I am in a quandary about the appearance of the Iranian thug du jour, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in New York this week.
On the one hand, it appears to me that giving someone a platform like speaking at Columbia University only enhances his status among those who already like, agree with, or endure him.
[As an aside, the President of Columbia, Lee Bollinger who, on assumes, approved of the invitation to speak, introduced Ahmadinejad in such boorish and harsh terms that CNN reported he "opened his remarks by saying Bollinger's introduction was discourteous, intellectually dishonest and inaccurate." So, Bollinger proved himself to be abysmally stupid by inviting Ahmadinejad and appallingly rude after he did. Well, he is a New Yorker so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised.]
On the other hand, what if the ABC and Dumont networks (not, by the way, CBS) had decided that giving Senator Joe McCarthy a platform in the Spring of 1954 during what came to be known as the "Army-McCarthy Hearings" had been the wrong thing to do?
The country would might never seen the exchange between Army lawyer Joseph Welch and Sen. McCarthy:
"Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"
We are a pretty strong country and it is not likely that many Americans are going to be swayed by Ahmadinejad darkening our shores.
Fred Thompson (to whom I am a paid advisor) said that if it were up to him the whole business of Ahmadinejad going to ground zero or speaking at Columbia University would have been a non-starter because he wouldn't have allowed him a visa in the first place.
It was pointed out to Thompson that would violate the UN Charter to which he responded the charter should be changed.
I have a slightly different view (which has been expressed here before): I'm not so much in favor of the US getting out of the UN as I am the UN getting out of the US.
The United Nations should be moved - lock, stock, and diplomatic cocktail glasses - to someplace like Central Africa where the UN's presence might make a positive difference instead of just taking up valuable real estate and even more valuable parking places.
Given the visit of Ahmadinejad (and my new rule about non-fiction) I want to recommend to you a book by Mullpal Michael Ledeen, "The Iranian Time Bomb."
In addition to being a "Freedom Scholar" at the American Enterprise Institute, Dr. Ledeen and his wife have provided their country with a daughter who served with me during my time in Iraq, and a son who is a US Marine currently serving in al-Anbar province.
This is no armchair theorist.