Watched a bit of Iranian President Ahmadinejad's question and answer session at Columbia. He was, of course, on translation but some immediate reactions:
- He's very well briefed, prepared and quite crafty. He had all the right, non-threatening answers required.
- Like the old Soviets and their satrapies, very good at answering a question with a question. e.g., Not answering why Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism directly but noting that Iran was a victim of terrorism
- A good practitioner at making apparently innocent but false comparisons. Note his repeated call for 'further research' into the Holocaust by saying (more or less) "surely the Holocaust isn't as certain as physics which is still being constantly researched"
- A clever thank you at the end of speech where he invites Columbia students and faculty to visit Iran.
- One GRIEVOUS error however. Ahmadinejad said "There are no homosexuals in Iran." [Got this on close-captioning instead of translation]. No one asked the ideal follow up of "What happened to all of the homosexuals?" An elementary, surprising and telling error. In the mullahs' universe homosexuality cannot exist under Islamic rule. Surprised that the little hostage taker flubbed this one so badly.
Final thought: Bollinger was apparently pretty tough on his questions and not kind in his introduction. However, publicity and free speech aside allowing this snake an august public forum like Columbia University was a mistake. It conveys legitimacy where there should not be any. Let Hunter College or the New School invite him. All murderers should have competent legal counsel but not all counsel needs make themselves available.