Once again, George Packer has worked his quiet outrage to fine effect. This time, Packer attacks the business-as-usual idiocy of Republicans who have vilified Columbia University’s President, Lee Bollinger, for allowing Ahmadinejad to speak there yesterday.
Bollinger introduced the infamous President of Iran (mentioned previously in this Scribblerist post), with a scathing review. He didn’t kowtow or try to gloss Ahmadinejad’s vile regime. Packer writes:
“The university knew that Ahmadinejad would dominate the event, ramble, evade questions, and engage in the kind of spurious point-making—equal parts cleverness and idiocy—that has become his trademark. All of this the Iranian President did. But not before Bollinger managed, in the course of a preëmptive introduction, to say everything that needed to be said about him, and to his face: that Ahmadinejad has the qualities of a “petty and cruel dictator,” that Iran persecutes women, gays, Bahais, scholars, and others, that Iran supports both terrorist groups and Iraqi militias that are killing American soldiers, that its nuclear ambitions have brought sanctions and isolation to a people who elected Ahmadinejad on a promise to improve their lives. And then, as a parting thought, Bollinger expressed his doubt that the Iranian President would have the “intellectual courage” to answer these charges. He was right.” (italics added)
THAT is a dressing-down. Three cheers for Bollinger. Ahmadinejad is a real assface. No one disputes that. The issue here is freedom of speech. Read Packer’s blog post to get the whole story.
Note: “Ahmadinejad” is pronounced “Ah-mah-dina-daba-jabba-daba-doo.”