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June 09, 1981 - Image 8

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1981-06-09

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4

Opinion
Page 8 Tuesday, June-9, 1981 The Michigan Daily

The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCI, No. 24-S
Ninety Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
A eadly gamble
A d
WHEN THE MIDDLE East rumbles, the
rest of the world shakes.
Israel's astonishing Sunday bombing of an
Iraqi atomic reactor could hardly have come at
a more inopportune moment in Mid-East af-
fairs. The attack knocks into a cocked hat the
delicate, Washington-mediated negotiations
between Israel and Syria over the crisis in
Lebanon; the bombing will likely serve to rally
and unite a chronically divided Arab world
against what it perceives as a common
enemy-further isolating Israel within an
already-hostile environment. In the process,
both Ronald Reagan and Egypt's President
Sadat are sure to be castigated through mere
guilt by association.
The Israeli government claims the raid was
necessitated because the not-yet-completed
reactor would, when functional, be used by the
Iraqis to create atomic bombs. Jerusalem's
assertion is disputed both by American in-
telligence and by the French, who designed and
constructed the reactor; both nations have
swiftly and unequivocally condemned the bom-
bing.
However understandable Israel's long-term
security aims, the raid itself stands as an overt
act of aggression by one nation against another.
Its clandestine execution further de-stabilizes
the fragile balance of the Middle East, and thus
of the world as well. There is no such thing as an
isolated incident within the Mid-East powder
keg; whoever toys with the area's inherent
volatility is toying with the destinies of us all.
Surely such stakes outweigh such a gamble.

A requisite boogey ma
Assume the worst. Assume Soviets hate and fear (having proud conquerors of a larg
those filthy old Russians really been clobbered by them twice radioactive, smoking hole. At
are dead set on military this century) perhaps more than the gods only know what effe
superiority, that we decide not to anyone else. the fallout would have on the
spend $200 billion a year on YET THE United States Shud- own people. The same situatic
defense, and that consequently ders at the thought of becoming exists for us.
these United States of American No. 2 on the military bloc. This Nuclear inferiority means a
wind up inferior in armed might paranoia is now translating itself solutely zero, because (a)u
to the Soviet Union. into the largest peace-time already have a staggerit
Horrors! Conscience forbid defense budget increase in our nuclear arsenal, plentiful enoug
such a thought, even if it is the history-despite the fact that, to wipe those buggers out, t
even with a supposedly gawd, if they attack us and (
Fifth Q "inadequate" budget heretofore, not only do we not dare use the.
the Pentagon has never been weapons, we haven't anything
c ubeaten to the punch on any gain by using them. This assum
significant (that is, more that American and Soviet leade
By Fred Schill
sort emanating theateningly
from Washington these days as
the defense contractors, military,
and a couple of million ethnocen-
tric patriots gang up on Congress
to make sure it spends lots of
money on weapons.,
IT'S THE SORT of 'scenario
Alexnder Haig and Casper Wein-
berger grimly predict, uttering
the words with solemnm gravity.
Even among us knee-jerk
liberals, those words have come
to assume a mystical evilness.
Military inferiority. It sounds in-
sulting.
Anyway. Assume that the
Soviets really do learn to blow us
up 50 times while we can blow
them up only 20 times. Such a
dubious assumption stipulated,
we are faced with a probing
question: So what?
You read that right. The one
publicly-agreed upon tenant of
both sides of the squabble over
defense funding is that America
must remain equal with the Ot, . -TMn c>ovE
Soviet Union. It is assumed that
military inferiority is inherently horrifying) weapons develop- are rational, of course, but if the
unthinkable. ment. Indeed, the Soviets have aren't is there any hope of o
Why is that so? The British yet to develop significant new survival?
don't find it unthinkable, and weapons systems (such as IC- Which brings us to the othe
aren't they a more likely target BMs and submarine-launched reason for our fear of inferiority
than the U.S.? The same goes for ballistics missiles) by the time that deadliest of sins, pride. Wit
the West Germans, whom the the Pentagon said they would. more firepower at our disposa

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Yet we are spending more -
forcing the Soviets to do the
same, since they publicly vowed
many years ago to keep up with
us. They resented being
humiliated in Cuba, it seems.
We are terrified of military in-
feriority, to the point that we run
screaming from its very shadow
in our quest to solve the problem
like we solve everything else:
throw money at it. This terror
can only be born of two sources.
The first is that Americans
really believe the Soviet Union
will use its military superiority -
on us - if it gets it. Those dirty
Reds are out to get us, and are
just waiting for the opportunity to
blow us to Kingdom Come.
WHY WOULD they do that?
Does anyone ever think about the
tangible benefits of such an ac-
tion? If the Soviets were someday
to attack the U.S. with sufficient
nuclear strength to render us
disfunctional and defenseless,
they would find themselves the

already than we could use in four
nuclear wars, we want to add
more simply because we want to
have more than those rotten
Russkies.
Somewhere out there in
America's heartland are millions
of voting chauvinists who really
believe America can police the
world, and who apparently take
pride in simple numerical
superiority. For them, quantity
takes precedence over efficien-
cy; more is better. More bang
for a buck. Might makes right.
So Washington has given them
the Russian boogeyman, evil and
eager to wipe us all out. We must
either run away or get bigger
than he is, because he's standing
right behind us. Boo.
Fred Schill is a Daily staff
writer. His column appears
each Tuesday.

U

I

"This is not censorship! Censors tell
you what you can't watch; we
tell you what you can!"

.4

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