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March 03, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-03

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A

OPINION

-Page 4

Monday, March 3, 1986

The Michigan Daily

1 7

i# - .

4

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Livermore researches SDI

Vol. XCVI, No. 102

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board

Worthy of re-election

THE RETURNS of the 1986
Rackham Student Gover-
nment election are once again
overwhelming in support of re-
elected President Dean Baker and
Vice President Thea Lee. The two
have demonstrated real leadership
and have actively sought
recognition for their controversial
politics. During their terms in of-.
fice, Rackham Student Gover-
nment (RSG) donated $1,000 in aid
for medical care to Nicaragua
through the Ann Arbor Medical Aid
Project, passed two resolutions
which they will work toward
realizing this year, and sponsored
a number of diverse speakers.
RSG's resolution to declare the
University a sanctuary for
Salvadoran and Honduran
refugees met with little en-
thusiasm from the administration.
President Shapiro rejected the
idea largely because he is commit-
ted to maintaining the University
as a politically neutral institution.
The University possesses a con-
siderable amount of autonomy,
though it does have obligations to
the immediate community and
state that help fund it.
It should be interesting to note
how the Ballot Initiative for Peace
: in Central America will affect
Shapiro's perspective should it
pass in April. The initiative calls
for improving current relations
p with Central America. Already,
Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San
Francisco have declared them-
selves sanctuaries. If Ann Arbor
decides to follow suit, the Univer-
asity may feel some external
*"-pressure to support the peace ef-
fort. Such a symbolic gesture
would be hailed as progressive.
RSG passed its most well-known
resolution in connection with the
arriva. of George Bush on campus
to commemorate the 20th anniver-
sary of the Peace Corps. The
general resolution applies to all
Reagan administration officials
and mandates that none of these
representatives should come to
speak on campus unless people
with opposing viewpoints are given
similar opportunity. Underlying
this resolution is the fundamental
principle of education through the

interplay and exchange of ideas
and arguments. One of RSG's main
concerns this year has been to
guarantee freedom of expression
for people who are opposed to
government behavior, par-
ticularly because government of-
ficials have constant, free access
to media coverage while those with
dissenting opinion have little
means for publicizing their views.
RSG has done a good job to in-
crease awareness of this dispariity
and appropriately has
sought out a variety of speakers
who are on the fringe of main-
stream political and economic
thought.
Among these, University of Den-
ver Professor David Levine, an in-
novative economist working in the
Marxist tradition, and Paul
Sweezy, editor of the Monthly
Review and co-author of Monopoly
Capital, were particularly im-
pressive. Slated for late March and
early April are Columbia Univer-
sity Comparative Literature Prof.
Edward Said, speaking on the
Middle East, Francis More Lappe,
author of Diet for a Small Planet,
speaking about world hunger and
possible solutions, and Margaret
Randall, a U.S. born citizen who
has been threatened with expulsion
by the State Department after
returning from Cuba. Censoring
this "dangerous voice,"' is the
more powerful and dangerous
threat .to United States citizens,
who are less likely to believe one
woman than government
authorities. RSG has and will con-
tinue to sponsor these speakers
who offer their personal and
professional opinions in the hope
that students and other community
members will benefit from a
refreshing, often painful challenge
to traditional values and long in-
ternalized beliefs.
Though their defeated
challengers Peggy Kuhn, Bart
Edes, and others have criticized
RSG for focusing attention away
from immediate graduate student
interests, Baker, Lee, and their
supporters contend that world
problems are immediate graduate
student concerns. They should be
congratulated for accepting this
responsibility.

By Justin Sc wartz
This March 7, Lawrence Livermore Labs,
the nation's premier nuclear weapons
design facility and a major center for Star
Wars research, is coming to recruit on cam-
pus. If you pass by at any time during the
day you will see students leafletting and
talking to people about Livermore; at 1:00
many people will rally in a protest against
Livermore's work and recruitment on cam-
pus. Why?
Livermore's secret work is dangerous and
increases the risk of nuclear war. With Los
Alamos, it has designed the entire US ar-
senal. It is responsible for weapons testing
in the Marshall Islands that has .crippled
two generations of residents already and
rendered a large part of these Pacific islan-
ds uninhabitable.
And, Livermore is not just a passive agent
of federal government policy. It lobbies
heavily for specific weapons systems which
it initiates and generally favors high
military spending. It also lobbies heavily
against such grass roots initiatives such as
the Nuclear Weapons Freeze.
Most famous of the current Livermore
projects is Star Wars, the Reagan ad-
ministration's so-called Stategic Defense
Initiative, which originated in its labs. Star
Wars is neither a defense nor a deterrent. It
is an aggressive weapon. Ann Arbor
readers, who like the rest of our country
overwhelmingly support a mutual Freeze
and arms reductions, should not welcome
Livermore's visit.
The President has promised that Star
Wars could make nuclear weapons "im-
potent and obsolete." A vast, space-based
system of lasers, particle beams, orbiting
mirrors, satellite sensors and other exotic
technologies, he said, would shoot down in-
coming missiles at every stage of their
flight.
Reagan may believe in a Perfect Shield,
but among the experts, not even the har-'
Justin Schwartz is a graduate student
and Steering Committee member of the
Michigan Alliance for Disarmament
who teaches a course on nuclear strategy
in the Residential College.

dline Star Warriors do. "No one believes in
a 100 percent leakproof defense," explains
George Yonas, chief scientist for the Star
Wars project. Livermore scientists know
this. Reagan's promise is a mixture of
"hope and hype," explains Livermore's
George C. Smith of Livermore Labs. "The
hope is getting rid of nuclear weapons. The
hype is thinking it can be done with exotic
weapons."
Why is this hype? First, Star Wars is only
a defense against ballistic missles. It cannot
defend against bombers, cruise missiles, or
nuclear weapons delivered by "unconven-
tional" means, such as a ship or a VW bus.
And the majority of US and Soviet nuclear
weapons are not ballistic missiles. Second,
Star Wars will have to work perfectly, the
first time, without being tested. Butno
complex system works without testing.
Even the Shuttle, vastly simpler than Star
Wars, exploded - and it had been tested at
least 25 times in flight. Third, Star Wars can
be defeated with cheap countermeasures.
"Any system can be overcome with
proliferation (of warheads) and decoys,
decoys, decoys, decoys," Richard DeLauer,
Undersecretary of Defense for Research
and Engineering told Congress.
What this means is that Star Wars is no
defense. With 10,000 Soviet warheads, a 90
percent effective defense means that 90
million Americans would die outright; and
even a fantastic 98 percent effective defense
would leave 40 million people dead, accor-
ding to the Arms Control and Disarmament
Administration in 1979.
Faioing a Perfect Shield, the government
says that Star Wars will improve, rather
than abolish, deterrence. This is, of course,
inconsistent with the Perfect Shield story.
Both cannot be true, although, both can be
false. The government is talking out of both
sides of its mouth.
But Star Wars will not enhance deterren-
ce. The US already has 30,000 nuclear
weapons - and it only needs 400 to utterly
destroy the USSR. Even if they could attach~
US land-based missiles (a favorite rationale
of Star Warriors), the Soviets would face
4,000 invulnerable warheads based on US
submarines. And Star Wars will drive the
Soviets to build many more warheads to
overwhelm it; the US will respond in kind,
and the arms race will escalate.

What is Star Wars really for? As one
might hope, Henry Kissinger explains the
issue clearly. "A country with a full ABM
system might imagine that it could strike
first and then use its ABMs to intercept the
weakened retaliatory blow." Star Wars is 4
useless as a defense against a Soviet first
strike. But it might be able to counter a
weakened Soviet retaliation to a US first
strike. Reagan himself noted that "if paired
with offensive systems, (Star Wars) can be
viewed as fostering an aggressive policy."
Because missile defense only makes sense
as part of a first strike capability, the US
and the USSR agreed to limit it sharply with
the 1972 SALT 1 ABM Treaty. This is the
single most important existing arms control
treaty. The administration has repeatedly
threatened to scrap it in order to build Star
Wars. Indeed, if it is to build Star Wars, it
must scrap it, for the ABM Treaty prohibits
testing or deployment of space-based
missile systems.
It is not US policy to actually make a first
strike. Star Wars has no military purpose.
But it does have a political purpose. As
Weinberger explains, "If we can get a
system which is- effective, and which we
know can render their missiles impotent, we
could be back in a situation we were in, for
example, when we were the only nation with
nuclear weapons." Star Wars is designed to
escape the constraints of nuclear parity and
restore the power the US had in the days of
nuclear monopoly in 1945-49.

The US can then again use nuclear
weapons as a "diplomatic stick," as Nixon
put it in Time magazine last July. Star
Wars, together with first strike weapons like
the MX and the Trident D-5, can make
nuclear saber-rattling credible again. "To
have the advantage at the highest level of
violence is to have the advantage at every
lesser level of violence," Paul Nitze, a
Reagan arms advisor and early advocate of
this "escalation dominance" policy ex-
plained in 1979. This is what Star Wars is for.
But the real alternative to nuclear war is
not Star Wars. That is only the route to
economic decline and perhaps worse. The
real alternative is a verifiable, mutual
nuclear freeze or a comprehensive test ban,
followed by deep mutual cuts in the arsenals
of both sides.

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An easy break

__ ._

LETTERS:

SPRING BREAK has broken this
L morning and with it, the
realization that as with every
weekend, vacation, and other ex-
tended abesence from classes, it
was not long enough to master a
foreign language or write a thesis.
However, it did provide a delightful
rest from mid-terms or at least the
chance to prepare for them.
From here to May, it's more
work, more pressure, and less time
to wallow in self-indulgent
pleasures such as sailing in Florida
or skiing in Colorado. There are, of
course, ample opportunities to visit
museums, read a poem, take in a
movie, concert or lecture. The
secret is organization.

dry. It stands to reason that if
through organization students
could enjoy more extra curricular
activities, then more students
would try to be organized. True,
most students do try to be more
organized. Many try to get more
organized over Spring Break. The
problem is that Spring Break is
over, and most people are still
unorganized.
But take heart! One of the most
important things to remember
about organization is that it's a
process, not a final state of being.
The key to successful time
management is setting realistic
goals, and reserving space for
yourself to relax, spend time with

Press
To the Daily:
I am writing to e
outrage at the thinly
U.S. Embassy pres
distributed by the
Press, that you publi
the title "6,500 Politica
Languish in Nicaragu
The article begins by
"a leading official of
dent human right
estimates Nicaragua
6,500 men and women
prisoners."
It is depressing tha
the Reagan Administr
to drum up anti-
hysteria, as it does n
the ;100 million in aid
tras that it is requ
press meekly
unquestioningly follow

misinformspublic
international agencies, such as against Nicara
xpress my Americas Watch and Amnesty core of fact;I
y disguised International, which have have committed
s release, released detailed studies of the especially in
Associated human rights situation in Around the core
shed under Nicaragua. U.S. officials ha
iPrisoners Americas Watch's seventh of innuendo a
a" 2/21/86. report of Nicaragua, which was The misuse of hi
saying that released last July, states that "in has become p
an indepen- Nicaragua there is no systematic ficials' stateme
s agency practice of forced disappearan- White House
is holding ces, extrajudicial killings or tor- Nicaragua... an
as political ture-as has been the case with the President'sc
the 'friendly' armed forces of El They discuss
t whenever Salvador." Later in the report sider to be an
ation needs they state that "there is not a claim that ther
Sandinista policy of torture, political mur- prisoners in1
iow to gain der, or disapperances in 6,500? Who's k4
to the con- Nicaragua. While such abuses A.P. article yo
esting, the have occurred, principally in 1981 on to misrepre
and and 1982, the Government has ac- of Amnesty In
vs along. ted in some cases to investigate former Preside

on "
gua rest upon a
the Sandinista's
d serious abuses,
1981 and 1982.
of fact, however,
ve built an edifice
nd exaggeration.
uman rights data
pervasive in of-
nts to the press, in
handouts on
d most notably, in
own remarks."
what they con-
unsubstantiated
e are 60 political
Nicaragua. But
kidding who. The
ou published goes
sent the positions
nternational, and
nt Jimmy Carter,

icaraguau
the U.S.-backed contras. Carter,
who innaugurated an
agricultural development project
in Nicaragua, and visited gover-
nment and opposition leaders and
a local market, in fact said that
he was "impressed by the rap-
port between the people and their
leaders."
What I am trying to say, in
summary, is that only thee
Reagan Administration and one
phony human rights organization
in Managua would claim that
there are 6,500 political prisoners
in Nicaragua. Any reputable
human rights organization, or in-'
ternational observer, would label
that claim for what it is,
hogwash. I only wish that the
press would be more critical in its
reporting of the "edifice of in-g

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