September 24, 2007
Bollinger Rope-A-Dopes Ahmadinejad
Not Bolllinger's first rodeo, but it certainly was his best.
"Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator."
"Frankly and in all candor, Mr. President, I doubt that you will have the intellectual courage to answer these questions. But your avoiding them will have meaning for us." Bollinger Explains It All for You.
Columbias President Confronts Iranian Leader - City Room - Metro - New York Times Blog Mr. Bollinger asked Mr. Ahmadinejad: "Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator, and so I ask you, and so I ask you, why have women members of the Bahai faith, homosexuals and so many of our academic colleagues become targets of persecution in your country?"
He asked whether Mr. Ahmadinejad was using a nuclear confrontation with the West to distract from his incompetent leadership at home. He also asked to be allowed to lead a delegation of scholars to Iran to speak freely, as Mr. Ahmadinejad can do today.
He confronted Mr. Ahmadinejad over his description of the Holocaust as "a fabricated legend," calling him either "brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated." He called Columbia a world center of Jewish studies that since the 1930s has provided a home for Jewish refugees. He called the Holocaust "the most documented event in human history."
"Today I feel all the weight of the modern civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for," Mr. Bollinger told Mr. Ahmadinejad. "I only wish I could do better."
I'll be looking for the wave of apologies to President Bollinger. Starting with mine for thinking ill of his motives.
Moderate Voice's T-Steel sees the truth of it: Lee Bollinger’s opening statement and questions, along with many of the students’ questions reduced President Ahmadinejad to a melted ice cream cone on a hot sunny day.
Unlike many of his brothers-in-arms, Robert Spencer calls it like it is: Jihad Watch: Thug-In-Chief roasted at Columbia
Bloggers made him do it! Allah's position is that he is not "really "surprised" at Bollinger going after him. I guess not -- like I said, he had to do it to save face."
Dean Barnett @ Townhall.com is straightforward: "Regardless of how stupid inviting Ahmadenijad to the Columbia was in the first place, let's give Bollinger credit for standing face-to-face with evil and calling it out. Dean Bollinger, if you want to be fair about things, has either partly or fully rehabilitated his reputation with his speech today. Believe me, I didn't expect to be typing those words."
Lisa Schiffren at The Corner on National Review Online with what seems to be the emerging line on Bollinger's admirable remarks: "I thought that he was being a tough guy — even though I liked the content of the rhetoric — to compensate for what he had done by inviting Ahmadinajad."
Uncharacteristically, Michelle Malkin seems to be testing the waters: "Raves for Bollinger here [National Review]. I'm withholding judgement. If you caught it and you agree, chime in."
No retreat for BLACKFIVE: Ahm-a-nuttah-job speech "Bollinger represented his sorry peers in academia better than expected, but you can't fix stupid." Charles Johnson at LGF holds his line: lgf: Ahmadinejad's Columbia Speech, Thread 2 Lots of readers seem to think Columbia president Lee Bollinger deserves credit for his opening speech. I don't. I think it was an attempt to redeem his reputation and keep the money flowing in from alumni, and does not even begin to make up for the atrocity of giving this creature a podium at one of America's most prestigious schools.
Koz Kids (which Johnson links to in the same item) agree with him, but for slightly different reasons: Daily Kos: Bollinger's Diatribe As an American, I was stunned and embarrassed by Bollinger's harangue of Ahmedinejad. It was a craven and cowardly capitulation to political pressures, and unworthy of the academic institution that Bollinger represents.
Goldberg steps up and mans up at the The Corner on National Review Online Bollinger So Far [Jonah Goldberg] "I was against the invitation, I still am. I am no great fan of Bollinger's. But, I must give credit where due. His opening statement is about as hard-hitting and tough as one could hope for."
Kevin Price weasels around an apology with Lee Bollinger's Big Surprise "* Maybe it was a planned "set up." An opportunity to take the Iranian president to task with an unusually large audience to watch both in an auditorium and TV." No maybe about it, Kevin. Man up and apologize.
Ivy League ass-kicking: Lee Bollinger Opens Can Of Whoop-Ass "The president of Columbia, Lee Bollinger, went off on the leader Ahmadinejad (the guy that dresses casually and doesn't own a tie), in the best monotone, straight forward, educated way that I would expect a Ivy Leaguer to do."
UPDATE: Full text of Bollnger's remarks
NOW ONLINE HERE.
Jules Crittenden @ Forward Movment explains what it means with:
A Learning Moment Bollinger has just made it more acceptable for professors to speak up, and may have shifted thinking somewhat within the Ivory Tower. There is such a thing as unadulterated evil in the world about which it is not necessary to equivocate. For the rest of us ignoramuses, particularly those in Congress and the media, he has just clearly stated the case for military strikes to remove Iran's ability to menace and meddle in the affairs of its neighbors. When George Bush goes on the air to announce that air strikes are under way, he can read straight from Bollinger's text.
[A commenter to this item says: "Ahmadinejad got what he wanted. The speech wasn't for the audience, or even us. It was meaningless. The whole purpose was to legitimatize Ahmadinejad in Iran." To which I would respond that he already has the all the legitimacy that he needs. He is in control of all the propaganda tools that are to be had in Iran. What he couldn't control was what would happen at Columbia. Not only is there now a video framing him with all the things he is and stands for, there is also a video clip of his claim that there are no homosexuals in Iran. This one little clip alone will undo any "extra" legitimacy he got today.
As to those who denigrate Bollinger's condemnation because "Ahmadinejad didn't really answer his questions," well, I can only assume that Bolllinger is well-aware of the old adage, "You can't insult a whore."]
] The Truth. Can You Handle the Truth? @ AMERICAN DIGEST Posted by Vanderleun at September 24, 2007 11:10 AM
Wow. That's all I can say. Wow. Lee Bollinger wins the Red State Award for the Blue Stater with the Biggest, Brassest Balls.
Bollinger took the hit on the free speech issue, and then stood up to a tyrant. Quite a day for him. For the first time in a long time, I'm proud of a liberal.
Sorry, I must disagree. Ahmadinejad got what he wanted. The speech wasn't for the audience, or even us. It was meaningless. The whole purpose was to legitimatize Ahmadinejad in Iran. Columbia and Bollinger gave him a propaganda victory back home where what went on in the hall will never be reported, but the invitation and polite applause will be. Academia again props up a faltering tyrant and we are to be distracted by the sleight of hand of a few tough questions.
Not one Iranian in a thousand will know about what Bollinger said, but the invitation will be broadcast for years to come.
As repugnant as Ahmadenjad is, his invitation to appear and speak to the students at Columbia University serves a worthwhile purpose: it validates what we think of the man and his policies. It is knowledge gain that these students will have that could never be matched by reading or digesting MSM. As the man talks, his apologists slink back into hiding. Astonishingly ignorant or brazenly provocative? I vote the former.
I don't know enough about Lee Bollinger to have an opinion about whether he had this planned from the time he issued the invitation, but how refreshing to hear a liberal academic label evil with its' correct name, and to his face! As IB Bill says, his are the biggest today.
No doubt both men will come off smelling better, to those who give a damn, than either one deserves.
Free speech requires no platforms for enemies, no matter how 'tough' the questions. When non-answers still manage to garner applause and cheers, it's uphill all the way, and that's no way to fight.
The administration should have restricted his appearances to the UN. Once again, a waste of hopes for good will, foreign or domestic.
For those who believe Ahmadinejad was maybe exposed for what he really is, don't count on it. Seen any evidence yet that those who didn't already know now know it, or that those who don't care suddenly do, or that one mind was changed through this pitiful process?
Nor will you.
I find that very unsatisfactory. If it satisfies you, then you're not asking for much, or accepting far too little for all those expectations.
I agree that Ahmadinejad got what he wanted in terms of legitimacy. Ahmadinejad is going to broadcast the video of his response to Bollinger, with the audience giving him a loud round of applause, in Iran for years. Indeed, consider what Ahmandinejad, who obviously lives in some weird fantasy world, took away from his speech being so loudly applauded. He may even believe that he has significant support in the US and may be emboldened.
The opening "introduction" was not sufficient to make up for the damage done by Columbia.
"Distinguished Speaker Series" indeed. Bah.
From an American standpoint - you can argue that Bollinger redeemed himself. But what was Ahmadinejad's goals and aims? And did he accomplish them?
This was a propoganda victory for him. The editted video in Iran will show that elite American University welcomes the insights of their ruthless leader of their ruthless thugocracy.
It will be used to fortify his position in the middle east and in Iran, and contribute to the suffering of many. It also legitimized Ahmadinejad as someone who could be reasoned and talked to, and like the European diplomats working on a nuclear resolution, I mean resolution to the nuclear issue, it gets Iran's thugs what they want.
The question of the number of gay people in Iran, like the question of what to do with them, is small beer compared to the chance to side with someone who effectively opposes George Bush. The Columbia audience heard Ahmadinejad's ludicrous statement on gays, and chuckled, but he got rousing ovations before and afterwards. Any disgust thinking people had at Bollinger's invitation can be redirected at his school. The Kossacks' opinion is a lot closer to the mainstream at Columbia than Bollinger is.
I defended Bollinger, that East Coast Ivory Tower Tweed Sucking Dweeb, for saying something along the lines of "Yes, we would have invited Hitler in 1938." First, I think the Hitler question was a set-up. Second, most people don't know that Hitler was Time Magazine's Man of the Year in 1938.
Finally, I am not particularly interested in Bollinger's motivation for saying what he said today. Hell, my motive for not killing some idiot almost any day of the week is that I don't want to go to prison - the idiots don't care about my motive for letting them live, believe you me.
What is important is that Bollinger said what he said. Good for him.
Certainly many of the conservative blogosphere will reserve judgment and continue to say that Mahmoud should never have been asked to speak at Columbia in the first place. And they may be right. But it did happen, and given the reality, what a surprise and shocka it turned out to be! For my money, it was an amazing turnaround.
I doubt Ahmadinejad will be quite so enthusiastic about accepting another invitation there. And hey, there was no white glowing light emanating from his heinous heiness's head this time....
Columbia has taken substantial funds from the Saudis and other Sunni Gulf states.
I suspect Bollinger's message was, at least in part, a signal to Teheran that Riyadh is not pleased with their recent posturing.
Will the Minutemen be allowed on campus now?
Reminds me of an alleged episode during the Napoleontic Wars in Spain, where a British and French line faced off, and the officer of each line cordially invited the other officer to fire first. All in all very civilized; fine and dandy. Never mind the poor bastards doing the bleeding in the field.
At the very least someone should have taken a page from the tranzi playbook and indicted Ahmadinejad for crimes against humanity (as the left tried vs Pinochet, but strangely enough never vs Arafat) and offered to extradite him to the appropriate UN institution.
This would have forced the left to choose between one of their beloved UN ideals and one of their beloved anti-American dictators. Much more useful to have them go on the record on that issue.
Today, Bollinger earned applause, Ahmadinejad earned a suit of slime, and the students who couldn't discern the difference between the two, earned their right to remain ignorant (if not stupid).
Sorry, color me unimpressed. To invite A. to speak and then toss him some "have you stopped beating your women and homosexuals yet" questions seems like grandstanding of a particularly tacky sort.
I thought Bollinger redeemed himself somewhat, but I still think Ahmadinejad won the day. He got his propaganda moments. He'll get more tomorrow.
Give it a week, and wait to see what he says on Iranian TV.
If Bollinger wishes to prove that he is truly interested in the free exchange of ideas, then he will invite either Larry Summers or Donald Rumsfeld as his next guest in the Distinguished Speaker series.
Otherwise, this is nothing but shallow street theater.
I haven't had time to read/watch the entire event. Yet.
Bollinger asked real questions. Real, hard questions. But meaningless ones in the venue they occurred in.
Those questions are better asked of a supine enemy,at the point of your bayonet, more out of curiosity than any intellectual pursuit, just before spiking him.
The Twelfth Imam's highway contractor did indeed get exactly what he wanted. Bollinger and the Lib /Left set may think this episode showed stones but in reality he just barked angrily going through the hoops he helped set up.
I have noted some of the applause lines for Ahmadinejad. I am not surprised. Satan himself could manifest on Columbia's stage and get mass props for bashing Bush. Just another Ivy League cesspit.
As the Long War unfolds there needs to be a re-evaluation of the Stockholm Syndrome. Just when did the victims start inviting their murderers into their homes
before being taken hostage?
Unless being hostage to a Lefty worldview counts as a clinical symptom all by itself...?
Ahmadinejad probably presided over briefings on Quds operations in Iraq and beyond within the last four or five days. The people who sat in the audience and laughed at his jokes and clapped for his affirmation of their talking points are the same age as the Americans and Iraqis Ahmadinejad's smuggled weapons and bombs killed today.
Net win for Evil. I wish it wasn't, but there you go.
If... he will... do what I insist he do.... or.... else...
ah, the old complaint of "It's just not good enough" unless "my way of seeing the universe" is complied with now, now! NOW!
To me the whole thing was an affair in narcissism. Two people giving speeches who think far too highly of themselves, showing off for their respective acolytes.
More like a circle jerk than anything else.
"ah, the old complaint of "It's just not good enough" unless "my way of seeing the universe" is complied with now, now! NOW!"
With respect, this is nothing to do with me.
Ahmadinejad began as a footsoldier and is now at least the figurehead of an enemy we have been at war with since 1979.
Granting a US venue to this man on this day for purposes of debate is indistinguishable from having Hitler over in 43, Pol Pot in 75, or Shiek Omar today.
We do live in a wondrous times. Pity that the hard work and hard knocks that brought them are so far in the past we cannot seem to remember what evil looks like... much less what we should do when we bump against it in the night.
Ahmadinejad has once again enjoyed the hospitality of his sworn enemies. He'll speak before the UN later today(three quarters of which envies his rockstar celebrity while they must be content with being mere work-a-day dictators themselves) and then eventually wind his way back to Tehran. He will wake up tomorrow, next week, next year... and on any given day he will issue orders that kill innocents anywhere on the planet.
A few hard questions balanced out by some standing O's; I don't see him coming away as being cowed or changed in his viewpoint as a result of this visit. Like a previous commenter noted, it's the edited version that will get the most play, and Ahmadinejad HATES BUSH, so how will that edited version read? Not just in Tehran, but when it makes it through our mass media?
As the lone dissenting voice at Roger Simon's, I posted this comment before the talk.
I don't have a problem with this event. Ahmadinejad gets to speak to 400. Various Jewish groups get to organize demonstrations, the College Republican's get to join with other, no doubt progressive, campus groups to put an ad in the Spectator, so on and so forth. I think it might shake some folks up and start them thinking. I just hope the brouhaha suffices to attract plenty of news coverage.
Even so, Bollinger's remarks totally surprised me, they were far more pointed than I expected.
Having heard some of the questions and answers, I think that Bollinger got his brains beaten out.
Bollinger is so stupid that he'll go to bed tonight and every night for the rest of his life thinking that he won when, in fact, he lost and lost for all of us. The A-Man got his forum, talked about Palestine and got video of American students sitting in rapt attention of him.
Someone needs to introduce Bollinger to the concept of a controlled media and a video editing suite. It's entirely possible that even after doing so, Bollinger will still be too dense to get it.
Wouldn't you take the whole upshot of Bollinger's preface, including the need to be outright rude to an invited guest as being exhibit 1 for why he should never have been invited in the first place? When facts become fungible, and its even necessary to say that you know the person speaking will avoid answering questions ( ie deceitful or even a liar ), what kind of dialogue is there to be had? It is not highest order to invite someone just to mock or ridicule them. Even worse to not realize that the speaker may have accepted for purposes that are not at all related to the speech or anything to be said, and maybe everything to do with gaining an approval and some material that can be manipulated to sell other audiences...
This belongs at least partially in the category of Chris Rock's old joke about people who brag that they take care of their kids--"You're supposed to, you dumb @#$!##!!"
Come on, y'all. It was all just a big publicity stunt for Columbia.
Hey, thanks for stopping over to comment - and for the kind words. I answered you over at my blog, but the main pont of it is how will Mad Mahmoud's treatment actually be received (the Koz Kidz are already calling it rude, etc) and what will be the fallout.
In the Iran-Iraq War, Iran used children to sweep minefields. They used children for many such duties. Bollinger, however, thought that what the students of Columbia needed to figure out that Mahmoud and his gang are icky was his "tough" line of questions and his firm denouncements.
What a narcissistic dork.
To anyone who knows anything about Iran's history under the Ayatollahs, it's obvious that Bollinger's preening was all about Bollinger. How anyone fell for this is beyond me. Vanderleun, you need to get out more.
You know those graves with kid bits in Iran from the 1980s? Those are real, dude. Those were kids blown to bits in minefields. It wasn't a movie starring Robert Redford with some really clever dialogue about how war is tragic and we all need to learn from this. It was a pack of loons sending their own kids in waves against machine guns, artillery and mines.
And you think Bollinger laid a glove on someone who helped architect something like that? Do you think that someone who did that didn't have this planned out to the nines? Bollinger got used.
How about the applause for Mahmoud from the audience? Like that's not going to get play in the Middle East. Meanwhile it's back to the bongs for the students where they can all sit around talking about Haditha and Abu Ghraib and how we're not so different from Iran after all. Check out the Kos diarists' reactions.
This was USC vs. St. Mary's School for Girls. 121-0. Bollinger got killed and he's too dumb to know it. You should know better, too.
Columbia's President Bollingers diatribe before Iranian President Ahmadinejad even spoke a word was outrageous and shameful. Glen Greenwald has written an article over at "Salon" that reports about how different individuals and Jewish organizations threatened to cut off funding to Columbia for inviting President Ahmadinejad to speak. President Bollingers pre-emptive and below the belt tactics demonstrates once again the power of the "lobby". President Bollingers strategy was disgusting.
If Bollingers actions represent the way Journalism students at Columbia are educated/trained/brainwashed one does not need to wonder why Journalist in the US generally do not report honestly about Iran, or the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
President Bollinger and Columbia should be ashamed of themselves.
An embarassment for Columbia. Bollinger now comes off both like a dupe for giving this tyrant a platform, and like a jerk for being so rude to someone he's invited.
By "do not report honestly" you must really mean "does not report what I want to believe."
If Bollinger had never heard of Ahmadinejad, or if there had not already been countless interviews with the man in the mainstream press, perhaps the critique would have been inappropriate. But everyone knows what the Iranian president stands for, and he didn't indicate otherwise in his speech yesterday at Columbia.
The Left in this country is just as confused and deluded as Ahmadinejad. The idea of an alliance between liberal multiculturalists who support all manner of sexual freedom and "free thought," and radical religious zealots who want to enslave the world, kill all the homosexuals, and deny the Holocaust would be funny if it weren't actually true.
Columbia gained nothing by hosting Ahmadinejad. We learned nothing new, except perhaps that the Iranian president's mental illness isn't just a passing thing. And that he gets better at dodging questions with each lecture and interview.
Well just think about what Kathleen at 6:07 am has to say. We are being brainwashed apparently by the press who are Bush bootlickers and reflexively take the Administration line that Iran is a evil force.
Would that out of this the likes of Kathleen would read today's column by Dana Milbank of the Washington Post. Now Dana does have some cred with the Bush Bashers so maybe, just maybe, somehow it might pierce the fog that Kathleen perpetually travels around within. Iran's President is a dissembler and not a very good liar either. He has blood on his hands and would feel no horror to remove Tel Aviv from the face of the Earth if he can just get his hands on one "peaceful" nuclear weapon.
If that would penetrate the skull of one Kathleen, them maybe the speech at Columbia did have some redeeming value to it. I am not holding my breath on this possibility however.
If I like to "weasel" around, you certainly like to lie. You chose one of several possible conclusions on my post at Redstate.com. Only one had any bearing on his decision making, in my opinion. I concluded in my post that:
"This is my opinion, but the most important reason is that "money talks." How many alumni of Jewish descent threatened to pull the plug on the institution? How many veterans who saw their band of brothers killed at the hands of Iranian terrorists protested? How many supporters of the university who experienced little pain directly from the Iranian monster, but had abundant enough common sense to not tolerate such a choice by the university."
I think Bollinger imploded from the pressure and showed no courage at all. You demonstrate the intellectual dishonesty pervasive in the blogosphere today.
Well, there's intellectual dishonesty and then there's intellectual insanity. There's clearly more of the latter going around than the former.
1. Bollinger was trying to cover his ass with that because of the massive protest over this.
2. So Mahmoud has **free speech** rights to talk at Columbia but conservatives don't?
Color me unimpressed.
3. This nonsense isn't important because it was all done in English. What's important is how this is translated into Farsi and Arabic, and THAT is controlled by the Iranian government.
4. Soooooo. When will the JROTC have the right to talk on columbia's campus?
5. How about them military recruiters eh? The whack-job President of Iran has the First Amendment right to talk at Columbia but military recruiters ... gosh. Can't give them any right to free speech eh?
Cut off all state and federal funding to Columbia.
It seems to me that the major thrust of those that express disagreement centers around 1) past slights and future expectations of Columbia University and 2) the Amazing Kreskin argument in which the poster reveals he or she has the power to actually read Bollinger's mind.
As to 1), it does not seem to me that past or future actions bear on the issue here in any relevant way. This is not to let Columbia off the hook, only to point out that doing something right should not put it on the hook. A good act can stand alone.
As to 2) Relationship therapists of all kinds remind us that the best way to get into trouble and stay in trouble is to have an unshakable faith in mind-reading and telepathy. I've learned this to my woe and I wish others could learn it as well, but I know that in this I shall be disappointed. I also know that those who claim they know what is in another's mind are either lying or confused.
This strikes me as nothing new or commendable on Bollinger's part. He basically pulled a "Murphy Brown" on Ahmadinejad - that is he offered a friendly invitation and then ambushed his guest.
This was of course the whole point of Murphy Brown's "hard-hitting" interviews - she'd ask the senator/congressman/generic conservative on the air and ask a few softballs and then launch into the "So, are you still beating your wife? Here's the tape!" and everyone could feel good and self-righteous, etc.
Same thing here. Everyone knows the guy's a creep, but Columbia makes the big formal invitation, preens about how contrarian it all is, about how they're going to offer him an honest platform, and then they pull it out from under him and insult him. Yawn.
In classical times, this was considered treacherous and rude behavior. Hospitality was sacred. It shouldn't surprise anyone that he left - which has elevated treason to an art form - would use it here as well.
The honest thing would be to simply not invite him. To do so with mock courtesy and then trash him is typical boorish liberalism.
What an interesting topic. Kevin Price also wrote about Lee Bollinger. Check out his blog at bizplusblog.com