Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ahmadinejad at Columbia U.

This by Bill Kristol at The Weekly Standard:

Columbia University: Ahmadinejad Yes, ROTC No
Lee Bollinger's choice.

by William Kristol 09/20/2007 11:13:00 AM

TWO DAYS AGO, Columbia University announced that next Monday, September 24, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will speak and participate in a question and answer session with university faculty and students at Columbia. According to the university statement, "This opportunity for faculty and students to engage the President of Iran came about after Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee at the Iranian Mission to the United Nations initiated contact with Columbia through a member of the faculty, Richard Bulliet, who is a specialist on Iran."


So at the request of the Iranian government, Columbia University will host the president of a terrorist regime which is right now responsible for the deaths of American soldiers on the field of battle. Indeed, this distinguished guest, who is so honoring Columbia by his presence, will be introduced by no one less than the president of Columbia, Lee Bollinger.


But not to worry: "President Bollinger will introduce the event by challenging President Ahmadinejad on a number of his controversial statements and his government's policies."


Indeed, Bollinger manfully proclaimed in the university statement: "I also wanted to be sure the Iranians understood that I would myself introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges to the President on issues including:

* the Iranian President's denial of the Holocaust;


* his public call for the destruction of the state of Israel;

* his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and American troops;


* Iran's pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international sanction;


* his government's widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly of women's rights; and

* his government's imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia's own alumni, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh."


One can imagine President Ahmadinejad nervously preparing for President Bollinger's "sharp challenges," and wondering whether those challenges will detract from the propaganda victory Bollinger's invitation has given him. He's undoubtedly concluded it won't be a big problem.

It should go without saying that the appropriate thing to do, when the Iranian ambassador called Columbia, would have been to say: No thanks. Or just, No. But that would be to expect too much of one of today's Ivy League university presidents.

In fact, the introduction with "sharp challenges" by Bollinger makes the situation even more of a disgrace. Now there will be the appearance of real dialogue, of Ahmadinejad answering challenges, which further legitimizes the notion that Holocaust denial, say, is a subject of legitimate and reasonable debate.

But if Bollinger had chosen to deny Ahmadinejad's request, or not to dignify Ahmadinejad's appearance by his presence--then Bollinger would have been denied the opportunity to lecture us, in Columbia's press release, to this effect: "It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible. That such a forum could not take place on a university campus in Iran today sharpens the point of what we do here....This is America at its best."

Actually, this is a liberal university president at his stupidest. As Powerline's Scott Johnson put it, "Columbia's prattle about free speech may be a tale told by an idiot, but it signifies something. And President Bollinger is a fool who is not excused from the dishonor he brings to his institution and his fellow citizens by the fact that he doesn't know what he is doing."

Meanwhile: As Columbia welcomes Ahmadinejad to campus, Columbia students who want to serve their country cannot enroll in the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at Columbia. Columbia students who want to enroll in ROTC must travel to other universities to fulfill their obligations. ROTC has been banned from the Columbia campus since 1969. In 2003, a majority of polled Columbia students supported reinstating ROTC on campus. But in 2005, when the Columbia faculty senate debated the issue, President Bollinger joined the opponents in defeating the effort to invite ROTC back on campus.

A perfect synecdoche for too much of American higher education: they are friendlier to Ahmadinejad than to the U.S. military.
--William Kristol


© Copyright 2007, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Diversity is Bollinger's speciality. When he was president of the University of Michigan, affirmative action proponents praised him for the "aggressive and successful defense of campus diversity on its educational merits [that] brought him to the national stage." ("U-M suits have a victor: Bollinger").

Just months into his administration UM was faced with two now-famous two affirmative-action lawsuits, one each against the undergraduate and the law school, challenging the university's use of race as a factor in admissions. Crowed the advocates of quotas: "Bollinger, a lawyer and former U-M law school dean, decided on a strategy to defend the university. U-M would take the approach that students of all races learned more on a campus that had a diverse student body."

Now Columbia students will get the opportunity to learn more from a campus that welcomes a Holocaust-denying psychopath to blabber and lie about world events.

2 comments:

Ben said...

Kristol is quick to pan Bollinger for hosting Ahmadinejad, but is hypocritical as we in our country have no better moral stance:

* the Iranian President's denial of the Holocaust;
- vs. our leaders' denial of the Iraqi Holocaust.

* his public call for the destruction of the state of Israel;
- vs. our public call for the destruction of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea (one down...)

* his reported support for international terrorism that targets innocent civilians and American troops;
- vs. our terrorism of Cuba

* Iran's pursuit of nuclear ambitions in opposition to international sanction;
- woo hoo! We're number one here, and not afraid to flaunt it (ooh, but call it "diplomacy', cuz that sounds better)

* his government's widely documented suppression of civil society and particularly of women's rights;
- well, we do have many rights in our own country (except gays), but abroad we support regimes quite similar to Khamenei's (no, Ahmadinejed does not rate his own)

* his government's imprisoning of journalists and scholars, including one of Columbia's own alumni, Dr. Kian Tajbakhsh."
- vs. extraordinary rendition.

Kristol gets high marks in myopic hypocracy.

And as for psycopaths that blabber and lie, well, I think you should either believe all propaganda or none of it.

T.R. Clancy said...

Ben

You said, "And as for psycopaths that blabber and lie, well, I think you should either believe all propaganda or none of it."

Which means what? You don't believe anything anyone says, ever?

How about applying rational minds to analzye and make distinctions in what we hear and read? Someone once said that intelligence is a measure of the ability to make distinctions. Perhaps if there were more of that, there wouldn't be so many arguments that defend criminal regimes and their leaders on the unsupported presumption that we in the USA "have no better moral stance."

For example, you compare Iran's official state position to accomplish the destruction if Israel with something you call "our public call for the destruction of Iraq, Iran, and North Korea." Except there have have been no such public calls. Nor have we use suicide bombers, or a rain of Katyusha and Kassam rockets onto bus stops, pizza parlors, marktetsquares, or schoolyards in Cuba targeting innocent civilians to "terrorize Cuba."

You can do better.