Lost Opportunity

I am not a fan of President Ahmadinejad of Iran. I fondly call him Ahma-Idgit. I find his policies and viewpoints radically offensive but I was curious to see what he would say at Columbia. Gracious opposition should have been the tenor of the day – not bullying.

After the furor surrounding President Ahmadinejad's speech at Columbia University dies down, do you think that we have missed the opportunity to clarify issues and open communications with Iran?

Columbia President Lee Bollinger effectively overtook the microphone to voice his low opinion of the Iranian leader and at the same time, blew the chance to open the lines of a healthy conversation.

With Bollinger's arrogant attack on this man, he basically became a braggart in his own right. Spouting self absorbed rhetoric and chastising this leader not only defeated the purpose of this man speaking at Columbia but also he appeared the buffoon to the Country of Iran. To me it smacked of personal agenda. Why did Columbia invite Ahmadinejad to speak at one of the most erudite and discussion-driven US universities but then drag him down to the level of a chastisement of a kindergartner?

I can see the point in not allowing the Iranian dictator of the month to visit Ground Zero. Especially, in light of the alleged sale of IEDs to Iraqi terrorist factions but to invite him to speak at a campus, proceed to berate him just threw away the opportunity for the student body to open up an intelligent debate on his views versus US views.

Where do go from here? A placard that a protester was carrying on the campus stated "Free Speech For All- Even Douchebags". Unfortunately, Bollinger proved himself to be the "Douchebag".


dave said...

I'm not sure one can have an intellegent debate with a guy like that. While I also find him repulsive, I think he is also pretty shrewd.

That said, I believe if he was posed pointed questions calmy, he would bury himself with his own answers. For example his remarks that there are no homosexuals in Iran is pretty damn funny. Whatever one feels personally about same sex relationships, it's obvious that he is out of touch with reality.

I agree this was an opportunity to give him enough rope to hang himself - yet we chose to whip him with it instead.

Lost opportunity indeed.

Jude's BlogLoggin said...

Thanks Dave for your post. Bollinger would have better served his students by offering up the Iranian President and sat back and watched the show. By doing that he would have taught a valuable lesson in that he trusted their (the student body) judgement on ferreting out the truth. He should have saved his comments for the ensuing cocktail party.

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