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.Posted by Ken Hahn at September 24, 2007 1:18 PM
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.Posted by Howard Cornell at September 24, 2007 1:29 PM
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.Posted by Robin Roberts at September 24, 2007 1:48 PM
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.Posted by bgates at September 24, 2007 1:53 PM
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.Posted by Letalis Maximus, Esq. at September 24, 2007 1:56 PM
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....Posted by Webutante at September 24, 2007 1:58 PM
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.Posted by lotp at September 24, 2007 2:00 PM
Will the Minutemen be allowed on campus now?Posted by Matt at September 24, 2007 2:12 PM
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).Posted by Famously Unknown at September 24, 2007 2:51 PM
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.Posted by tom swift at September 24, 2007 2:52 PM
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.Posted by Meryl Yourish at September 24, 2007 2:53 PM
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.Posted by brian at September 24, 2007 2:59 PM
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.Posted by TmjUtah at September 24, 2007 3:01 PM
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!Posted by vanderleun at September 24, 2007 3:04 PM
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.Posted by Gabriel at September 24, 2007 3:16 PM
"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?
Time fills.Posted by TmjUtah at September 24, 2007 3:32 PM
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.Posted by chuck at September 24, 2007 3:33 PM
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.Posted by K T Cat at September 24, 2007 3:39 PM
Read my opinions on the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visit to Columbia.
Is Ahmadinejad a dictator or is he being vilified as one?
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...Posted by Gary Maxwelll at September 24, 2007 3:48 PM
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 @#$!##!!"Posted by Colin K. at September 24, 2007 5:18 PM
Come on, y'all. It was all just a big publicity stunt for Columbia.Posted by awm03 at September 24, 2007 6:23 PM
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.Posted by Gaius at September 24, 2007 7:59 PM
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.Posted by K T Cat at September 25, 2007 4:16 AM
The crack editorial staff at The Scratching Post has video of the Bollinger - Ahmadinejad shootout.
http://ktcatspost.blogspot.com/2007/09/ahmadinejad-121-bollinger-0.htmlPosted by K T Cat at September 25, 2007 5:21 AM
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.Posted by Kathleen at September 25, 2007 6:07 AM
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.Posted by criticalreactor at September 25, 2007 6:42 AM
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.Posted by Jon at September 25, 2007 7:20 AM
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.Posted by at September 25, 2007 7:33 AM
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.Posted by Kevin Price at September 25, 2007 8:30 AM
Well, there's intellectual dishonesty and then there's intellectual insanity. There's clearly more of the latter going around than the former.Posted by vanderleun at September 25, 2007 9:10 AM
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.Posted by memomachine at September 25, 2007 11:59 AM
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.Posted by vanderleun at September 25, 2007 1:07 PM
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.Posted by Posse Incitatus at September 25, 2007 5:11 PM
What an interesting topic. Kevin Price also wrote about Lee Bollinger. Check out his blog at bizplusblog.comPosted by Dawn Lowen at October 1, 2007 12:22 PM