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On January 9th of this year, an Iranian news agency reported that a group of Columbia University "professors and deans of faculties" had made plans to travel to the Islamic Republic to "officially apologize to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad" in person. Ahmadinejad, it will be remembered, had visited the university by invitation a few months earlier and against all expectations had received a forthright introduction by President Lee Bollinger. So forthright, in fact, that a group of professors began circulating a petition decrying Bollinger's behavior as "not only uncivil and bad pedagogy, [but his remarks] allied the University with the Bush administration's war in Iraq." Horror.
Well, according to this petition-signing faculty, criticizing the Iranian madman puts you on the side of the Texan commander-in-chief. It was their own version of "you're either with us or with the Bush administration." By their own logic, therefore, where did that put them — being against the American administration and apologetic toward the homosexual-hanging Iranian as they were?
So when news broke from Iran that a group of Columbia academics were planning a trip to Tehran, it was all too believable that the travel agent had made all the plans and it was only left to pack the passport, toothbrush, and knee pads. Though news emanating from Tehran sources is best taken with a huge chunk of rock salt, a person could be forgiven for crediting this one, though to date I've not heard any further confirmation. The best lies are purely plausible, and if this were a lie, it was a good one.