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Obama: A Peace Prize but no Peace Plan

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Thus far in his young administration, Obama has made all the classic mistakes of new leader. The coronation of inauguration has a tendency to do that. His first mistake was shooting the three children in a barrel off the coast of Kenya. You remember that drama, don't you? A merchant ship was kidnapped. The captain traded himself for all his shipmate hostages. But, the kidnappers were incompetent. They were saved at sea by the US military, and were tethered to the destroyer when all three were executed by snipers.

The hostage was not in any imminent danger, but the President had yielded his authority to the military. The military does what it does best: kill indiscriminately. The measure of 'collateral damage' being the perpetual double-standard, for a nation allegedly founded on laws bounded by self-restraint.

It seems to me that the winner of a Peace Prize should have had a better handle on how to solve that situation. What would the world's least peaceful person have done in that situation? The same thing.
Of course, the Nobel organization is full of the same hypocrisy as its founder, and is bound to reward hypocrisy. What glory is there in being lauded by the ignoble? People should not give a crap about prizes, but peace should be everybody's concern. We all benefit from peace.

President Obama is currently working on a strategy for Afghanistan. Bush's plan was war. War is the choice of an idiot. History is full of common idiots. Of course, if the idiot is victorious, then he is lauded as a hero. Herein lies the problem: the hero and the idiot are one and the same. For example, what is the difference between George Washington, Lenin, or Osama bin Laden? They all used violence to overthrow the current powers in an attempt to establish themselves in power. If revolution is a right, as Jefferson would argue, then those who fail to yield their power are to blame.

Moving forward in time, it was Lincoln and Stalin who used power to maintain unity to a central government at all costs. Lincoln assumed the role of King George, trying to keep the empire together. Why was it right for Washington to break up the empire, but not the Southern states, Lenin, Ho Chi Min or Osama bin Laden? Why was it right for Lincoln to preserve the empire by killing its own citizens, but wrong for King George, Stalin, Mao, and all the other petty despots of history? Was Saddam Hussein any different than Lincoln?

Obama is thinking about what to do in Afghanistan. What is there to think about? If you want peace, then talk to your enemy. If you want war, then refuse to negotiate.
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I have known for at least seven years why we were attacked on 9/11. We were attacked because of the ways that bankers, insurance companies and Wall Street run the world. Wealth and hypocrisy go hand-in-hand with power. The hypocrite who wants power seeks to take it from the hypocrite who has power. This is commonly true in an election as it is in war. We are all hypocrites. We have a common enemy: our bad habit of self-righteousness. God Bless Pogo.

Still, I hope that Obama can grow into the prize that he has won. It took years of discussion to agree on the shape of the table to negotiate with the North Vietnamese. In the end, we failed to negotiate and chose defeat instead. Let's not repeat the stupidity of the past again. Peace is easy and free, it is war that is hard and costly. Love your enemy, and you will discover yourself, and have no enemies. Hate or kill your enemy, and your labor will never end. Jihad is the struggle between life and death, fear and trust, righteousness and unrighteousness, and whom we shall make our master. Peace itself is the prize.


the enemy

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