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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Former Taliban at Yale

Writing in Monday's Opinion Journal , John Fund sheds some light on new Yale freshman Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi. Mr. Rahmatullah, a former spokesman for the Taliban, is attending Yale on a U.S. student visa!

Fund, who had personally interviewed Rahmatullah for The Wall Street Journal in the spring of 2001, makes this observation:

Something is very wrong at our elite universities. Last week Larry Summers resigned as president of Harvard when it became clear he would lose a no-confidence vote held by politically correct faculty members furious at his efforts to allow ROTC on campus, his opposition to a drive to have Harvard divest itself of corporate investments in Israel, and his efforts to make professors work harder. Now Yale is giving a first-class education to an erstwhile high official in one of the most evil regimes of the latter half of the 20th century--the government that harbored the terrorists who attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001.

So why would Yale want Rahmatullah as a student studying at their great university? Because diversity is a hallmark of great liberal thinking. Fund makes the observation that this is "taking the obsession that U.S. universities have with promoting diversity a bit too far."

"A bit too far" is a bit of an understatement. Universities are now recruiting for diversity the way they recruit for athletes. Richard Shaw, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions, told the New York Times that Yale "had another foreigner of Rahmatullah's caliber apply for special-student status" and that "we lost him to Harvard...I didn't want that to happen again."

Considering the fact that Rahmatullah has only a fourth-grade education and a high school equivalency certificate, I have to assume that by "foreigner of Rahmatullah's caliber," Shaw is not referring to academic preparation. To what, then, can he be referring? Could he mean someone who, as ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, called Osama bin Laden a "guest" of his government?

Fund admits, "I don't believe Mr. Rahmatullah had direct knowledge of the 9/11 plot, and I don't think he has ever killed anyone," but he also points out that Rahmatullah "willingly and cheerfully served an evil regime in a manner that would have made (Josef) Goebbels proud." Fund then relates this story of another man who once served an evil regime:

During a trip to Germany I once ran into a relative of Hans Fritsche, the top deputy to Josef Goebbels, whom the Guardian, a British newspaper, once described as "the Nazi Propaganda Minister's leading radio spokesman [whose] commentaries were among the main items of German home and foreign broadcasting." After the war he was tried as a war criminal at Nuremberg, but because he had only given hate-filled speeches, he was acquitted of all charges in 1946. In the early 1950s, he applied for a visa to visit the U.S. and explain his regret at having served an evil regime. He was turned down, to the everlasting regret of the relative with whom I spoke.

But that was a time before political correctness; it was a time before diversity meant more than common sense. Poor Hans Fritsche. He had the misfortune of living during such a time. If only he had been fortunate enough to have lived during this enlightened period of history, he might have received an Ivy League education.

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