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March 10, 1988 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-10

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4

OPINION
Page 4 Thursday, March 10, 1988 The Michigan Daily

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan
Vol. XCVIII No. 107 420 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.

DOD money corrupI

V

1V1ual p
PRPOALfor inst:
A PROPOSAL TO punish isolated ,
individuals for "racist acts" cannot+
end racism on campus because it1
fails to attack the problem at its
cause: it addresses the symptom
rather than the disease. The
numerous racist incidents that have
occurred on this campus in the past
year are mere manifestations of the +
underlying problem of institutional1
racism.
"Institutional Racism" is an ex-+
pression that has been much in
vogue lately but it is extremely im-
portant to understand both exactly
what it means, and how it comes to
this University. Institutional racism
is rooted in a society that is funda-
mentally, albeit unofficially, segre-
gated. Even well-educated, liberal
University students are affected by

When a white person, through no
fault of her own, grows up in an
all-white suburb and goes to an all-
white High School, and conse-
quently is taught to associate mi-
norities with crime, drugs and poor
neighborhoods, she is a victim of
institutional racism.
When she goes to the University
of Michigan and finds herself in an
environment where most of the jan-
itors are minorities, and a dispro-
portionate number of her professors
and her fellow students are white,
the attitudes she has learned from
her environment are not likely to
change.
She is probably not the kind of
person who would make racist
jokes over the radio, but she laughs
when her friends occasionally tell
racist jokes in private. She is not
aware that she has certain negative
attitudes toward minorities, because
she has never had to confront these
attitudes.
*,Consequently, when she leaves
the University,her choice of where
Facts, Fictio
PAT ROBERTSON, a Republican
presidential candidate, is making
false, unsubstantiated claims that
seriously harm his credibility.
Robertson has an uncanny affinity
with sensationalizing important
national issues, similar to the
reporting of the National Enquirer.
In a campaign stop at a Georgia
university, a student asked
Robertson his position on South
Africa. Robertson replied that if the
U.S. does not support the white
South African government, then
South Africa will fall to the com-
munists. Anti-Communism seems
to be the banner that he hopes will
enlarge his political base. Robertson
has even alluded to the Biblical
prophecies of Armageddon,
conveniently fitting the Soviets into
this scenario. For instance, he has
predicted several times that the So-
viet Union would invade Israel and
the "last days" would begin.
During his campaign, Robertson
has made statements that have
surprised many people. When a
U.S. Lt. Colonel was recently
kidnapped in Southern Lebanon,
Robertson chastised the Reagan
administration for slow efforts in
freeing the hostages. Robertson's
Christian Broadcasting Network
claimed to know where the hostages
were and aired this information on
national television.
Refnre the New Hmnhire and

mi slment
itutional acts
to live, who to befriend and
eventually who to hire, will be sub-
tly affected by feelings that she has
never questioned. In this way, in-
stitutional racism will perpetuate it-
self through her ignorance.
No one in our society, and hence
no student at this University, can
claim to be untouched by institu-
tional racism. It is too widespread
and pervasive for anyone to claim
exemption.
Punishing these self-proclaimed
blatant racists through expulsion
from the University would con-
tribute to the problem by making
these individuals all the more likely
to remain ignorant. Most impor-
tantly, punishing such individuals
takes no step toward educating the
thousands of students who are
aware neither of their victimization
by institutional racism, nor of their
own subtly racist attitudes.
There are several steps that the
University could take to break the
self-perpetuating circle of institu-
tional racism. First, it could help
eliminate the problem at its source
by increasing minority recruitment
and retention among the student
body, and by hiring more minority
faculty and administrators. Sec-
ondly, it could educate students to
recognize the racism inherent in our
society and in the attitudes they
have learned from it through a
mandatory course.
If President Fleming were serious
about eliminating racism from this
campus, these are some steps he
would take. He continues to insist,
however, that the administration
should have formal power to punish
students for racist acts. One can
only conclude either that he does
not understand the problem, or that
he has a set of private objectives
wholly unrelated to the problem at
hand.

By Justin Schwartz
Activism around military research at the
U has fallen considerably over this last
year, but University military research has
actually increased. It now comprises 13
percent of University federally sponsored
research. University faculty are involved in
work on such weapons systems as nerve
gas, C-cubed (command, control, and
communications) for nuclear war, anti-
submarine warfare, Star Wars, and the first
strike submarine missiles. And current
University plans include aggressive
solicitation of Pentagon contracts.
Last April the University Regents
repealed even the rarely enforced guidelines
prohibiting classified military research
which might kill or maim human beings
that had been instituted in 1972 as a
response to student protest over the
University contribution to the war in
Vietnam. This growing trend raises the
issue of the place of military research at a
liberal university like Michigan.
One common myth that arises is that
university military research is just research
that happens to be paid by the military,
but is itself neutral, objective, disinter-
ested inquiry into truth. If the military
cares to support such inquiry, why not
take the money and run? Of course no one
really believes this. Everyone knows that
the Pentagon is interested in specific sorts
of truths, namely, those truths which
promote new and improved ways to kill
people.
Truths about nerve gas or electromag-
netic pulse are a rather special sort of
truth. If you are not interested in killing
people with nerve gas or fighting nuclear
wars, you will not be interested in them.
If a line of inquiry turns out to have no
application to this goal, it will not be
supported by the military budget. So, for
example,when Engineering Professor
Thomas Senior reputedly defended his
work on electromagnetic pulse as a way to
improve commercial television transmis-
sion, this raised the question of why the
Air Force wanted to pay for work with
that purpose. The obvious answer was that
Senior was deluding himself or us about
the point of his research. That the point of
military research is to improve the
Pentagon's ability to kill or maim human
Justin Schwartz is a graduate student in
philosophy and political science. He
works with the Michigan Alliance for
Disarmament.

beings should raise serious questions
about whether such research should be
permitted, much less encouraged, at an
institution of higher education.
To accept or engage in military research
is, therefor, not neutral. Such research has
as its main purpose increased efficiency in
killing. But it is not neutral in another
way, because the killing in question is
done by specific institutions for particular
purposes. Military research means taking
sides.
The obvious answer to these questions
clearly show that the question about mili-
tary research is not about neutral; inquiry,
but about the University's active support
of the political purposes to which the US
military in particular is put. University
military research is a matter of active
support of these particular goals to the
exclusion of supporting the political goals
of other countries which might patronize
such research. And that raises the question
of whether we should support these goals.
Vice Provost James Duderstadt, for-
merly the Dean of the Engineering
School, has had the honesty to pose the
real question and offer a definite, although
indefensible, answer to it. He has claimed
that the contributing to the "national de-
fense" should be "a major goal" of the
university. In Duderstadt's view, and this
is widely shared although rarely so bluntly
put, the University should commit itself
to the political goals of the U.S. govern-
ment by assisting the Pentagon to kill
people in support of those goals.
Now unless one is an absolute pacifist,
which I am not, one will not regard
killing as always wrong in itself. But
unless one is some kind of monster, one
will be very skeptical of the need for
killing unless the purposes are acceptable
and there is no better alternative. This is a
platitude, but if taken seriously, it would
rule out military research for the
Pentagon's purposes.
This will no doubt seem a startling
thing to say, but don't take my word for
it. Far from fearing a Soviet attack, then.
Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger said
in his fiscal year 1986 Annual Report,
"low level conflict will likely remain the
most immediate threat to free world secu-
rity." "The most important security chal-
lenge confronting the United States is to
improve its military capabilities for low-
intensity conflict," according to the Jan.
1985 issue of the US Army's Military
Review. Low intensity conflict is a new
name for the kind of counterrevolutionary

ts the 'U'
intervention the US engaged in Vietnam
and is building up to in Nicaragua.
Such conflict is only "low intensity on
this end. The US dropped seven megatons
of high explosives on Vietnam, twice the
amount of explosives used by all sides in
World War II. Sixty thousand Nicaraguans
of that nation of 3 million have died in the
US-sponsored contra war. And it is hard to
see the threat that socialist Vietnam was
supposed to pose on us, or which socialist
Nicaragua is supposed to pose. Of course,
as President Johnson warned about the
Vietnamese, "If we don't stop them there,
they'll be in San Diego." Many of them
are, but mostly as small businesspeople.
In Nicaragua, as in Vietnam; what is
going on is the Pentagon's attempt to
stop, with excessive violence, poor
nations from asserting some degree of
control over their resources and political
direction. This is what "national defense,"
as Duderstadt uses it, really means. Is that
a goal which a liberal university ought to
promote?
The second thing "national defense"
means is being able to "prevail" in nuclear
wars "at any level of conflict," in the
words of the Pentagon's own Defense
Guidance document leaked to the New
York Times on May 30, 1982. Star Wars
work, endorsed by the University Regents
in 1986, is a case in point. In 1984
Weinberger told the U.S. Congress, "If we
can get a system which we know can ren-
der their missiles impotent, we could be
back in a situation we were in, for exam-
ple, when we were the only nation with a
nuclear weapon." No Star Wars system
can provide an effective defense against a
first strike. But if the U.S. struck first,
Star Wars might reduce the Soviet retalia-
tion to destroying only a few
cities,"acceptable losses," as the govern-
ment sees it. I submit that if "national de-
fense" means destroying poor nations and
fighting nuclear wars, then it ought not to
be a goal of the University of Michigan or
any other institution in American society.
Several campus groups are organizing
campaigns around military research at the
university for the remainder of this term
and next year. The Michigan Alliance for
Disarmament is sponsoring educational
work in the dorms leading up a ballot
initiative for next fall, and meets Sunday
nights at 7:30 in 439 Mason Hall. Michi-
gan Student Assembly is working on a
national conference on Chemical and Bio-
logical Warfare for the fall.

I

I

I

LETTERS:

Base Israeli-PLO terrorism on the facts

n and Phony
has asked for proof of this allega-
tion, and Robertson has yet to
validate his claim.
Last week, Robertson dropped a
libel suit against former California
Representative Paul N. McCloskey.
McCloskey had accused Robertson
of using his father's influence to
avoid combat in Korea. In
Robertson's speeches and campaign
platform there are notable
inconsistencies. In January 1985,
Robertson asserted that only
Christians and Jews were qualified
to run government - in September
1987 Robertson denied he ever
made those statements in a Time
magazine interview, but in De-
cember 1987 he conceded that he
did make those assertions in a New
York Times article.
Robertson has many contradictory
views:
" Robertson stresses the
importance of fighting the Soviet
Union and communism worldwide
by pushing for a stronger defense
- in campaign literature Robertson
favors a cut of $20 billion to $40
billion in the defense budget.
" In a television ad Robertson
vowed not to impose his religious
views if nominated and elected
President - his deputy press
secretary has stated that Robertson
supports school prayer and the
teaching of creationism.
" Robertson has freauently

To the Daily:
In his letter of January 20,
(Prospects for Mideast Peace),
Tahini Abbouslu states that
"the way to peace is n o t
through violence." Apparently
he feels propaganda is a suit-
able alternative.
As examples of Zionist ter-
rorism, Abbouslu cites events
at Deir Yassin, in 1948, and at
Sabra and Shatilla, Lebanon, in
1982. I assume by terrorism he

refers to attacks on civilians.
The town of Deir Yassin was
targeted in 1948 because it
was crucial to the Arab block-
ade of Jerusalem, where Iraqi
troops and snipers were housed.
As such it was a military, not
a civilian target. Abbouslu
states that the entire population
was massacred. A more accu-
rate figure is approximately
115 out of a population o f
800. Many of these were sol-

Sex stats discredit religion

diers who had fired on Jewish
troops, but a portion was
civilian, and these murders in-
spired outrage in the Jewish
community (unlike PLO at-
tacks on civilians, which are
usually praised by Arab lead-
ers).
Deir Yassin standsa solitary
example of Zionist "terrorism",
in contrast to dozens of PLO
sponsored attacks on civilians.
This is why it is still cited af-
ter 40 years. On the contrary,
Arab attacks on civilians in
1948 are largely unremem-
bered, as too many other in-
stances have occupied our at-
tention.
Regarding the 1982 events a
Sabra and Shatilla, Lebanon,
Abbouslu conveniently omits
the fact that those victims fell
not to Israeli soldiers (who
were not even in the camps at
the time), but to the Phalange,
a Christian Lebanese Militia.
Small Matter.
Nevertheless, the Israeli
government did accept indirect
responsibility, in the form of
committee findings which
stated that authorities should

have foreseen the possibility of
such violence,,and were remiss
in not preventing it. Blame
was publicly placed at the
highest levels of leadership,
including Defense Minister
Ariel Sharon. A civil demon-
stration of 400,000 Israelis
underscored attitudes against
the massacre. However, it
simply was not a massacre by
Israelis, as Abbouslu states.
Such lies inform opinions
regarding the relative severity
of violence by the Israeli
Army, when compared with the
PLO (Daily Editorial 1/18/88).
I do not insist that everyone in
the university community
agree' with me on the general
question of Arab-Israeli rela-
tions, only that they base their,
views on facts. In this, Ab-
bouslu fails dismally.
-Corey Luskin
January 21
Readers who cannot bring their
letters in on disk should

To the Daily:
Your article, "Survey finds
similar sexual activity among
churchgoers" was particularly
biased and twisted.
Referring to the "Teen Sex
Survey in the Evangelical
Church," you quote in your
article that,"thirty-five percent
of the 17 year-olds said they
had engaged in sexual
intercourse, while 26 percent of
the 16 year-olds dais (sic) they
had had intercourse." Later in
the article you state that
accordingto a Lou harris poll,
"57 percent of the nation's 17
year olds are sexually
experienced, while 46 percent
of the 16 year olds . . . said
they had had sexual
intercourse."
It is obvious even using
these questionable statistics
that there is a vast difference 35
percent and 57 percent and
between 26 percent and 46
percent! There is a 2 0

My question to you is -
how did the staff possibly
come up with that misleading
title or the ridiculous first
sentence that states, "Teenagers
who attend conservative
churches are similar in the
sexual conduct to many of
America's 17 year olds?"
Of course the answer is that
this twisted story is yet another
way for the Daily to discredit
religion.
-Paula M. Storm
February 4

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