Well, I just listened to the speech referred to below and all my worst fears came true.
The President of Columbia Univ. Lee Bollinger introduced the Dictator with a very strong and hostile speech. I was almost taken aback myself. It showed his courage but strangely seemed "rude and inhospitable" which is what the Dictator said later. How wierd was that?! That the truth and calling him what he was seemed like an insult. It shows how smart the guy was to come for this PR trip...it all worked to his favor.
His own speech was a rambling lofty treatise on science and the supposed search for truth. And of course then he wove in his lies.
But the questions and his avoidance yet seeming to answer was responded to by applause in the audience.
He was not a screaming lunatic which would be possibly the ONLY way it could have been detrimental to his cause. He appeared to be a reasoning intelligent man who positioned himself as an academic too and thus bonded with the kids.
If one did not know the facts, he even might come off as correct in his goals.
Then a Professor from Iran who is on the faculty was interviewed and he said it would take him a week to to undo the damage and the lies. Therein lies the danger of allowing him to come and talk. Sad and misguided under the guise of free speech.
And so it goes as it always has and we pay the price later...particularly when an unpopular war here is so mismanaged and gives him all the ammunition he needed.