It would be an obscenity, we are told, if Ahmadinejad were allowed to place a wreath at Ground Zero. This is a public relations stunt that should never be permitted.
That the Iranian president has PR in mind is undoubtedly true. Much of what national leaders do is symbolic. But that wreath-laying would have said something else, as well.
It would have said that, to Iran, these Americans were victims who deserve to be honored and mourned and, by extension, the men who killed them were murderers. Bin Laden celebrates 9-11. So do all America-haters. By laying a wreath at Ground Zero, the president of Iran would be saying that in the war between al-Qaida and the United States, he and his country side with the United States.
How would we have been hurt by letting him send this message?
For what it's worth, I have no objection to allowing him to place a wreath (though I hadn't previously considered PJB's angle), but I wouldn't have invited Ahmadinejad to speak at Columbia because he has little of value to say. But the level of hysteria coming from rightwingers is amazing. Remember how only a few days ago the issue was the Moveon.org ad. From what I see of Townhall, National Review, Pajamas and other such sites, the range of emotion varies from rage to hysteria to completely bonkers; and these people have the nerve to label their opponents as "Unhinged" and "deranged!"
This can only get worse. This crowd must continually change the subject to keep from having to defend the disastrous policies (particularly: "Hey, let's invade____!") that they have urged upon America.
UPDATE: Can this be the subject for the next round of outrage? Katie Couric had the audacity to state a couple of banal and obvious truths about the Iraq War: " Speaking at the National Press Club Tuesday evening, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric stated, 'Everyone in this room would agree that people in this country were misled in terms of the rationale of this war,' adding that it is 'pretty much accepted' that the war in Iraq was a mistake." How dare she say that?!?!