Historian Arthur Herman speaks for me in characterizing Columbia’s hosting of Ahmadinejad yesterday as a squalid mistake. Herman draws on the appropriate Churchillian analogue to capture Columbia’s disgrace:
Adolf Hitler got the clear message of the 1933 Oxford Union debate: We will not oppose you. Regardless of Bollinger’s “tough questions” yesterday, Ahmadinejad the Iranian president is bound to use his speech to a hall of “open-minded” Americans as a major public-relations victory – and to see it as a clear sign that his enemy is divided at its heart.
As Churchill said, “There is no place for compromise in war. That invaluable process only means that soldiers are shot because their leaders in council and camp are unable to resolve.”
He added, “In war the clouds never blow over; they gather unceasingly and fall in thunderbolts.” It was the falling thunderbolts of Nazi bombs that finally convinced the appeasers of the ’30s that they had been wrong. New York City has already gone through its Blitz. What more will it take before Bollinger and his cohorts admit their squalid mistake?