September 24, 2007

Bollinger Sure Enlightened The Iranians

Want to see how effective Lee Bollinger's supposed plan to expose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a "petty and cruel dictator" went? The Iranian state news agency reported on Ahmadinejad's speech -- and they apparently never heard of Lee Bollinger (via CapQ commenter Bennett):

Despite entire US media objections, negative propagation and hue and cry in recent days over IRI President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's scheduled address at Colombia University, he gave his lecture and answered students questions here on Monday afternoon.

On second day of his entry in New York, and amid standing ovation of the audience that had attended the hall where the Iranian President was to give his lecture as of early hours of the day, Ahmadinejad said that Iran is not going to attack any country in the world.

Before President Ahamadinejad's address, Colombia University Chancellor in a brief address told the audience that they would have the chance to hear Iran's stands as the Iranian President would put them forth.

He said that the Iranians are a peace loving nation, they hate war, and all types of aggression.

Referring to the technological achievements of the Iranian nation in the course of recent years, the president considered them as a sign for the Iranians' resolute will for achieving sustainable development and rapid advancement.

The audience on repeated occasion applauded Ahmadinejad when he touched on international crises.

At the end of his address President Ahmadinejad answered the students' questions on such issues as Israel, Palestine, Iran's nuclear program, the status of women in Iran and a number of other matters.

This is, by the way, their entire report. They never mention Bollinger by name. Nor do the Iranian people ever hear that Bollinger called him a "petty and cruel dictator". What they have heard is that Americans gave him a standing ovation, that they repeatedly applauded his approach to "international crises", and that he participated in a Q&A session.

Iran has conducted a quiet war against the United States ever since November 1979. They have supported Hezbollah when it killed 241 Marines in Lebanon, kidnapped dozens in Beirut and killed some of the hostages, and now supply weapons and training to terrorists in Iraq who kill our soldiers there. Instead of shunning such a man and such a nation, Bollinger let him conduct a propaganda campaign on his campus.

If Bollinger finds alternative points of view so appealing, then I assume that the ROTC will be invited back to Columbia's campus forthwith. After all, Columbia offered an invitation to a man whose nation kills our troops. If the American military can't gain access to engage students for the defense of our nation, then Bollinger and the Columbia administration has made clear which alternatives it finds acceptable, and which they do not.


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» Bollinger Blackout in Iran from MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
Is anyone surprised? Want to see how effective Lee Bollinger’s supposed plan to expose Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a “petty and cruel dictator” went? The Iranian state news agency reported on Ahmadinejad’s speech — and they app... [Read More]

» One Reason I Think Columbia Made A Mistake from Blue Crab Boulevard
Yes, Lee Bollinger did a masterful smackdown of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Yes, he exposed a lot of the mad ravings of Iran's president for what they are - mad ravings. All to the good, in the great scheme of things. Bollinger spoke truth to po... [Read More]

» Ahmedinejad gets Owned from Diary of the Mad Pigeon
Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, set the combative tone in his introduction of Ahmadinejad: Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator. The rest of the article is self explanatory: Ahmadinejad questions 9/11, Holocaust U... [Read More]

» Iranian Reports a Triumph for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from Blue Star Chronicles
I hate to say ‘I told you so’ - but ‘I told you so’! Just as planned and orchestrated, the useful idiots at Columbia University played into the hands of the little Persian petty tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Surely, this can’... [Read More]

Comments (40)

Posted by Bennett | September 24, 2007 8:47 PM

I made the point elsewhere that I don't think Bollinger had much choice here. He didn't extend the invitation and he wasn't apparently in a position to do much about it. So he's the guy taking the heat and that's probably fair but I understand that there was university politics at play that probably leaves him now twisting in the wind by himself (while the real perpetrators of this fiasco escape unharmed).

I am not trying to be contrarian here and I think there is a lot to criticize Columbia about but I think the real question is, what is the university going to do to continue the "educational experience" here?

If it's just a matter of letting Ahmadinejad come in and spew his propaganda then Columbia has risked its reputation for nothing. If the university follows up with some kind of "counter-programming" if you will, maybe lectures from some dissidents, discussions about how Ahmadinejad lied, what Iran's real policies are about women and homosexuals and Israel, then maybe there is an educational element to all this.

I'm not trying to say that it was necessary to have Ahmadinejad speak to begin with, I'm trying to make the point that Columbia could possibly make something meaningful out of this entire affair. I haven't seen any indication that this is the intent but possibly we wouldn't know about it anyway.

Posted by reliapundit | September 24, 2007 8:51 PM

i agree with mark levin that ahmadinejad could have and should have been banned.

but, because bollinger's speech was SO good, and because ahmadinejad was so MENDACIOUS the net effect has been good.

it's important to remember that ahmadinejad as president is a figurehead and that the root problem is the regime run by jihadist ayatollahs.

until these ayatollahs and their hideous ideology are erased from the earth... we have a problem

Posted by voice of reason | September 24, 2007 9:00 PM

uh, people in Iran know that they don't get the truth, but rather carefully constructed propaganda pieces, from the state run media. Thus, like us, they consult multiple sources when they read the news. To think that they do not understand this is just as absurd as thinking we ourselves can't distinguish truth from spin in the MSM. Let's give people a bit more credit and a bit less snark.

Posted by Paul Milenkovic | September 24, 2007 9:02 PM

I think the bigger story was giving an interview to 60 Minutes. Didn't Saddam give such an interview around this time in 2002? I guess I might be more superstitious, but I wouldn't be talking to anyone from CBS this time of year.

Posted by sashal | September 24, 2007 9:12 PM

amazing, captain.
So many inaccuracies or mistakes?
In one little post.
How come I missed the call for a trial on the basis of treason for Ledeen and others engaged in the weapons trade with Iran AFTER 1979?
"QUIET WAR". I see.
Why the proposal of help from Iran in 2003 was rejected ?
Oh and btw, Neither the ROTC nor the Minutemen were prohibited from speaking at Columbia.

Do you just repeat things you hear without having any idea if they're true?

The ROTC are free to speak. They are not free to recruit Colubmia students for employment on campus because they have a policy discriminating against some Columbia students. Columbia has a policy that says that only employers with non-discriminatory hiring policies are allowed to recruit. Any employer which says "We don't hire blacks/women/the elderly/Jews/gays/the disable" can't use the campus to recruit.

That has nothing to do with any hypocrisy or discrimination.

And the Minutemen( in case somebody will raise this question) are not barred. They were disinvited by the group that invited them. Had that group wanted them to speak, Colubmia did nothing to prevent it.

See, how easily you bush republicans get duped and brainwashed?

Posted by AnonymousDrivel | September 24, 2007 9:28 PM

An interesting observation made by Justin Hart at (H/T PowerLine):

If Columbia is not ashamed of the decision, then why did they blacken out the podium and the backdrop?

If you follow the links and review the photos of their World Leaders Forum's previous speakers, you'll see extensive use of the school's Columbia University name in backdrops. Coincidentally, the school has intentionally censored its stage (a clean, redacted charcoal) while giving the floor to a terrorist because of it's supposed quest for free speech and understanding.

The school is so proud of its ethical stand that it chose to wipe its name from any visual media that would document the event for history and coincidentally serve as easy fodder for critics. Perhaps their stagecraft will inadvertently create more.

I think we understand Columbia's sentiment and quest for free speech just fine.

Posted by Mason88 | September 24, 2007 9:30 PM

What's the old parlor game? If you found yourself back in time, say 1936 at the Olympics in Berlin and you knew Hitler was going to pass by in front of you would you kill him to spare the world the misery he brought upon it or would you let him ride on by? Juxtaposition the Hitler chapter of the parlor game with an Ahmadinejad update. Or do you just let history it play itself out?

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | September 24, 2007 9:33 PM

And the Minutemen( in case somebody will raise this question) are not barred. They were disinvited by the group that invited them. Had that group wanted them to speak, Colubmia did nothing to prevent it.

It's not the fact that "sashal" lied in this case - lying seems to come naturally to BDS sufferers - but that he tells such stupid and unimaginative lies. The Minutemen were not "disinvited" - they were physically attacked when they tried to speak, and the "Colubmia" University administration sat on its hands while the PC Nazis ran amok.

The ROTC are free to speak. They are not free to recruit Colubmia students for employment on campus because they have a policy discriminating against some Columbia students.

In other words - it is censorship after all. The gay-bashing (make that gay killing) Ahmadinejad gets a chance to speak to "Colubmia" students, but not American soldiers. Another lie from you.

See how easily you BDS sufferers are willing to prevaricate? You really ought to lay off the Kool-Aid!

Posted by The Mechanical Eye | September 24, 2007 9:33 PM

Wow, a war since 1979 you say? And its one of those we haven't bothered to declare back under the U.S. Constitution, so its even better!

But let's see how we've fared so far:

* continued Iranian influence over Lebanon

* recent Iranian influence (and perhaps quasi-control) over about half of Iraq

* recent alliance with Syria

Sounds like we're doing a heckuva job, Captain. Thank goodness we've been following Michael Ledeen's advice in Iraq. It makes me feel very good that Bush and Rove were listening to the likes of Norman Podhoretz like schoolboys and eating up his advice about bombing Iran until the people spontaneously rise up against the mullahs and love America (like they should).

Whatever we're doing... let's keep doing it. Because it makes the Captain feel good, and tough, and fightin' for The Troops. And that's the important part, you Commies.


Posted by Scrapiron | September 24, 2007 9:37 PM

sashal is living proof that any CEO of a major corporation that hires a graduate of Colubmia (your spelling) is asking to go out of business. Anyone checked the employees of the sinking NYSlimes lately, they're going broke faster than a drunk in a whore house. Even Sashal wouldn't be stupid enough to hire a Columbia graduate if he/she/it was the CEO of a mega billion dollar corporation, hell, he/she/it wouldn't even hire themselves since they graduate with less knowledge than they entered with 4 years earlier. Same with Harvard and the test prove it. Want a loyal, willing employee, hire a high school graduate and fire them if the enroll in an Ivy league poison college. The democrats sure play a lot of monkey see, monkey do.

Posted by James I. Hymas | September 24, 2007 9:50 PM

I fully support the Columbia's decision to have Ahmadinejad speak. Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

And there's plenty of sunlight, Cap'n. They do have the internet in Iran, plenty of English-speaking internet users, and plenty of opponents of Ahmadinejad who will ensure the full story is widely distributed.

Posted by Bennett | September 24, 2007 9:57 PM

Columbia does not have an ROTC program but its students are allowed to participate in the program at Fordham or Manhattan College

I believe Sashal is confused about a university's right to ban military recruiters. This is where the Solomon amendment comes into play. A university can bar military recruiters so long as it is willing to forego federal funding. A recent appellate decision, Yale v Gates, has once again upheld this practice (prior Supreme Court decision that also upheld this was Forum v Rumsfeld in 2006).

To my knowledge, Columbia has not been willing to give up this lucrative source of funding and does, in fact, allow recruiters. Perhaps not willingly, perhaps not gladly, but I believe they are allowed on campus.

No ROTC though, not unless you're willing to hike over to Fordham.

Posted by NahnCee | September 24, 2007 10:43 PM

The ROTC are free to speak. They are not free to recruit Colubmia students for employment on campus because they have a policy discriminating against some Columbia students.

I'm betting that Sashal is not a native English-speaker. I'm also thinking that maybe Sashal is one of the 'Palestinian kids' who were applauding and cheering the tinpot dictator, which might explain why Sashal evidently wouldn't know the truth if it stepped on his toes and spit in his eyes.

Sashal, you very carefully tip-toed around the fact that Columbia is hiding behind the military's stance on homosexuality to ban the ROTC. You also very carefully ignore the fact that the way IRAN and your little Persian turnip "discriminate" against homosexuals is lethal, not merely embarrassing.

I want someone in Congress to figure out how to stop the flow of Federal funds to Columbia as long as they invite and honor radical Islamists who are trying to kill us, as long as they ban ROTC on the flimsiest of excuses, and as long as they are producing students as insanely stupid (and proud of it) as Sashal.

Posted by Billy | September 24, 2007 11:15 PM

So now Ahmadinejad has more material to edit for his propaganda machine. He already has utilized it, as has been demonstrated above, and I'm sure he'll be dipping back into this well soon and often.

A disturbing point that has been made but doesn't seem to be garnering much attenton is the timing of the "release" of the Columbia alumni from jail in Tehran and the rambling from the Tyrant from Tehran we were subjected to today. Was there a deal made with this terrorist by Mr. Bollinger? Was Mr. Bollinger's chastising of Ahmadinejad a heart felt attempt at convincing the dictator of American disdain for his behavior, or an attempt at a diversion to cover his tracks? Of course the point could be made that it may have been a 'good will' gesture on the part of this Islamofacist ignoramus, but nothing I saw or heard today from him leads me to believe he has one 'good will' bone in his body.

He's a dangerous, evasive, lying, determined enemy that we have allowed inside the walls of our camp. He got what he came for and will go home convinced, possesing more tools to convince others at home that it is he that is in control.

When will we ever learn to deny our enemies the rope with which they intend to hang us?

Posted by jr565 | September 24, 2007 11:25 PM

Great speech from Bollinger, yet nowhere does it appear in Iranian media, almost as if he never said it. Meanwhile they have nice propaganda that shows americans applauding him.He even, according to the Iranian media he got a standing ovation. Is it true or not, who cares?

If a tree falls in the forest and noone hears it, does it make a sound? So too with Bollinger.

Posted by Carol Herman | September 24, 2007 11:29 PM

If Guiliani were in the White House, now, the midget from iran would not be allowed to visit NYC.

There will come a time, ahead, when we have to re-arrange a few chairs at State. And, the Pentagon.

While, someday, when the midget is gone from iran, he will be hated even more than the Shah.

You think we have lousy choices, here? At least we have CHOICES! In iran, a country, under the Shah, that had a middle class; and university educations for men and women ...

That's gone, now.

Meanwhile, if Bush isn't going to coast till he exits on January 20, 2009, then it's possible he has plans he can pull of his menu. What's the midget got? A fan club?

Posted by RBMN | September 25, 2007 12:12 AM

As disappointing as Giuliani is on a couple of issues, I don't think he'd let Ahmanutjob travel anywhere beyond the UN Building and wherever he's staying for the night.

MA: "I have some speaking engagements."
RG: "Sorry, roads are closed for repair."
MA: "Where are the roads not closed?"
RG: "Where are you going?...because wherever that is, the roads are closed for repair."

Posted by johnnymozart | September 25, 2007 3:08 AM

"sunlight is the best disinfectant"

Agreed, but how much more sunlight do we need? Why is it necessary to lend him legitimacy by inviting him to a "World Leaders Forum"?

Here is Ahmadinejad in his own words: (from Simon Barnett)

Religious extremism and martyrdom:

"We don't shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world.“ 1
"The wave of the Islamist revolution will soon reach the entire world." 2
"Our revolution's main mission is to pave the way for the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam, the Mahdi." 3
“Soon Islam will become the dominating force in the world, occupying first place in the number of followers amongst all other religions.” 4
“Is there a craft more beautiful, more sublime, more divine, than the craft of giving yourself to martyrdom and becoming holy? Do not doubt, Allah will prevail, and Islam will conquer mountain tops of the entire world.” 5
"What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.'' 6 [President Ahmadinejad’s comments on an aircraft crash in Tehran that killed 108 people in December 2005].
Ahmadinejad praises Iran for being able to recruit thousands of suicide bombers a day. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised his country's ability to recruit "hundreds of suicide bombers a day," saying "suicide is an invincible weapon. Suicide bombers in this land showed us the way, and they enlighten our future.“ Amadinejad said the will to commit suicide was "one of the best ways of life." 7
“This regime (Israel) will one day disappear.” 8
“The Zionist regime is a rotten, dried tree that will be eliminated by one storm.” 9
Israel is "a disgraceful stain on the Islamic world" 10
Israel is doomed to be "wiped from the map" in "a war of destiny." 11
Ahmadinejad said that "the countdown for the destruction of Israel" has begun. 12
Zionists are „the personification of Satan.“ 13
"In the case of any unwise move by the fake regime of Israel, Iran's response will be so destructive and quick that this regime will regret its move for ever." 14
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that the Holocaust is a “myth.” 15
“Them (the West) invented the myth of the massacre of the Jews and placed it above Allah, religions and prophets.” 16
Iran, its nuclear ambitions and sanctions:

“By the grace of Allah, we (will be) a nuclear power.” 17
Ahmadinejad fired off a fresh barrage of warnings to the United Nations, saying Iran did "not give a damn" about demands to freeze sensitive nuclear work. 18
"Iran does not give a damn about resolutions." 19
"The Islamic republic of Iran has the capacity to quickly become a world superpower. If we believe in ourselves... no other power can be compared to us.“ 20
"Iran's enemies know your courage, faith and commitment to Islam and the land of Iran has created a powerful army that can powerfully defend the political borders and the integrity of the Iranian nation and cut off the hand of any aggressor and place the sign of disgrace on their forehead." 21
"Our enemies should know that they are unable to even slightly hurt our nation and they cannot create the tiniest obstacle on its glorious and progressive way." 22
“In parallel to the official political war there is a hidden war going on and the Islamic states should benefit from their economic potential to cut off the hands of the enemies.” 23


1 Naïm, Mouna, “Damas et Téhéran entendent "résister" ensemble,” Le Monde, January 21st, 2006

2 Pryce-Jones, David, “A Particular Madness—Understanding Iran’s Ahmadinejad,” National Review, May 8, 2006

3 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006

4 March 5th, 2006

5 MEMRI, July 29th, 2005

6 La Guardia, Anton, “’Divine mission’ driving Iran’s new leader Ahmadinejad’s confidence,” The Daily Telegraph, January 14th, 2006

7 Cohen, Dudi, “Iranian President lauds suicide bombers invincible,” YnetNews, April 1st, 2007

8 “Iran: Ahmadinejad annonce la «disparition» d'Israël,” Libération, May 11th, 2006

9 Baldwin, Tom, “The state of Israel will soon be history, says Iran’s President,” The Times, April 15th, 2006

10 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006

11 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006

12 “Ahmadinejad: Countdown to Israel’s destruction has begun,” YnetNews, June 3rd, 2007

13 “Satan in Person," Süddeutsche Zeitung Online, March 1st, 2007

14 Williams, Stuart, “Ahmadinejad says Iran ready for 'final nuclear step,” Agence France Presse, November 16th, 2006

15 Naïm, Mouna, “Damas et Téhéran entendent "résister" ensemble,” Le Monde, January 21st, 2006

16 Ghazi, Siavosh. “Ahmadinejad qualifie de "mythe" l'Holocauste, ne cède pas sur le nucléaire,” Agence France Presse, 14 December, 2005

17 “Les prix du pétrole reculent avec la dissipation des craintes sur l'essence,” Agence France Presse, April 27th, 2006.

18 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006

29 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006

20 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006

21 Agence France Presse, April 28th, 2006

22 Agence France Presse, April 28th,

Posted by johnnymozart | September 25, 2007 6:14 AM

BTW, why is it that sunlight is only the best disinfectant when what its disinfecting doesn't have the term "hatespeech" attached to it? Haven't seen any of you guys advocating an invite for the leader of the Aryan Nation. Or Ann Coulter, for that matter. Have a hard time believing that Columbia would, either. Don't you?

Posted by Tom Shipley | September 25, 2007 6:34 AM

If a tree falls in the forest and noone hears it, does it make a sound? So too with Bollinger.

This, and Ed's premise, assumes that Iranians only get their news from the state-run department. I don't know if that is true, but find it improbable in the age of the Internet and satellite TV.

Posted by Mal Carne | September 25, 2007 6:39 AM

Er, because the leader of the Aryan Nation and Anne Coulter are unimportant to the future of our nation? And Ahmadinejad is?

Posted by Tom Shipley | September 25, 2007 6:42 AM

Here's how the most popular news outlet in the Arab world covered it. It's puts Bollinger's criticism right up front.

Posted by The Bullfrog | September 25, 2007 7:09 AM

It is no doubt true that some proportion of the Iranian population has regular and, importantly, unfettered access to the Internet. I do not know how large or small that proportion is, nor I believe does anyone else.

However, in a society where the ruling theocrats dictate behavior to the extent they apparently can in Iran, I don't think that people tempt fate by widely communicating anti-regime versions of official news releases. If the behavioral police can imprison you for dress and other forms of private, individual choice, I'm pretty sure they can check server logs and other tracking software to see just who is reading what on the internet.

That's what totalitarian regimes are all about - we should not assume otherwise in the case of the mullahs or their captive population.

Posted by docjim505 | September 25, 2007 7:13 AM

James I. Hymas: And there's plenty of sunlight [in Iran], Cap'n. They do have the internet in Iran, plenty of English-speaking internet users, and plenty of opponents of Ahmadinejad who will ensure the full story is widely distributed.

While I'm happy to know that the mullahs' grip on Iran isn't so absolute that a few brave souls can't "get the word out", I wonder just how much "sunlight" is available to disinfect the steady stream of propaganda from the state-run media in Iran?

(rolls eyes)

Good grief...

Hymas, is this your best defense of giving Ahmadenijad a prestigious forum to spew his talking points??? That "people in Iran won't be fooled for long"??? It's akin to saying that nobody in Germany will believe Hitler for long because there are plenty of Germans who travel outside of Germany and they'll ensure that the full story gets out.

Who will the average Iranian believe? Somebody who "read on the internet" that Ahmadenijad ducked a few unpleasant questions, or state-run media that will show them images of Americans cheering their president? Even if they choose to believe the word on the street (as it were), what good will it do? There is also the indisputable fact that Ahmadenijad went to America, bearding the Great Satan in his den. That spells P-R-E-S-T-I-G-E. I recall reading about Khrushchev's trip to America toward the end of President Eisenhower's term in office: it DELIGHTED Khrushchev and was a major propaganda victory for the USSR and communism because it gave an air of legitimacy to the communist regime that had been lacking up to that point*. Those knuckleheads at Columbia have just handed the mullahs' regime in Iran a similar coup.

Further, this story will be reported outside Iran in places where there isn't internet and a large number of English-speaking people who (magically) know "the Truth" about what happened at Columbia. What will they think? Perhaps that Ahmadenijad is a fearless islamic leader who has the Americans eating out of his hand? That Iran is an equal partner of the United States in the world?



(*) See Michael Beschloss, Mayday: Eisenhower, Khrushchev, and the U-2 Affair. New York: Harper and Row, 1986.

Posted by LTC8K6 | September 25, 2007 9:39 AM

Bollinger didn't call him a petty and cruel dictator. Bollinger only said he exhibited all the signs of one. Bollinger waffled.

Posted by Terry Gain | September 25, 2007 10:03 AM

Sunlight is a good disinfectant but it's even more efffective to keep the poison in the bottle.

Anyone who had to hear Ahmadinejad speak to know his views is brain dead.

Tom Shipley's opinions don't withstand scrutiny.

Iranians who support regime change will feel more isolated after hearing Americans applaud their oppressor.

Iranians who support the regime will be fortified by seeing the support Iran's leader received in America. And all they will see is what the regime wants them to see.

Yes, it's true that the truth can be found on the interent but this is not what the vast majority will be exposed to.

The truth in America can also be found on the internet but how many many get their news from and form their opinions based on what they read and hear in the left wing MSM?

The stupidity and hubris of the left is not only bloody annoying but a threat to national security. They gave a platform to the leader of a country at war with America for 28 years just so they could enjoy their favorite sport - Bush bashing. How venal.

If they were interested in disinfecting this poison they would have invited Giuliani to debate him. The criticism from Bollinger didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. It was sloughed off,in any event. No admissions were obtained. It was tepid and essentially useless.

Posted by quickjustice | September 25, 2007 11:11 AM

Uh, Shipley: You're misinformed.

Iranians aren't Arabs. They're ethnically Persians and Shia. And the mullahs in Iran have been destroying satellite receivers for the past ten (10) years, and perhaps longer, precisely to cut off the populace from the global information system.

If you kept your misinformation to yourself, you'd merely be ignorant. When you seek to spread it around online, you become an unwitting ally of the bad guys.

By inviting Ahmadinejad, Columbia University loaned its prestige to him. They provided him with a platform and an audience. They implicitly treated his discredited ideology as worthy of serious academic attention by both faculty and students. And all of that exposes how profoundly unserious this "Ivy League" school really is. It's deeply embarrassing for them.

Coming on the heels of a media firestorm and universal outrage coming from prominent New York Democrats who were threatening to defund the university, Bollinger's aggressive attack saved Columbia University from a public relations disaster of its own creation. The Ahmadinejad speech was merely damaging to Columbia, rather than disastrous.

As for the Iranian people who continue to suffer torture, murder, and disfigurement at the hands of their own government, Bollinger's speech helped them not a whit.

Posted by TOm SHipley | September 25, 2007 11:50 AM

If you kept your misinformation to yourself, you'd merely be ignorant. When you seek to spread it around online, you become an unwitting ally of the bad guys.

So, you're telling me no one (or not many) in Iran is going to hear about Bollinger's criticism of their president. You can say this for certain?

Personally, I have to think that people get information from outlets like al jazeera and other places online on through satellite feeds.

And this story suggests that Iranians did infact see and hear Bollinger's criticism of Ahmadinejad.

If you're suggesting that Iranians are cut off from global information, doesn't that make you the ignorant one?

I'm not really sure why you're calling me misinformed. al jazeera is the most popular news source in the Arab world. I was including Iran in this. Perhaps I should have said Middle East. That better?

Another thing, Bollinger said when it was announced that Ahmadinejad was speaking that he was going to challange him sharply. And he did. It was not a reaction to criticism.

Posted by burt | September 25, 2007 12:25 PM

Censorship is a fact at Columbia and has been for some time. The Washington Times has an article about it today.

{An activist against illegal immigration was run off the stage by students last year at Columbia and his recent invitation back to the school was rescinded. The school became embroiled in a battle a few years ago after pro-Israel Jewish students complained of intimidation by pro-Palestinian professors, the New York Times reported.

John Leo, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, said he and other conservative speakers were essentially shut out by Columbia in 1998, after the school cited security concerns and limited the event to only those with Columbia badges. This prevented the bulk of the potential audience from attending, Mr. Leo said. The sponsoring group, Accuracy in Academia, withdrew the speakers and held the event in a park nearby.

"It was a form of censorship," Mr. Leo said. "It was typical of Columbia."}

Posted by James I. Hymas | September 25, 2007 12:57 PM

Holy smokes, you guys must think that Ahmadinejad is a persuasive speaker, if you're so frightened of his jabber. Tell me, do you think he is more or less convincing in person than on his blog?

There's some information about Iranian blogs in general on Wikipedia. I wouldn't trust the actual Wikipedia entry much, as always, but the references are good. I've corresponded with an Iranian I 'met' on Wikipedia. Nice guy - a little naive, maybe, but he's only 19-odd and very enthusiastic. It's possible, of course, that he's actually a secret policeman, or a 60-year-old truck driver from Pittsburgh, but if he is, then he's good at it! Anyway, he sent me some great tourist pictures of Iran from his own vacation. Beautiful place - I'd like to go sometime, once I can be assured my girlfriend & I can walk around normally and safely.

Kruschev's visit to NY was a disaster for him domestically. Russians were thoroughly embarrassed by the images of him banging his shoe on the podium and shouting "We will bury you!" ... they liked to see a little more dignity in their leaders, just like Americans. A small thing, but it probably contributed in a small way to his deposal - whether Brezhnev was an improvement, of course, is another matter entirely.

Keep the poison in the bottle? I don't want Terry Gain deciding what's bad for me and what isn't. I don't want anybody deciding what I should and should not be hearing. And would it be fair to assume that Mr. Gain also believes that anybody who watches the Presidential debates next year is also brain-dead?

Coulter? Aryan Nation? They can speak wherever they like, as far as I'm concerned. I'll even help out the organizers a little right now: don't waste much time trying to sell me a ticket.

Posted by dave | September 25, 2007 1:55 PM

About intenet access in Iran:
English language news sites on the web are not blocked in Iran, but many in Farsi are:

“…independent and dissenting voices are filtered across a range of issues pertaining to Iran, including political reform, criticism of the government, reporting on human rights issues, and minority and women’s rights. Filtering in these areas, across nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), blogs, and thematic Web sites, is inconsistent and limited when content is provided solely in English, and much more substantial and complete across ISPs for sites relating to Iran or in Farsi. For example, while no independent media sites or newspapers available only in English were filtered across all ISPs tested, a large majority of similar sites relating to Iran or composed in Farsi were consistently blocked… All seven ISPs tested blocked access to almost the same list of human rights, political reform, and opposition sites. All ISPs kept access to international watchdogs such as Amnesty International and FIDH open, but unilaterally blocked Iran-focused groups such as the Society for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran…”

Many people know English in Iran, and the news they can get from unblocked independent media sites in English undoubtedly gets around.

The same site says that there are over 400,000 Farsi language blogs in Iran, and 7.1 million people online

This obviously biased site claims that 28 bloggers have been imprisoned in Iran, getting sentences from 1 to 3 months:

In a country with 400,000 bloggers, if 28 were jailed for a couple months each, that does not sound too excessive, especially when details of the circumstances of the arrests are not given.

Posted by James I. Hymas | September 25, 2007 2:40 PM

Sounds like 28 too many imprisoned bloggers to me, particularly given the allegations of torture and trivial nature of the offenses cited.

Too bad Ahmadinejad was not questioned and challenged about these claims by American bloggers who had researched the issues.

Posted by adam | September 25, 2007 3:16 PM

Listen to yourselves! Where is your common sense people! I just saw political and military videos representing a possible war with iran and 80% of the comments urged for america to be whiped off the map/ america turning iran into a wasteland, what makes it ok for americans to say that and not ok for iran's president to merely say that israel's REGIME government should be whiped off the planet and replaced! NOT THE NATION ITSELF. You think you guys are more sophisticated than he is? Your president never found binladed nor wmd in iraq, he killed thousands of innocent people, your people shot eachother and rioted to get a ps3. Americans never show the fact of what their people are saying about whiping iran off the map. Think about that! The american people said this, thats worse than bush saying it.

Posted by James I. Hymas | September 25, 2007 4:11 PM

The american people said this, thats worse than bush saying it.

Adam - I take it you're Iranian? I'll thank you for joining in - I suspect that nobody else will, they're more likely to criticize your English. In perfect Farsi, of course.

Don't judge the American people by blog commentators. I'm from Canada; the Americans I know are entirely rational and friendly to a fault; quite the opposite from the impression given by most blog comments.

Posted by Terry Gain | September 25, 2007 4:20 PM

Too bad Ahmadinejad was not questioned and challenged about these claims by American bloggers who had researched the issues.

How naive. He simply would have denied it.

28 too many or not, you want to give him a platform because you think all problems can be solved with talk.Unfortunately, history has shown this to be untrue.

Once the opinions of people like Ahmadinejad are known the minimum we can do is not give them a platform to spread their poison. Allowing him to speak in the hope that perhaps the dumbed down hyenas might perhaps suddenly grasp the essence of his evil comes at too high a price.

The James Hymas' of this world should find a less problematic way to educate themselves.

Posted by James I. Hymas | September 25, 2007 5:09 PM

because you think all problems can be solved with talk.

Ah, Terry, Terry, so now you not only want to regulate which lectures I may attend, you're claiming the right to do so because you know what I think?

I don't know about the cruelty part, but I'd say that you, too, are showing the characteristics of a petty dictator.

Posted by James I. Hymas | September 25, 2007 6:23 PM


OK, so maybe an American blogger actually has the intellectual curiosity to investigate one of the claims of persecution, verifies it, posts his findings on his blog, challenges Ahmadinejad and meets with nothing but bland denial.

Don't you think that this costs Ahmadinejad some credibility at home?

Look at the gay thing, with Ahmadinejad denying that there are any gays in Iran. Now, grant me for the sake of an argument the following points:
- there are plenty of gays in Iran. Maybe there are some who've never acted on the impulse because they're scared, maybe those who do live the life are a lot more discreet than they are in, say, San Francisco & Minneapolis, but they're there.
- they are persecuted.

In such a case, when Ahmadinejad denies their very existence, he is:
- angering those who think persecution of gays is a Very Good Thing.
- losing credibility with those in his chain of command who have responsibility for the persecution.
- making himself a laughingstock among every Iranian who knows the truth.

It may not be as exciting as a bombing run on Tehran, but it doesn't cost as much either.

Posted by Terry Gain | September 25, 2007 7:36 PM

You can listen to or read whatever you want Hymas but the prestige and resources of American Universities should not be used to elevate a dangerous and evil enemy of America to respectability or give him a platform to show the people back home that a lot of (nutty) Americans agree with him.

The Iranian government will show the idiot students clapping, not the protests.

Protests? What protests? There were no protests (just as there are no homosexuals)

I haven't advocated a bombing run on Iran. (You may fit into a particular mold, but I don't)

Strengthening the opposition in Iraq and undermining the government may eliminate the need to use force to prevent Iran from having nuclear weapons. However naive simple minded leftists have handed a propaganda victory to the regime (in Iran, where it counts) and have made a bombing run more likely.

Posted by Terry Gain | September 25, 2007 8:17 PM

If you respond to my post Hymas, please enlighten me as to what Ahmadinejad said that you didn't already know.

What was it he said that was so vital that it made his propaganda exercise a good thing or even tolerable?

Posted by James I. Hymas | September 26, 2007 10:33 AM

People talking to each other, Terry, is not something that really needs any justification.

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