Friday, October 9, 2009

What???

You're kidding me, right? Barack Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? (Longer story here.) For what? For being famous? For talking about peace? For being the darling of the world? Surely it cannot be for actually contributing to world peace. This dude is heading up not one, but two wars. And at the moment this prestigious award for promoting world peace is being bestowed on him--and don't forget the $1.4 million that goes along with it--world-renowned peacemaker Obama is mulling the possibility of sending an additional 40,000 US troops into the godforsaken, endless conflict in Afghanistan. And my prediction is he will do it. (I'll happily eat public crow if he fools me and doesn't.)

I'm hardly the only one scoffing at the notion that this award has been earned. Reactions from the left have been mildly supportive at best, non-plussed,  or, like mine, incredulous. And of course the right has been frothing. At some superficial level, I can understand this choice. Obama has worked to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process; he's been active in non-proliferation efforts; he's demonstrated a willingness to parlay with enemies; he's said all the right things. But still . . . but still. Here's a guy who's in charge of two wars. And I don't see any indication he's got a particular problem with either. Plus, I cannot separate the idea of a peace award to a somebody who has agreed to suppress evidence of the U.S. torture regime during the Bush years. Who still holds people without charges in Gitmo. Who presides over the largest arms exporter on the planet, and who constantly trumpets the excellence of a military establishment that absorbs hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars when unemployment in this country is ten percent.

No. There's just too much shady ground around the administration and these miserable Middle Eastern wars for Obama to deserve the same award bestowed on such giants as Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King.
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