Lee Bollinger has brought disgrace to Columbia University by inviting a theocratic despot to speak at their campus while his government actively tries to, and sometimes succeeds at, killing American servicemen in Iraq. The president of Columbia, having heard the criticisms of Americans across the country for giving a Holocaust denier and radical Islamist supporter of terrorism an Ivy League platform, decided to act tough by scolding Ahmadinejad in his introduction:
Mr. Bollinger was applauded loudly when he took the podium after a brief introduction. He began by defending the university's decision to summon President Ahmadinejad.
"This is the right thing to do," Mr. Bollinger said, adding that he was sorry if the event hurt some people's sentiments.
Mr. Bollinger called Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments on the Holocaust "astonishingly uneducated" and characterized him as a "petty and cruel dictator."
Mr. Ahmadinejad was scheduled to speak for about 30 minutes. He began by complaining that Mr. Bollinger made "many insults and claims that were incorrect."
It's almost unbelievable, but Bollinger undercuts his own decision with these words. If Ahmadinejad is as bad as Bollinger says, then why invite him? What purpose does it serve to supply a "petty and cruel dictator" with a megaphone? Rational people would advise the exact opposite -- to shun and isolate petty and cruel dictators, who certainly have plenty of other outlets for their rantings.
No one will learn anything from Ahmadinejad's visit today that they didn't know before. He's an uneducated buffoon who serves as a convenient mouthpiece for the Iranian theocrats who hold the real power in Iran. Unfortunately, Columbia has given the beffoon more prestige for his rambling and disjointed discourse. They have bestowed academic legitimacy to Holocaust denial, as well as to rabid anti-Semitism. Will Bollinger next invite the Imperial Wizard of the KKK to speak as an honored guest at Columbia, and will a rude introduction be seen as enough to justify the appearance?
Mitch McConnell had it right in his speech today in the Senate:
“It’s hard to imagine any nation on earth that threatens U.S. interests and those of its allies much more than Iran. It’s equally hard to imagine any great American University of generations past inviting a world leader to its campus who supported groups that kill U.S. soldiers and Marines.
“Think of the irony: Columbia University, home of the core curriculum that prizes an in-depth understanding of Western civilization and the free exchange of ideas is bringing to its campus a state sponsor of terror.
“A school that rejected the ROTC in 2005 on the grounds that the ‘Don’t ask don’t tell policy’ discriminated against gays now welcomes a man whose government reportedly executes them.
“Whether Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should be speaking at Columbia shouldn’t be the subject of a philosophical debate. He already rejected that debate by leading a regime has chosen terrorism over reason and open dialogue. Under Ahmadinejad, the Iranian regime trains, funds, and exports terror."
When Ahmadinejad told Columbia today that Iran doesn't have homosexuals, he meant that the theocracy has done its level best to cleanse Iran of gays and lesbians. He also means that they'll get rid of any more they find. Does Columbia support that? If not, why invite the executioner of Iranian homosexuals to speak at their campus?
Lee Bollinger will get kudos from many today for insulting Ahmadinejad in his introductory speech. Those giving applause should remember that Bollinger didn't need to invite Ahmadinejad to Columbia to speak the truth about the Iranian regime. It would have had more impact had Bollinger not endorsed Ahmadinejad as a world leader by inviting him to Columbia in the first place.
UPDATE: This is why Iran doesn't have homosexuals in their country, according to Human Rights Watch:
On Sunday, November 13, the semi-official Tehran daily Kayhan reported that the Iranian government publicly hung two men, Mokhtar N. (24 years old) and Ali A. (25 years old), in the Shahid Bahonar Square of the northern town of Gorgan. The government reportedly executed the two men for the crime of "lavat." Iran’s shari`a-based penal code defines lavat as penetrative and non-penetrative sexual acts between men. Iranian law punishes all penetrative sexual acts between adult men with the death penalty. Non-penetrative sexual acts between men are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are punished with death. Sexual acts between women, which are defined differently, are punished with lashes until the fourth offense, when they are also punished with death.