Rahmatullah Hashemi: “Talibanned”

Hot Air broke the news and provides reaction from Clint Taylor of Townhall’s Nail Yale Blog (which is currently down, presumably due to the move):

The New York Times’ education reporter, Alan Finder, told me that he has been in contact with the Boola Boola Mullah’s financial backers , and they say he hasn’t been admitted to the regular degree program at Yale. He may have a few credits left in his current program, so he might be back for one more semester or so in the fall, but he won’t graduate from Yale.

This is a bizarre, freakish chapter in Yale’s history, and even though I’m glad Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi is leaving, I actually hope the story isn’t over. I hope that Yale will continue to examine the root causes of this awful decision. Right now Yale is a place that forbids ROTC from training on campus on one hand, but at the same time welcomes an unrepentant high official of one of the vilest regimes in recent history. In 2002, Yale turned down an opportunity to admit a group of academically qualified Afghan women, but a couple of years later they admit their oppressor. There’s something culturally wrong with a place that tolerates that sort cognitive dissonance and I hope they try to fix it.

One would think the Left would celebrate this as a victory for liberal values. They won’t. I’ve tried to give them every opportunity to get on board what I thought ought to be a bi-partisan issue. Everyone hates the woman-beating, finger-chopping, head-hacking, gay-smashing, terrorist-abetting Taliban, right? Apparently, not as much as they hate Fox News and John Fund. With a very few exceptions, they have done nothing but complain about how the right has tried to score points off this issue, even as they tried to score points off of the conservative media. So let me anticipate two of their reactions to Hashemi’s rejection:
First, they will say that Yale has politicized its admissions process in response to criticism. But I say they politicized the process when they first admitted a high official of an evil regime we are still at war with, one that is still killing our troops in Afghanistan. If they couldn’t see the country being outraged, they’re unspeakably naïve.

Second, they’ll say that Hashemi was just a poor little lamb who had gone astray, and he has repented of his Taliban service. I addressed the first objection in these two columns (these are google caches until Townhall gets its archives back on line), but as for his being repentant: I challenge anyone to show me anything he’s done or said to prove he’s repented of his service to the Taliban. The most they can show is a mild dissent from a few pronouncements of the hard-line cleric, and as we all know, dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Hashemi has done far less to oppose the Taliban than…

…well, than The New York Times’ Eric Lichtblau and James Risen have done recently to assist them.

There is a lot of soul-searching my alma mater needs to do before they can begin to regain the trust and respect that America once placed in it. There is still a lot of good stuff about Yale, and I started this campaign in order to help it, not to tear it down. Now Yale has to figure out what it is that it really stands for. You know that song, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything?” Yale fell for a Taliban diplomat’s smooth talk, and frankly, I think they wanted to be deceived. Let’s hope they learn from their mistake.

Indeed. Although one would think that an institution such as Yale would have the common sense in the first place not to enroll the former spokesperson of one of the most violent and oppressive regimes in the world–and that’s not to mention that the Taliban also provided safe harbor for the terrorists responsible for the bloodiest attack on America’s soil.

UPDATE: Captain Ed:

Yale invited Hashemi — he didn’t just show up and fill out an application. They went out of their way to get him to choose Yale, because as their admissions office stated, they didn’t want to lose another “high profile” candidate to Harvard. Regardless of all the arguments about diversity and openness, all of which get belied by Yale’s policies towards the American military, Yale obviously chose Hashemi as a tweak at the Bush administration. They thought that Hashemi’s presence would embarrass the White House and give Yale some sort of moral authority.

Instead, they have demonstrated themselves to be hypocrites, and still do with this decision. Rather than deny him admission altogether, they denied him his application to a degree program, but will still allow him to attend the nondegree program. They’re hoping he gets the hint and disappears voluntarily. Yale passed up an opportunity to take a clear stand against the intolerance and hatred that Hashemi represented.


UPDATE (James Joyner): When this story broke in February, I took the contrarian position that it was “more unusual than outrageous.” I do agree with Morrissey, though, that it’s rather weasely for Yale to recruit Hashemi and then deny him admission to a degree program–yet not kick him off campus. From what I gathered from the original NYT Magazine piece, Hashemi is doing well enough in his course work, making the decision not to admit him all the more bizarre.

Now, it’s an entirely separate question as to why the former Taliban spokesman was given a student visa to begin with. It certainly wouldn’t be hard to make a case against allowing him into the country. But I do think the anger at Yale is misplaced here–although Taylor does make a fair point on the contrast between their decision to recruit Hashemi while opposing ROTC on moral grounds.

FILED UNDER: Education, LGBTQ Issues, Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Greg Tinti
About Greg Tinti
Greg started the blog The Political Pit Bull in August 2005. He was OTB's Breaking News Editor from June through August 2006 before deciding to return to his own blog. His blogging career eventually ended altogether. He has a B.A. in Anthropology from The George Washington University,


  1. alene says:

    I think the attitude of those who all-but-recruited Hashemi (ooh, we’re so transgressive and broadminded) is better contrasted with how disinterested the same people were in the Afghan women’s college recruitment program, than with the anti-ROTC ’70’s hangover.

  2. ken says:

    Couldn’t it be possible that this extremely talented young person will be more influenced by a Yale education than Yale will be influenced by his presence?

    A liberal education might be wasted on a conservative idealogue and if that is what he turns out to be then his admission was indeed a mistake.

    If, on the other hand, if Yale by taking a chance on him, is able to impart the values of western liberalism then I think it could work out for the best.

    I do not know how this will turn out but taking a chance on talented people usually is a gamble worth taking.

  3. Scott_T says:

    But the question everyone wants answered:

    Would Yale of allowed the ROTC back in if Hashemi had been interested in joining that as well as go to Yale?

    Hmm, the mind boggles.