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Live-Blogging Ahmadinejad (Updated)

Today could prove to be an interesting day in blogtopia with the arrival of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Word is that protests have already begun at Columbia University in anticipation of the Iranian leaders's arrival, and the grist has already been added to the proverbial mill with last night's 60 Minutes interview. Ahmadinejad is scheduled to speak at Columbia later today, and before the UN General Assembly tomorrow.

We expect a busy couple of days here at RealClearBlogs, so stay tuned throughout today and tomorrow for frequent updates and news on Mahmoud's visit to Manhattan. Hot Air, Malkin and Gateway Pundit are already typing at the bit, and will no doubt have updates all day.

Roger Kimball of The New Criterion gets us started, and throws the salvo at Columbia University:

President Bollinger's sophomoric conception of free speech is precisely the sort of supine intellectualism that, if consistently embraced, would make free speech impossible. President Bollinger primly lectures us that "It should never be thought that merely to listen to ideas we deplore in any way implies our endorsement of those ideas, or the weakness of our resolve to resist those ideas," etc. But he is quite wrong about that. By providing a madman like Ahmadinejad with a platform at Columbia University, President Bollinger has in effect welcomed him into the community of candid reasoners. He has granted him a patent of legitimacy that no amount of "dialogue and reason" can dissipate. In this case, "listening" is indeed tantamount to an endorsement. It reduces free speech to a species of political capitulation and renders dialogue indistinguishable from a suicide pact.


"Mahmoudapalooza" over at Malkin's place.

Memeorandum has all kinds of wonderful links on the developing story, and Michael Rubin has a thought on the academics at Columbia University:

The issue we see with Columbia is deeper than freedom of speech but rather the inconsistency with which university faculties choose to support it. If men like Richard Bulliet and Lee Bollinger, and women like Lisa Marie Anderson cared about freedom of speech, they might want to enable those who don't have it, rather than celebrate the men who have taken it away.

Meanwhile, a statement has been released by David M. Schizer, the Dean of Columbia Law.

Jason Steck of The Van Der Galiƫn Gazette points out the strange irony in Ahmadinejad's ability to speak freely in th U.S.



It gives the public an opportunity to hear him and, if Columbia is doing its job, ask him questions that enables him to attempt to explain his nation's supporting terror in Iraq and maybe elsewhere and why he denies the Holocaust. Indeed, if he attempts to answer questions, he will harm his own cause because he can't rationally answer some questions.

Hopefully, the Columbia Police will not Taser questioners for asking too tough a question of him.

Oliver Willis:

what exactly is there for the cons to be so afraid of him coming to the UN or to Columbia University? Seriously. Cons push this image of them as the tough ones and us supposedly fey liberals are to be the wilting flowers who faint at the drop of a hat. But it is indeed the right that wets its pants every time Fox puts up a TERROR ALERT graphic. It is the right who freaks out when the Justice Department arrests the latest gang of nincompoops they call a "terror cell". And it is the conservatives who think that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting the UN and a college to... talk should prompt a round of "Oh no!!!!" again and again.

9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America:

Mass murder is what the 9/11 hijackers conducted on 9/11, not an "incident." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wanted to pay his respects at Ground Zero to the 19 hijackers who murdered 3,000 innocent people on 9/11. According to the 9/11 Commission, "8 to 10 of the muscle hijackers" passed through Iran from October 2000 through February 2001 without their passports being stamped so as to avoid alerting security officials of other nations latter. Other sources say they were escorted by Iranian intelligence.

His regime is a root cause of terrorism. Iran supplies weapons and training to murder America's son and daughters in Iraq. There they continue a 28 year tradition of directing or assisting terrorists against the "Great Satan."


Mike Gravel weighs in at Huffington Post:

Today Iran is Afghanistan's principle trade partner and according to Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Iran "has been a helper and a solution" in his fight against the Taliban. I trust Karzai's assessment of his relationship with Iran much more than I do George Bush's claims that Iran is a destabilizing force in Afghanistan.

Do we have grievances against the Iranian state? Of course, the 1979-80 hostage crisis was a gross violation of international law. Right now anti-American elements in Iran are supporting the Iraqi insurgency that kills our service people. But remember, our record with Iran is far from clean. Our government overthrew Iran's democratically elected, secular government under Mosaddeq in 1953. Over the subsequent decades we supported the oppressive Shah and trained his brutal secret police, the SAVAK. Right now we are once again orchestrating covert operations to undermine the Iranian government. Both our countries have legitimate grievances against each other. But we can either dwell on our past or work to avoid future bloodshed.


Pajamas Media has a fantastic roundup on blog & media reaction, thus doing my job for me!

Meanwhile, Allah points out that you can watch a live-feed of Ahmadinejad's speech here.

Other snippets:

Dan Riehl:

I'm watching via CBS - would someone tell the windbag from Columbia this isn't about him? Geesh. He's gone on so long in his intro, however demeaning to Mahmou-mou, it'll be that much easier for him to dodge.


Bollinger apparently trying to quell things went into bad cop mode on Ahmadinejad launching into a 30 minute "blistering introduction". Why am I not convinced of his sincerity. Would he have done the same to Hitler?

Taylor Marsh:

Mr. Ahmadinejad is unlikely to fall into any traps. Sociopaths rarely do, especially if they've already got the limelight, and Mr. Bush has made sure that's the case. After all, Ahmadinejad is not O.J. But will this visit make it less likely that the U.S. will go to war with Iran?


Apparently, there are no homosexuals in Iran.

Also, Matt Stoller of Open Left tells us why he thinks conservatives are in a frenzy over Ahmadinejad's NYC field trip. I share my thoughts on this at The Gazette.

Please check out Day 2 of Live-Blogging Ahmadinejad!

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