University of Minnesota math professor William Messing is sponsoring a resolution calling upon the university to cancel Condolezza Rice's April 17 speech at the Humphrey School. It cites the role Rice played as George W. Bush's national security advisor "to mislead the American people about the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the existence of links between al Qaeda and the Iraqi regime."
But lest you accuse him of simply picking on Republicans, Messing says he'd back a similar resolution if Barack Obama were scheduled to come to the U of M.
"I can assure you that Messing would use exactly the same rationale, that [Obama] shouldn't be allowed to speak," Messing says.
Asked why, Messing first cited drone strikes.
"What I would say, with regard to Obama and the targeting of U.S. citizens and the death of the U.S. citizen as a result of a drone attack ordered by Obama or his agents in the military, is that it's completely unacceptable to me," Messing says.
Messing says he uses the same logic in opposing Rice and Obama -- both lied to the people. And he uses that line of thinking to distinguish between the Bush administration officials who pushed the Iraq war and Congress members who voted for it based on executive branch misinformation.
"Ninety-nine percent of the members of Congress were lied to by the Bush administration, by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, et cetera," Messing says. "They were told Saddam Hussein can destroy the U.S. and they were told that Saddam Hussein works hand in hand with Al-Qaida."
"I did not support their actions at the time but I don't think it would be useful or meaningful to assign blame to them, just as it's completely obvious that the soldiers who fought in Iraq are not responsible for having gone there," Messing says. "They didn't slide over there on their own, they were sent by the U.S. government."
As for how Obama has misled the people, Messing cited the NSA.
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The Obama administration "certainly lies to the people with regard to the NSA. Edward Snowden has demonstrated that overwhelmingly, conclusively," Messing says. "In my view, Snowden should receive an honorary degree from the University of Minnesota, but I am not going to put that forward at the University Senate because I don't think the administration would take it seriously."
Messing's resolution opposing Rice's speech, which he says was prepared by the U of M branch of the Students for a Democratic Society, will be considered during a Senate meeting later this week.
"I've had conversations with a goodly number of Senators and I think there is support," Messing says. "Whether it is sufficient to pass will be seen this coming Thursday."