Thursday, December 10, 2009

Obama Picks Up Peace Prize

On December 10, 2009, Obama flew to Oslo Norway to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize. In his acceptance speech, Obama acknowledged that his contributions were “slight” compared to all those who came before him, and he went on to reference such great individuals as Gandhi, George C. Marshall, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King Jr. Let’s be honest. Barak Obama doesn’t even have “slight” accomplishments. He has none. Zip. Zilch. Nada, Nichts. Obama was nominated for the now once prestigious award based on speeches about peace he made while campaigning for President. That’s right—speeches. Other recipients have spent their entire lives trying to earn the Nobel Peace Prize. So what gives here?

The requirements for receiving the Nobel Peace Prize state the award was to be given on accomplishments one year prior to the nomination (see reference at the bottom of this article). That would mean that Obama was nominated for what then? Being an unknown Chicago community activist? How about being an unknown Illinois State Senator with mediocre voting record? No? Would you believe an unknown junior US Senator with virtually no voting record and certainly no foreign policy experience? How does compare to, let’s say, Theodore Roosevelt, who in 1906 mediated the end of the war between Japan and Russia.

Well, all that’s left then are his campaign speeches (mostly written by unknown staffers) talking about peace. Yet ironically, Obama has just signed in effect an executive order committing thousands of additional US troops to the war in Afghanistan before picking up his “peace prize” (and the rather substantial check---1.4 million dollars---which goes with it I should add). He added in his acceptance speech that war was sometimes necessary (“To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism, it is a recognition of history”) and why, in his opinion, war was sometimes justified. Ok, everyone can acknowledge that wars happen. Its part of our darker nature. But isn’t this a contradiction to what he was given his “Peace Prize” for? I mean, come on, a speech is a speech right? The first was to end war (gets an award and big check) and now this one is about fighting “justifiable” war (so does he have to give it back?).

Am I the only one who sees a problem with this? Let me be perfectly clear about this. I have no problem with Obama per se. I think it would be great if he or any other American received the award for doing something like resolving the Middle East issues or put together a plan to control climate change. You know, actually did something? At least to Obama’s credit, he admitted in his speech that there were others “far more deserving”. Frankly I think Nobel Peace Selection Committee has tarnished the not just its reputation, but devalued all that the Nobel Peace Prize stands---excuse me---stood for. I am, however, thankful that the reputations of all those great men and women who have come before are beyond the reproach of the petty political pandering of a few.

Suggested article:

Poll results

Our last poll asked you if you thought that the terrorist currently being held on Gitmo, should be brought to New York City, near the sight of 9/11, for trial. 10% of you said “no way” and thought they should be tried elsewhere. 40% of you thought they should be tired before a military tribunal at some other location. The rest of you seem to have either a strong sense of irony or a real mean streak in you (that’s why I really love my readers) and think NYC is the place to be.

Personally, I think it would be too hard on the widows and others to bring these murders to New York, I can see a certain justice to being the criminal back to the scene of the crime to face his victims. However, I would not try them in civilian court. There’s just too much that could go wrong. Plus, I wouldn’t want to see this turned into a circus. A military tribunal would be much more fitting because of the broader rules of evidence; tighter control; and there would be no doubt of a swift and fitting execution for these punks.

Lastly, Happy Chanukah to all my Jewish readers!

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