That is, apparently, the view of the Nobel Committee which awarded their peace prize to Barack Obama. How else to explain the fact that these folks can see an american president who is overseeing two full-scale wars, replete with the deaths of non-combatants at the hands of the armed thugs at his command, as some kind of agent for peace? For them, bullets and bombs are just a part of Obama’s “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
Obama’s new status as Nobel laureate has encouraged him to strive even harder for peace. Less than two months after the announcement that he won the prize, he declared that he will be sending another 30,000 troops into afghanistan. He then went on to shamelessly defend his warmaking in his acceptance speech in Oslo. Apparently if the 71,000 troops already spreading mayhem among the residents of afghanistan have brought him recognition as a peacemaker, raising that number to 100,000 can only make him shine even more brightly in the eyes of the gullible.
This is, of course, not the first time that the committee has given the prize to a warmaker. Henry Kissinger, Le Duc Tho, and Woodrow Wilson have all been rewarded in the past for engineering the deaths of thousands of regular people caught up in international power struggles. And even when it has been given to someone not involved in mass murder, it has often been unclear why the recipients were chosen, except for reasons of political correctness and international politicking. What is perhaps most ridiculous about the whole matter is that this prize is taken seriously by anyone.
Bait and Switch
But for Obama, it is just one more undeserved honor in an exceptionally charmed political career. Elected president on the basis of empty buzzwords like change and hope, he went on to fill his cabinet and offices with political hacks, many of whom have been around washington for years. And since then he has proceeded to act like every other president.
He pretended to be a peace candidate, but is escalating the war. He promised to shut down the concentration camp at Guantánamo, but that is not going to happen anytime soon. He continues to threaten the government of iran and isolate the people of cuba, while cozying up to the repugnant rulers of china, pakistan, and saudi arabia. He has brought no substantive pressure to bear on the state of israel, but purports to be seeking some remedy for the ongoing problems experienced by those living in the west bank and gaza. In other words it is business as usual.
Like the Nobel committee, however, many americans seem to have lost touch with this reality. The anti-war movement, not very strong to begin with, has nearly shut down since Obama’s election. While there have been sporadic events around the country this year, there has been no organized anti-war demonstration in alaska since Obama was elected. If George bush had announced an increase of over 40% in the number of troops in afghanistan there would have been a prompt response from the antiwar movement. Sad to say, Obama is once again being given a pass.
Image is Everything
Obama has never actually done anything to merit the adulation with which he has been greeted and feted here in the united states and around the world. He is just another politician who feels he knows better than we how we should live our lives, and is eager to utilize military power and threats of its use to order the world in ways that best fulfill the desires of those who wield economic and political power in this country. That is no change and is certainly no reason for hope.