Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said "there is a world of difference between not preventing Ahmadinejad from speaking and handing a megalomaniac a megaphone and a stage to use it."
Poor little whiny-assed Republicans, afraid to let an idiot like Ahmadinejad speak -- but Bollinger showed the world today just what a great country we have -- as he let Ahmadinejad speak after first denouncing his ideas and tactics for exactly what they are... to the loud cheers of the students and other members of the audience. Ahmadinejad was flabbergasted.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad questioned the official version of the Sept. 11 attacks and defended the right to cast doubt on the Holocaust in a tense appearance at Columbia University, whose president accused the hard-line leader of behaving like "a petty and cruel dictator."
Ahmadinejad smiled at first but appeared increasingly agitated, decrying the "insults" and "unfriendly treatment." Columbia President Lee Bollinger and audience members took him to task over Iran's human-rights record and foreign policy, as well as Ahmadinejad's statements denying the Holocaust and calling for the disappearance of Israel.
"Mr. President, you exhibit all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator," Bollinger said, to loud applause.
He said Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust might fool the illiterate and ignorant.
"When you come to a place like this it makes you simply ridiculous," Bollinger said. "The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history."
Silencing morons like Ahmadinejad accomplishes nothing.
Let them speak, then expose their lies for exactly what they are -- and that's exactly what Bollinger accomplished.
During a question and answer session, Ahmadinejad appeared tense and unsmiling, in contrast to more relaxed interviews and appearances earlier in the day.
In response to one audience, Ahmadinejad denied he was questioning the existence of the Holocaust: "Granted this happened, what does it have to do with the Palestinian people?"
But then he said he was defending the rights of European scholars, an apparent reference to a small number who have been prosecuted under national laws for denying or minimizing the Holocaust.
"There's nothing known as absolute," he said.
He reiterated his desire to visit ground zero to express sympathy with the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, but then appeared to question whether al-Qaida was responsible.
"Why did this happen? What caused it? What conditions led to it?" he said. "Who truly was involved? Who was really involved and put it all together?"
The questioning moved on to the subject of homosexuals:
Asked about executions of homosexuals in Iran, Ahmadinejad said the judiciary system executed violent criminals and high-level drug dealers, comparing them to microbes eliminated through medical treatment. Pressed specifically about punishment of homosexuals, he said: "In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country."
With the audience laughing derisively, he continued: "In Iran we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have this."
America doesn't need to hide from our enemies -- we should confront them face on.
Bollinger let Ahmadinejad have it with both barrels of the truth:
Bollinger was strongly criticized for inviting Ahmadinejad to Columbia, and had promised tough questions in his introduction to Ahmadinejad's talk. But the strident and personal nature of his attack on the president of Iran was startling.
"You are either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated," Bollinger told Ahmadinejad about the leader's Holocaust denial.
Even Bush spoke up -- speaking against the conservative right (for a change) after they'd skewered Bollinger, but the conservatives weren't satisfied -- the lying , smearing right was still on the attack:
President Bush said Ahmadinejad's appearance at Columbia "speaks volumes about really the greatness of America."
He told Fox News Channel that if Bollinger considers Ahmadinejad's visit an educational experience for Columbia students, "I guess it's OK with me."
Other American officials were less sympathetic.
On Capitol Hill, conservatives said Columbia should not have invited Ahmadinejad to speak. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said "there is a world of difference between not preventing Ahmadinejad from speaking and handing a megalomaniac a megaphone and a stage to use it."
Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., said he thought Columbia's invitation to Ahmadinejad was a mistake "because he comes literally with blood on his hands."
Huzzah Lee Bollinger - and job well done!
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