Traitors Who Teach: Columbia University

One of the themes our presidential candidates are running on is “repairing our image overseas.”

Now while we do have a well-funded State Department to handle diplomacy, supermodels, movie stars, and other members of the pop culture intelligentsia routinely meet with some who are formally considered our “enemy”. We can add another group of foreign policy meddlers to the list.

According to the Mehr News Agency of Iran,

“An academic delegation of Columbia University professors and deans of faculties plans to visit Tehran to officially apologize to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad.”

As some of you may remember, last fall President Mahmud was invited to speak at Columbia and was not met with the expected open arms. Ahmadinejad probably expected to be embraced by a bunch of America-bashing Bush haters and he’d be preaching to the choir.

“The delegation plans to express regret for the insulting remarks Columbia University President Lee Bollinger directed at Ahmadinejad on September 24 in his introductory speech, the Mehr News Agency correspondent in New York reported.”

CU President Bollinger was under the appropriate pressure to remind his students that Ahmadinejad was not your average visiting speaker. He did so, and later Mahmud kind of embarrassed himself when he insisted there were no gay people in Iran.

“Since the incident, the deans and professors from the faculties of history, anthropology, Middle Eastern studies, philosophy, and Islamic studies have criticized Bollinger’s behavior toward Ahmadinejad.”

The truth hurts.

“A member of the delegation, who requested anonymity, said the main goal of the visit is to meet the Iranian president and officially apologize to him.”

So these “teachers” plan on issuing, on what will probably end up being a public apology on behalf of the American people, an apology to someone who has called for the destruction of Israel and who is pursuing nuclear weapons for future “negotiations.” Let’s not forget, this is the same Iran that just this week made provocative actions against our naval vessels in international waters in the Strait of Hormuz. Mahmud Ahmadinejad is not a nice person and these hate-America-first professors are sending the wrong message to their students, America, and the world.

As they will be used for anti-American propaganda purposes, their safety in Iran is almost assured. But should the unexpected happen and they become hostages, I wonder who these learned professors would be begging to negotiate their release? And should we want them back…?  Update:

Columbia University Denies Iranian Media Report

This just in from Columbia University….

Columbia University has issued the following statement in responses to the alleged news report by the semi-official Iranian Mehr News agency on Jan. 8th that University professors are traveling to Tehran to apologize to President Ahmadinejad: The university has no knowledge or information about the claims currently being made in the Iranian media. We ask that a clarification be added to Mr. Parks column and that verification of the facts even during the era of Google’s news value-neutral, digital age continues to be warranted. Thank you. Tanya L. Domi Senior Public Affairs Officer for International Affairs Office of Communications and Public Affairs Adjunct, School of International and Public Affairs New York, NY 10027

While I acknowledge the stupidity of believing anything coming out of Iran, the fact that the Columbia faculty has previously shown sympathy for Iranian President Ahmadinejad after his “treatment” by CU President Bollinger (who was only putting Mahmud’s past into proper perspective) was what lead me to conclude that this is an action the CU faculty could indeed take. A “Columbia University Faculty Action Committee Statement of Concern” last November read in part,

“The president’s (Bollinger) address on the occasion of President Ahmadinejad’s visit has sullied the reputation of the University with its strident tone, and has abetted a climate in which incendiary speech prevails over open debate. The president’s introductory remarks were not only uncivil and bad pedagogy, they allied the University with the Bush administration’s war in Iraq, a position anathema to many in the University community.”

Hopefully, this clarification is satisfactory.