December 11, 2009
The Nobel Prize given to Barack Obama must now be earned by a grassroots movement dedicated to peace. The award was given to an American president now ignobly intent on waging war.
So the task of actually earning this honor falls to us.
Thousands of anti-war activists took to the streets in at least 100 US cities within hours after Obama officially escalated the war on Afghanistan on December 1.
With them came a least one new global internet campaign (The Peace, Justice & Environment Network, http://pjep.org/resources/detail.php?rid=2275) devoted to reversing this ghastly attack as well as to saving the environment and winning social justice.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has introduced legislation to deny the funding for this war.
All around the world a sane citizenry has made it clear that war is not peace.
Perhaps the Nobel committee knew it was taking a gamble on Obama when it gave him a Peace Prize he has not yet earned. Perhaps some voters hoped that it would influence his decision and help him turn away from a clearly catastrophic excursion into the Graveyard of Great Powers.
But the President has delivered his answer: No Such Luck.
The tragedy of his speech and behavior in Norway is heart-wrenching. Obama devoted his once-in-a-lifetime talk to justifying American warfare, conjuring righteous images of this nation as an armed crusader, and asserting that violence is an immovable piece of the human condition rather than the ultimate enemy.
If the Nobel Prize has stood for anything over the decades, it's been as a beacon to the hope that our species might ultimately evolve into something better.
It was with the hope that Obama would further that vision that the award was given. But he flew into town, pitched an infomercial for war, blew off the traditional niceties of a meeting with the King of Norway, a talk to the Parliament, a visit with local children and much more"and then split town to do".what?....that could be so much more important.
In short, beneath that smooth, calm veneer, Barack Obama was ingracious and rude in a setting designed to epitomize the opposite. For Americans dedicated to global goodwill---many of whom voted for him---he was downright embarrassing. For those committed to justice and peace, he was alarming and infuriating.
Obama did acknowledge that he did not deserve the award, and that his contributions had been "slender." That much has become an overly kind self-appraisal.
He also acknowledged he came to the award by virtue of the work of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement he helped lead.
But Dr. King would have been utterly heartbroken by Obama's screed for war in the most inappropriate time and place. It was King who forever linked the unjust war in Vietnam with the moral and financial bankruptcy of the nation waging it. Now his ultimate beneficiary is perpetrating all the good doctor's worst fears.
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