CIA Analyst, Forum audience wrong to dismiss KSU professor


Dear Editor,

I was interested in the Collegian coverage of Professor Mohaned Al-Hamdi’s comments at the presentation by former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

I do not know Professor Al-Hamdi, nor was I present at the “debate.” But I would expect that the experiences of someone who was tortured and imprisoned under the Saddam Hussein regime would be of special interest to an audience that ostensibly aims to promote peace and justice.

That appears not to be the case, since he was summarily ordered to sit down and shut up. He was portrayed in the Collegian article as “yelling from across the room.” Did he have a microphone available to him — or is this a way to depict him as some kind of radical?

Perhaps he should have been invited onto the stage to allow for a real debate. No. As the reporter points out, “the audience [with the exception of Al-Hamdi] appeared very receptive to McGovern’s lecture, as many stayed well after the conclusion of his speech to ask questions and share stories with the speaker.”

With the advantage of hindsight, McGovern seems to conclude that the “people who suffered as a result of the injustice [in Iraq]” were not numerous enough to justify their emancipation by us.

He argues, “… since we invaded, there are many more people that have lost their heritage.”  Using his mathematical test, a war to liberate a captive people never could be justified.

McGovern is reported to consider our sacrifices in Iraq as a war of aggression and a war crime, notwithstanding the U.N. resolutions authorizing the effort and Saddam Hussein’s violations of the treaty that ended the first Gulf War. This reflects his obvious bias. Too bad there were not more Al-Hamdis there to refute this kind of garbage.

At one time, it was said in our country, “Give me liberty or give me death.” We are in sad shape if we have reached the point where we are more ready to listen to demagogues than to genuine heroes who have survived and are willing to speak out.

Kenneth R. Buyle