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Obama a Nobel Laureate? Satire has died — again.

impulse_bannerWith the continuing debacles in Iraq, Pakistan, Palestine, Honduras and Afghanistan, you’ve got to be kidding me. Only eight months into his presidency in which he’s caved in to the Israeli regime on illegal outposts and overseen the corporate transfer theft of TARP funds, not to mention a litany of other failures and broken promises (close Guantanamo, anyone?), and Barack Obama is awarded a Nobel peace prize?

As Tom Lehrer remarked when Henry Kissinger was given a Nobel, political satire has died today. Not good enough, Mr President. You’re definitely an improvement on your predecessor, but as an international peacemaker, you’ve yet to earn your stripes. You’ve done apparently very little to improve relations with Iran, and in fact the sabre-rattling has recently been amplified by the newly resurgent neocons.  This award choice is another travesty, especially to Iraqis, Palestinians, Afghanis and Pakistanis — and US soldiers — who have lost their lives because of this administration’s intensified militarism.

If, as the Nobel committee has said, Obama is being recognised more for his intentions than any actual achievements, any beauty pageant finalist would be just as qualified. Some, like Helena Cobban, have written on Nobel history and past laureates and take a more sanguine view. Others, including Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire, see the decision as more ignoble than noble. And then there’s the half-joke going around:

Q: Did you hear Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize?
A: What for? For not being George W. Bush.

If the Nobel Committee wanted to confer the award for encouragement or are holding out fantasies of redemption, Barack Obama hardly needs publicity or a platform. He already has one of the most powerful platforms in the world. Is Benjamin Netanyahu suddenly going to heed Obama more seriously or quake in his boots simply because of the Nobel? No, and it is more likely that, as Helena Cobban suggests, the Nobel Committee are actually hitching their wagon to the President’s by awarding to a recipient in such a high-profile office.

Mairead Maguire, a bona fide peacemaker, opines:

President Obama has yet to prove that he will move seriously on the Middle East, that he will end the war in Afghanistan and many other issues.  The Nobel committee is not meeting the conditions of Alfred Nobel’s will, because he stipulated that the award is to be given to people who end militarism and war and are for disarmament.

The fluffy, feel-good diversion that this news-story will no doubt become this week in the US media will do not a whit to address the horror of that painful reality for so many who are immiserated and impoverished by Empire.

7 comments on “Obama a Nobel Laureate? Satire has died — again.

  1. ChristIan Avard
    9 October, 2009

    Um, hello? Since when is diplomacy groundbreaking work in international relations? From now on, they need to start administering breathalizer tests at Nobel decision making meetings.

  2. michael greenwell
    9 October, 2009

    A bit more from Tom Lehrer on the subject..

  3. Michael
    9 October, 2009

    To avoid embarrasment Obama should thank the institute and refuse the prize, and state that the recognition is premature. This would prove he is at least courageous enough to face the realities of his “accomplishments”.

  4. damonramsey
    9 October, 2009

    Thanks for the excellent post Ann. Obama can now join Henry Kissinger, Shimon Peres and others in sharing this mockery.

    In 1938, the shortlist for the prize was between Hitler and Gandhi. The choice proved too difficult for the committee, so it went to Nansen International Office of Refugees. And I think in 2002 they were seriously considering giving out a joint award to Bush and Blair.

    I suppose the seriousness of this award was best expressed from Obama’s daughter’s immediate reaction: pointing out it was the presidential dog Bo’s birthday today.

  5. 99
    9 October, 2009

    It makes me sick.

    True, his refusal of the prize would raise him in my estimation, but I do believe this has scarred me for life.

  6. Finebeer
    10 October, 2009

    From Paul Craig Roberts (Warmonger Wins Peace Prize):

    Obama, the committee gushed, has created “a new climate in
    international politics.”

    Tell that to the 2 million displaced Pakistanis and the unknown numbers of dead ones that Obama has racked up in his few months in office. Tell that to the Afghans where civilian deaths continue to mount as Obama’s “war of necessity” drones on indeterminably.

    No Bush policy has changed. Iraq is still occupied. The Guantanamo torture prison is still functioning. Rendition and assassinations are still occurring. Spying on Americans without warrants is still the order of the day. Civil liberties are continuing to be violated in the name of Oceania’s “war on terror.”

    Apparently, the Nobel committee is suffering from the delusion that, being a minority, Obama is going to put a stop to Western hegemony over darker-skinned peoples.

    The non-cynical can say that the Nobel committee is seizing on Obama’s rhetoric to lock him into the pursuit of peace instead of war. We can all hope that it works. But the more likely result is that the award has made “War is Peace” the reality.

    Obama has done nothing to hold the criminal Bush regime to account, and the Obama administration has bribed and threatened the Palestinian Authority to go along with the US/Israeli plan to deep-six the UN’s Goldstone Report on Israeli war crimes committed during Israel’s inhuman military attack on the defenseless civilian population in the Gaza Ghetto.

    The US Ministry of Truth is delivering the Obama administration’s propaganda that Iran only notified the IAEA of its “secret” new nuclear facility because Iran discovered that US intelligence had discovered the “secret” facility. This propaganda is designed to undercut the fact of Iran’s compliance with the Safeguards Agreement and to continue the momentum for a military attack on Iran.

    The Nobel committee has placed all its hopes on a bit of skin color.

    “War is Peace” is now the position of the formerly antiwar organization, Code Pink. Code Pink has decided that women’s rights are worth a war in Afghanistan.

    When justifications for war become almost endless–oil, hegemony, women’s rights, democracy, revenge for 9/11, denying bases to al Qaeda and protecting against terrorists–war becomes the path to peace.

    The Nobel committee has bestowed the prestige of its Peace Prize on Newspeak and Doublethink.

  7. Finebeer
    10 October, 2009

    And Thomas DiLorenzo:

    So Obama joins Woodrow Wilson in the pantheon of American presidents who have won the Nobel Peace Prize (Wilson won it in 1919). I learned this morning that nominations for the prize had to be in by Feb. 20, about one month after Obama was inaugurated. That means that the prize went for his rhetoric during the campaign, not anything he could have actually accomplished.

    As I recall, his two most memorable foreign policy pronouncements during the campaign were 1) advocating that the U.S. bomb Pakistan; and 2) escalating the war in Afghanistan. He did order the murder of some people in Pakistan by bombardment shortly after taking office. I’m still surprised, though, that he won the prize after killing so few people. Usually, one must be a major league murderer like a Wilson or a Teddy Roosevelt to win such a prize.

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This entry was posted on 9 October, 2009 by in imPulse, Militarism and tagged , .

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"