Sunday, September 23, 2007

Let's Show Ahmadinejad What America Stands For

The visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to New York has stirred up a lot of controversy and emotions. It has forced Americans answer some hard questions about what kind of country we are and what message we want to send to the rest of the world.

Ahmadinejad's plans to visit Ground Zero and lay a wreath there evoked outrage from many. "Assisting Ahmadinejad in touring Ground Zero -- hallowed ground for all Americans -- is outrageous," said former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani. If anyone should know how sacred Ground Zero is to Americans, it would be Giuliani, who was there just as much as, if not more than, the rescue workers were, taking such dignitaries and celebrities as Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz, Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov, Donald Rumsfeld and many others on guided tours of this consecrated burial ground. Of course, it is unconscionable for a politician to use Ground Zero for a photo op or to try to score political points on the tragedy of September 11 and I am glad the New York Police Department listened to Giuliani and denied Ahmadinejad permission to go there. What kind of a message would it send the world if we let someone like that use Ground Zero for a publicity stunt? Even though most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia and Iran has not been conclusively linked to the 9/11 attacks, I am sure that there are people working on making a connection and one will be revealed before we declare war on Iran.

Then Columbia University sparked new outrage by inviting Ahmadinejad to speak there, defying President Bush's stated policy of not having any dialogue at all with our enemies. Although Columbia President Lee Bollinger said that he would "introduce the event with a series of sharp challenges" about Ahmadinejad's views on the Holocaust, Israel and terrorism, many people believe that a university, which is full of impressionable young minds, is not the place for this sort of discussion. Michelle Malkin pointed out the hypocrisy of Bollinger's refusal to punish students who stopped a member of the Minutemen from speaking by rushing the stage and allowing Ahmadinejad to speak. How could the university let one group stop someone from speaking and not let another group stop someone from speaking? That kind of double standard makes a mockery of the First Amendment.

In what might be the most rapid fulfillment of Godwin's Law on record, some compared Ahmadinejad to Hitler. "Why are they inviting the Persian Hitler to Columbia?" said Columbia alumnus and conservative writer David Horowitz. "Would Columbia have invited Hitler to speak?" asked others.

Although I believe this was probably intended as a rhetorical question, Columbia Dean John Coatsworth decided that he would try to tamp down some of the heightened emotion surrounding this debate by going ahead and answering the question on Fox News: "If Hitler were in the United States and he wanted a platform from which to speak he would have plenty of platforms to speak from in the United States. If he were willing to engage in a debate and a discussion, to be challenged by Columbia students and faculty, we would certainly invite him."

But Coatsworth's attempt to inject some thought and rationality into the debate over whether Columbia should let Hitler speak (for the second time--well, almost) just raised more important questions: If you were a doctor and Hitler had a life threatening illness, would you treat him? If Hitler knocked at your door and he was bleeding and he said he had been in an automobile accident, would you invite him in to use your telephone? If you were a Catholic priest and Hitler told you in confession that he had killed six million people, would you keep your vow of silence or report him to the authorities? And finally, a question that I think would stump a lot of conservatives, if Hitler's mother wanted to abort him, would you drive her to a Planned Parenthood clinic or counsel her to keep the baby?

Although Ahmadinejad's visit has forced us to confront a lot of difficult questions, it has also given us a chance to show the rest of the world what kind of a country we are. If some people in the world have gotten the mistaken impression that America can be pushed around, I think our response to Ahmadinejad's threat to visit Ground Zero shows that we are not as weak as they may think. And though Columbia continues to defy the government by giving Ahmadinejad a forum (we'll see how they feel when they lose federal funding and alumni donations), the protests that will greet him and the number of people who called for Columbia to deny him an opportunity to speak shows that though we value the First Amendment in theory, it is not a suicide pact. Maybe they just let anyone speak at universities in Iran but that's not the American way. In America if our enemies want to spout their propaganda, first they have to get through a phalanx of very loud protesters who will try to shout them down.

People in the Middle East respect strength not weakness. By insulting Ahmadinejad and rebuffing his attempts at dialogue, we gain his respect. If we want to have peace in the Middle East, humiliating their leaders and refusing to talk to them is a good first step.

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Anonymous said...

Your showing him alright! According your blog it obviously stands for ignorance, arrogance and intolerance.

mw said...

Finally! Another Rational Liberal (albeit an anonymous one) to provide some balance to Mr. Swift's extreme Conservative views. Thank you Anon! I am exhausted by being the only rational leftist shouldering the liberal agenda at this site.

Mr. Swift, I must insist you include Anonymous in your C&L blog round-up.

Anonymous said...

Hitlerino would be the right nickname, not Hitler.

James Higham said...

You're so close to the edge, Jon, I fear you're going to be deeply misunderstood again. Er - I see it's already started.

Anonymous said...

I am 2500% behind (you go first) you, Jon!

Paying respect to innocent victims with flowers is a universal language that should be limited to representatives of Coalition of the Willing Nations (after proper clearance).

Stan said...

Well, that was one hell of an intellectual stretch. As if not letting Ahmadinejad speaking at Columbia was somehow a violation of his 1st Amendment rights, even though he has 60 minutes fly to Tehran to give him a nationally televised interview.

Or was it the hypocrisy of Malkin & co. you were emphasizing, about a speaker already on stage being shouted down and almost violently silenced, for his extremist views on securing the border, much unlike the benevolent views of Ahmadinejad.

I'm interested in your thinking when a state sponsor of murderous terrorism against Americans and Israelis has as much a right as the Secretary of Defense who had a near miss while in the Pentagon on 9/11 have morally equivalent or similar justification for visiting Ground Zero.

You should write a satire piece on when partisanship becomes paramount to nationalism. Take another hit at the right, which I'm sure you will.

Pseudonymous Blogger said...

Mr. Swift,
I must humbly interject that I think you missed the most important reason for that monster to be kept away from the site of the 9/11 attacks. I don't exactly know how to put this sir, but are you aware of what a serious breach of security that would be? I mean, he'll see everything. He'll...he'll see the big hole.

Ray Hanania said...

America claims to be the bastion of Free Speech and we should strive for Free Speech rather than political free speech. Americans are intelligent to know what is right an dwrong and we don't need anyone telling us who we should listen to or not listen too ...
Ray Hanania

Anonymous said...

Stan's right. Rumsfeld, as the murderer of many Iraqis, should not have been allowed at Ground Zero. Yes, I know Iraqis are not entirely human, but we need to encourage the perspective that they are, just as the US government backed the idea that black people were humans until finally we all accepted it. So murderers of Iraqis should be treated the same as murderers of Israelis. And Americans, but especially Israelis. Right Stan?

Cervantes said...

Well, Iran hasn't been conclusively linked to the 9/11 attacks, but that's only because the attackers think Ahmadinejad and his fellow shiites are heretics who should all be killed. Other than that minor quibble, it's obvious that they were in it together.

Stan said...

Well, so much for hypocrisy. Ahamdinejad was allowed to speak at Columbia, and guess what, no one threw him off stage despite his benevolent claim that there were no gays in Iran.

I forgot Rumsfeld as Secy. of Defense, was not allowed to kill via the military, Iraqis during a time of war, thus making him a bona fide murderer. You're right he's worse than Ahmadinejad who is ordering universities to teach certain curriculum, funding terrorist groups, purposefully killing Americans in Iraq, actively seeking nuclear weapons, while seeking the destruction of Israel.

Like I said, this over-stretched moral relativity is a symptom of partisanship over nationalism.

Anonymous said...

I have to stand with Stan in ignoring the significance of Rudy providing a tour of our hallowed ground to Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz.
If I were to dwell too much on the fact that most of the 9-11 hijackers were Saudi, that Bin laden is Saudi, that Ronald Reagan supported bin Laden when he was fighting the Evil Empire in Afganistan,that Bin ladin is still widely admired in Saudi Arabia, that the madrassas in Pakistan that gave birth to the Taliban were Saudi funded, that Saudi Arabia is probably the worlds greatest (non-state) sponsor of terrorism , and that for some reason the United States is incapable of finding Bin Laden and bringing him to justice ,I am afraid that I might fall into an over- stretched moral relativity that would interfer with my Republican nationalism.

Stan said...

Good job anonastan. Reagan and the realist democrats of the Cold War, as well as the neocons of today should have abandoned the containment policy on the grounds that we might have to shake hands with Islamists.
nk you all want Ahmadineja
They should have listened to you since back then, eh?

So, you as Americans, are just as guilty as Rumsfeld, since he's American? Much like the Saudi Prince is Saudi like the terrorists.

Of course I stand with you liberals in ignoring the fact that Ahmadinejad funds terror.

Anonymous said...

Once again I must stand with Stan in choosing to ignore the fact that Iran and the citizens of Saudi Arabia fund terrorism. That's why we shouldn't talk to them... or listen to them.... or let them talk to us.

Micgar said...

Yes I agree with Stan-here they would not let a guy who has a staunch following of National Socialists speak at Columbia, and we let some supporter of terrorists speak?!
I think we should let the National Socialists patrol the border. That would teach the border intruders a lesson! Oh. We already have those guys doing that? Then screw the UN. Those UN bastards should be taught that they cannot disagree with the US on any matter! We have the sole rights to what is right and what is wrong in this world. Screw the UN!

Anonymous said...

I liked the link to LGF about the Nazi Ambassador coming to Columbia in 1933. I guess Rumsfeld's photo shakin hands with Saddam escapes any comparison.
Great post!

Anonymous said...

I forgot to ask....did anyone get tasered at this event?

Micgar said...

Did you hear me!? Screw the UN!!

Stan said...

anonistan, if I bombed your house, would you want to have a chat about why I felt the way I did? Then you could figure out how not to be so annoying, so I won't bomb it again. Unless, you know, I feel like doing it again, but I'll promise you I won't.

micgar: National Socialists???

Micgar said...

Stan -yes our brothers in arms-the American Nazi Party and Storm Front.

Stan said...

I wasn't aware the Minutemen were part of the Nazis. I find nothing wrong with citizens bearing arms, and nothing wrong with citizens wanting to aid lawfully, the Border Patrol.

I'd hate to see any good organization get hijacked by extremists, much like the Democratic Party has.

Anonymous said...

Stan and I stand united (even though he blew up my house) in continuing to ignore the fact that the Islamic fundamentalism that gave birth to and continues to support, al-Qida comes from our friends in Saudi Arabia. We choose to blame Iran, and the extremist Democrats for the Evil in the world. We also have no problem with Nazis with guns helping patrol our borders....and that's why we can't talk to Ahmadinejad.....

Anonymous said...

Mr. Swift

You are one hundred percent correct. The very idea of letting a man who has never attacked the United States or even threatened to bomb its nuclear power plants and weapons facilities is a clear and present danger to us all. Bravo to those who stood up and stopped him from laying a wreath at Giuliani's most hallowed and sacred photo op burial ground.

Mark Lazen said...

Hear, hear! Could it be more plain that these Arab people are batshit crazy? And don't try to tell me that Persians are different from Arabs--that's just what they want you to think.

But America knows when something smells wrong!

Anonymous said...


Sorry, but I've drawing a blank at your supposed devotion to the cause of conservative Republicanism. You think the Democratic party was a good organization that just got hijacked; nay, I think it was rotten to begin with. Right away with Andrew Jackson, through the infamous James Polk, and all the way up to the latest Democratic president Bill Clinton, it has not been good for us. If we start admitting that their party has done good things on occasion, then voters start wanting to vote for them.

Just like last week; we can't be talking about how Democratic Senator Jim Webb wants troops to have adequate rest time, we have to save our time talking about the evil and its toaster screen saver. That needs to be front page news. So this week, we need to shift the focus off of Ahmadinejad, because then the public will see how the Columbia University president mocked him. If that happens, they will start questioning the message we are trying to send about subversive academics who love dictators.

We can't have that.

Stan said...

Anonastan, I'll join you in confronting Saudi Arabia. I would say screw the oil, but in a practical sense, I don't see use doing that until we're energy independent.

And I wouldn't give the Ayatollahs in Iran, a pass on acquiring a nuke, just because we have a few Nazis on our own border, or a blunder in Iraq.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't thought of that. It wouldn't be practical for us to confront the Saudis now since we need their oil and they need our dollars to fund the Sunni insurgents and al Qida in Iraq.

In the mean time why don't we do something moderate like bombing Iran and remaking the Middle East through the use of our all volunteer military?
Luckily, we could do this without ever having to talk to, or listen to, Ahmadinejad.

Stan said...

What I think is likely to happen and what I want to happen are two different things. Because I'm conservative doesn't mean I want to buddy up with Saudi Arabia. Their exported wahabism is responsible for more terrorism worldwide than perhaps any other element of Islam.

I agree we shouldn't deal with Iran until we deal with Saudi Arabia.

But I am not prepared to watch Iran send bombs and revolutionary guards across the border to kill Americans while they oppress their people and acquire a nuke.

I can think of no better way to liberate America of these hideous alliances than to be energy independent. We have the same goals, and I think we agree largely on the same threats. Yes, we should be talking to Iran like we did with the Soviets, yet perhaps more assertively. We won't get any help from Russia or China, and should Iran be unreasonable what do you suggest we do in this imperfect world?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post.
What I suggest:
1) Stop letting the Neocons at the American Enterprise Institute/PNAC run our foreign policy
2) Listen to people like Zinni who actually know something.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Stan. But I don't understand why Stan is attacking a committed conservative like Jon Swift. You are two like-minded guys who share the same political viewpoint. So why the anger Stan.

I also don't understand why President Bush didn't just arrest Ahmajabbathehutt when he landed in New York, and send him to Gitmo. This, I think, is a reasonable proposition. Or someone like Stan could have just shot him in the street. You woulda been a hero, Stan!

And I didn't see any liberals protesting against the incarceration in Iranian jails of various freedom fighters and allies of the US, such as Saad Bin Laden, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Saif al-Adel and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Nor did I hear much mention of the glorious freedom fighters of Jundullah who are tirelessly resisting the Iranian government, and are thankfully, at last, being funded by the US.

Anonymous said...


Dr. Mahita Reddy said...

That was a VERY interesting one! Seriously interesting.

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