Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Elaine Kolodziej Speaks

Elaine Kolodziej publishes the Wilson County News in Floresville, Texas. The Wilson County News is, without a doubt, the very best weekly newspaper in Texas and also, in many ways, better than most daily newspapers.

Her editorial, about whether the President of Iran should have been invited to speak at Columbia University this week, stirred up a vigorous discussion among her readers. Here it is:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is clueless if he expected to visit the United States, lay a wreath at Ground Zero, and not upset the American people.

Or, is he? Perhaps we are the ones who are clueless based on how Ahmadinejad’s visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York City this week is being handled by the press and by Columbia University. While we in America have come to expect such nonsense from the United Nations and CBS, shouldn’t the line be drawn when it comes to a leading U.S. university extending a civil invitation to one who declares he will wipe Israel from the face of the earth?

As the host country for the U.N. headquarters, Americans have learned to hold their collective noses at activities hosted by the United Nations. Allowing Ahmadinejad into the United States to visit the United Nations is bad enough, but inviting him to address a leading U.S. university is another matter.

Ahmadinejad said in a CBS interview during his trip to the United States that “of course” he is against any killing or any terrorist activity!

I didn’t hear the entire interview, but did they ask Ahmadinejad how exactly Iran is going to carry out its vow to “wipe Israel off the map” being that he is so opposed to killing and terrorism? Why was CBS interviewing him anyway? Did they ask about Iran’s policy toward women? Or its intolerance of gays?

Was he asked about his ties to al-Qaida, Hezbollah, and to the militants (politically correct term for terrorists because we want to be sensitive to Ahmadinejad) in Iraq? Was he asked about the bold military display in Iran on Saturday just before he left for the United States? (Among other things, the parade featured trucks hauling Iranian missiles painted with slogans such as “Down with the U.S.” and “Down with Israel.”)

Were the tough questions asked either by CBS or by students at Columbia University where Ahmadinejad had gone to participate in a forum?

Said one supporter of Columbia University’s decision to invite the Iranian leader: “It never hurts to be cordial and if nothing else, take an opportunity to get to know your enemy.”

Said Ahmadinejad, in so many words, on CBS when asked about Iranian weapons being found in Iraq, “Who do you want to believe? Me or Bush?”

So much for good faith.

Regardless of the questions asked, just allowing this man, who thinks nothing of boldly asking for our destruction and then “wanting to show respect,” to visit is a win for Ahmadinejad.

Assuming any tough questions do get asked, just his presence in a respected American university will make for great propaganda television back in his home country.

And one more point about the open-mindedness and dedication to free speech at Columbia University: This is the same esteemed organization that kicked out the ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps) years ago, and just recently denied a visit from the leader of the Minutemen, the vigilante group dedicated to protecting the borders since the government seems not to be doing it.

The United States finds itself in a predicament because of its policy of blindly following politically correct speech. It’s my contention that there is a basic difference between free speech and politically correct speech, and we no longer know the difference. - One Opinion

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