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February 18, 1987 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-02-18

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4

OPINION

Page 4

Wednesday, February 18, 1987

The Michigan Daily,

I

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Vol. XCVII, No.99

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's/Editorial Board
All other cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Daily.

No shame in AIDS

EACH WEEK, 220 AMERICANS
die from AIDS. Studies released
last week predict that this number
will increase substantially. One
and a half million people in the
U.S. are infected with the AIDS
virus and, within the next five
years, 179,000 people in the
United States are expected to die of
the disease. This is the equivalent
of two people in a crowded campus
bar being infected and seven people
at a Michigan football game dying
from the disease.
While most AIDS victims will
die in obscurity, several celebrities
already have acquired or died of
AIDS in recent months. Most of
them hid their affliction from the
public, yielding to an
understandable desire to devote
their 'scarce time to families and
personal matters rather than to
spend the last months of their lives
in press conferences and fending
off intrusive reporters.
Nevertheless, a few celebrities
have chosen to open their personal
lives to public scrutiny. At great
personal cost, they have spoken
openly about their disease.
By admitting that they had
AIDS, these individuals chose to
endure public accusations of homo -
sexuality and the derision of our
still homophobic society. These
disclosures are admirable examples
of candor and courage which serve
to educate a public still largely
ignorant of the threat which AIDS
poses to the health of the sexually
active public.
While, initially, almost all AIDS
victims were homosexuals or users
of intervenous drugs, the disease is

spreading rapidly among the public
at large. The notion of AIDS as a
"gay plague" must be recognized
for what it is-just another
prejudice against another minority.
Similarly, the idea that AIDS
victims should be ashamed of their
disease should be replaced with the
understanding that AIDS is nothing
more than a very dangerous
infectious disease which is spread
by sexual contact.
Each time a well-known person
stands before the public and admits
that he or she has AIDS, a small
chip of the ignorance and prejudice
which surrounds this disease is
whittled away.,
Until a vaccine or effective
treatment is found, education is our
most powerful weapon against
AIDS. The more people talk about
the disease and the more openly it
is discussed, the more effectively
its spread its spread among the
general public will be prevented.
Furthermore, if the disease is one
that people suffer from rather than
being persecuted for, AIDS
sufferers can lead a more normal
life while they are still able.
It is ridiculous to stigmatize
those people who suffer from a
disease because it happened to
enter the U.S. by way of the
homosexual community. AIDS
already afflicts all types of people.
Paranoia and prejudice can only
lead people to close themselves off
from reality. Those people who can
come forth and admit to having
AIDS should be lauded for their
bravery as well as their vision in
perceiving ways to combat a
disease that has already claimed too
many victims.

LETTERS:
"Black'
To The Daily:
I am writing in response to
two articles which recently
appeared in the/Detroit Free
Press: one on 2/8/87, entitled
"Secret Ledger Hides Military
Programs" and the other on
2/9/87, entitled "Pentagon
Plans for World War IV." The
subject of these two articles is
the Pentagon's secret account,
known as the "black budget." I
feel that the facts uncovered in
these reports deserve close
attention and thoughtful
analysis.
Approximately $35 billion
dollars is allocated to the
"black budget" yearly. This is
equivalent to 11% of the
Pentagon's current $312
billion spending request. The
Pentagon is in no way held
accountable to Congress or the
American people in the
spending of this money. This
money is utilized by the
Pentagon to fund classified
programs, such as secret wars
(i.e. the contra war against
Nicaragua), the development of
secret weapons (i.e. billions
have been spent on nuclear
bombers and millions on the
training of dolphins as
underwater saboteurs), covert
armies, and "intelligence"
agencies. Included in the
"black budget"- funded
"intelligence" agencies are the
Central Intelligence Agency,
the National Security Agency,
and the National Reconnais -
sance Office. Regarding the
National Reconnaissance
Office, which receives $4
billion per year, Detroit Free
Press writer Tim Weiner states:
"It is an agency so secret that
its letterhead is classified."
Secret research and
development now receives $11
billion yearly. It has increased

by 1,357% since Reagan took
office. The products of this
research and development
include aircraft, weaponry, and
military satellites whose final
costs will exceed $100 billion.
One example of this is the
development of the Stealth
bomber, which carries cruise
missiles and is designed to
elude enemy radar. The
production cost of a single
bomber is $450 million. The
Air Force has ordered the
production of 132 Stealth
bombers by the early 1990s,
carrying a total price tag of $60
billion.
Even more alarming are the
Administration's and
Pentagon's plans to lead us
into and through World War III
and World War IV. Gone are
the days of "deterrence." A
strategy has been developed for
the U.S. to be able to fight and
win a six month nuclear
conflict with the Soviet Union
and to then be able to strike
again. In the eyes of military
strategists, "acceptable" losses
due to the nuclear war are 20
million or more American
lives. (The number of lives
lost, other than American
lives, are not a consideration).
The development of the
technology necessary to fight
World War IV is well
underway. Tens of billions of
dollars have already been spent
to this end. "Long after the
White House and Pentagon are
reduced to rubble and much of
civilization is destroyed, the
strategy calls for computers to
run a war no human mind
could control, orchestrating
space satellites and nuclear
weapons over a global
battlefield." (Free Press,
2/9/87). Robots are being
developed to stalk radioactive

grounds, satellites to conduct
nuclear attacks, computers for
communication, and lead-lined
trucks to transport generals on
highways.
This recently publicized
information regarding the
Pentagon's "black budget"
raises many questions for us as
Americans and as global
citizens. Are we to sit by in
silent complicity while our
President and military elite
make plans to reduce our planet
to rubble? Is the loss of more
than 20 million American lives
(not to mention the countless
lives of non-Americans)
"acceptable" to us? Is it
acceptable to us that billions.
upon billions of dollars are
being pumped into satellites to
conduct World War IV, when
sonse
To The Daily:
The letter by Michael Bean
(Daily, 1/21/87) presented one
of the more unusual arguments
I've heard attacking the Central
America solidarity movement.
The thrust of the letter is that
because Central America is far
away we shouldn't worry about
it, but rather should focus our
attention on problems such as
crime and homelessness that
are closer to home.
There are two obvious
problems with this sort of
argument. First, it is our
government, with our tax
dollars that is directly responsi -
ble for the deaths of tens of
thousands of innocent civilians
in Central America, and the
terrorization and impoverish -
ment of millions of others. I'll
grant that it's far away, but I
don't see how that diminishes
our responsibility; although it
does make it easier to ignore.
The second problem with
Mr. Bean's argument is that
what we do in far away places
such as Central America is

budget saps billions

millions of people starve
around the world? Whose
interests do these military
policies serve? Why does this
secret programs budget exist
(perhaps it is for fear that if the
public knew what it has a right
to know, it would protest
strongly)?
It is time that each of us
examines these questions and
lives up to our responsibilities
as global citizens, living in the
world's most militarily
powerful country. It is time to
confront this military madness
and stand up in united
opposition to the policies that
are directed toward the
destruction of our planet.
-Phillis Engelbert
February 9
to Bean,+.-
directly connected with the
local problems he mentions.
This in fact was the major
point of our article. The 300
billion dollars we spend on the
military, largely to facilitate
intervention in distant places,
would be nearly enough to give
every family in poverty
$30,000 a year. Obviously this
money would go a long way
towards solving the problems
of crime and homelessness. It's
important that people work on
the local dimension of these
issues, but it is absurd to think'
that these problems can ever be
solved as long as we're letting
our government siphon away
hundreds of billions of dollars
to kill and impoverish people
around the world. I'm sorry;
that Mr. Bean thinks that
efforts to change our
government's policies are
worthless: it would be tragic
for the rest of the world, and
for us, if he's right.
-Dean Baker
Mark Weisbrot
January 23

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Priorities should be changed

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The Opinion page is looking for
investigative researchers to have their own
watchdog columns on particular local
subjects, such as Ann Arbor housing,
police and the court system. Call 747-
2814.

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Democrats undermine trust

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To The Daily:
Tuesday night (1/27), I
watched part of the Democratic
response to President Reagan's
State of the Union Message on
national television. I couldn't
believe what I was hearing.
Jim Wright, House Speaker
(D.-Tex.), was talking in
reaction to the speech. I don't
have anything against that, but
rather with the way he was
doing it. A government in as
muddled times as ours is now
(with the Iranian controversy)
needs to at least show a
supportive front that is at least
neutral if not united, and
certainly not as accusatory as it
was on Tuesday.
If Mr. Wright had simply
been approaching the speech on
a point counter-point basis, I
wouldn't have had a problem
with it. However, the House
Speaker seemed to have taken
it upon himself to personally
attack the character of the
President in front of the entire
country.
During his speech, Mr.
Wright began talking about
the budget cuts proposed by the
Drr- idpnt At ,nnnint ht-

he has would be above this. It
would have been much more
befitting has he proposed a way
to get the funds from
somewhere else without having
to cut the budget in that area.
But, instead, he felt it his duty
to undermine the nation's trust
in the President rather than to
put forth a Democratic
solution.
Also during the Democratic
response, Senator Byrd (D.-
W.Va.) said, "A weakened
President serves no one. A
strong President serves us all."
He also said that there was a
"gathering sense of mistrust"
as well as "real doubts about
competence." He spoke about
the idea that a government
without the trust of the people
is a government lacking power.
It is unfortunate that a man in
Mr. Byrd's position to help the
nation by suggesting realistic
strategies or by supporting the
President should then choose to
help virtually kick the
President while he was striving
to regain the trust of the
American public.
I personally have never
really liked political speeches

To the Daily:
My congratulations to the
writer of your lead editorial
"Focus on teaching," (Daily,
2/11/87): not only is it an ad -
mirable piece of prose, but it is
the clearest analysis of this
University's most pressing
problem that I have seen in a
long time, a thoughtful state -
ment of what should be
obvious: "The problem is not a
lack of funds, but a distorted
set of priorities. The Univer -
sity should renew its commit -
ment to teaching."
If our administration could
see so clearly, it would be
focusing on three essential
facts: that over the last ten to
fifteen years the number of
undergraduates has increased,
the number of faculty has
decreased, and the teaching load
expected of the faculty (for a
variety of interesting reasons)
has been reduced. The result:
too many students forced into
too few courses, which are
Education edit
To The Daily:
Congratulations on your
editorial on education in
Wednesday's Daily ("Focus on
Teaching," Daily, 2/11/87). It
was exactly right--in every way.
Maybe you should reprint it,
daily, until somebody pays
attention.

becoming larger and larger;
which means less participation
on both sides, less discussion;
less attention devoted to fewer
student papers- in a word,
shabby, "fire sale" education
(and what a superb metaphor
that is).
Instead, we have had, from
the top, almost nothing in the
way of thoughtful analysis of
what is now wrong, of what is
still right, nor have we been
asked even to consider the
problem: marketing and entre -
preneurial tactics are sub -
stituted for thought, a million
dollars is offered for any new
gimmick that can be bought,
on the assumption that wha -
tever is new is good, that a
flashy reputation for being at
the forefront will substitute for
honest teaching and good
learning.
David 0. Ross
Professor of Classical
Studies
-February 12,
draws praise
There's a vote scheduled in
next month's faculty meeting on
the hiring of teachers. We
should be debating just what you
said.
Thanks for the editorial.
-Bert Hornbeck
February 12

CAF CANADA, ITAIN., FRPANCE, ITAVY'
- GERMAN/ AND JAPAN...

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MIKE MAVe z

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