Filled with his own grandiosity (about Lee Bollinger of Columbia Univ.)…

From a 9/24/07 email I sent around:

No, I’m not talking about Ahmadinejad, though that could apply to him.  I’m talking about this self-aggrandizing idiot, Lee Bollinger, President of Columbia University.  See article below.  He has taken it upon himself to take on this little evil man from Iran, armed with a poorly written, vitriolic speech that made him and Columbia (and America, for that matter) look like whining weaklings.  Ahmadinejad was right.  It was insulting what Bollinger said.  Sophomoric and insulting.  Using the introduction to spew at the man and absolve himself of a bad decision.  Just be a big boy and ignore the man and don’t give him a platform for his vitriol.  He should never have invited him to Columbia University.  But instead Bollinger has to set it up like it’s Bollinger vs. Ahmadinejad, as if it’s the Ali/Fraser fight in Madison Square Garden in 1971.  As if he is Winston Churchill facing down the man in the moustache with no help from anybody else in 1940.  Come off it, buddy.  Have a little class and a little sense.  Better to behave like Rudy Giuliani did when Arafat came to town and tried to get into a UN bash at Lincoln Center while Rudy was mayor.  He didn’t let him in, bounced him out in fact, saying something like, this is my party and the likes of you are not invited. 

NEW YORK (CNN) — Columbia University president Lee Bollinger took Iran’s president to task Monday, bluntly criticizing his record and saying he exhibits “all the signs of a petty and cruel dictator.”

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Columbia University president, Lee Bollinger, excoriated Iran’s leader Monday.

Bollinger’s assessment came as he introduced Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to an audience of students and faculty.

As he read a long list of documented actions and remarks by the firebrand Iranian leader and his government, the crowd of 600 applauded.

Ahmadinejad was at the university to give a speech and take part in a question-and-answer session.

During the introduction, Bollinger cited the Iranian government’s “brutal crackdown” on dissidents, public executions, executions of minors and other actions.

He assailed Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust as “ridiculous.”

“For the illiterate and ignorant, this is dangerous propaganda,” he said. He called the Iranian leader “either brazenly provocative or astonishingly uneducated.”

“The truth is that the Holocaust is the most documented event in human history,” he said.

“Will you cease this outrage?” he demanded.

Bollinger said he doubted Ahmadinejad would show the intellectual courage to answer questions posed to him.

Ahmadinejad opened his remarks by saying Bollinger’s introduction was discourteous, intellectually dishonest and inaccurate.

He said academic freedom should prohibit the “vaccination” of the audience with negative comments about a guest speaker and his ideas.

“I think the text read by the dear gentleman here, more than addressing me, was an insult to information and the knowledge of the audience here, present here,” Ahmadinejad said through a translator.

“In a university environment we must allow people to speak their mind, to allow everyone to talk so that the truth is eventually revealed by all,” he said.

During his introductory remarks, Bollinger said Columbia would offer a faculty position to Kian Tajbakhsh, an Iranian-American social scientist who was released last week after having been held in Iran since May.

Tajbakhsh, a Columbia graduate, will be offered a position as visiting professor of urban planning as soon as Iran lets him leave the country, he said.

Bollinger asked Ahmadinejad to allow Tajbakhsh to lead a university delegation to address collegiate audiences in Iran on the subject of freedom of speech.

During a question-and-answer period after his remarks, Ahmadinejad invited Columbia students to visit Iran and promised to provide a list of universities for them. The audience applauded.

“I am only a professor who is also a university president, and today I feel the weight of all the civilized world yearning to express the revulsion at what you stand for,” Bollinger told Ahmadinejad. “I only wish I could do better.”

After the session, Bollinger said Ahmadinejad left without properly answering many of the questions that were posed to him.

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