Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Columbia University's Squalid Mistake

From the New York Post, by way of LGF:

COLUMBIA University President Lee Bollinger yesterday made some cutting criticisms while introducing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - but that doesn’t make the school’s decision to offer a platform to the head of a violent terrorist state any less abject, squalid or shameless.

“Abject, squalid, shameless” is how Winston Churchill described the resolution passed by Oxford University’s prestigious Debating Union in 1933 - the year Adolf Hitler came to power - that “this House will under no circumstances fight for King and Country.”

And Columbia’s event, like the 1933 Oxford resolution, sent (to quote Churchill again) a “very disquieting and disgusting message” to friends and enemies alike.

Many American’s won’t see that; their blindness goes to the heart of the “red-blue” divide in our country - much like the one in ‘30s Britain that split men like Churchill from the exponents of appeasing Europe’s dictators.

On one side of that chasm, there is outrage and incomprehension that anyone could extend an invitation to a sworn enemy of the United States to speak on an American campus (a campus, moreover, that bans its own military’s ROTC); that the head of the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism attacks be welcomed anywhere in the city that was 9/11’s principal target; that a Holocaust-denier be welcomed to a university that has so many Jewish students and alumni.
On the other side, again, there is incomprehension that anyone should be offended. And that is the problem.

President Bollinger argues that a university is above all a forum for hearing conflicting views and opinions - as if Ahmadinejad were some controversial social theorist, not the leader of the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism. In other words, this is a matter of “free speech.”
Yet the real issue is not about words but actions - actions with consequences in an ongoing conflict in which American soldiers are being killed and Iranian dissidents are being beaten and tortured every day. And what Bollinger’s actions (as opposed to his words) reveal is that Columbia somehow considers itself neutral ground in the War on Terror.

Read the whole thing...