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."
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.
Seriously, what was Bollinger thinking? You don't invite someone to speak, then introduce them by ripping them apart on stage. It's impolite at best, flat-out rude at worst -- and in the case of Ahmadinejad, who has a long and storied history of trying to provoke such behavior, moronic.
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.
And Ahmadinejad is right. That IS the point of a university environment -- something which Bollinger threw out in the name of appealing to God-knows-what.
Bollinger needs to learn the most basic rule of a Southern hostess; if you are faced with an uncultured lunatic with no manners, don't invite them -- or invite them and kill them with kindness.
After all, why bother making a scene and being the impolite one -- when they invariably make an idiot of themselves?
UPDATE: QuakerJono is thinking the same thing, only more eloquently and stuff.