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Bollinger’s Fantasy World

Monday, September 24, 2007  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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First, a timely headline:“Iran smuggling missiles into Iraq: US military.”  The story begins:

Iran is smuggling advanced weapons, including surface-to-air missiles, into Iraq to be used by extremists against American troops, the US military charged on Sunday.

US military spokesman Rear Admiral Mark Fox told reporters in Baghdad that Iran was shifting sophisticated arms such as “RPG-29s, explosively-formed penetrators (EFPs), 240 mm rockets and Misagh-1 surface-to-air missiles” across its borders into Iraq.

An EFP is a feared roadside bomb which when it explodes emits a white-hot slug of molten copper that can cut through the armoured skins of US military vehicles.

Fox reiterated that Iranian national Mahmudi Farhadi, detained on Thursday in the northern province of Sulaimaniyah, is one of the kingpins in the bomb smuggling operations.

“He is a member of the Ramazan Corps, the Quds Force department responsible for all operations in Iraq,” Fox said.

Against this backdrop, Columbia invites Iran’s president to speak.  Columbia University’s president, Lee Bollinger, gives a speech stating some things that we all know to be true –that Iran is at war with the West and is a cruelly repressive regime.  Bollinger sits down, and Ahmadinejad schools him, and especially his hapless dean, as well as the audience and the world on how propaganda works.  Some, including Dean Barnett below, express surprise and admiration for the Bollinger remarks.  Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations!Bollinger’s remarks are the equivalent of the apology offered by the reckless driver to the victim of his recklessness.  The dean’s dismal performance afterwards illustrates why this was a fiasco from the start.  The too polite dean dared not cut the fanatic off or press a question as central as Israel’s right to exist! 

Meanwhile the networks catering to the jihadists will be slicing and dicing the fanatic’s remarks; he will earn the admiration of radicals across the Arab world for standing up to the Americans; and the repressed people of Iran, especially the students who cannot speak out, the press that is muzzled, and the gays who don’t exist will get all of Ahmadinejad and little if any of Bollinger.  What will they conclude?   Even a cursory examination of The Looming Tower or Inside The Jihad or any of many other serious books on the Islamist war against the West dwells on the crucial role of propaganda in pushing the extremist message, both Salafist and Shia versions.Today’s fiasco has nothing to do with  what Bollinger said, a name little known or long remembered anywhere outside of the upper West Side.  It is about the platform Columbia provided this thug who is actively engaged in the killing of American soldiers and Marines while plotting the extermination of Israel..

The absurd world of the academic left does not seem capable of imagining that skilled propagandists are at work for the other side, and that Ahmadinejad’s non-answers to the questions posed to him will benefit him and his regime.  They are naive beyond expression. 

One more example:  President Bollinger suggested that Ahmadinejad’s speech to the Council on Foreign relations last year led to Ahmadienjad’s party losing local elections, thus indulging the twin absurdities that Iranian elections are free and that open and sustained debate occurs over the airwaves which can use Ahmadinejad’s speeches against him to win elections.  “May this do that and more,” intoned Bollinger. Talk about cluelessness combined with epic self-importance. President Bollinger was actually suggesting that by hosting the fanatic he and Columbia are somehow involved in helping take down the despotic regime.

Whenever Lee Bollinger steps down as Columbia’s president,  some poor fool will toast him for his “stirring” speech today, for speaking truth to power, blah blah blah.  Nonsense.President Bollinger gave Ahmadinejad a microphone and a stage and then tried to use the underbilling to redeem his university’s sorry complicity in the legitimizing of this fanatic’s place in the world.  Columbia can black out the backdrop and deliver stern lectures that go unheard in the Islamist world, but it won’t remove the stain on its own reputation: It played a role of accessory to many lies today, delivered by a killer of our troops.

“What did you hope to accomplish by speaking at Columbia today,” the hapless dean asked.  Ahmadinejad was too polite to answer truthfully: “To find useful idiots who would allow me to deny that the facts of the Holocaust are fixed, to assert that Iran is the victim not the perpetrator of terror, that Israel’s right to exist ought to be the subject of a referendum, and to announce that there are no gays in Iran, thus sending a very clear message to the gays in Iran.  I came, in short, to find you and the audience you gave me.”

“Calling for research into the facts [of the Holocaust] when the facts are so well established represents for many a challenging of the facts themselves and a denial that something terrible occured in Europe in those years,” the dean at one point gently suggested.  How tentative.  How courteous.  How distant from the dean’s own feelings.  How carefully phrased so as not to give offense.

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