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March 14, 1986 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-03-14

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Friday, March 14, 1986 The Michigan Doily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wasserman

I
I

Vol. XCVI, No. 111

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

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

Skewed priorities

t )
HELP
WANTED

WS~J LIVE tDLC41VE TYS.

MEMBERS OF Sigma Alpha
Mu fraternity spent $1500 to
bring the fastest beer drinker in the
world to Ann Arbor on Monday.
Isn't that great? As one brother
said, "The speed at which he drinks
beer is a goal for all fraternity
brothers all over the country."
Aspiring to drink beer is hardly an
admirable goal and diverts atten-
tion from individual and social
programs.
Of course, this is just one par-
ticularly gross example of money
spent on frivolous activities. Ever-
day, citizens in the United States
make decisions based on the high
standard of living gained by under-
paying people in Third World coun-
tries. People should work toward
building a world community, but
often exploit and oppress others in
order to enjoy more prosperous
lives. On the other side, Americans
try to help by sending food and
Peace Corps volunteers much like
people here contribute to "good

causes" on a local level. While
these efforts are valid, they are
hardly sufficient. Valuing in-
dividual lives is essential to
preserving humanity. Though
everyone should feel good about
having fun, it is important to
remember to keep things in per-
spective.
It's typical of students to spend
money for immediate self
gratification. Dormitory hall
residents are easily persuaded to
give up money for parties, but less
likely to donate to charity. Frater-
nities and sororities claim that
their community service is suf-
ficient, justifying exorbitant spen-
ding on social functions. They have
money and deserve to pay for beer
drinking heros if they so desire.
Certainly, all people need pleasure
and should have the opportunity to
enjoy themselves. But the trend
here is disturbing and is indicative
of a larger society where priorities
are skewed.

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LETTERS:

4

Support Urged

for freedom fighters'

No Contra aid

P-resident Reagan's proposal
for $100 million in aid to the
Contras is critical in that its suc-
cess or failure could well deter-
mine future U.S. policy in Central
America. If passed this aid will
commit the U.S. to a military
solution to the problems of that
region.
The administration insists, for
official purposes anyway, that aid
to the Contras is not necessarily
meant to overthrow the Sandanista
government of Nicaragua, but is
intended to bring about a
negotiated settlement. What the
Sandinistas are expected to
negotiate, except for their own
downfall, remains unclear.
Proponents of aid say that the
huge Sandinista military threatens
to destabalize Central America.
This argument fails to justify con-
tinued aid to the Contras. The
larger the Contra threat becomes
the more the Sandinistas will be
required to expand their military
and the more dependent they will
become on the Soviet Union. A
negoitated reduction of arms
through the Contradora process is
a much more sensible way of
acheiving long lasting peace.
Besides if the Sandinista pose such
a huge threat to their neighbors one
would expect U.S. allies in the
region to be more supportive of aid.
However, despite their dependen-
ce on U.S. suport for their survival,
none of the allies have indicated
any support for the Contras.
J.

Aid to the Conras is also suppor-
ted on the grounds that the San-
dinistas are creating a repressive
totalitarian regime. While it is true
that the Sandinistas have curtailed
civil liberties, their record com-
pares favorably with that of the
Contras who have been cited for ex-
treme brutality and lack of respect
for human rights by Amnesty In-
ternational. The assumption
behind this argument is that either
Contra pressure will make the
Sandinistas more respectful of
human rights or that a Contra
government formed if the rebellion
succeeds will be democratic. The
fact that most of the curtailments
in human rights in Nicaragua have
come in repsonse to Contra
military pressure makes it seem
unlikely that the aid will result in
greater civil liberties. The second
scenario is equally unlikely when
one takes into account the large
number of former National Guar-
dsmen and Somocistas in the Con-
tra organization.
Nobel Laureate Perez Esquivel
put it best in his speech at Hale
Auditorium Monday when he said
America's priorities in Central
America are out of touch with
reality and that $100 million could
accomplish much more if used for
development purposes than as aid
for the Contras. Aid to the Contras
will only escalate the violence
which already devastates
Nicaragua and will in no way aid the
cause of democracy.

To the Daily:
The letter written by Dr. John
Vandermeer in the March 4th
Daily does a great disservice to
the people of Nicaragua by
portraying the brave freedom
fighters as terrorists. If the
citizens of Nicaragua are to
realize the freedom they fought
for in 1979, they must overthrow
Ortega and the other San-
dinistas. Backed by billions of
dollars of military hardware
supplied by the Soviet Union,
Cuba, East Germany, Bulgaria,
Libya and even the PLO, the
Sandinistas have razed entire
villages suspected of aiding the
Nicaraguan Democratic Force,
indiscriminately massacring
men, women, and children from
Soviet Hind Mi-24 helicopter gun-
ships. While these acts of
barbarism usually go unreported
incidents such as the one Dr.
Vandermeer reported are always
well publicized. And while it is
unfortunate that innocent
civilians died at the hands of
freedom fighters, the circum-
stances surrounding the tragedy
should be examined before we
label the freedom fighters as
terrorists. Dr. Vandermeer
states that the van which was
assaulted was returning from a
visit to a military base. Although
I cannot be familiar with the
details of this particular incident,
since the Sandinistas regularly
use military vehicles for this type
of transportation it is very likely
that a military vehicle was
carrying these civilian. If
anyone is to be blamed for such
deaths, it must be the Sandinistas
who place civilians in jeopardy
by carrying them in military
vans in combat zones. For the
underarmed freedom fighters,
the battle is often horrifying,
especially when they acciden-
tally slay their own countrymen,
Reagan dece
To the Daily:
On January 11, I returned from
Nicaragua as a witness to the
war. Reagan's "freedom
fighters," the "contra," commit
many atrocities against the in-
nocent of Nicaragua. Bombed
health care facilities, schools and
churches are prevalent. Many
young school teachers and rural
doctors are kidnapped and mur-
dered. The United State Em-
bassy official who we interviewed
in Managua acknowledged the at-
tacks on civilian targets. He ad-

the ones they strive to liberate
from communist slavery. Yet
these brave men and women,
mostly peasants whose farms
have been confiscated to form
state farms, continue to brave the

threat of death and the miseries
of warfare in a gallant struggle to
save their nation. If Daniel Or-
tega is to follow Duvalier and
Marcos into exile, leaving behind
a liberated country, these

freedom fighters must receive
our help. Show your support for
freedom by voting NO on
Proposal A on April 7.
--Bill Tayler
March 4

Freedom fighter

label is a misnomer

To the Daily:
As President Reagan presses
Congress for 100 million more
dollars for the "contras" who
seek to overthrow the
Nicaraguan government, I'd like
to share my own experiences of
who these "freedom fighters"
are.
I was in Nicaragua this sum-
mer when Congress granted
them 27 million dollars in
"humanitarian" aid. Within a
week, encouraged by the new
funding, the Contras had
massacred two bus loads of
women civilians, attacked a
hospital, a grain silo and bridges,
as well as slaughtering dozens of
local militia men in ambushes,
all just outside the northern city
Esteli where I was staying. The
bodies of some I saw buried had
been mutilated by the Contras.
I can not begin to convey the
pain I saw families suffer as they
lost loved ones, except to remind
readers of the pictures of and
stories about people similarly
victimized last December by the
terrorist airport bombings
Rome and Vienna.
Is this the kind of "pressure"
Reagan talks of exerting on the
Nicaraguan government to bring
it to the bargaining table? Did
what I witnessed serve the cause
of freedom? I do not believe so. I
hope that other Americans, when
they put aside the rhetoric about
"Communism" and "freedom
fighters" and realize that the
ives public
paign of deception. Although the
Administration has claimed that
the "contra" force has been
growing at a rate of 1000 men per
month, there are barely any mon-
thly increases. The "contra"
force is not an army of 20,000
combatants as Reagan claims
but exist with about 12,000 men
and boys. Altering factual
statistics as the Administration is
doing in attempt to win votes in
congress will not be accpted.
Moreover, to call those who are
anti-contra, anti-American, as

Contras are people who kill
people - 12,000 so far, 3,000 of
them children - will refuse to
have our country continuing sup-
porting them. Write to
Congressman Carl Pursell (361
W. Eisenhower Pkwy, A2 48104) or
to your other representatives,
urging them to block any aid to
the Contras.

A final note on who the Contras
are: of the approximately fifty
captured that week near Esteli,
most were teenaged-boys, manq
of whom claimed to have been.
kidnapped and forced to fight,
according to a UPI reporter I
spoke to who interviewed them.
- Adam Eigner
March 4

Muencho w acts fairly

To the Daily:
I would like to make a point of
clarification about the March 5th
article, "Group attacks funding
committee." In the first place, I
was a member of the Budget
Priorities Committee at the time
of the two Freedom Charter
Coalition hearings. BPC was
completely justified in their two
separate decisions to not fund the
Coalition. When. the Freedom
Charter in front of BPC during
the December hearing, there was
some uncertainty as to the
group's connection. They had
MSA's Student Rights Committee
listed as part of the coalition. Af-
ter some investigation, a
document calling for the
organization of the Freedom
Charter was shown to me with the
signature of an MSA Officer on
MSA stationary. This was VP for
Personnel, Eric Schnaufer. To
this extent BPC thought that the
Freedom Charter Coalition
should be treated as an internal
allocation (i.e., Women's Issues
or Academic Affairs) and not an
external allocation (i.e. Shaking
Through, Black Student Union,
R.C. Players).
At this point, MSA overturned
BPC's ruling, without allocating
the Freedom Charter money. In-
stead, it was ruled that
Freedom Charter should come
back for another hearing. At this
hearing, BPC did vote to give
them money, 200 out of the 600
dollars requested. The reason
was that BPC felt that MSA
would not want to be the sole
sponsor of the Freedom Charter
(this is precedented). It appears
that the committee was wrong,
because MSA voted to allocate

liberal groups is untrue. The BPC
evaluates each group in-
dividually-not based on
political classification or any
other type of classification.
Groups such as The Anvil, the
Engineering student newspaper,
and ASME (American Society of
Mechanical Engineers), received
only $50 between the two of them.
Certainly that isn't "liberal
bias". Belcher's investigation in-
to the committee is purely a
pdlitical move. As Rules Chair
man Mr. Belcher has the respon-
sibility to submit a complete
description of BPC to the assem-
bly for approval. Instead of
doing this, so that the Assembly
can rationally discuss controver-
sy, Mr. Belcher has chosen to
drag BPC tirough the mud. Fur-
thermore, the committee has
made no apparent attempt to
contact any BPC members as of
yet. As the term is drawing to 4
close, actions are needed, not
words.
Finally, Bruce Belcher's per-
sonal attacks on Kurt Muenchow
are unprofessional, unfounded,
and uncalled for. Kurt has never
in my time on BPC tried to in-
fluence the group in any way. He
is a good leader and encourages
discussion and a group decision.
A leader of such a group shout
remain neutral, and Kurt Mue
chow has performed such duties
excellently. As Bruce is running
for MSA again on the Student
"Rights" Party, it is obvious that
the accusations are meant to un-
dermine the credibility of Muen-
chow and Thompson, running on
the Meadow Party (Daily 3/5.)
Bruce has done a good job with
Rules and Elections this year,
and he should be nrofessional an*

r -
U.-.

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