September 25, 2007

Reflections on Ahm-a-dim-nutjob

I've been watching the progress of the Ahmadinejad "scandal" at Columbia for a while now, and while initially highly critical of the university's decision to invite that little weasel, I find myself filled with conflicting thoughts at how it all played out in the end.

On the first hand is admiration: I never in a million years would have credited anyone in academia with the kind of courage it takes to publically insult someone like Ahmadinejad. Now, granted, the insulting took place at Columbia, safely on U.S. soil, and President Bollinger was in no real danger at the time he came out swinging.

But Lee Bollinger is a smart guy -- he has to know that if Ahmadinejad really wants the President of Columbia University dead, being in the United States isn't going to save him. I mean, the guy wants to rain nuclear fire on Israel -- you think he's going to balk at ordering a hit on an academic who peed in his Cheerios? It takes balls to tell a guy with a track history of murder and his own secret police force that he's a "petty and cruel dictator." The President of the United States might say it -- might call Iran the "Axis of Evil", for instance -- but the President has a Secret Service of his own.

On the second hand is yet another ambivalence: was it dishonest of Columbia to invite Ahmadinejad into a rhetorical ambush? Is that how one should treat guests, even murdering, lying, genocidal nutcase guests? (Given, of course, that Columbia knew of Ahmadinejad's genocidal nutcase ways prior to the invitation.) It seems a little on the sly-and-underhanded side of things, but do we really owe a duty of candor to our enemies? Horatio Hornblower (at least on the TV series) never really seemed to balk at dressing up his ship as belonging to another nation. That never really sat well with me -- it seems "against the rules" and I like to consider myself an honorable guy.

But at the same time, Columbia has performed a valuable service by trussing up and roasting that petty, cruel dictator in a public forum. People all over the planet heard him waffle about the Holocaust, and heard him say that there are no gays in Iran. (Although to be fair, what he said was that Iran doesn't have gays "like in your country." I'm actually willing to concede that point.)

It was a brilliant hornswaggle, and I'm filled with both approval and an unsettling sense of discomfort at how wonderfulyl backstabbing Lee Bollinger turned out to be.

But, before we go back to our normal, please just the facts consumption of news, let me highlight one thing that Ahmadinejad said that can forever be branded as the underlying motto of tyrants and butchers everywhere:

“There’s nothing known as absolute.”

So says the man who professes to love Allah, creator of the universe, the one true God.

So say all who plan to kill millions.

Posted by at September 25, 2007 10:18 AM | TrackBack

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