Letters to the Editor

Security program has declined in recent years

Dear Editor:

As a former campus security aide from 1989 to 1992, the article “Campus security short several employees” (1/20/05) left me laughing, crying and utterly speechless.

But most of my emotions have very little to do with the off-duty and off-campus behavior of the dismissed aides. I’m more disappointed in the demise of what used to be a model program at a national level, one that remains close to the hearts of its alumni long after we have graduated. The program used to be a source of extreme pride for security aides and enjoyed high retention rates, largely as a result of the strong management at the time and the support of Residence Services, campus police and Kent State as a whole.

Were we angels? No. We were, after all, in college (and while it’s no secret we used to have some pretty good parties, they generally were not of the nature described in the article). Turnover in any industry is normal, but it seems to me the program is missing the fundamental ingredients that were responsible for its success in the past. Unfortunately, it’s Kent State and its students who stand to be hurt the most.

Ann Marie Halal

Kent State alumna 1993


Accurate civilian death tolls hard to determine

Dear Editor:

Mr. Ali’s call for peace was, for the most part, inspiring. He made a great point that I have always believed in, which is that the terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere around the world are a travesty to the groups they claim to represent. Osama no more represents Islam or Middle Easterners than Joe Kony represents Christianity or Africans.

Many Muslim leaders have come out to denounce terrorism in all its forms, including the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Ashaikh and Sheikh Mohamad Syed Tantawi of Cairo’s Al-Azhar university. These words alone from such high ranking Muslims is enough for me to dismiss any claims that Islam is evil or violent for the majority of Muslims worldwide.

The only part of his article that I really had a problem with was his claim that 100,000 civilians have died in Iraq. That number quoted from Lancet is likely way over the actual count.

A site called the Iraq Body Count is more credible, and its results are vastly different. As of mid-January, they put the civilian death toll at a figure between 15,000 and 17,000 caused by insurgents, terrorists and soldiers. Furthermore, they only count civilian deaths, linking to a news source such as CNN, the AP or Fox that has the story. The Lancet study was merely a sampling of 998 households in Iraq, which was done without journalists present. Human Rights Watch has said it is difficult to estimate civilian casualties based on relatively small numbers, calling the 100,000 a “stretch.”

Of course, any civilian death is a tragic loss and should not be ignored, whether the number is 15,000 or 100,000 or 1. Some people in their anger over the war may be more prone to accept higher counts, while those who support the war may find the lower numbers more acceptable. But to claim that a number as high as Lancet’s is truthful is dishonest.

Dan Wheeler

Sophomore biology major