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March 22, 1990 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-03-22

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Page 4- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 22, 1990
i be 3idigrn ar ai
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109
ARTS 763 0379 PHOTO 764 0552
NEWS 764 0552 SPORTS 747 3336
OPINION 747 2814 WEEKEND 747 4630
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.

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Economic priorities
Save the economy, not high defense spending

Soviet Union will never again pose a
threat to ourselves and our allies," said
Defense Secretary Richard Cheney at a
speech to the National Newspaper As-
sociation last week. "When serious
people propose cutting the defense
budget by half over the next 10 years,
leaving us, for example, with a mere
six aircraft carriers at sea, they are not
talking about simple budget shifts.
What they are suggesting is a radical
change in our global status... They
would give us the defense budget for a
second-class power."
Made in response to defense consul-
tant William Kaufman's proposal to
streamline military spending in the face
of a diminished Soviet threat, Secretary
Cheney's comments also put him at
odds with experts in Congress, the
State Department, and even the CIA.
Targets of Cheney's criticism claim
they want the United States to remain a
superpower and merely disagree on the
best way to go about it. Former
congress member Robert Edgar (D-
Penn.) responded that "the real war
now taking place is an economic bat-
What is significant about Cheney's
comments is that they coincide with a
trend in the military bureaucracy to-
ward circumventing congressional au-
thority. The 1989 budget, for instance,
cut money for antisatellite reasearch;
but the Pentagon failed to notify
Congress it had a surplus in that ac-
count. Consequently, the Army was
able continue financing the program
through the middle of last summer,
when a Senate investigation revealed
the ploy. Two payments of $3,999,999
were diverted from other programs to
provide additional funding. Congres-
sional approval is required for diver-
sions of $4 million or more.
Granted, the sums involved are
small, especially by military standards.
Their purpose is to buy time for the
Pentagon to rally support among de-
fense contractors and their powerful

lobbying organizations. It is far easier
to pressure Congress to continue
funding for an existing program than it
is to lobby for reinstatement of an old
This February, secret details of a
proposed $2.5 billion antisatellite re-
search package were delivered to vari-
ous contractors. Since the package isn't
approved yet, they have no legitimate
need for such information. It's purpose
is to give defense lobbyists the advance
warning they need to effectively pres-
sure Congress. Collusion between the
Pentagon and defense contractors rep-
resents a more serious threat to
democracy in this country than com-
munism ever did.
Meanwhile, Cheney's proposal to
institute a hiring freeze on civilians in
the Pentagon makes civilian oversight
difficult and insures that the people
making purchasing decisions will be
soldiers with a bias toward buying
more weapons. It is only by purging
the most stubborn officers and replac-
ing them with civilians that Congress
can reassert its authority in the pro-
curement process.
As the Soviet threat diminishes, a
strong defense will become much less
important than a strong economy in
determining what makes a superpower.
Reluctance on the part of the military
bureaucracy to relinquish its dominant
role is understandable. However, the
public can't let bureaucrats in uniform
continue to run the U.S. economy into
the ground just so they can play with
expensive, and deadly, toys.
Aid packages to new democracies
are inadequate and domestic social
programs are underfunded. The trade
deficit with Japan and Europe continues
to increase. What the United States
needs now is a leader with the courage
to take on his or her own armed forces.
Quayle's neo-cold-war rhetoric and
Bush's talk of "stability" make it obvi-
ous they're not made for the job.
There's nothing patriotic about
bankrupting your country.


U' President responds to anti-Semitism on campus 9

To the Daily:
One of the proudest and most impor-
tant traditions we inherit as members of
the University of Michigan community is
our openness to free discussion and dis-
sent. Michigan students and faculty have
the right to hear and debate all views,
however controversial, and to hear speak-
ers of their choice, however unpopular.
We also have the freedom to debate and
dissent from any views expressed on this
campus and to put forward and defend our
own ideas vigorously. These freedoms
have never been secured without effort,
sacrifice and even pain. In recent weeks,
we have experienced some of this frustra-
tion and pain first hand.
This is one of the high costs of free-
dom. When we must defend the rights of
others to express views that are hateful to
us, the price may seem almost too great to
bear. Another price is effort. It may be
easier to ignore messages of hate or lies
presented as the truth, but I think we are
obliged to denounce hatred and expose
falsehood. These are the only ways to pre-
serve our freedom and arrive at the truth of
Attacks on groups or individuals based
on their race, ethnicity, nationality, gen-
der, religion, beliefs, age, appearance, or
orientation damage our University and
each one of us. They are unacceptable in a
civilized society. I commend those stu-
dents and faculty who have denounced the
recent anti-Semitic talk and remarks re-
portedly made by a visiting speaker. I join
them in condemning this expression
of religious prejudice and discrimination.
In the past I have publicly condemned dis-
criminatory attacks upon other groups, and
I will continue to do so. I think it is in-
cumbent on each one of us to plainly state
our disgust when we encounter bigotry
here or anywhere else. But we can do
more. We can resolve to hold ourselves
and each other to a higher standard of be-
But why are we and other universities
experiencing incidents of group conflict,

prejudice, and hostility? At least part of
the reason is that we are becoming more
diverse. We are trying to address one of
our society's deepest and most difficult
problems. In doing so, we are bringing
together, often for the first time, many
people who have never before had the
chance to live and work and learn together.

to our community or to each other. In
universities we have learned to explore,
discuss, debate, and disagree while main-
taining mutual respect and upholding our
fundamental scholarly ideals and standards
of reasoned discourse. Of course, we often
bring strong emotions to political and in-
tellectual debate, and this may make it dif-

I commend those students and faculty who have
denounced the recent anti-Semitic talk and remarks
reportedly made by a visiting speaker. I join them in
condemning this expression of religious prejudice and

This isn't always easy. There are antago-
nisms, ignorance, and differences in per-
ception and experience, which sometimes
lead to disagreement and even conflict.
It is also natural that many of us
should experience anxiety and tension as
we adapt to change and try to communi-
cate across social and cultural barriers. I
believe that to achieve the positive change
we seek in our community, it is important
for us to face up to our conflict and inse-
curities rather than try to ignore or under-
estimate them. Only in this way can we
transcend difference and use it positively to
learn both in the classroom and in our
We have a lot to gain from our differ-
ences once we acknowledge and explore
them. Not that we will always or even
often agree. We shouldn't expect that or
even want it. Our intellectual work bene-
fits from an expanded vision of the world
that comes from new ideas. We also grow
individually as we learn to see new per-
spectives and hear new voices formerly
closed off from us. Working together,
learning from each other, we have the
means to build a better University and a
better society.
Fortunately, as members of an aca-
demic community, we have a solid founda-
of history and tradition to guide us in con-
structively exploring different points of
view without doing fundamental damage

ficult at times to treat opponents respect-
fully or to make our case through reasoned
argument and with rigorous intellectual in-
tegrity. But I believe we all must always
try to uphold high standards, despite the
History teaches that in the long run
ideas - truth and integrity - are far more
powerful levers for change than the force
of violence, the expediency of lies or dis-
tortions, or the deep compulsions of fear
and hate. If you have any doubts
about the ultimate power of truth to pre-
vail over the most formidable tyrannies,
you have only to look at the exhilarating
events of this past year. Our world has
been transformed as millions of people
have claimed their freedom not led by gen-
erals with tanks and guns, but peacefully
by artists, intellectuals, and citizens in-
spired by ideas.
If we want to understand and heal our
world, to change it for the better, we will
not do so by mobilizing fear, prejudice,
hatred, and oppression against any groups
or individuals. We will honor our own
freedom and all those who have sacrificed
throughout human history to make it pos-
sible by using freedom wisely, humanely,
and bravely for positive change, rather
than abusing it to cultivate hatred and di-
James J. Duderstadt
University President

Missing the point
Voters should focus on issues, not personal lives

lic election, one must carefully consider
the candidates. Political ideology, ex-
perience, and education all weigh
heavily in deciding which person is
best for a position. In recent years,
however, the United States has devel-
oped a nasty habit of analyzing candi-
dates' personal lives. If something not
up to the ever-changing standards of
society is discovered - drug use, al-
cohol abuse, or personal problems -
the newly-found characteristic becomes
the most important aspect of the race.
This tendency not only turns legiti-
mate political races into tabloid-like
scandals, neglecting very real issues,
but it also harms candidates personally
and could deter qualified people from
entering political life.
Two years ago, Douglas Ginsberg
was tried before a righteous American
public for having admitted to smoking
marijuana as a law student. Whether or
not Ginsberg was fit to be a Justice of
the U.S. Supreme Court, the news
created such an outcry that Ginsberg
was quickly dropped from considera-
tion by then-President Ronald Reagan.
Today, the Texas gubernatorial race
has taken a similar turn. Democratic
candidate Ann Richards has refused to
answer questions regarding alleged il-
legal drug use. Richards, the current
Texas Treasurer and once the front-
runner of the race, now stands a chance
of losing in a Democratic primary
runoff and to Republican candidate
Clayton Williams, who takes a fright-
eningly simplistic approach to complex
problems and is clearly unqualified for

for many weeks. While infidelity is, at
best, an unwanted characteristic in a
President, it is not as important as his
stance on various issues or his ability
to do the job.
While it is important to scrutinize
public officials' performance, the idea
that they must be of the highest moral
standards is a farce. A person's past
experimentation with drugs in no way
inhibits present performance in the
public sector. These people did not
walk in off the streets and announce
their candidacy. They came from re-
spected positions they would not have
been able to hold with an alcohol or
drug abuse problem.
Not only is it unfair to go purpose-
fully looking for skeletons in peoples'
closets, it sets a precedent that every
candidate who runs for public office
must be subjected to the same kind of
treatment. In a society that desperately
needs fresh and innovative ideas in ev-
ery level of government, this mudsling-
ing and accusing - often occurring be-
tween candidates themselves - could
begin to prevent highly qualified people
from running for office.
With the recent attention paid to
drugs and their harm on society, it is
understandable why voters naturally
balk at the association of "drug" with a
candidate's name; additionally, with the
recent attention paid to "safe sex,"
promiscuity is seen as a heinous crime.
However, with just a little digging, un-
savory incidents could be found in
virtually every elected official's past.
The U.S. electoral system works so
that the natural pecking order weeds


Attend the 1st Clinic
Defense Conference
To the Daily:
Tomorrow, clinic defense activists
from the U.S. and Canada will converge
on Detroit for the first national Clinic De-
fense Conference. Initiated by AAC-
DARR, the Detroit Coalition to Defend
Abortion Rights (DCDAR) and the Bay
Area Coalition Against Operation Rescue
(BACAOR), the three-day conference will
be an opportunity to assess the state of the
abortion rights movement and plan for the
future of the women's movement.
Over the past eighteen months, nearly
two dozen grassroots organizations like
AACDARR have taken to the streets to
stop attacks by the "Right-to-Life" shock
troops, "Operation Rescue" (OR) and
protest reactionary legislation intended to
overturn Roe v. Wade and deny young and
poor women access to abortion. While
many victories have been won at the clinic
doors and anti-abortion legislation has
been defeated in a handful of states, laws
prohibiting Medicaid funding and requiring
parental consent for abortion have been
passed or are pending across the U.S.
In addition, the narrow focus of the
abortion rights movement and its isolation
from the antiracist, lesbian/gay liberation,
AIDS action and labor strugiles have left

ception, gay-positive sex education, ade-
quate social services, equal and comparable
wages, and an end to sterilization abuse,
both inside and outside the U.S.
This can only be accomplished by a
mass women's movement that unites the
isolated local struggles into a unified na-
tional struggle. Only a democratic national
organization which supports a broad pro-
gram of demands, coordinates national ac-
tions and builds links with unions and
other progressive movements will have
the power to defeat the agenda against
women's rights and set an agenda for
women's liberation. As the most militant
and active force in the fight for women's

liberation, those of us gathering at the
Clinic Defense Conference must solidly
face our tasks and move boldly into the fu-

The opening session of the Clinic De-
fense Conference will be held on March
23-25 at the First Unitarian Universalist
Church at 4605 Cass (at Forest) in De-
troit. A Rock 'n' Roll for Reproductive
Rights fundraiser Will be held Saturday,
March 24 at the Blind Pig. For informa-
tion about the conference or fundraiser,
call me at 996-8028.
Rhonda Laur
AACDARR member

Don't ignore Kurds
To the Daily:
The recent Daily "Viewpoint" letter
(2/28/90) by Kennan Ezal asserting that
the U.S. Congress errs by enacting legis-
lation which states that an Armenian
genocide occurred in Turkey during the pe-
riod between 1915 and 1923 was disturb-
ing on several counts. First, ample docu-
mentation that such a genocide took place
I am also concerned about the letter
writer's omission of the word "Kurd"
when he refers to "Moslems who were
also killed" during the same period. The

dropped on their villages by the Iraqi army
in the summer of 1988. These Kurds have
remained in detention camps in Turkey as
virtual prisoners. On several occasions,
thousands of them have been reported to
suffer from food poisoning. Saudi Arabia's
Arab Press has also reported that a number
of Turkey's own Kurds have recently been
lured to Britain on the promise of a job of-
fer where each has had a kidney removed
for sale on the black market before being
brought back home.
This legislation is a hopeful sign for
other groups whose human rights have
been violated, in addition to being much
deserved recognition of what the Armeni-
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