Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ahmadinejad's 2007 U.S. Tour

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran will be speaking at the United Nations next week. I am not comfortable with the thought of our government allowing him to travel to the United States. However, as part of our treaty to host the U.N., we have agreed to allow those who the U.N. calls to speak into our country. What I am more outraged about is Ahmadinejad’s current plans to speak at Columbia University and to visit Ground Zero.

Columbia University was contacted by an Iranian Ambassador and asked to allow the President of Iran to deliver a speech at the University. The President of Columbia University, Lee Bollinger, will introduce the man who has denied the holocaust and who has threatened to wipe Israel from the face of the planet. The University describes this as an, “…opportunity for faculty and students to engage the President of Iran.” Mr. Bollinger said he told the Iranians that Ahmadinejad would be introduced with, “…a series of sharp challenges…” on the issues facing Iran. I am sure the thought of facing the President of Columbia University has frightened the man who has given the proverbial finger to the world while he seeks a nuclear program for Iran. Mr. Bollinger also says, “It is a critical premise of freedom of speech that we do not honor the dishonorable when we open the public forum to their voices. To hold otherwise would make vigorous debate impossible.” Mr. Bollinger has extended this courtesy to a man who is responsible for killing Americans. At the same time, Mr. Bollinger has refused to extend the same courtesy to the ROTC program. While he will allow someone such as Mr. Ahmadinejad the “freedom of speech,” at Columbia University, in 2005 Mr. Bollinger helped defeat an effort to bring the ROTC program back to Columbia. Terrorist and tyrants are apparently welcomed at Columbia University, but not those who would defend against them.

If this doesn’t sound like a PR coup for Iran, then the President’s next stop on his agenda will. The President of the country that helps fund and organize Hezbollah will visit Ground Zero. Think of how these two events will play on Arab television. President Ahmadinejad will be shown addressing a group of America’s Youth. This image will fade to scenes of Ahmadinejad touring the site of the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

So that this doesn’t sound like a simple partisan issue, I thought I would close with statements from a Republican Presidential candidate and a Democratic Presidential candidate. Both quotes come from WABC in New York by way of Matt Drudge:

“Under no circumstances should the NYPD or any other American authority assist President Ahmadinejad in visiting Ground Zero. This is a man who has made threats against America and Israel, is harboring bin Laden’s son and other al-Queda leaders, is shipping arms to Iraqi insurgents and is pursuing the development of nuclear weapons. Assisting Ahmadinejad in touring Ground Zero – hallowed ground for all Americans – is outrageous.”

-- Mayor Rudy Giuliani

“It is unacceptable for Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who refuses to renounce and end his own country’s support for terrorism, to visit the site of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil in our nation’s history.”

-- Senator Hillary Clinton

We have agreement on an issue that truly should be offensive to all Americans.


Andy D said...


American Congress For Truth has started a petition to keep Ahmadenijad from speaking at Columbia University. If you want to sign it, go here.

Kram said...

At least he's not getting his photo-op at the World Trade Center.

Anonymous said...

As long as there is an opportunity for open and vigorous debate, why not let a university be the site for hashing out issues of world peace, terrorism, imperialism, etc.

I can't stand George W. Bush, but I would welcome him at my university ASSUMING he actually had to answer real questions in an some kind of vigorous forum (and assuming we wouldn't get tasered and arrested for asking him).

Much of the idea of the university (that it has a "campus" and a "quad," etc.) is that it is a way of fighting without killing. Our arguments are our weapons, and reality is what determines the "winner." It's a lot cheaper and more healthy than bombing each other. Of course, sometimes it may come to war, but universities try to seek the truth through real debate without blowing things up. Why not go with that? Let the best, most true, most ethical ideas win... If we can't do that at our great universities, where can we do that?

Andy D said...

In an ideal world you are absolutely correct. If Ahmadinejad were simply arguing for one point of view, I would also agree with you. And if this was going to simply be an open debate, I might could stomach it. However, that is not the case.

The Iranian President has put some of his ideas into place already. He is working to put the rest of those ideas in to place as well. Mr. Ahmadinejad has already participated in some pretty bloody things, and continues to work to kill American soldiers today. There is nothing that anyone can say to him at Columbia University that will change his mind. He is already undermining this debate before it begins. In addition, I promise you that film footage from this will be used by him in the Middle East to continue to advance his agenda. Not only does he undermine the debate, he corrupts the very process by using something that should be an “open debate” and turning it into PR for his own purposes.

Our universities should be the place for all ideas to be considered. Columbia has claimed to invite Mr. Ahmadinejad as an expression of free speech. This weekend they went one step further and said they would have invited Hilter if the opportunity presented itself. Monsters like Hilter and Ahmadinejad have no interest in debating a position. They want to use your good will against you. Further soiling the “Free speech” debate is that Columbia has uninvited the Minute Men and continue to bar ROTC from their campus. Does this really sound like a place where all ideas are welcome?

Anonymous said...

I have just read over a large part of the transcript from Ahmadinejad's talk (and the Q&A) at Columbia. It appears that the serious questions raised there, Ahmadinejad's dodgy and sometimes ridiculous answers, as well as a few important points he made will make the Columbia event by far the most productive part of his visit.

The U.S. looks strong and courageous to have the discussion. The guy's ideas get a full public viewing (unfiltered by the talking heads of Fox, CNN or Iranian TV), he heard some really sharp critiques of his own policies, we all learned a lot, and nobody got killed in the process.

I think Columbia--and the U.S.--did something great today. Iran, of course, probably wouldn't have such an open forum if they hosted Bush. We've got something to teach them. And we were teaching today. It's a strong, proud, day for America.

Andy D said...

I hope you turn out to be right, and I turn out to be wrong. I think it was a bad idea to allow him into our country in the first place. My fear is that no matter what was said yesterday, he will be able to spin it as a PR deal in the Middle East. If the message gets out that he wasn't truthful with his answers yesterday, and that some of his answers were simply absurd, it might be worth it.

If yesterday causes more people to realize the threat Ahmadinejad is, then it might be worth it.

Brandon said...

Andy: I held off commenting until now, because I wanted to see how the speech went. I think that we should invite Ahmadenijad to speak every month.

Every time he makes a speech, whether it's at Columbia University or the U.N. General Assembly, he only further illustrates why he is so ineffective as a leader and why 99.9% of the world rejects his ideology.

Besides, as the President of the IRI, he has no real power. He can set domestic policy, as long as Khameini approves, but he cannot make any foreign policy decisions, only Khameini can do that. That's why I believe that Iran will not attack Israel, Khameini wants to keep his government in power, he won't make a decision that would cause his government to fall.