Columbia allows Iran's leader but not ROTC?
Republican members of the House Armed Services Committee today criticized Columbia University for inviting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to speak to its students and faculty today on campus. In denouncing the visit, members of the committee specifically pointed to Iran ’s support for terrorist groups in the Middle East and the fact that the rogue country is supplying insurgents and militia groups in Iraq with deadly weapons that are being used to target American troops.
U.S. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-CA):
"President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of Israel , the defeat of American troops in Iraq and is a known terrorist supporter. If the University wishes to provide such a leader a forum to speak, they should then also provide the same forum to the ROTC."
U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA):
“This leader of state, which supports terrorists, is presently sending deadly roadside bombs across the Iraqi border to injure and kill American troops. Columbia University ’s hosting of Ahmadinejad is a slap in the face of every one of the 165,000 U.S. troops serving in Iraq . As he speaks, his agents will be moving roadside bombs onto the battlefield to be used against America ’s military men and women.
“If Columbia University is going to grant President Ahmadinejad access to students and faculty, then our nation’s collegiate military recruitment and training program deserves the same amount of respect. This policy demonstrates complete disregard for our nation’s Armed Forces, especially when President Ahmadinejad continues shipping munitions into Iraq to target our brave troops.”
U.S. Rep. Terry Everett (R-AL):
“Ahmadinejad’s Iran is actively attempting to destabilize Iraq and is behind the killing of American troops fighting terrorism in that country. I cannot understand, and frankly, my constituents cannot understand, why a foreign leader of a terrorist sponsoring state and an avowed enemy of the United States should be allowed a pulpit in America .”
U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD):
“ Iran is defying the international community to pursue its nuclear ambitions. Iran is on the State Department watch list for supporting terrorist groups, such as Hezbollah. Evidence has mounted of Iranian agents and Iranian materials flowing into Iraq targeting, wounding and killing American soldiers with IEDs. It is their right, but reveals an appalling lack of respect for Americans in harm’s way and ludicrous judgment for Columbia University ’s leadership to reserve a prestigious lecture opportunity for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who everyone with minimal understanding knows is a powerless figurehead for the mullahs who actually rule Iran . That, alone, shreds Columbia ’s defense that Ahmadinejad will be engaging in debate with faculty or students. Similarly, Ahmadinejad’s 60 Minutes and other interviews have given him plenty of access to American audiences for his claim that the Holocaust was a hoax and that Israel should be wiped off the map.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC):
“ Columbia University has made a mistake by inviting the Iranian President to speak. At a time when our brave men and women in uniform are facing Iraqi insurgents armed with Iranian munitions and aided by Iranian military agents, it is deplorable that the university is providing a forum for this man. The Iranian President has his own state-controlled media machine to promote his dangerous and destructive policies.”
U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA):
“As our soldiers fight to defend this country from the threat of terror, the administration at Columbia University has opened its doors to one of the largest supporters of terrorism in the world today. Every day, Ahmadinejad supplies deadly weapons to terrorist groups in the Middle East that are then used against American men and women in uniform. As long as Ahmadinejad uses his resources to threaten American lives, he should not be welcomed by any institution or organization in the United States .”
U.S. Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ):
“Allowing the leader of the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism to speak at one of our nation’s most prestigious universities grants him a measure of legitimacy that is both undeserved and fundamentally dangerous. It astounds me that a university could welcome a man responsible for the deaths of countless innocent civilians and American soldiers- while maintaining a ban on the ROTC- and claim that these actions are not an attempt to endorse or legitimize a specific ideology.