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January 31, 1991 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-01-31

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Page 4 --The Michigan Daily - Thursday, January 31, 1991
She ~ichgan al
EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS
AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
420 Maynard Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

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I

NOAH FINKEL
Editor in Chief

DAVID SCHWARTZ
Opinion Editor

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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Oil spill
Bush cannot take the environmental high ground

AN OIL SLICK 35 MILES LONG AND
many times the size of the 1989 Exxon
Valdez spill lies off the shores of
Kuwait and is slowly moving into
Saudi Arabian waters. The Pentagon
has announced that this was a deliber-
ate move by Saddam Hussein to pre-
vent an Allied amphibious assault, as
well as wreak havoc throughout the
Gulfiregion.
Though it is possible the oil spill
was caused by Allied forces' flawed
bombing runs - "precision-bombing"
has its limitations and is subject to hu-
man error - the release of the crude
oil into the Persian Gulf should not
have surprised officials in Washington.
The act is consistent with Hussein's
threats since August. When this con-
flict began to escalate, he declared that
he would either set Kuwaiti oil reserves
afire or flush them into the sea before
giving up his territorial claims.
It is shocking, however, that the Al-
lied coalition did not prepare contin-
gency plans for this disaster. The oil
sweepers and cleanup vessels that are
required to clean up the mess should
have been positioned in the Gulf long
ago; they will be as important as the
troops and weapons we have stock-
piled in the region.
President Bush, as expected, has
:been swift to condemn the spill, calling
it "a sick... act of environmental terror-
ism." White House spokesperson
Marlin Fitzwater said that Hussein
"has shown no decency in his regard
for human life," and said "we could
not expect anything but the same disre-
gard for the environment."
Condemnation of Hussein is war-
ranted - this act will undoubtedly af-
fect the region's ecosystem for years
- but President Bush is in no position
to criticize other leaders on their lack of
concern for the environment. The fed-
eral government - in particular the
U.S. military - has engaged in a war

against the environment for decades.
The massive military buildup during
the Reagan era did incredible damage
to the environment. Government
dumping of toxic waste has caused
town-wide evacuations; lax regulations
on nuclear power plant operations
played a part in the Three Mile Island
disaster. And dozens of recently-closed
military bases cannot be converted or
sold for productive uses because the
surrounding areas are polluted with
toxic chemicals and military waste. The
Bush administration cannot take the
environmental high ground until they
clean up the ecological quagmire at
home.
The Pentagon's continued censor-
ship of the media's Gulf coverage is
another cause for concern. Most of the
pictures shown of the disaster consist
of sea birds staggering along the coast-
line, flightless from a thick coat of oil.
While we should be concerned about
the effects of this disaster on the Per-
sian Gulf bird population, we still have
seen nothing of the destruction in Iraq.
We have seen no Iraqi civilian casual-
ties from the carpet bombing missions
of American B-52 squadrons.
This selective coverage of Gulf de-
struction serves an obvious - and
ominous - purpose. Through its con-
trol over information dissemination,
Allied military leaders are working
overtime to depersonalize this war.
There are no people involved; there are
only sleek jets, Patriot missiles, Sad-
. dam Hussein, and oil-covered cor-
morants.
Though Saddam Hussein may be
guilty for the oil spill in the Gulf, the
U.S. government cannot justify its
criticism of the Iraqi dictator's "war
against the environment." The real war
on the environment began in this
country decades ago, and no end to the
Pentagon's "naked aggression" against
our ecosystem is in sight.

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Readers respond to 'Bring back the draft' editorial

To the Daily:
In response to the Daily's article,
"Bring Back the Draft", I was dis-
gusted in reading its authors wishes of
bringing back the draft as "the only
possible equalizer." Drafting men and
women for the sole purpose of achiev-
ing an equal representation of race is
a most shameful reason for the ad-
vancement of any single minority.
Only drafting white males and fe-
males becauseitheyrare white is dis-
crimination in its purest form.
Do we decrease the number of mi-
norities in a business or any organiza-
tion in which their numbers exceed
their representation in society? We do
not do this for the same reason that
we should not implement a draft to
promote equality. I am unsure about
the need for a draft, buf I am sure that
a draft should be used for reasons such
as threatened international security or
as a means of achieving the quickest
possible end to war.
Andrew Russell
LSA sophomore
Daily violates
personal freedoms
To the Daily:
The call by the Daily for rein-
statement of a military draft is symp-
tomatic of the leftist egalitarian phi-
losophy that has infected the editorial
board there for years. The rest of the
University community should take a
lesson.
Leftist egalitarian philosophy (new
left, old left, socialist, communist)
advocates complete equality of re-
sults, not opportunity. It insists on this
contrary-to-nature position regardless
of the universal suffering or depriva-
tion it might cause.
Leftist egalitarians would rather
everyone suffered equally than every-
one be better off, if some were more
better off than others. In the real
world, freedom inevitably leads to a
more productive, more peaceful, more
comfortable society across the board.
Freedom does not, however, lead to
equality. It is no accident, therefore,

that leftist egalitarians consistently
are opposed to freedom.
It is also not incidental that the ed-
itorial board at the Daily wants to re-
instate the draft. The board's mind set
allows for any outrage to personal
freedom in the name of equality. Ex-
perience proves, of course, that such
equality is impossible anyway. Those
who shout the loudest for it always
end up in the forefront of the dictator-
ships formed to enforce it.
Chris Brockman
Ann Arbor resident
Daily editorial
self-aggrandizing
To the Daily:
I am offended and afraid after read-
ing your editorial calling for a military
draft. The Daily editorial page usually
has little impact on our lives other
than fodder for conversation, but, be-
cause of recent media coverage of
your editorial, I find it necessary to
respond.
First, our army is a volunteer army.
The men and women in the Persian
Gulf voluntarily joined the armed ser-
vices; they are now fulfilling the re-
sponsibilities and duties entailed by
that choice.
Second, there is currently no need
for a draft. There are nearly 500,000
troops already in the Gulf; not until
long after a ground assault might be-
gin would there exist a need for more
soldiers. The American people and the
military establishment does not want
or need a draft; indeed, we would be
endangered by sending thousands of
people to the Gulf that do not want to
be there to replace or fight with those
who volunteered for and are trained in
combat.
If the Daily was aware of the
lessons of the Vietnam War, you-
might not have called for a draft. In
Vietnam, because of the lack of unity,
training, and continuity, among the
troops, the lives of all those soldiers
were jeopardized.
While I abhor the fact that minori-
ties are disproportionately represented
- a consequence of domestic in-

equities - we must remember that
these men and women volunteered.
Even worse, I am offended by the
hypocrisy and paternalism pervading
your article. I doubt that all those who
voted for this editorial would actually
report for service if there were a draft;
a significantnumber, I presume,
would use their own wealth and re-
sources in the manner that they con-
demn to avoid their own military ser-
vice. In addition, the paternalistic atti-
tude you take towards the troops
would offend them. They did volun-
teer, it is their job, and they have ded-
icated and trained themselves to de-
fend their country.
Usually, the world does not take
notice of the Daily. With this edito-
rial, however, you have entered the
spotlight of national media. This edi-
torial seems to be the product of self-
righteous and self-aggrandizing sensa-
tionalism. No one has taken heed of
your editorials the four years that I
have attended U-M; it would be tragic
if the first one anyone did follow was
this one. Your hypocrisy is dangerous.
Tony Barkow
LSA senior
Daily doesn't
represent students
To the Daily:
Congratulations, the Daily re-
ceived national attention yesterday on
CNN with its proposal to reinstate the
draft. I am embarassed for myself and
my university.
The Daily, the so-called voice of
the students, has once again shown a
lack of knowledge about the true eco-
momic realities facing this nation and
has shown itself to be a true genius in
finding the most inefficient means of
correcting true social problems. I shall
be leaving this university very soon.
Let it be known that the Daily has
represented me very seldomly.
Jason Weiss
Graduating senior

S

Wh osechoice
Coerced use of Norplant violates civil liberties

LAST MONTH IN CALIFORNIA,
when Judge Howard Broadman con-
victed Darlene Johnson of child abuse,
he offered her a plea bargain of either
four years in prison or one year in
prison with three years probation.
During her probation she would be
prohibited from having children. This
would be ensured by surgically im-
planting in her arm the new birth con-
trol device called Norplant. Johnson,
fearing four years in prison, chose
Norplant.
Johnson had pleaded guilty to beat-
ing two of her four children with a belt
and with an electrical cord. She is not a
good mother. But her plea bargain is
worse.
Norplant is a prescription treatment;
not every woman is a suitable candi-
date for the implant. It is the business
of a doctor, not a judge, to decide
medical suitability. In fact, Johnson has
high blood pressure, is a diabetic, and
has a heart murmur. Norplant is a dan-
gerous option for her.
More importantly, any sentence that
sacrifices bodily integrity is unethical
and a violation of the criminal's civil
liberties. America has chosen not to
offer shoplifters the option of prison or
broken fingers, and it does not offer
drug dealers the option of the rack or
the stockade. Here the state would be
coercing the criminal to "choose" a
cruel and unusual punishment.

Johnson and her lawyer are appeal-
ing their case with the help of the
American Civil Liberties Union. But
most cases are rarely challenged be-
cause the convicted person is grateful
to avoid prison.
Sterilization is a tempting solution
for rape, child abuse, and poverty.
Judge Broadman used it for Johnson,
who is on welfare. And the lead edito-
rial in the Dec. 12 Philadelphia In-
quirer suggested Norplant as a solution
for poverty-stricken inner-city Blacks.
This editorial was rightly condemned
as racist, and the Inquirer apoligized.
However well-intended these sug-
gestions are, they are simply not right.
They evoke the specter of the eugenic
movement that America experimented
with in the 1910s, and Germany expe-
rienced during the Third Reich. U.S.
courts must unequivocally eliminate
sentences involving sterilization. Up-
holding this punishment would set a
dangerous precedent for overzealous
judges who think they can decide not
only who is worthy of caring for chil-
dren, but also who is worthy of bearing
children.
Johnson's crime is heinous and in-
excusable. Child abuse offenders -
men as well as women - should un-
dergo psychological treatment, and
their children should be placed in the
care of the state. But Norplant, the first
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