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November 22, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-11-22

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Page 4

Wednesday, November 22, 1989

The Michigan Daily

- lr

Exploring options to military research:




By Matt Green
I only work on defensive
weapons, not offensive ones.
On a visit last year to the Uni-
versity Campus, Dr. Hans Bethe noted
that the best defense is one that not only
makes the U.S. feel secure, but also
makes our enemies feel secure. While the
Reagan and Bush administrations us the
euphemism "Strategic Defense Initiative",
it is clear that developing such a defense
creates, in the eyes of the Soviets, the
possibility that the U.S. could launch a
first strike of nuclear weapons, safely pro-
tected from counterattack. Even though
there is now general agreement that SDI,
as originally envisioned, is not feasible,
SDI research continues. This research fo-
cuses on the development of weapons that
would have the capability to surgically de-
stroy Soviet weapons on the ground before
they are used. In response to the develop-
ment of such systems, the Soviets may
decide to launch their nuclear missiles be-
fore their weapons are obsolete. In short,
the current weapons research is very desta-
bilizing and creates less security rather
than more according to the criteria of Dr.
It is better to have weapons
work done by an enlightened
person like me.
No matter who does weapons research,

the end results are basically the same. As
discussed in point 1, weapons research,
development and production does not pro-
vide any useful product that increases any-
one's standard of living. It is a drain on
federal resources that could be better spent
in other areas. And it has many potentially
harmful effects on people and the earth.
In addition, most people who try to
speak out from within the "defense" estab-
lishment are resisted, and lose promotions,
money, or even their jobs. In October
1985, Lawrence Livermore nuclear
weapons scientist Roy Woodruff resigned
as head of Livermore's x-ray laser pro-
gram. Development of a nuclear pumped
x-ray laser is considered a key area of SDI
research. Woodruff claimed that misleading
information about the laser was sent to
high-ranking officials in Washington, and
that he was not allowed to correct the mis-
statements. The Sacramento Bee provides
support for Woodruff's assertion. The Bee
reported that as early as 1983, sources at
Livermore claimed that weapons researcher
Edward Teller was writing letters to
White House officials saying the laser was
entering "engineering phase." In 1987
Teller was forced to acknowledge that the
laser had not even been proven to work.
He also refused to deny his alleged quote
that the laser was entering engineering
phase, claiming only that whether or not
he had said this was irrelevant. Two years
after resigning, Woodruff was given a new

job at Livermore in the area of treaty veri-
fication, but only after filing a complaint
with the University of California, which
supervises the lab, claiming that Liver-
more officials had blocked all his attempts
to do research.
We need the best and brightest in
science and technology to
maintain our national security.
Assumed in this statement is the idea
that weapons research and development and
the maintenance of a strong armed forces
is the best (or only) means to national se-
curity. Many people and organizations are
doing research which refutes this assump-
tion. One example is the work of the
Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass
Colorado. Researchers there have studied
the relationship between energy use and
national security. They have concluded
that the U.S. can promote national secu-
rity, avoid conflict and save billions of
dollars by eliminating dependence on en-
ergy resources located in other countries.
Among other interesting facts, they note
that if the money spent to maintain U.S.
military presence for one year in the Per-
sian Gulf were spent on domestic energy
efficiency implementation, U. S. imports
from the Gulf could be eliminated.
In addition, events of the last year throw
into question the whole premise that the
Soviet Union threatens U.S. interests and
is bent on expanding its influence. In light

of the need for increased economic devel-
opment of our nation in response to the
challenge presented by such nations as
Japan and West Germany, and the urgent
need for a response to the environmental
crisis, one must ask where the "best and
brightest" really most need to focus their
If I don't do this work on
weapons, someone else will.
This is in many, if not most
cases a true statement. However, the rele-
vant question is not whether it is true or
false, but whether it justifies involvement
in defense research. If this statement justi-
fies doing weapons research, then one can
justify an astounding array of other acts
with a similar argument. It offers no guid-
ance to a specific individual trying to
make up her or his mind about what she
should do with her or his life.
This statement also ignores the power
of collectiveaction. If enough potential
weapons researchers refuse to work on
weapons, we may be forced to investigate
alternative strategies for promoting na-
tional security.
And finally, the number 10 justification
for doing weapons research is:
The DOD is the only agency that
has money for the work I want to

Unfortunately, in many cases this is
also a true statement. Science and engi-4*
neering fields are becoming increasingly
dominated by military research, leaving
many people with few alternatives. (Recall
the statistics about federal budget priorities
in item 1, and the statistics concerning
employment of physics graduates in item
5.) Even established scientists doing civil-
ian research are often forced into weapons
work when funds for their research are cut.
For example, at Lawrence Livermore the
Tandem Mirror Magnetic Confinement
Fusion Project, a civilian energy project
whose goal was to produce a controlled fu-
sion reaction, was eliminated at the same
time Livermore received several million
dollars for an SDI project. Workers were
forced to find a new job or do SDI re-
However, despite the truth of statement
10, it is not an excuse for doing military
research if you plan ahead. Become aware
of the military applications in you field of
study and find out what the job market in
your field is really like. Think about your
political and philosophical beliefs. Only
then can you make a decision to follow a
career that supports these beliefs.
Mike Green is a graduate student in the0
Department of Physics.

irebigaUj Michigan
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan


just offers guidance

Vol. C, No. 56

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.

deny women the right to safe abortions
through legislation, the U.S.
government is now trying to ignore
new developments which would make
hbortions more accessible.
*RU 486, the so-called abortion pill,
Is an antiprogesterone steroid which
;an safely terminate pregnancy up to
three weeks after a missed menstrual
period. It has already been approved
for use in France, China, Sweden, the
Netherlands and Britain. There are no
plans to introduce the pill here, and the
government plans to keep it that way.
. RU 486 was developed in France,
where the constitution guarantees the
light of legal abortion for all women,
regardless of income. The French gov-
ernment funded the research on RU
46, supervised testing of the pill, and
now oversees its distribution.
':-Since its development, RU 486 has
.ben used inclinical trials by more
khan 4000 women in 20 countries, a
larger sampling than the FDA would
iiquire for the drug to be approved in
tbe U.S. To date, all of the research
:s shown the drug to be effective in
;terminating pregnancy only in its
earliest stages, up to six or seven
Weeks after the onset of the last
nenstrual period. After eight weeks
the drug has virtually no effect.
The U.S. government has refused to

sponsor research on RU 486 because
of its declared anti-choice stance. A
threatened National Right-to-Life
Committee boycott has forced other
research institutions to shy away from
private testing. RU 486 would give a
woman a safer, less traumatic and less
expensive way to terminate an un-
wanted pregnancy. Abortion, law-
makers need to be reminded, is legal;
the government has a moral responsi-
bility to acknowledge and promote
new scientific advances, just as it
would for any other medical
Critics of RU 486 contend that it
would make abortion "too easy." Yet
abortion should be easy, women
should not be forced to endure
personal trauma and humiliation in
order to have reproductive control of
their lives. Those who seek to make
abortion inaccessible, and who think it
should be a frightening process, seek
to limit women's rights to choose.
Testing on RU 486 must start im-
mediately so the pill can be released
into the market as soon as possible.
All women in this country have the
right to affordable, safe, abortion on
demand. While the government slowly
chips away at the accessibility of usual
methods of abortion, making them a
privilege for only the rich, RU 486
could offer-an alternative.

By Benjamin Baskin
Benjamin Mordechai Ben-Baruch's arti-
cle, "Organized Zionist groups control de-
bate" (Daily, 11/13/89) makes a number
of questionable assertions about Hillel, the
pro-Israel groups affiliated with it, and
their involvement with the Daily. As an
active participant in a number of Hillel
groups, including a pro-Israel group, and
as one who is presently working on be-
coming a member of the Daily Opinion
Page staff, I feel I'm in a position to re-
spond to his article.
The notion of this gargantuan Jewish
organizational machine directly influenc-
ing Hillel, and through it Jewish students,
is simply not true.
To start with, how Hillel works. One is
usually not a member of Hillel, but rather
of one or more of the many groups that
are affiliated with it. Hillel itself is not
present as an entity and a voice on campus
so much as the groups that receive support
from it are.
The Israel group I am involved in,
Union of Students for Israel, is a centrist
grouping seeking to educate its members
and others about Israel and Zionism. We
are fully aware that Israel's present situa-
tion is far from any sort of Zionist ideal;
we grapple with the issue of how two
peoples' aspirations can be met. Our
group has its share of those who are very
critical of Israel, and there is yet another
Israel group that can be considered further

to the left of us.
The help we get from Hillel amounts to
the use of their building, some funds
(though nothing to brag about), and advice
if we ask for it. Hillel does not interfere
with the views we have or with the way
we desire to express them, provided they
are not racist or otherwise offensive. Far
from obstructing our efforts to learn about
what is happening in Israel and with Zion-
ism, Hillel helps us. There is no dearth of
journals in the Hillel building that criti-
cize Israel.
Last year when the Jewish publication
that Ben-Baruch speaks of featured an arti-
cle about the similarities between Israel
and South Africa (an idea vehemently op-
posed to by many Hillel members), Hillel
in no way tried to obstruct it. Similarly,
when the same journal pondered legal ac-
tion against the Daily for an alleged unau-
thorized reprinting of one of their articles,
the action was entirely their own and not a
machination of Hillel's.
Hillel, along with many of the affiliated
groups, though not all, most certainly did
react strongly to Marc Ellis' article "In the
service of the state." It was clearly stated
by these groups that they are not at all
opposed to criticism of Israel, but in this
case they felt that the presentation of El-
lis's article in the Daily was wrong. Call-
ing an action of the Daily "anti-Semitic"
is not an effort to control - it is an opin-
ion. And Ben-Baruch exercised his right

to refute that opinion with his article.
Submitting that Hillel wants to subvert
and control the Daily because it expresses
an opinion is ludicrous. I've watched both
Hillel and the Daily and there is no con-
spiracy to exercise control over student
publications. Hillel could not do so if it
wanted to. What there is, however, is the
ever-present desire to speak up when an ar-
ticle in the Daily treats a situation inaccu-
A final criticism: Ben-Baruch states that
Hillel should focus solely on reconnecting
Jewish students with their Jewish heritage,, ,
"transcending Zionism and affirming Jew-
ish values." Many, including myself,
though not driven religiously in their
Zionism, see strong connections between
their Judaism and Zionism. Having a
strong consciousness of the Jewish situa-
tion is an integral part of my Judaism and
I find in Israel and Zionism a potentially
better future for Jews. In addition, my Ju-
daism and its moral standards dictate that a
just solution is reached for Palestinians
and Jews. Hillel has provided an atmo-
sphere in which I naturally came to the
colaclusion that my Judaism and Zionism
can, or even must, go hand in hand.
Benjamin Baskin is an LSA junior and a
member of Union of Students for Israel.

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tL i..e tt.' 'i.'e i..rsi.!.i i . i ..ii... to t 1)0 E dr; . . i'Yri'fi i1".: .i :is s'..: .. ' . .'

Giving thanks for what?

N 1620, some of the United States'
most notorious cultural heroes,. the
Puritans, sat down to eat a meal with
one of the United States' Native
American peoples. Winter was coming
on, and the Puritans - far away from
England and exhausted after what had
been an exceptionally long voyage to
North America's rocky northern coast
-were without either food or shelter.
Confronting starvation, they turned
to the region's indigenous population
for help. They were provided with
;helter and clothing, squash and corn,
medicine and advice. They survived.
This is the historical context we
commemorate when we celebrate
Thanksgiving. But you would never

ent peoples.
The disparities long evident on every
Thanksgiving Day - the fact that
"plenty" is enjoyed amidst hunger, that
homes are warmed while millions are
homeless, and that those enjoying the
plenty and living in the homes are dis-
proportionately white and wealthy -
bespeaks a perversion of community.
Moreover, it signals the dominant cul-
ture's obliteration of the native peoples
whose practices of sharing and giving
might have served as a model for the
white settlers whose very survival de-
pended upon those practices.
Instead, the whites massacred those
peoples and what came to be known as
the United States was founded unon

Page needs
To the Daily:
Of the several astonishing
comments in the opinion
by Benjamin Ben-Baruch,
("Organized Zionist groups
control debate" Daily,
11/13/89) surely the most ex-
traordinary is his assertion that
Hillel has organized "a cam-
paign against those articulating
opposition to the policies of
the State of Israel" and that it
has "successfully waged a cam-
paign to influence the editorial
decisions of the Daily." The
latter assertion is patently ludi-
crous to anyone who still reads
this page and has seen Jews and
Judaism besmirched, and the
very real plight of the Pales-
tinians trivialized, by the mind-
less - and endless -barrage

in these conflicts are complex, .
the Opinion Page editors be-
lieve that they are simple and
obvious, and have decided to
protect the University commu-
nity from this misperception
by presenting almost exclu-
sively one extreme side of the
The Opinion Page is well
within its right to take a stance
and even, perhaps, to bludgeon
its dwindling readership with
it. But let the record show that
Hillel has been the one arena
on campus which has consis-
tently been prepared to let peo-
ple hear a wide range of views
and then make up their own
The two publications spon-
sored by Hillel to which Mr.
Ben-Baruch refers - Considjr
and Prospect - have both, on
many occasions, published
pieces which are anathema to
most of the Jewish commu-
nity. Amv Harmnn and Daniel

the threat of lawsuits, that
journalistic integrity means re-
specting copyright rules. They
know that complex questions
require the broadest possible
expression of opinion. And
they understand that while the
sharpest and most critical
assessments of any nation's ac-
tions are necessary and appro-
priate, attacks on a particular
ethnic or religious group or the
integrity of a religious tradition
have no place in any serious
discussion. We hope that this
sense of editorial integrity will
soon return to the Opinion
Page of The Michigan Daily.
-Michael Brooks
Joseph Kohane
November 14

Daily reported: "Military
planes fired rockets yesterday
afternoon into the neighbor-
hoods . . . trying to drive out
guerrillas. Some rockets struck
homes, killing several civilians
and wounding others." U.S.
Ambassador William Walker
does not deny reports that
"Salvadoran armed forces
helicopters and C47 planes
were firing indiscriminately on
civilian positions that serve as
rebel strongholds" (Detroit Free
Press, 11/14).
It is the Salvadoran military
of the Arena party government
that has planes and is dropping
the bombs on neighborhoods
in San Salvador. Ricardo
Alexander Perdomo said the
guerrillas gave him first aid.
Thus he is a victim of
indiscriminate military
bombings of civilians by the
Salvadoran government, and it
is these bombings that must be
condemned. When the Daily

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