Backlash

Some conservative bloggers were quite happy when Lee Bollinger, Dean of Columbia University, denounced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday. They thought they owed Bollinger an apology. While I thought Bollinger did a good job of telling Ahmadinejad what he really is, I still maintain that it was a bad idea to invite him at all. Here's another reason why: Bollinger is being denounced by faculty and students for being "rude" to the Iranian president.

A backlash against the president of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, who on Monday delivered a harsh rebuke to President Ahmadinejad, is coming from faculty members and students who said he struck an "insulting tone" and that his remarks amounted to "schoolyard taunts." The fierceness of Mr. Bollinger's critique bought the Iranian some sympathy on campus that he didn't deserve, the critics said, and amounted to a squandered opportunity to provide a lesson in diplomacy.

Mr. Bollinger opened a two-hour program during which the Iranian president spoke and answered questions at the Roone Arledge Auditorium in Morningside Heights by calling Mr. Ahmadinejad a "petty and cruel dictator." He chastised the Iranian for calling for the destruction of Israel, funding terrorism, persecuting scholars, women, and homosexuals, denying the Holocaust, and for fighting a proxy war against America within the borders of Iraq. Mr. Bollinger also tauntingly predicted that the Iranian would lack the "intellectual courage" to offer real answers to questions from the audience.

"It's odd to invite someone and then deal with the objections to inviting him by insulting him before he gets to talk," a professor of political science at Columbia, Richard Betts, said during an interview in his office yesterday. "He's having it both ways in a sense, honoring the principle of free speech by not choosing speakers on the basis of how nice they are, but being sharp to him before he speaks."

Mr. Betts said a more appropriate introduction would have been to make clear that an invitation to speak at Columbia did not qualify as approval of the content of the speech. He said the message should have been delivered as a "less in-your-face assault."

Keep in mind that many of the people screeching about this found Stephen Colbert's verbal assault on President Bush funny, funny stuff. Many are likely regular viewers of the repulsive Keith Olberman and his deranged rants about Bush. They are more than willing to be very, very tolerant of a man who represents a regime that hangs gays (so efficiently that there may be no more gays in Iran, according to Ahmadinejad). They believe in being polite to him even though women are stoned to death in Iran. Or hanged for killing a man who raped her. They're all about being polite to the worst people on earth and as rude as possible to American leaders.

The left has never found a repulsive, murderous dictator they could not snuggle up to. Or an American president they could not savage. This is just another reason this was a really bad idea. (There are many more.)

Keep in mind that many of the people screeching about this found Stephen Colbert's verbal assault on President Bush funny, funny stuff. Many are likely regular viewers of the repulsive Keith Olberman and his deranged rants about Bush. They are more than willing to be very, very tolerant of a man who represents a regime that hangs gays (so efficiently that there may be no more gays in Iran, according to Ahmadinejad). They believe in being polite to him even though women are stoned to death in Iran. Or hanged for killing a man who raped her. They're all about being polite to the worst people on earth and as rude as possible to American leaders.

The left has never found a repulsive, murderous dictator they could not snuggle up to. Or an American president they could not savage. This is just another reason this was a really bad idea. (There are many more.)

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2 Responses to Backlash

  1. FedUp says:

    Bollinger was wrong twice – once for inviting the twit and then being intentionally rude to try to curry favor after the fact.
    Ahmadinnijad should be accorded respect as head of government – AT THE UN. He should not be spreading his lies and filth at our colleges – we can get that from professors like Ward Churchill, etc.

    It is a bitter commentary on our society when a tyrant is given more respect than our President. What is wrong with this picture?

  2. Chris says:

    Mr. Bollinger is twice the fool, once for inviting a terrorist enabler, and second for taking advantage of his guest by denouncing him by way of introduction.

    Mr. Bollinger’s denunciation accomplished nothing except to embarrass himself as a poor host. The Iranian press pretended it never happened, so Mr. Ahmadenijad can bask in his validation from addressing a prestigious Western institution. Anyone who wishes to can take whatever propaganda victory they desire from this whole debacle. In the end, Mr. Ahmadenijad gets to preen, and his enablers can point to his performance at Columbia as completely forthright and brave.

    The losers, of course, are truth, justice, and the American way. As always.

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