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May 19, 1982 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1982-05-19

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Page 6
The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCII, No. 11S
Ninety-two Years of Editorial Freedom
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Fairness victory
T HE SUPREME Court's ruling that
federally-aided education programs cannot
discriminate against both female students and
employees was right on target.
Congress had several chances to restrict Title
IX legislation-which calls for cutoff of federal
aid to educational programs that discriminate
on the basis of sex-to just students. But it did
not, and could not have, in the interest of fair-
ness toward women.
The case which the Supreme Court handled
was an obvious case of sexual bias. One
teacher was not rehired after a year's pregnan-
cy leave and a guidance counselor was forced to
perform menial tasks that her male counter-
parts were not.
Federal funds must not be used to support the
sexist or racist biases of any school official,
regardless of whether there is an equal rights
amendment or not. Therefore, the ruling is an
important victory for equality, ,jn spite of
Reagan administration backpedallg on the
Last summer, Secretary of Education Terrel
Bell wanted to abandon regulations protecting
employees as well as students, further proof
that the administration places the women's
equality issue low on the list of its priorities. In
fact, it seems the administration would rather
see 51 percent of this country's population
behind typewriters and washtubs, even if those
women want a larger role in society.
Having to threaten cutoff of funds to induce
fairness in a school system is unfortunate, but
federal funds that directly or indirectly support
sexual discrimination are an outrage that can-
not be tolerated.
So Z
4 c
Y ff/

Wednesday, May 19, 1982

The Michigan Daily

Chemical warfare


By Shaun Assael
The Senate quietly passed
President Reagan's $177.9 billion
military budget last week. Hid-
den among the billions to be spent
on B-1 bombers and cruise
missiles was a $54 million
authorization for chemical
weapons, putting the United
States back into that business for
the first time since 1969.
Senate approval of such spen-
ding is horrifying in itself, but
much of the media's handling of
the situation was alarming. I
awoke the day after the Senate
passed the bill, to the sound of a
radio announcer who cheerily
chuckled her way through the
news of the Senate authorization.
THAT A MEMBER of the news
media could treat the Senate's
action with such nonchalance
gives credence to President
Reagan's claim that more U.S.
chemical weapons will effec-
tively counter the Soviet Union's
buildup in the weapons that often
blind people or induce a slow,
agonizing death.
By supporting the infusion of
tax dollars into a program that
will create lethal binary nerve
gas bombs (which contain two
non-toxic chemicals that become
deadly when combined), the
Senate has agreed with the
president that the Russians have
to be taught a lesson. Unfor-
tunately, as the current nuclear
arms race has proved, the
Soviets will not be bullied into
cutting their weapons production.
President Reagan has now
backed off from what was por-
trayed to be a genuine concern
for banning all chemical
weapons. Only late last year, the
administration reported the
Soviet Union was using "yellow
rain" bombs in Afghanistan and
southeast Asia to immobilize
civilians so they could be easily
shot by soldiers. The ad-
ministration seized the oppor-
tunity to ostracize the Soviets
before the international com-
munity with proof of Soviet
atrocities using chemical
NOW THE administration has
turned around and decided to
spill some of the blood on its own
hands. But far from publicly
stating its intentions, President
Reagan is attempting to sneak
his plan through Congress as he
loudly advertises his new nuclear
disarmament proposals to a
petrified American and
European public. Not only is that
underhanded, thanks to cheery
announcers such as the one I
woke up to last week, he may well
get away with it.
According to the 1925 Geneva
Protocol Agreements a chemical
weapon is an asphayxiating,
poisonous or gaseous instrument
of biological warfare. Although

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the Soviet Union immediately
ratified the agreement, which
prohibits the testing of these
weapons, the United Statessand
other Western countries did not
agree to ratification until 1975. By
1969, when President Nixon im-
posed a moratorium on
building any more, the United
States hadamassed an im-
pressive arsenal of unitary
shells, or bombs with a single
lethal substance in them.
President Reagan now claims
these shells are useless against
the Soviet's newer models.
The Pentagon is aware of only
three types of Soviet chemical
weapons - mustard gas, three
varieties of nerve gas and
hydrogen cyanide which kills by
depleting the oxygen of blood.
What scares them is evidence
that the Soviet Union has
developed three other and more
deadly types.
THUS THE President advises
building binary nerve gas
bombs at the cost of billions of
dollars and destroying the old
ones at a cost of billions more.
Many experts, including weapons
expert Professor Mathew
Meselson of Harvard University,
say he is wrong. They claim that
with minor modifications our
current arsenal can easily be up-
Our fearless leader, however,
is not to be deterred. At a time
when many high school seniors
no longer see college as viable
because federal grants have been
cut, President Reagan can only
see shiny new bombs and
toughened foreign policy
speeches. Secretary of Defense
Caspar Weinburger is there with
a sturdy ned to assure him lest he
become doubtful of his ways. But
who, we must ask, will reassure
the Vietnamese mother who has

WON \.f
witnessed her son's dying con-
vulsions after a Soviet launched
"yellow rain" attack?
Make no mistake about it, the
Soviet threat is real. A study done
by the Carter administration
concluded that they have enough
chemical weapons to blanket all of
Europe with lethal gas. But in-
stead of condemning them in an
international forum as he began
to do last year, President Reagan
is only creating another type of
arms escalation.
Colorado) demonstrated the dep-
th of the Senate's conern when he
called for the stiking of the $54
million addition to the military
budget on the grounds that it will
lead to "an unrestrained
chemical arms race." The vote
was so close that Vice President
Bush was called in anticipation of
a possible tie.
This type of an escalation is all
the more dangerous because
second and third world countries
can use chemical weapons with
greater ease than nuclear ones.
(Chile has already started). A
serious chemical weapons
proliferation threat looms with
every step this administration
takes toward escalation.
It seems necessary, therefore,
to mourn the Senate's lack of
foresight and hope the House of
Representatives will act with
greater restraint when it decides
on actual appropriations. By then
perhaps, there will be a greater
public outcry and more extensive
coverage and serious treatment
by all of the news media.
Assael is an undergraduate
at the University.





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