. The news report
left the viewer with the im-
pression that Vice President
Bush was a victim of the
protestors, which is opposite of
the protestors intentions. The
vice president came out looking
good on national television in-
stead of appearing like a criminal
as the protestors wanted. In this
manner, the protestors not only
failed in their endeavor but, by
not allowing the vice president
the freedom to speak, made the
entire student hodv of the

ficult for the spectators to hear
him. The students that were
deprived of the right to listen to
Vice President Bush should in-
form the MSA of their dislike of
the resolution, what it stood for,
and what occurred at the An-
niversary celebration.
As a member of a free society, I
No guarantee
To the Daily:
If James Ionson thinks he has
reassured us by promising to try
to keep as much SDI research on
campus as possible unclassified,
the fact that he will not make a
guarantee is proof enough that
this will not always be the case.
But anyone who still believes SDI
research will remain unclassified
on university campuses should
reconsider after having wit-
nessed the care with which
security was treated around Vice
President Bush's visit on Mon-
day. The idea that someone,
somewhere might want to do an
elected official wrong is the same
lai r A ~ " ^ WYiT

do not believe in giving money to
any group that preaches and/or
practices censorship. Based on
this belief, I am going to do
everything possible to get the
MSA assessment removed from
my tuition for the next semester,
and I encourage others to do the
same, unless the MSA allows

everyone the freedom of ex-
pression and speech, including
Vice President Bush and other
members of the Reagan Ad-
ministration, that the MSA
demands for itself.
-Joseph Lemieux
October 7

by Ionson shows paranoia 4

paranoia that will unquestionably
surround all research concerning
SDI. This will be especially true
in the eyes of the government
agency ultimately in charge of
SDI - the Pentagon. It is quite
clearthat, after decades of
distrusting the Soviets, the
military is not going to make an
exception for research on cam-
pus.
We must realize that, as
students, we will be directly ef-
fected by any security
classification of this type. Some
of the most valuable learning ex-
periences I've had have been
from professors explaining to

their students how the material
they were struggling to learn was
important and useful in his own
work.
Perhaps we will have to put
asterisks on coursestaught by
professors doing SDI research. In
that way we will not waste our
time taking classes from the
faculty members who will b
unable to explain the value an
use of their coursework. Then
again, we could all just go to non-
SDI campuses where the quality
of instruction would be unhin-
dered.
-J. Ames
October 7

We encourage our readers to use this
space to discuss and respond to issues of
their concern. Whether those topics
cover University, Ann Arbor com-

I

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