Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Columbia President Lee Bollinger's introduction - and criticism - of Ahmedinejad was fairly tough, and in some other context would have been admirable. But it's not what Iranians will hear about from their country's media. As Ed Morrissey reports, the Iranian media
never mention Bollinger by name. Nor do the Iranian people ever hear that Bollinger called him a 'petty and cruel dictator'. What they have heard is that Americans gave him a standing ovation, that they repeatedly applauded his approach to 'international crises', and that he participated in a Q&A session.
Iran has conducted a quiet war against the United States ever since November 1979. They have supported Hezbollah when it killed 241 Marines in Lebanon, kidnapped dozens in Beirut and killed some of the hostages, and now supply weapons and training to terrorists in Iraq who kill our soldiers there. Instead of shunning such a man and such a nation, Bollinger let him conduct a propaganda campaign on his campus.
Lee Bollinger is most famous, until now, for having championed affirmative action preferences when he was president of the University of Michigan: that is almost certainly what got him the job at Columbia. Bollinger is also, by most accounts, a pleasant and decent man. When he was a law professor, he is said to have been fair and respectful toward students who didn't share his liberal views.
Perhaps Bollinger, like many other liberals in academia, genuinely doesn't understand the extremist fervour and the bullying tactics which, through liberal acquiescence, now have a grip on so many campuses, very much including Columbia's. And in just the same way, perhaps he doesn't understand how a regime like the one in Iran will use the apparent endorsement that the Columbia platform gives Ahmedinejad.
If ignorance is ever an excuse, surely it is not a plea that should be open to the presidents of Ivy League universities.