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FROM THE EDITOR
Universities Are For Scholars, Not Thugs
JR Dieckmann
 
Universities are for scholars, not dictators and thugs. So why is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad being permitted to speak at Columbia University? Columbia President Lee Bollinger says the purpose is to inspire debate among the students. He adds "Such a debate could not take place on a university campus in Iran." Maybe Iranian universities just have better sense and more patriotism than that found on American campuses.

Columbia is one university that refuses to allow ROTC on campus or any U.S. military representatives. They refused a platform to John McCain and drove Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist out of the building before he even had a chance to deliver his message. Yet they are eager to hear the words of Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad, the leader of a country that we will likely be at war with within the next 12 months.

No doubt Columbia would have offered a platform to Adolph Hitler in the early months of 1941 as well, by today's standards.

Columbia University defends their stand against the military sighting the militaryís ďdonít ask, donít tellĒ policy on gays in the military. Yet they invite the Iranian dictator who executes homosexuals for being gay in his own country. The defense of their policy doesnít hold up when it comes to America-hating speakers.

The agenda of Columbia University has nothing to do with gays or any other minority group. It has more to do with condemning and the tearing down of America by representing it as an evil force in the world for the purpose of encouraging the changes being promoted by communists for the past half century. Columbia U. would refuse to allow a visit by the American commanding general in Iraq, but welcomes a visit by the commander of the Republican Guard in Iran.

Are not the young impressionable minds of our college students subjected to enough anti-American propaganda already? Does anyone really think that what they will hear from Ahmadi-Nejad will be anything but anti-American propaganda and lies? If it was just for debate purposes it might not be such a problem. But with the already anti-American atmosphere that exists on American campuses today, there will be those in the audience whose anti-American views will only be reinforced. This can only serve to lend more American support to the enemy and we already have too much of that in Congress and the media.

In a time of war, and especially this war with all it's propaganda and abuse of American rights to free speech, common sense dictates that adding to the enemy propaganda being fed into the soft minds of America's young is simply not in the best interests of America and should not be encouraged on Campus. Do not American colleges have some responsibility to their country? Shouldnít the government and the taxpayers who help to fund these universities demand that they represent more patriotic American views? What are we doing to our country, and what will result from it? One thing I do know is that it wonít be the America that we knew or that the nationís founders intended when these students are running the country.

Forget about all this "right to free speech." We don't have to be constantly reminded that it is an important "right" in American society. The world is already well aware of that. Just because we have the right to do something doesn't mean that we should. Ahmadi-Nijad is not an American citizen and does not have a right to appear at Columbia University to further spread his propaganda. University presidents and staff have a responsibility to use good judgment in what to allow on their campuses. On this, Columbia has failed miserably.

Why has Columbia University extended this invitation to Ahmadi-Nejad? Is it to further the education of their students? Is it to poison the minds of their students against America? Is it merely to present an opposing view to inspire debate among the students? I don't believe it is for any of these reasons. The only explanation that makes any sense is to make a name for themselves and get into the headlines by hosting controversial "big name" speakers. What else does this pitiful excuse for a college have going for it? Nothing. It needs the publicity.

Itís a real shame that patriotic Americans are not controversial enough for Columbia University and donít get the headlines that hosting one of our worst enemies gets. No, it appears that Columbia University is more interested in being the Brittany Spears and O.J. Simpson of higher learning.

According to the game plan, half of Ahmadi-Nejadís time will be spent speaking, and half will be spent answering student questions. It would be interesting to see what questions are asked and how much his answers are believed by the majority of students. Certainly there will be some students who will see the dictator for who he is, and some who will agree with his anti-American, anti-Semitic rhetoric. There may even be a few pro-American patriots in the class who get a chance to ask questions. It might be interesting to see the responses to them.

But if Ahmadi-Nejadís visit does as Bollinger says and promotes debate, then that is cause for real concern as it would indicate that there are some on the campus who agree with him, more than they agree with America.

But there is a larger reason why Ahmadi-Nejad should not be speaking at Columbia or anywhere else in this country. He was granted passage onto our shores for only one reason - to address the United Nations. His visit should be limited to that. Were the U.N. building not in the United States, he would not be coming here, not now or ever unless it was in handcuffs for his involvement in the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis or aiding terrorists in Iraq in the killing of American soldiers.

He was not granted permission to enter our country for a speaking tour, nor was it for a sightseeing tour. Ahmadi-Nejad requested a visit to ground zero at the World Trade Center under the guise of expressing his remorse for the lives lost. Privately, I think we all know it was for the purpose of his personal gloating and admiration of the devastation wrought by his Islamic brothers as well as a photo op to be used in anti-American propaganda once heís back on his own soil. Grieving for the lives of innocent victims would somehow seem out of character for an Islamic terrorist.

His request was finally denied by the Port Authority of New York and by the Secret Service for reasons of his own security. At least, that's what they said. Ahmadi-Nejad will be escorted only to the tourist area near ground zero by the Secret Service. He will not be allowed his photo op at the grave of 3000 Americans killed by his Islamic brothers and supporters. It seems someone in New York has some sense anyway.

Former New York Mayor, Ed Koch, stated in a television interview last night that the Iranian presidentís Secret Service detail should be made up of all Jewish volunteers to escort the Jew hating anti-Semite. I couldnít agree more. But with the politically correct atmosphere that seems to prevail in our government today, itís more likely that Ahmadi-Nejad will have an Islamic escort with volunteers of CAIR members.

Ahmadi-Nejad should be restricted to the purpose of his visit exclusively and not be allowed to tour anywhere on American soil. Not to the grounds of the World Trade Center, not to Columbia University, not anywhere outside the United Nations grounds. To do so will only serve to legitimize his regime by treating him as a respected foreign dignitary.

In my view, he should not be allowed on American soil at all including the U.N. grounds. Our government does reserve the right to refuse anyone entry into our country, including for purposes of speaking at the U.N. Itís already been done a couple of times before.

Why should we refuse his entry into our country? Because we donít like him, we donít trust him, and because he is one of the top two supporters of terrorism.  He is an enemy of the United States, and his activities in our country can serve no useful purpose for America. It can only serve his own devious purposes and we are foolish to accommodate his abuse of our hospitality. We are under no obligation to extend any courtesy to this man other than allow him access to the United Nations under the U.N. treaty and that is not really guaranteed.

Feeling obligated to extend this courtesy to our enemies is just one more reason for getting the anti-American U.N. off of American soil. If we wonít do that then perhaps we should use itís location in our country to limit those who visit the institution. Just think - we could refuse visas to foreign ambassadors who oppose us on the U.N. Security Council and finally get U.N. support for pro-western resolutions. If Russia and China want to stand in our way of stopping Iranís nuclear program, we just keep their U.N. Ambassadors out of our country and out of the U.N. If they want to play hardball, so can we.