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Ahmadinejad: Speech And Debacle

In the wake of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's much fraught welcome at Columbia University yesterday, and in consideration of today's...




In the wake of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's much fraught welcome at Columbia University yesterday, and in consideration of today's forum at United Nations, we're attempting to assemble the pieces of a tricky semantic puzzle. And we're not the only ones.

Salon's Juan Cole would argue that Ahmadinejad has been derided and condemned as part of a neo-conservative push for war with Iran. Andrew Sullivan, however, has some more immediately compelling fodder for his vitriol toward the visiting leader.

This interview between Simon Piel and Didier Billion suggests that our handling of Ahmadinejad's visit was a missed opportunity for a global step forward, both for the United States and Iran. When one takes into consideration the necessity of hosting adversarial leaders at the UN, that idea makes sense.

Clearly, Ahmadinejad's comments about the Holocaust and gays in Iran are reprehensible, ignorant, and hypocritical. But at Columbia's forum yesterday, it wasn't a situation of giving Ahmadinejad a rostrum for his rhetoric, but an opportunity for students to have him answer to them.

You tell us: Should he have been invited to Columbia? To the UN? Should he have been allowed to visit Ground Zero? What do you think will come of all this hoopla?