Analyst-turned-activist McGovern decries ‘racist edge’ to U.S. wars

Shane Finneran and Shane Finneran

Ray McGovern, noting that 50 years had passed since Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to visit space, said technology has come a long way but “our moral development has not kept pace.”

In U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, “there’s a real racist edge to what we’re doing,” McGovern said.

McGovern is a former CIA analyst and an outspoken critic of United States imperialism. He visited City College on April 14 as part of “Operation: Tour of Duty,” a speaking tour focused on torture and other controversial foreign policy issues.

McGovern once prepared daily intelligence briefs for President George H.W. Bush. In February, he was dragged out of a Hillary Clinton speech at George Washington University after he stood and turned his back on the Secretary of Defense.

Clinton, who was speaking about the stifling of dissent, continued without “missing a syllable” as he was “violently removed,” McGovern said.

McGovern has discussed the incident with lawyers.

“They’re in the fact-finding process right now,” he said.

About 25 people attended McGovern’s speech at City College. Organizers included the campus chapter of Veterans for Peace.

Michael Needham, a Vietnam veteran and father of a solider who earned multiple Purple Hearts in Iraq, spoke before McGovern.

When John Needham came home from Iraq, his long list of war-induced maladies included post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury and severe injury to his spine.

His father pressed the Army for help but found its bureaucracy unresponsive.

“The moniker of ‘no soldier left behind’ is absolute bulls***,” Michael Needham said.

McGovern said the American press doesn’t cover enough stories about the darker sides of American imperialism.

“It’s the fawning corporate media that keeps things out of sight,” McGovern said.

He praised citizen journalism, where regular people “couple our imaginations and our courage” with technology to help fill the media void.

“Get together in small groups,” McGovern said. “Figure it out.”