What Was Said

For those of you who are interested, here is a transcript of the events at Columbia University on Monday.

Looking back, I suppose little was gained, and perhaps something lost, by Mr. Bollinger’s caustic introduction, although for those of you who have only heard about it, it is worth reading, because it is much more than just taunting and name-calling; Bollinger makes it quite clear why a civilized world should have contempt for this regime.

But for Ahmadinejad’s admirers, it simply made him look brave to stand and take it. And for the rest of us, there was no need; we already know what the man is.

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  1. For what my two cents is worth, I didn’t see the sense in trouncing the man before he started speaking. Why bother invite him to speak if you’re going to gang up on him? I thought colleges tended to be a bit left leaning (especially NY ones). I can’t help but feel as if the speakers were nothing more than lemmings for the right wing media machine.

    But that’s my hypothesis.

    Posted October 1, 2007 at 10:38 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi Maven,

    Nice to hear from you.

    Living in New York, it is hard to see the media machine around here as being “right wing” in any imaginable sense, and I don’t think Mr. Bollinger would qualify as being on that side of the aisle either. I suppose is is a telling comment about the Left that it is so unimaginable that they would criticize any enemy of the US, even one so virulent as Ahmadinejad, that as soon as a person does so he is assumed to be a tool of the Right.

    But I do agree that little was served by being so harsh. We already knew what sort of person Ahmadinejad is.

    Posted October 1, 2007 at 10:49 am | Permalink
  3. With rags like the Post or the Daily Snooze, both with a pro-zionist agenda, both had headlines fueling the furor over Ahmadinejad’s visit… and basically to make the man feel as unwelcome as possible. I don’t understand if he’s such an enemy of the state, how was he even able to cross our border?

    Posted October 1, 2007 at 3:04 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Oh, all sorts of folks come here on UN business. It’s a safe zone for foes of the US.

    How would you define a “pro-Zionist” agenda?

    Posted October 1, 2007 at 4:18 pm | Permalink
  5. “Pro-Zionist Agenda” in a nutshell? Supporting our government’s current foreign policies as they pertain to our alliance with Israel, to the detriment of our own national security, at home and abroad, and anything that is deemed anti-Jew or the least bit anti-Israel is an abomination.

    Both of these media outlets were on a feeding fenzy, posting articles to incite an overall “inhospitable” environment during Ahmadinejad’s visit.

    Funny isn’t it? How a few decades make a difference. The Shah of Iran, hated in his own country for similarly narrow views towards his own, was welcomed in the US with open arms as an ally before his exile and the ayatollah/s took over. Yet, rather than get inside this man’s head, intellectually, they attempted to ridicule him. It just seemed “quaint.”

    Posted October 2, 2007 at 2:56 pm | Permalink
  6. Malcolm says

    Well, that was in theheyday of cold-war US foreign policy, when “stability” and realpolitik were in ascendance.

    The degree to which our alliance with Israel is in fact to our detriment is, of course, the topic of a fierce national debate, sparked in no small part by the controversial Mearshimer/Walt book on the subject. It is a tricky subject, given the long history in this country of an isolationist/anti-Semitic streak that has popped up over the years in folks like Lindbergh, Father Coughlin, and Pat Buchanan.

    I for one consider Israel to be one of our most important friends and allies.

    Frankly, I don’t suppose there’s much to be gained by getting inside Ahmadinejad’s head. I was wondering all along what on earth the invitation was supposed to accomplish, though cancelling it after it had been extended seemed wrong to me also.

    Posted October 2, 2007 at 3:07 pm | Permalink
  7. I, too, wondered what was to be gained by the invitation.

    I hope that I have not misrepresented myself as anything other than a concerned patriot. All too often in this “era,” patriotism (in the truest, Jeffersonian/Franlinian/Paineian sense) reads as isolationist, when in reality it’s self-preservationist. Jefferson had warned about our domesticity being influenced by those from afar; and yet, he was arguably one of the greatest and worst diplomats, depending upon which side your bread is buttered.

    Posted October 3, 2007 at 12:19 pm | Permalink
  8. Malcolm says

    Well, as a good neoconservative (when it comes to foreign policy, at least), I think that the world is far too interconnected for us to imagine that distant events don’t impinge upon our domestic interests.

    Posted October 3, 2007 at 12:43 pm | Permalink
  9. Apropos of something… what that something is, I’m not quite sure *grins*… I thought I’d share it herein.

    Seriously, on an existential note, it’s related to what we’re talking about if you look upon Ahmedinejad as a metaphor for all terrorists.


    Posted October 4, 2007 at 10:12 am | Permalink
  10. Malcolm says

    Sorry, I’ve had enough of the America-loathing extremist Chomsky to last me a lifetime. This is the man who thought Pol Pot was a hero. Please spare us any Ward Churchill links you may have, also.

    Posted October 4, 2007 at 10:51 am | Permalink
  11. Perhaps you have me pegged as someone I’m not. Who knows. All I shall ask in return is, “Who is Ward Churchill?” :)

    Posted October 5, 2007 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
  12. Malcolm says

    Hi Maven,

    Sorry if I made any mistaken-identity errors. And if you don’t know who Ward Churchill is, count your blessings!


    Posted October 5, 2007 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  13. See, I’ve even found “some” NOT A LOT, but some things that David Duke has written to be interesting as well. The unfortunate thing with Chomsky as well as Duke is how far the pendulum swings outside of the “mainstream.” Even a maniac is capable of moments of profound thought. I hope I didn’t scare you, as well! Trust me, I’m not a nutjob! Or at least not as far as our political discussion (as well as your subsequent post on the evolution/definition of the term “neocon.” Forgive me if any of my posts inferred I thought one way or the other of your political leanings.

    And I agree, too many folks now a days hear “neocon,” and immediately think one way or the other. I tend to think of myself as Liberal; however, the term “moderate” or “mainstream” isn’t totally gauche at this point… or is it?

    To give another perspective… sometimes I wonder if I live under a rock. I was reading in a newsgroup about an atheist named Sam Harris. And the discussion touted “Sam Harris said this…” And I kept thinking that the only Sam Harris I knew of competed on Star Search in the 80s, and now, unfortunately, has a series of ego-driven vlogs on YouTube.

    So with that, I’ll apologize for the Chomsky link:) I had no idea… seriously

    Posted October 7, 2007 at 1:35 am | Permalink
  14. Malcolm says

    Quite alright, Maven! And Noam Chomsky has had more than a few profound thoughts in his day, to put it mildly; he is regarded as one of the greatests linguists the field has ever produced. But when it comes to politics, he makes Hugo Chávez look like Barry Goldwater.

    Posted October 7, 2007 at 11:46 am | Permalink