If the Norwegian Nobel Committee thought it was bolstering President Barack Obama’s
prestige in the world by awarding him the 2009 Peace Prize, it was wrong.
From the liberal Huffington Post and Daily Kos to the Washington Post and the Times
of London, opinion makers have denounced the decision as a joke, spotlighting the
fact that to date Obama has only hot air to show for his efforts at world peace.
"Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent," the Times
of London said. "It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel Committee as a way of
expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush administration. The prize risks
looking preposterous in its claims, patronizing in its intentions, and demeaning in
its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun the period in office, let alone
achieved any tangible outcome for peace."
Mark Halperin of Time magazine wrote, "Barack Obama’s critics have long accused him
of being a man of ‘just words,’ rather than concrete actions and accomplishments.
The stunning decision to award him the Nobel Peace Prize for, basically, his rhetoric,
will almost certainly infuriate his detractors in America more than it will delight
"Whatever happened to awarding for deeds actually done?" wrote Michael Russnow, who
campaigned for Obama, on the Huffington Post.
The Washington Post editorialized, "It’s an odd Nobel Peace Prize that almost makes
you embarrassed for the honoree. In blessing President Obama, the Nobel Committee
intended to boost what it called his 'extraordinary efforts to strengthen international
diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.' A more suitable time for the prize would
have been after those efforts had borne some fruit."
As suggested by the Times of London, the award to Obama was an obvious slap in the face
of President Bush.' "This is an award for not being George W. Bush," Peggy Noonan writes
in the Wall Street Journal.' And what did Bush do to deserve the enmity of the Nobel
Committee?' He toppled a man who had killed 300,000 people and liberated 50 million people.
Because of Bush, Saddam’s regime no longer inflicts torture on Iraqis by having electric
prods attached to their genitals or by giving them acid baths. It no longer drills holes
in their ankles and skulls. It no longer leaves them naked in refrigerators for days. It
no longer cuts out their tongues and cuts off their ears. Nor does it force Iraqi men
to watch gang rapes of their wives and sisters.
Because of Bush, Afghan women can now attend school. They are free to go out in public
without being accompanied by a man. They are allowed to hold jobs.
Moreover, because of the $15 billion Bush sent to combat AIDS, deaths in Africa are down
dramatically. For that reason, despite claims that America’s moral standing in the world
has eroded, Bush’s approval rating in African countries has stood at 80 percent or higher.
Those are real accomplishments worthy of a Nobel Prize. In giving the award to Obama, the
Nobel Committee’s effort at burnishing the president’s image backfired by highlighting
the fact that he has accomplished nothing beyond delivering oratory. (I know this girl ... nevermind.)
Reminds me of the same prize being given to Arafat, Gore and Carter. And, don't forget
who else got no 'prize', Ronald Regan, for ending the cold war without firing a shot, crushing
the USSR, and bringing down the Berlin Wall!
Excuse me while I get sick...
If, against all odds, President Obama actually produces genuine peace in our time, he
would certainly deserve international recognition and thanks from all of us. Until
then, neither the Nobel Committee nor the affinity many in the press and public feel for
his rhetoric and agenda should mislead the rest of us into thinking he has actually
earned the Peace Prize.