SEARCH BLOG: IRAN
Last week, regarding a post about Iran's President Ahmadinejad I wrote that:
One must presume that President Bollinger will invite some Holocaust survivors to debate Ahmadinejad... or would that be using the podium for ideological purposes? Can it be that President Bollinger is so vehemently opposed to U.S. foreign policy that he is now grasping for anyone who represents the opposite of what our policy stands for.A reader of that post provided, in the comments, a video link to Dr. Bollinger's "introduction" of Ahmadinejad that shows Dr. Bollinger berating the Iranian president. In that regard, Dr. Bollinger acquitted himself on the positive side.
The real issue was providing a so-called educational opportunity for the students to listen to the words of Ahmadinejad and question him. Ahmadinejad is a pathological liar... and a good one. He can sound reasonable and conciliatory while he is plotting to stab you in the back. This forum was perfect for Mr. Ahmadinejad. As the Christian Science Monitor published:
No other town, after all, gives the firebrand bad boy of Western-Islamic relations the platforms, the polemics, and the attention that Iran experts say he craves. These far outstrip, experts add, the authority and influence he actually wields, since Mr. Ahmadinejad does not have the power of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.So, even though Ahmadinejad may have only convinced a few students of his rightousness [a few is too many], the real damage was to bolster his image as a strong leader who is able to travel into hostile territory and defend his brand of insanity against his adversaries.
In the limelight, Ahmadinejad has been a man under attack – from the outcry that followed the Iranian leader's proposal earlier this month to lay a wreath at ground zero, to the condemnation that met him at Columbia University Monday, to the scrutiny given his speech at the United Nations Tuesday.
According to specialists in Iranian affairs, he couldn't have asked for more.
Professor Bollinger, was the price of this educational opportunity really worth providing a forum for this petty tyrant? Maybe this was supposed to be an example of Columbia's efforts to promote free speech and investigate controversy. But as the CSM states:
Columbia's invitation to Ahmadinejad only makes sense, Mr. Clawson of the Washington Institute says, if the university has a policy of holding forums with controversial speakers. He and others noted that Jim Gilchrist, head of the anti-illegal-immigration vigilante group the Minuteman Project, was recently told he couldn't appear at a speaking engagement.Perhaps at Columbia some speech is more free than others.
Regardless, it is difficult to find the positive aspect of Professor Bollinger's pet project...