Sen. Henry M. Jackson (D-Wash.) yesterday urged a callup of U.S. military reserve units in the face of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. He labeled U.S.-Soviet detente "an illusion" shattered by the Afghanistan action.
Jackson, a longtime critic of detente, said the theory that the Soviets could be turned away from their international expansionist ambitions had now been proven totally false.
Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), in another comment on the Afghan situation, sharply criticized special presidential envoy Clark Clifford for asserting that "it means war" if the Soviets push into the Persian Gulf.
Byrd also said that he opposes using women in military combat roles, but didn't take a position on whether women should be registered or drafted for non-combat service. Earlier last week House Speaker Thomas P. (Tip) O'Neill Jr. (D-Mass.) said that even registering women would be anathema to the House.
Jackson has long been one of the toughest critics of the Soviets and of detente, and he indicated that he fears the administration may be getting ready to relax its anti-Soviet posture by loosening curbs on technology experts and cooperating on other maters once the shock of Afghanistan has worn off.
Byrd, in his comment on Clifford, said that by using words ostensibly committing the United States to war over the Persian Gulf, Clifford "certainly went beyond the president." Carter had stated that "we would defend our vital interests," Byrd said, making clear that he feels it is too soon for anyone to be threatening war.
Byrd said Clifford's wording almost seemed to be a "dare and an incitement" to the Soviets and was "unfortunate and unnecessary." He said most senators wouldn't back the way Clifford put the matter, and in any event, Clifford appeared to be going beyond his commission, since "only the Congress declares war."
Byrd said "there is too much rhetoric. The rhetoric ought to be cooled," not only here but also in the Soviet Union.
Byrd said that while the United States needs to beef up its conventional military forces, "we denigrate our capabilities unreasonably. The U.S. is not a helpless giant."
Clifford, whose remarks were made in India Jan. 31, has been chided by Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, who said Friday that Clifford was being more dramatic in his verbiage than Vance thought desirable.
On the draft, Byrd said, "The volunteer experiment has been a flop. I supported it . . . but I think it has been a failure. As a result, our country is not prepared as it should be."
He said, in his regular weekly news conference, the president should reinstitute registration of youths "as a first step" to be prepared in case it proves necessary to draft people. It might be that registration would spur enlistments and make a draft unnecessary. In any event, Byrd said, he wouldn't make up his mind on whether to register and draft women until Congress receives a special Feb. 9 report from the administration.
"I don't favor women in combat," he said.
Byrd also said:
"I don't think there's any doubt" that the Israelis have a major responsibility for the slow pace of West Bank autonomy talks, but "there's enough blame to go around."
THE SALT II treaty is still a good idea.
The recent furor over Soviet troops in Cuba was a "pseudo-crisis."