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September 26, 2007


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Frederick Hamilton

Intriguing comments Professor Stone. They don't quite square with your university's denial of military recruiters on your campus in violation of the law on the basis of violating your "free speech rights". I think I smell a skunk in the woodpile and it is you.

Interesting how universities like Columbia find nothing wrong in banning ROTC but can have on campus those responsible for killing American military service men in purely terrorist attacks. Iran was found guilty and liable in the hundreds of millions of dollars by a federal court of the indiscriminate killing of American citizens in Beirut terrorist bombings of an American military base.

It was not legitimate for Columbia to invite him and the proof of that was in the "debate" with him. It was not a debate and it only provided Ahmadinejad with a photo op to be used back home in Iran.

Sorry, but once again you prove the point regarding the wisdom of the average American "Joe Sixpack". He wouldn't have invited Ahmadinejad, if he had the chance he would take him out back behind the barn and kick the living tar out of him. Appropriately so.

To bad Fred Thompson wasn't sitting in the White House. He claims he would not have given Ahmadinejad a visa to even enter the country. Good for him. Somehow I don't think Churchill would have let Hitler into England while they were at war with him to "debate" at Oxford. Like it or not, we have been at war with Iran for the past 30 years. No amount of talk or attempts at talking by every president from Carter on has changed their approach on killing us one bit.

Hell, invite him to the University of Chicago, he can speak with all those military recruiters you treated so well. That would make a nice juxtaposition. Free speech and all.

I am prepared for the ad hominem attacks of the enlightened readers of this blog.

Michael Martin

Now I have seen everything.

How can Prof. Stone claim that the principles of the Kalven Report should apply to Ahmadinejad but not to our own military!


I am surprised that both Mr. Hamilton and Mr. Martin would make the elementary mistake of confusing educational or political speech with commercial speech. Surely you are familiar with the distinction as it has been established in numerous court cases. Military recruiting is commercial speech, while Mr. Ahmadinejad's speech is political speech. The former enjoys no First Amendment protections; the latter does.

Mr. Hamilton goes even further: he likes the idea of beating up Mr. Ahmadinejad. Surely Mr. Hamilton is fair enough to agree that similar treatment of Americans in foreign countries that are unhappy with the USA is equally appropriate. I myself think that beating people up is always a bad thing.

Had Mr. Thompson lived up to the scenario that Mr. Hamilton posits, he could be legally impeached for violating the law.

Lastly, Mr. Hamilton's hyperbolic use of the term 'war' serves only to muddy the issues. The term is legally defined in the Constitution and there is no need to apply it incorrectly. I will, however, note with wonder just how fond of war so many conservatives seem to be. If we relax the definition somewhat and accept the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as wars, throw in the War on Terror and this new war with Iran, that puts us in four simultaneous wars. And of course, when the Republicans were in the majority they liked to talk about the "nuclear option". Vicious monsters, aren't they all? While you're at it, Mr. Hamilton, would you like to declare war on Russia, China, Venezuela, North Korea and Cuba for good measure? Why not fight 'em all?


"I am prepared for the ad hominem attacks of the enlightened readers of this blog."

As well you should be, being clearly unenlightened, as evidenced by this litmus test for ignorance of the tortured history of US-Iran relations:

"we have been at war with Iran for the past 30 years"

Q: Instead of 1912, the 40's, 1953, 1956, 1980, 2003, et al, why pick 1979?

A: Because that's the date the war mongering puppet masters install in their robots.

Pull string on wind-up dolls:

RW doll: "How can you talk about academic freedom when you don't allow ROTC?"

LW doll: "If we have been at war with Iran since 1979, providing arms to Iran was treason."

We all read the political blogs. Ever try having an original thought?

- Charles


Charles, we don't need to resort to personal attacks on Mr. Hamilton -- we've got him cold on the facts.


Say what you guys want - but there are seats at family dinner tables all across America tonight - seats that are empty and will never again be filled - because the brave men and women who filled them volunteered to defend this country and have been killed by Iran and its proxies.

Iran's past policies have killed Americans (remember the Beruit barracks? Kohbar Towers?). Iran's current policies are killing Americans (My friend's brother-in-law was killed in Bahgdad by an EFP from Iran. He was a wonderful man who left behind a widow and four children, ages 12 and younger.) Iran apparently hopes its future policies will kill many more Americans ("Death to America" is their slogan).

What part of this do you not understand? Is you academic ivory tower so isolated from reality that you do not realize that we should have been arresting and trying this person, not listining to his lecture?

One day you will wake up and realize that while we have been debating his ideas, he has been orchestrating our destuction. And America's sons and daughters will have to fight and die, once again, because of the foolishness of their elders.


BS, eras.

I very rarely stoop to ad hominems. In fact, my usual policy is to do what you say we should do but, frankly, never actually do - ignore those who are unreachable (you've dissed roach many, many times and still respond - pick a lane).

Ignorance of Vietnamese history and culture got us into that war (as admitted by Robert McNamara); ignorance of Iraqi history and culture got us into the current war; and some with the same war mongerering mentality are counting on the abysmal ignorance of the US public to get us into war with Iran.

Civility is fine when we're discussing tax rates or school vouchers. But when someone spouts ignorant, programmed nonsense that is propagated as part of an orchestrated plan to prepare the public for war, IMO you have an obligation to call them on it - which is all I think I did. Point out anything I said that any informed, honest reader of this blog wouldn't agree with and I'll apologize. Otherwise, live with it.

- Charles


Why 1979? Maybe because that was the year of the Iran Hostage Crisis? Maybe because the storming of an embassy is an act of war?

So, what exactly did the audience take away from this lecture, besides the fact that the secular leader of Iran is a total lunatic who shouldn't be running a hot dog stand, who believes that gays are a product of Western culture and any who happen to be present in his country as a result of our cultural contamination are easily gotten rid of by a necktie party?

Kourosh Ziabari

Hello dear. I invite you to read my open letter to the all inhabitants of the Earth. Iranian are not terrorists. beleive this. I would be glad to hear from you and your view about my post


"Why 1979? ..."

The LW wind-up doll answered this RW wind-up doll question only a few comments back.

Pull strings again ...

RW doll: Iranian weapons are killing US soldiers.

LW doll: Several prominent retired and on-duty miltitary officers dispute ...

I repeat, anyone have an original thought? Or at least one that wouldn't trigger 595 google hits?

- Charles


"eliminate the Zionist regime off the pages of history" does not equal "destroy Israel"

(Ahmadinejad has even used the disbanding of the Soviet Union as an example.)

C'mon. You can do better. That cheap trick is getting old.


"you might include some good liberal blogs in your blogroll"

I'm game. Got any suggestions? Most liberal blogs I've seen are horrible. Blogging just doesn't seem to be something intelligent and interesting lefties do (Does Kaus count? No, he doesn't count -- he's effectively the modern day equivalent of a 60's neoconservative.) There are 2 or 3 left-leaning econ blogs I like, and that's about it. It's just hard to find much that is intelligent or compelling on the left side of the blogosphere. Is there a lefty "Instapundit"? Is there a lefty "Marginal Revolution"? Is there a lefty "Patterico"? Is there a lefty "Volokh Conspiracy?" If there are, name them.

Really. Name them.


Well, we're certainly demonstrating the points made about the problems of political discussion on the web, aren't we? ;-)

Just a few comments:

1. The reactions towards Mr. Ahmadinejad that reflect anger are playing right into his hands. He comes off looking to the rest of the world like the reasonable man trying to establish a dialogue with the Americans, who spit upon his proferred hand of friendship. That not be the way you see it, but it's definitely the way the rest of the world sees it.

2. Charles' hostile reactions to the incorrect statements here are much the same: they make the hate-filled commentators look reasonable compared to Charles.

3. I was really taken aback by Mr. PrestoPundit's assertion that the right-wing blogs are more intelligent than the left-wing blogs. I measure the value of a blog by its information content, not the strength of its opinions. I have perused a great many blogs, and found most of the right-wing blogs to be little more than cheerleading sites where conservatives all reinforce their beliefs. I will agree that Volokh Conspiracy has a lot of substance on legal issues, but Instapundit is really just a set of links to stories, not a source of analysis and information itself. Moreover, the other two blogs you cite struck me as much more opinion than analysis.

On the leftist side, the top blog is Daily Kos, and I am surprised that you would dismiss it so lightly. Kos himself concentrates on political strategy, which is of no interest to me, but there's a mountain of great information there, more than I can possibly keep up with. Have you not read any of the energy policy analysis of Jerome a Paris? Yes, there are plenty of nutcases there, but there's also an enormous amount of really solid information. And the DKos system for evaluating and sorting stories is pretty good.

Lastly, have you visited Obsidian Wings? I find it an excellent blog with really in-depth analysis, high standards of reliability, and especially informed discussion. The community there is thoughtful, reasonable, and well-mannered. They have at least one contributor who is semi-conservative, but the bulk of the commentary is definitely liberal.

So here's a challenge I lay down before this group: can we rise to the level of commentary typical of Obsidian Wings?

Frederick Hamilton

Cold on the facts? Sorry, it is you who are abysmally wrong on the facts. Prof Stone and CAIR argued the militray recruiters not on "commercial" speech but on free speech. You are simply plain wrong on that. You can't change the Supreme Courts 8-0 "free speech" opinion or the Stone/CAIR position regarding "free speech" if you wanted to. It is in black and white. Your facts are dead cold wrong.

You do have a point however, in that the University of Chicago did give up on their "belief" in free speech for a few pieces of silver. They could have stuck to their guns (if they really did believe in their position and did exemplify moral clarity as they like to claim they represent) and simply given up the tainted pieces of silver from the federal government, but alas we know the denouement of that don't we.

Mr. Ahmadinejad at his speech to the UN explained quite nicely the illegality of the Zionist state, the fact that a nuclear state in Iran was off the table and that holocaust deniers around the world should not be held to account. At Columbia he did tell we ignorant ones that there are no gays in Iran (maybe true, they execute them). Would Columbia or the University of Chicago invite anyone to speak that executes gays for being gay? Tell the truth now. Again, it is a nice juxtaposition on free speech with Chicago, Gays, Stone, military recruiters and Ahmadinejad. To good to let pass. What rank hypocrisy. Only a liberal moral relativist mind is capable of balancing all of those issues at the same time. But look on the bright side, Chicago and Stone get to keep thier pieces of silver. You gotta love it.


"Is there a lefty "Volokh Conspiracy?"

See my comment in the post "Rx for the Blogospere". Balkinization is the closest analog to VC that I know. There are numerous others. Are you familiar with the term "blogroll"?

Just because your horizon is limited doesn't mean there's no land beyond it.

- Charles

Anonymous Bosch

I'm pretty sure that Ahmadinejad is deeply misguided, misinformed, and quite possibly delusional (not being a psychiatrist, I'll refrain from making clinical diagnoses of his mental health). I'm also not disinclined to believe that he (and/or the government he represents) may even be responsible for many of the things the Bush administration claims he is.

But I'm also pretty sure that most of the people who left that lecture would have left with a similar impression, and there is a big difference between being able to come to that conclusion based on one's own observations rather than on the assertions of an administration that told us that Saddam's WMDs were an imminent threat to the United States (Frederick et al, I hope you can at least understand, if not agree with, our skepticism regarding such claims). The creation of a public with the ability to make an informed decision about issues that ultimately rest in the hands of the voters is indeed what a modern university should be all about, and regardless of Stone's position on military recruiting, I think he is right on this one.

As to the military recruiter issue, I don't know enough about this to decide who I think is right -- Eras and Frederick, would either of you care to post some links to documentation of your arguments?

Frederick Hamilton

Aside from your lack of truth on the facts of CAIR v Rumsfeld and free speech, as it pertains to Thopmpson's position on the visa for Ahmadinejad, in not allowing a visa for Ahmadinejad it would not have violated ANY American law as also no American law was violated when Arrafat was denied a visa to speak at the UN. A tad hyperbolic on impeachment don't you think.

Frederick Hamilton

Annonymous Bosch and Eras,
So sorry, finger malfunctioned, it was FAIR v Rumsfeld, not CAIR. A real freudian misstep there.

But as to a link, sure www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/05pdf/04-1152.pdf

The opinion is all about "freedom of speech" and I don't believe ever uses the term "commercial speech"

A stinging rebuke to Prof Stone and FAIR by an 8-0 vote.



I made two points:

1. Anyone who thinks troubled US-Iran relations started in 1979, that we have effectively been at war with them since then, and that we have been the only side trying to ease the tensions is ignorant of the history of those relations.

If you think "ignorant of X" is an epithet, you need to consult a dictionary. To say someone is "ignorant" may or may not be depending on context; to say someone is "ignorant of X" may be wrong, but it isn't an epithet. I am totally ignorant of farming, sewage management, international finance. I am also mostly, but not totally, ignorant of Iranian history in general; eg, I do know the significance of the dates on my list. If one doesn't, they are more ignorant of the subject even than I and have no business pontificating on it.

2. Much of what goes on in blog comments is mindless channeling of sound bites. You may dislike my method of presenting that observation, but surely you wouldn't dispute it.

There are some interesting questions re Mr. AhmadiNejad's visit to Columbia. Eg:

- why was he invited to give a talk in the first place given that it was totally predictable what he would say, what the reaction would be, etc?

- Why did Dr. Bollinger give such an inept introduction? His "dictator" implication was factually wrong, several accusations were simply channeling debatable administration claims. He didn't observe even basic conventions of diplomacy ("your government ..." instead of "you ...") and courtesy. He apparently didn't anticipate the obvious reaction in Iran and other ME countries to his intemperate remarks.

- What's with the focus on "holocaust denial"? It's unequivocally a ridiculous position. What more is there to be said? We already know Mr. A has some strange views. How using the opportunity to try to get some insight into some that aren't so patently ridiculous?

What isn't interesting is to simply repeat well-worn charges and rebuttals like - sorry if this offends you - wind-up dolls.

If you dispute these points, fine. Tell me why. But don't make exaggerated accusations or give me sophomoric lectures on blog etiquette.

- Charles

Greg P.

I graduated from the College at University of Chicago in June 2007, and can't agree with you more. Unfortunately, it increasingly appears that the mission of the University of Chicago is to educate through free discourse, unencumbered debate, etc. At many other universities, especially elite universities, however, politically correct debate, whether emanating from the Left or the Right, holds the day. "Debates" about controversial issues don't occur so much as do events in which the supported or prevailing intellectual position is simply reaffirmed and the dissenting view is disparaged for being, well, a dissenting view. It seems that this is unlikely to change in the near future, either, since donors, who all have their own political and social preferences, hold tremendous sway over what universities do.


Mr. Hamilton, you are arguing a completely different and utterly irrelevant point: that the university had no right to get certain Federal funds while simultaneously refusing to permit military recruiters on campus. I agree with the Supreme Court on this point. My point is that military recruitment is not at all comparable to an educational lecture, and therefore the analogy you made is inappropriate. In fact, you agree with me on this point ("They could have stuck to their guns...and simply given up the tainted pieces of silver from the federal government")

You write, "Would Columbia or the University of Chicago invite anyone to speak that executes gays for being gay? Tell the truth now."

Um, inasmuch as Columbia did in fact invite Mr. Ahmadinejad and his government does execute gays, I think the answer to your question is obvious.

I am unable to discern any coherent statements in your final paragraph. Would you explain that a little more carefully?

Mr. Bosch, I urge you not to make the mistake of assuming that those you disagree with are crazy or delusional. I believe that Mr. Bush has made a great many errors in judgement, but I'm not about to dismiss him as insane. The fact that Mr. Ahmadinejad has triumphed in the Byzantine world of Iranian politics is ample proof of his cleverness. It's important to understand the cultural context that leads people to irrational points of view. Mr. Ahmadinejad operates in a culture drenched in Islamic beliefs, deeply suspicious of Western cultural influences, and rightly concerned about Western interference in their domestic politics. This warps his judgement. It doesn't make him right, but if you want to understand his thinking, you have to take these things into account. Similarly, we can readily disparage the many Americans who reject evolution as irrational, but they do so in a context of Christian fundamentalism that warps their judgement. This doesn't make them right, but we cannot understand how they got themselves into this mess unless we first understand the religious influences that distort their judgement.

Mr Hamilton writes: "not allowing a visa for Ahmadinejad it would not have violated ANY American law"

Perhaps you should consult the treaties regarding the United Nations and the guaranteed access that the United States undertook to provide to all representatives of members. Mr. Arafat was denied a visa because he does not represent any member nation.

Charles, your long rationalization of your vituperative approach boils down the statement that your vituperation is factually correct. My point is that when you refer to the points others make as "ignorant, programmed nonsense", you make yourself look unreasonable to third parties and therefore discredit yourself. I am not condemning your actions; I am advising you that they are counterproductive.

Anonymous Bosch


For the record, I was not at all saying that Ahmadinejad (or Bush, not sure where you saw that implication) is insane, but rather intending to point out the looseness with which we layfolk tend to throw around words like "lunatic" and "madman" when we encounter leaders whose aims and/or methods we either misunderstand or disagree with. I was warning against the very position you read me as postulating.

Damn this culture of irony we live in. :-)

Also for the record, though, there is nothing at all mutually exclusive about thriving in political life and being delusional; I think delusions of grandeur are a requirement for the job.


Condemning the style is a cheap out. I note that no one has defended their statements on factual grounds. Having ones feelings hurt doesn't release one from the responsibility to defend or retract.

But just to prove my point: OK, I apologize for the style; yesterday was, in fact, not a good day. So let me rephrase: the comments I attacked were "misinformed, totally predictable, and simplistic". Now, let someone refute my essential points.

BTW, if we're going to quibble over language and usage, calling my response a "rationalization" ascribes to me a mental state you can't possibly know. Maybe I intended it as an elaboration, maybe I just enjoy reading my own handiwork and didn't care if it was read at all, or maybe, just maybe, it was intended as a minor attempt at reconciliation. You have no idea - even I can't be completely sure. So, please choose your words more carefully.

- Charles


Mr. Bosch, sorry I misread you. I apologize.


Commercial speech isn't protected by the First Amendment? Hmm, learn something new every day...

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