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Is Your Professor Building The Bomb?

Is Your Professor Building The Bomb? image Is Your Professor Building The Bomb? image Is Your Professor Building The Bomb? image
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On August 6, 1986, Robyn Watts gave the following Hiroshima Day Commemoration Speech at the Federal Building in Ann Arbor. When the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Americans were happy because lives had been saved and the war was over. But the war was not over; it had only just begun. This war is fought with money, our money. Everyday some of the money you earn goes to perpetúate this war. And everyday, this money is not going where it is needed most - medicare, medicaid, social security, education. We are so proud that no war has ever been fought on United States soil. But this is a lie, a lie we teil ourselves. The war is not only fought on United States soil, it is fought in every city, every suburb, every community. This war is fought here at the University of Michigan. The University of Michigan performed $7.7 million of Department of Defense research in 1985, this is a 17% increase over the year before and a more than 100% increase over just five years ago. For 1985, Department of Defense (DoD) funding is likely to increase by at least another 100%. There are a number of reasons for this. Last September, the Regents voted to "encourage" Star Wars research at the University. This was the first time they have ever endorsed a specific research program. In referring to Star Wars, Nobel Lauréate and former Manhattan Project Scientist, Hans Bethe stated, " It is difficult to imagine a system more likely to induce (sec Bomb, page 11) Is Your Professor Building the Bomb? (Contínued from page 1) catastrophe" (New York Times, March 8, 1985). Currently, $700,000 worth of Star Wars research is being performed at the University of Michigan. We have another $7.3 million in proposals pending right now. This number is almost as much as all the DoD funding we received for all of 1985. We should not deceive ourselves that a good portion of this funding will not be accepted. Last April, University of Michigan professors submitted proposals to a new Pentagon program called the University Research Initiative (URI). Under this program, the Pentagon will establish research centers on the campus, with an exchange of personnel and equipment between the Pentagon and the University. The establishment of Pentagon laboratories on campus has not occurred since the time of the Vietnam War. Linda Wilson, the Vice President for Research, said we would be lucky to even get one and students should base their concerns on the facts not on "false assumptions" (Michigan Daily, June 20, 1986). Well, the facts are in and the University of Michigan has received three centers, funded for at least $15 million and as much as $32.4 million over a five year period. These alone could doublé the amount of military research at this University for the next five years. The largest URI award, for $15 million, has been given to Professor George Haddad. His project will focus on developing microelectronic circuits which are needed, according to the Army, because "microelectronic circuits based upon current technology will not meet the data handling and system control requirements necessary in the full implementation of future battlefïeld plans." In other words, Haddad's research is aimed at integrating information in a "complex battlefield" situation or one which involves both nuclear and conventional weapons. In the past, Haddad's research on microelectronic circuits has been used in the guidance system of the Phoenix missile. To facilítate these and other increases in Pentagon funding at the University of Michigan, the Regents decided to review the guidelines for classified research. The ad-hoc committee appointed to perform this review has just come out with its recommendations. The proposed guidelines elimínate the current ban on classified research destructive to human life. Ironically, just four year ago the Faculty Senate and the Michigan Student Assembly voted to extend the "destuctive to human life" ban to cover all research, not just classified. At the time, the Regents rejected extention of the clause and now they are have gone so far as to suggest its total elimination. This clause banning research destructive to human life constitutes a strong moral statement for the University. The removal of the clause would signify that the University sanctions research which is destructive to human life. Currently three bodies review research proposals for adherence to the guidelines: the two student and faculty committees: the Research Policies Committee and the Classified Review Panel, along with the Vice President for Research. The proposed guidelines elimínate all such facultystudent input into research policy decisions and leave adherence to the discretion of the individual department heads and professors. These are the persons with most to benefit from seeing the project continue, totally unhindered. The removal of the enforcement mechanism paves the way for virtually any type of weapons research to be performed at U-M. It is primarily the deterrent of submitting their research proposals to studentfaculty committees which has prevented professors from performing classified research. It is not suprising that the ad-hoc committee has suggested such a weakening of the guidelines when the members, chair and agenda were hand-picked by President Shapiro. When calling for the review of the guidelines, Regent Roach said, "Maybe we will see that the guidelines have outlived their usefulness." The current guidelines were created due to faculty and student outcry over the amount of war research the University of Michigan was performing during the Vietnam War. Just thinking about our current increases in military research here at U-M and United States actions in Grenada, Nicaragua, and Libya to name a few, we know the times are not any different, actually too much the same. Who are the casualities in this war? These are some of the direct ones here at the University. While Department of Defense funding was increasing 17% over 1985, Department of Energy funding did not increase at all and Department of Education funding decreased49% over the same period. This is in a period when we wonder why the United States is not as academically competitive with other nations as we used to be, why S.A.T. scores are falling and why so many high school students cannot even read. The Art, Education and Natural Resources schools have been cut, when a new 35 million dollar engineering building on North Campus will be partially used to house the three new Pentagon centers. While they have room for Pentagon centers at this new building, many engineering Teaching Assistants will still be scattered across main campus in offices far from their professors and the guidance they seek from them. Of course, there are many more casualties and the war is far-reaching when you consider what the University has used Pentagon money for. Before the guidelines were passed, the University of Michigan was one of the nation's leading centers of weapons research. Work was done here developing guidance systems for ICBM's. U-M scientists traveled to Thailand to train Air Force personnel on advanced counterinsurgency eqquipment. There was even a project, called "XXX," so secret even the students and faculty working on it did not know its true nature. During the Vietnam War, U-M was known as the "Eyes of the Army" because of our research on infra-red heat sensing. Infra-red heat sensing was used to lócate Vietnamese in the field and therefore more effectively destroy them. Although it has geography applications, natural resource students were excluded from the research due to "security reasons." Since the Vietnam War, the University (sce Bomb, page 30) Bomb (Continued f rom page 1 1 ) missile and the Stealth Bomben ín 19781979, we researched ballistic missile defense that was in effect a violation of the 1972 ABM Treaty. U-M Professor Senior has studied the effects of EMP on bombers, to determine survivability of our planes to keep fighting even after a nuclear war. U-M professor Birdsall has researched antisubmarine warfare, which could upset the delicate nuclear balance between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. An article in Scientific America concurs, "The result of improved undersea surveillance capabilities" could be a "perceived erosión of Russian missile submarine survivability in these waters and a growing ability of the U.S. to launch a first strike." There have been mustard gas, nerve gas, explosive dust and mind control experiments funded by the Department of Defense and the Central Intelligance Agency, as well. Although the war may have taken a lot of casualties already, we can still win it! During the Vietnam War, we kicked the Pentagon centers, such as Willow Run Labs, off the campus and established the guidelines on classified research. And we can do it again! We must demand that the current guidelines be retained and strengthened. The enforcement mechanisms must be retained and the ban on classified research destructive to human life clause extended to cover all research. We must show our disgust for the increasing militarization of our University, our community, and our lives. We are starting a United Campuses to Prevent Nuclear War (UCAM) chapter on campus to fight these issues (see CRD.) The time is now. Next time there is a "Hiroshima," there will be no one left to commemorate it.


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