Ahmadinejad (Done Speaking.)


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No longer speaking.

Dustan,

Did you watch it? I did not; I was at work. What were your thoughts on the introduction by the Columbia's President, Ahmadinejad's presentation and the Q and A session with the Columbia's students? Also, should he have been invited to speak?

Mick

Edited by Michael Russell
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Should he have been allowed to speak?

In fact, he was invited to speak which is even worse. Inviting him to an intellectual encounter grants him the unearned sanction that he is an honest and reasonable person. He's clearly identified himself as being the opposite. Nothing that he says at Columbia can be trusted and, thus, it's fruitless for the organizers and attendees. The dark side is that Ahmadinjad will try to use the event to further his ends and this makes the invitation by Columbia immoral.

Edited by jordanz
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Should he have been allowed to speak?

In fact, he was invited to speak which is even worse. Inviting him to an intellectual encounter grants him the unearned sanction that he is an honest and reasonable person. He's clearly identified himself as being the opposite. Nothing that he says at Columbia can be trusted and, thus, it's fruitless for the organizers and attendees. The dark side is that Ahmadinjad will try to use the event to further his ends and this makes the invitation by Columbia immoral.

I had edited my post before your post; yes, he was invited.

I disagree with your assessment of Columbia; I thought President Bollinger, appropriately, dressed Ahmadinajad down. You can find the text of his remarks here.

Mick

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Dustan,

Did you watch it? I did not; I was at work. What were your thoughts on the introduction by the NYU President, Ahmadinejad's presentation and the Q and A session with the NYU students? Should he have been allowed to speak?

Mick

I started watching it midway through his speech, but I heard about the introduction in another forum. I think the introduction was extremely uncalled for, extremely unprofessional and I as an American was extremely embarrassed by it. One thing that I have learned through life is that if you invite someone to your house, you do not insult them as soon as they walk in. If the president of Columbia didn't like Ahmadinejad, he should have just said: "Now speaking the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad".

My impression of Ahmadinejad:

I think he is a very very smart man. And he came off as a very sincere person. He was very rational, and spoke more rationally than Bush does on this subject.

I think he also is a very religious person as well.

He denies wanting to attack the US and says that Iranians just want to have sovereignty over their own county and to be able to decide democratically what happens in Iran.

In regards to Palestine/Israel, he asked a very good question: Why do the Muslim Palestinians have to pay the price for what Germany did to the Jews in Europe?

He wants the Palestinians to have a say in the government of the region. I inferred that instead of having Jewish state, he supports a nonsecular Palestinian government for that entire region composed of the Jews, the Muslims and Christians all having equal vote in government. He gave an example of the Jews living in Iran (the second largest Jewish community in the Mid-East behind Israel). He said that even though the Jewish community in Iran does not have enough of a population to qualify for a representative, they are given one anyways.

I also think this is where his comment about wanting to get rid of Israel are taken out of context. I don't think he wants to kill or annihilate Israel, but wants to abolish Israel as a country and to replace it with a nonsecular government.

As far a Nuclear Power/Weapons.

He gave very good legal arguments as to why Iran should be able to pursue nuclear power. He cited that Iran has continued to cooperate with the IAE. And that they are welcomed to do inspections at any time (Bush has prevented them the last 4 times from going by the way). When asked about weapons he said that Iran does not need nuclear weapons because they do not have any ambitions on attacking anyone.

I believe that he is serious about this, but he will not be president for ever. If Iran gets nuclear power, there is every reason to believe that eventually they will make a weapon. That still does not justify invasion.

As far as the Holocaust.

He was questioned on why he thought there should be more research into the holocaust. He gave a very good answer to this. He said that why should we ever stop learning and researching history or anything else for that matter. He said that he does not understand why we continue to study all the rest of history but no one is allowed to try to get different/additional analysis on the holocaust.

As far as homosexuals:

I thought he said that there is no homosexuality (not homosexuals) in Iran. Which is slightly different. I think he said this for political (back home) reasons. He would not be the first politician to say something like this for the religious constituent (which is just about his whole country).

As far as letting him speak:

Most definitely!!! We should engage every one in dialog. Ideas are always more powerful than force. How can we expect to resolve the conflict without understanding the view points of those that we disagree with. There is no good reason not to engage them.

My overall impression is not that he is a hateful person or a crazy person. I came away with the idea that if we would just engage Iran in dialog this issue could be settled very easily. I also think that George Bush is on the war path and that Bush/Cheney/AIPAC are the main instigator in this conflict. I don't think that his government is supporting attacks against the US (this does not mean that Iranians are though, because he is not the most powerful person in Iran).

I think that if people would take the Israel goggles off and look at this situation in a rational manner, I think that we could settle the conflict there in an rational and logical way. But I don't think that is the goal of Bush or Israel. I think right now the Bush administration is the most dangerous thing to our country and to the world. I am saying this considering my self a conservative Republican who voted for Bush twice. I also believe that our relationship with Israel is also dangerous and immoral (towards our own citizens, not based on anything that Israel does). I am currently reading the Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy and it is really enraging me.

This was all off the top of my head so I am sorry if it is rambling.

--Dustan

Edited by Aggrad02
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President Bollinger joins my list of university presidents who should be fired. Two others on my list are Brodhead of Duke and the president of Virginia Tech. I invite nominations.

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Inviting him to an intellectual encounter grants him the unearned sanction that he is an honest and reasonable person. He's clearly identified himself as being the opposite. Nothing that he says at Columbia can be trusted

How did he clearly identify himself as being the opposite of honest and reasonable?

Also does that mean you trust the information that the Bush administration is feeding us on this conflcit? When the Bush administaration has clearly identified itself as dishonest and unreasonable. Are you blind to the war propaganda spewing from this administration.

This may be a stupid comment but I will stick by it. Right now if I had to pick who was closer to Hitler: Bush or Ahmadinejad. I would pick Bush hands down.

--Dustan

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I started watching it midway through his speech, but I heard about the introduction in another forum. I think the introduction was extremely uncalled for, extremely unprofessional and I as an American was extremely embarrassed by it. One thing that I have learned through life is that if you invite someone to your house, you do not insult them as soon as they walk in. If the president of Columbia didn't like Ahmadinejad, he should have just said: "Now speaking the President of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad".

You make a good point regarding Bollinger's introduction. His remarks were appropriate, but he made them at the wrong time and place. As for your points regarding the Israeli/Palestinian problem, I profoundly disagree with you.

Mick

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As for your points regarding the Israeli/Palestinian problem, I profoundly disagree with you.

Mick

Are disagreeing with my interpretation of Ahmadinejad on the conflict? Or are you disagreeing with my feeling toward our (the US) involvement with Israel.

Thanks,

Dustan

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I hear Ahmadinjad said there are no homosexuals in Iran. If that is true I wish he would stop executing those they find.

Hmmmm... I have heard that before they are married "over there," many men have sex with little boys, so as to avoid "sullying" those women who must be virgin when they are married. I've also heard that there is a lot of humping of goats and sheep over there (well, maybe apocryphal).

If so, what do you call sex with little boys? And what do you call sex with animals?

Just a rhetorical question, mind you. This is not a vocabulary test.

/sarcasm

Edited by Pam Maltzman
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Dustan,

We agree on many issues, but on the President of Iran speaking at a US University in the present context, with a cheap publicity thing by Columbia's president, this is too much for me to stomach. The USA is a free country and this is an expression of it, but I personally find the whole affair disgusting.

I, more than most I have talked to in the Objectivist community, believe in talking to the Muslim side. But there is a cost/benefit factor. When the Muslim side benefits and the reason side does not gain anything, it is not useful. I seriously doubt that Ahmadinejad or anyone near him was swayed to embrace Western values by that event, but I am certain a good number of Americans have some seeds of doubt planted where there should be none. Columbia University did free PR work for him. We should never forget that our thing is individual rights and one of the main purposes of talking to Islamic side is to persuade them to adopt individual rights and abandon tyranny.

There is one thing that is not on the table with the entire Holocaust denial thing. That was a silly little affair to isolate attention about Jew-hatred to a single event and it is actually masking a much more serious problem: antisemitism is alive and well in Middle East countries in general. Here is a small list of English translated media articles and presentations by MEMRI to see what I am talking about. This is just a small list.

Irrespective of any other consideration, irrespective of any grievance or abuse that may be alleged or carried out, there is one fact that cannot be ignored by any rational human being living in freedom: antisemitism is evil.

Raw naked evil.

Antisemitism has wrought disaster on the world more than once and it needs to be isolated and killed dead dead dead intellectually. It is contemptible regardless of who engages in it and for any reason. There is no longer any reasonable excuse for antisemitism. It is about as wrong as wrong gets.

You know that I am studying to learn about Islam to try to find ways to open dialog, but there is one thing I cannot open my heart to: tolerating antisemitism. When it is possible to discuss Israel without antisemitism, excellent. This needs to be done and I have been successful many times. But to stage events in order to plant the seeds of antisemitism once more in the world, I cannot go along with that.

Make no mistake about Ahmadinejad. He hates Jews. He is open about that. He is presently not a friend of the USA. What's worse, he is not even the man in charge in Iran to begin with. I do admit that Ahmadinejad has no guilt for having been born where he was and having risen within that society. He will inevitably reflect that culture. I have no doubt he is sincere in his beliefs. But he is not a political friend and it is not up to our universities to make him one. Defining his status is up to our elected officials and the foreign policy they carry out. We pay them to do that job.

His remark about Palestinians suffering because of the Holocause was a silly remark. Why should any people have to suffer changes during a war? Because that's what happens in wars.

Talk about a stolen concept: the entire Arabian culture was permeated with Nazism around the time modern Israel was founded (the UN part). Yet the guy asks why one tiny portion of land was given to Jews and treats it as if this were the main moral issue. There is no moral comparison between genocide and confiscation/allocation of land. The country wasn't confiscated, anyway.

Genocide is about the most naked evil mankind has ever devised. I will not justify and argue about how the founding and solidification of Israel as a nation ensued. That region is a mess and the history is turbulent ever since the end of the Ottoman empire. But Israel has a right to exist for many reasons, and one of the main ones is antisemitism.

If my research serves me well, the British Mandate of Palestine chartered by the League of Nations after WWI was given the task of establishing a homeland for Jews (among other tasks). The old documents have been nitpicked to death, but no one can deny that "Jews" and "national home" were one of the primary subject matters. Palestinians are not paying for the Holocaust. Palestine was Jewish (partly at least) way before WWII. There are other problems between Palestinians and Jews, but the Holocaust is not one of them.

One last comment. Comparing any USA President to Hitler is a mistake. I intensely dislike our present President and am horrified by some of the rights he has trampled. But Hitler? Dayaamm!!! Hitler is so low he does not even come up to Bush's foot stink.

Not even Ahmadinejad should be compared to Hitler. Ahmadinejad is a puppet and still climbing. I seriously doubt he will ever become dictator so long as he continues to be a Muslim, which almost ensures that he will never become Supreme Leader.

Michael

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My impression of Ahmadinejad:

I think he is a very very smart man. And he came off as a very sincere person. He was very rational, and spoke more rationally than Bush does on this subject.

In that case, you and I have nothing to discuss. As I stated in another thread, your perception of reality is radically different than mine.

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In that case, you and I have nothing to discuss. As I stated in another thread, your perception of reality is radically different than mine.

Jordanz,

Where do you get your information? This is important, as how reality is presented to us will affect how we perceive it.

BTW: Pulling out of the discussion because I have a different perspective from you is very troubling. Isn't thats what these discussion boards are for. Isn't it for people with similar values to come together and to try and understand ideas and the world better? To try and become better educated?

Thanks,

Dustan

Edited by Aggrad02
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My impression of Ahmadinejad:

I think he is a very very smart man. And he came off as a very sincere person. He was very rational, and spoke more rationally than Bush does on this subject.

In that case, you and I have nothing to discuss. As I stated in another thread, your perception of reality is radically different than mine.

If he's sincere he's extremely dangerous. And anybody can be rational about a, b and c, but horribly irrational about d, e and f.

--Brant

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I agree with parts of most of the varied viewpoints expressed so far on this thread. Ahmadinejad is a fanatic and a gangster, and the entire Iranian leadership is very dangerous.

But, like it or not, geopolitical realities are forcing the US to cut some kind of a deal sometime very soon and actually talk with these bastards in Tehran over the Iraq debacle and the immediate regional conflict. The US political and military position in Iraq is untenable, and damage control is urgently needed, trying to pull American troops out without leaving a power vacuum for Iran to fill. The US will try to use Iran’s distrust and fear of American “allies” on Iraq’s borders, i.e., Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to limit Iran’s future role in Iraq. But Iran will have some role there.

Part of the talks will be secret and part public. The two nations will have to talk, bluff, bargain, threaten and haggle toward some kind of settlement. This is how conflicts of this sort are historically dealt with. Ugly but true.

The public part of this loathsome dialectic has just reached a higher pitch. Stay tuned and hope that there can be found a few reality-based diplomats on each side to talk sanely together.

.

-Ross Barlow.

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I agree with parts of most of the varied viewpoints expressed so far on this thread. Ahmadinejad is a fanatic and a gangster, and the entire Iranian leadership is very dangerous.

But, like it or not, geopolitical realities are forcing the US to cut some kind of a deal sometime very soon and actually talk with these bastards in Tehran over the Iraq debacle and the immediate regional conflict. The US political and military position in Iraq is untenable, and damage control is urgently needed, trying to pull American troops out without leaving a power vacuum for Iran to fill. The US will try to use Iran’s distrust and fear of American “allies” on Iraq’s borders, i.e., Turkey and Saudi Arabia, to limit Iran’s future role in Iraq. But Iran will have some role there.

Part of the talks will be secret and part public. The two nations will have to talk, bluff, bargain, threaten and haggle toward some kind of settlement. This is how conflicts of this sort are historically dealt with. Ugly but true.

The public part of this loathsome dialectic has just reached a higher pitch. Stay tuned and hope that there can be found a few reality-based diplomats on each side to talk sanely together.

.

-Ross Barlow.

Sorry Ross. Diplomacy won't work. It will only provide a cover for Iran to continue what it has been doing and encourage more such behavior resulting in Israel eventually using very big conventional bombs against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The U.S. position in Iraq is not untenable. Diplomacy and politics might make it so.

--Brant

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For anyone who thinks that Iran is such a horrible nation that attacking it is a good idea, here is a projected scenario for just what the likely consequences of such an attack might be. The article is entitled, "What World War III May Look Like".

http://www.antiwar.com/orig/giraldi.php?articleid=11666

Martin

Very frighting scenario. May reason save us.

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