Yesterday the spectacle at Columbia University brought live television coverage of a speech to a new level. One day students of history will look back and wonder, what the hell were they thinking?
The very fact that this Iranian dictator would be allowed into our country defies reason. In 1988 President Reagan denied entrance to Arafat. Isn't this tyrant just as evil?
He was allowed in to speak at the United Nations, you say. OK. So, speak at the United Nations. All of the failed nations represented there will applaud him as a hero. They will have their opportunity to bash the bad America, from the comfort of their padded chairs in the auditorium, while experiencing the luxury of walking freely about our country. While being chauffeured about Manhattan not worrying so much as about paying parking fines. They will sit down to lavish lunches and dinners together, many courses of fine food and wine, and jawbone about the disgraceful U.S. of A. And that idiot Bush. Just who does he think he is anyway? They are diplomats. They are here to promote dialogue.
They are here to hear themselves speak.
I hear a lot of yammering about the First Amendment. Everyone has a right to free speech. Let me make a distinction about the free speech argument in this exercise - our founding fathers included a bill of rights, a list of amendments to our original constitution, because some important guidelines for our republic were left out of the first document. Let's think back to our American History classes, those of my day, not of today. We were taught that the founding fathers were adamant about the necessity of freedom of speech to protect the listener, as well as the speaker. The American people were to be guaranteed the right to say and write as they wished about their own government. Americans were to be guaranteed that 'the government' couldn't take away sources of information and deny access to all points of view.
Common sense must rule, though. No screaming 'fire' in a crowded theatre, for example. Just because you can say something doesn't mean you should sometimes.
There are those of the opinion that a visit and speech from the madman of Tehran would enlighten us. Dialogue would be so very helpful. Well, it was helpful, ok, but not to America. It is very helpful to the madman today in his country. The newspapers there are full of how wonderful this speech at Columbia was and how the students gave him standing ovations. They did, too. All true. There is no mention of the President of Columbia University's remarks. What a surprise.
After the speech some students were interviewed. Some of the naive answers of the young people would be sweet, even charming, if it were not all so dangerous. A student said that President Bollinger's opening remarks would counter whatever the madman said in press write-ups. She assumed that the people in Iran would read of the President's remarks in his introduction. Unfortunately, despite all that expensive, Ivy League kind of education, she is absolutely clueless in the real world.
The President of Columbia University, the one who extended the invitation to the madman to participate in the Distinguished Speaker series, in order to try to deflect some of the pressure he is under from public outrage, introduced the madman with some strong language. Too little, too late, of course, and I say he wouldn't have even bothered to make these remarks if the demonstrations had not happened. From his appearances on television chat shows, the President of Columbia looks like a standard academic elitist. The invitation should never have been made in the first place. He is a pompous bag of wind.
Columbia University has a large Jewish student and facility population. The university has a renowned Hebrew/Middle East studies program. More than 800 alums and professors of Columbia University live in Israel today. I'm guessing letters from the Alumni Association soliciting donations will go straight to the circular files in their homes and offices. Rightly so.
The madman did the usual song and dance during the lame question and answer session after his speech. Did they expect answers from this man? He rambles and filibusters. He doesn't answer questions. He answers with his own questions. He said there are no homosexuals in Iran. He said women are held with the highest respect. He said Iran has no nuclear ambitions for weapons. All lies, of course, and when pressed on the subjects he simply changed the subject. It was what he always does with questions.
How's that for dialogue? Really moved things forward, didn't it? Negotiation and 'dialogue' with madmen never works. Not since the beginning of time.
One interesting tidbit from writer Susan Jones from CNSNews.com (h/t Debbie at Right Truth) broke the news of the release of a Columbia alumnus from an Iranian prison. Remember previous mentions of Kian Tajbakhsh, the 'human rights activist' in the employ of George Soros's Open Society Institute? He was released on bail Thursday. Coincidence? Hardly. He's still in Iran and not able to leave the country, held there by the free and open government of Iran, but he is out of prison.
No one bothered to ask about Americans being held prisoner in Iran. No one bothered to ask much of anything of substance. Yes, there were questions about denying the Holocaust, about wanting to push Israel into the sea, about wanting to destroy the U.S., but those are standard questions for him and he gave standard non-answers. He had the opportunity to say Iran is a peace loving, freedom loving, human rights loving, open and accepting country.
He was given a platform.
It was a disgrace. Columbia University brought it upon themselves. The Dean of Foreign Studies even had the arrogance to say Hitler would have been a welcomed speaker before we went into WWII. Unbelievable naivety for such 'educated' people.
The madman has declared war on Israel and the United States. Just as Saddam did by shooting at the jet fighters flying in the No Fly Zones, patrolling, the madman is provoking the U.S. with his threatening hateful speech.
Funny, I didn't hear all this high and mighty free speech and dialogue enlightenment from President Bollinger and his cohorts while the leader of the Minutemen was being shouted down and the stage stormed by students acting like thugs and punks as he began his speech before the students assembled to hear him. He wasn't invited by the Distinguished Speaker series, though, not qualified by just doing what he thinks protective of his country. He was invited by student groups on campus.
I haven't seen Secretary of State Rice, or President Bollinger for that matter, lecturing at Tehran University lately. Maybe their invitations were lost in the mail.