He’s half-joking but it may come to that. Against all odds, this thing looks like it’s going to happen. The word today from the relevant powers that be is that there’s simply nothing they can do — nothing to stop him from entering the country, nothing to restrict his movement when he’s here, and nothing to keep him away from one small spot downtown. It’s an absurd microcosm of American impotence in the face of terror. He might as well drop trou and take a leak into the pit just to prove the point.
The NYPD wants no part of it but the Secret Service says it’s obliged to provide security and will be there to protect him if he ventures downtown. The Port Authority, which owns the Trade Center site, claims it hasn’t received any requests from the Iranian mission but I think their approval would only be needed if Ahmadinejad wanted to enter the footprint, which the NYPD has already ruled out. If he wants to lay a wreath on the public sidewalk surrounding the site, we’re told, they can’t stop him. Or can they?
There may be a number of grounds for restrictions to be laid on the Iranian leader. Individuals may be denied a visa to come to New York under the terms of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which can bar a visit for national security reasons, according a State Department official who requested anonymity.
A recent example is the case of Ali Reza Moaiyeri, Iran’s ambassador to the U.N. institutions in Geneva, Switzerland. The State Department confirmed yesterday that Mr. Moaiyeri was barred from joining the Iranian delegation to the U.N. General Assembly next week.
But the restrictions under the Immigration and Nationality Act have never been applied to a head of state. “We are the host here. Just because we don’t like somebody, we can’t refuse them entry to the United Nations,” the State Department official said.
If you can refuse him entry to the country, you can limit his visa to Turtle Bay and the immediate vicinity while he’s here. In fact, John Bolton offered that as a compromise solution to NRO this morning. Another alternative is for the city to close the site, either de facto by granting a permit to the thousands of protesters who are expected down there Monday morning to greet Ahmadinejad that would let access and surround the site, or de jure by negotiating something with the Port Authority and Larry Silverstein to declare the footprint and the area immediately around it a temporary safety hazard of some sort. No one will mind and it’ll let Bloomberg show that Rudy’s not the only mayor with balls when it comes to Islamist scum.
Some of the left, in its exquisite enlightenment, has decided he should be allowed down there to take a metaphorical dump in the cemetery lest we be seen as meanly denying a terrorist his right to propaganda. Sample quote, almost endearing in its precious, childlike gullibility: “[H]ere this man comes, to make an ostensibly good-faith gesture and to pay respects to our dead.” Read Roggio for the latest on that “good faith.” On that note, I offer you another clip, this one from his press conference the other day. Skip ahead to halfway through and marvel at how closely his “good faith” tracks classic Nazi invective — except, of course, for the substitution of the politically correct euphemism “Zionists” for “Jews.” The UN won’t tolerate anti-semites, after all.
Update: Drudge has the siren up:
IRANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS HE WILL NOT PUSH TO VISIT GROUND ZERO; WAS ONLY THINKING OF PAYING RESPECT
Fine. He can cry on the left’s shoulder. As he long stays away.
Update: Here’s Drudge’s transcript of the interview with 60 Minutes, replete with Ahmadinejad’s nod to the leftist stooges who are defending the visit: “How can you speak for the whole of the American nation?”