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Obama's Rejection Speech

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That was not a peace prize acceptance speech. That was an infomercial for war. President Obama took the peace prize home with him, but left behind in Oslo his praise for war, his claims for war, and his view of an alternative and more peaceful approach to the world consisting of murderous economic sanctions.

Some highlights:

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"There are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened of cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women -- some known, some obscure to all but those they help -- to be far more deserving of this honor than I."


Yet, you did argue. You argued by accepting the prize " and then making a false case for war:

"War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man. At the dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought or disease -- the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled their differences."


This is simply not true of all tribes and civilizations, unless we include war making as a criterion for being considered civilized.

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"The concept of a 'just war' emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence."


How dare someone responsible for illegal occupations and air strikes and the use of unmanned drones say these words? (Responsible, that is, given the failure of Congress and of we the people to stop him.)

"America led the world in constructing an architecture to keep the peace: a Marshall Plan and a United Nations, mechanisms to govern the waging of war, treaties to protect human rights, prevent genocide and restrict the most dangerous weapons."


How dare a president refusing to support a treaty on land mines speak in these terms? Are we supposed to not see the actions and just hear the words?

"I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago: 'Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: It merely creates new and more complicated ones.'"


Very wise. Very true. And completely violated by Barack Obama's actions and the better part of the words in this speech. Are we supposed to hear these words in a different part of our brains from the rest of the speech and its advocacy of war?

"A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaidas leaders to lay down their arms."


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Now a group of fewer than 100 angry people in Afghanistan, and their allies elsewhere, are the rough equivalent of "Hitler's armies" and justify the brutal occupation of a nation by tens and hundreds of thousands of soldiers and mercenaries, tanks and planes, and unmanned drones? And negotiations, with the Taliban or anyone else, are not possible because " because " well, because of that rhetoric about Hitler's armies.

"The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest."


A 1993 Congressional Research Service (CRS) study of the U.S. Navy's Naval Historical Center records identified "234 instances in which the United States has used its armed forces abroad in situations of conflict or potential conflict or for other than normal peacetime purposes" between 1798 and 1993. This list does not include covert actions or post-World War II occupation forces and base agreements. In a 2006 review of this study and two others, Gar Smith found that "in our country's 230 years of existence, there have been only 31 years in which U.S. troops were not actively engaged in significant armed adventures on foreign shores." In other words, fewer than 14% of America's days have been at peace. As of 2006, there were 192 member states in the United Nations. Over the past two centuries, the United State has attacked, invaded, policed, overthrown, or occupied 62 of them. Read more.

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http://davidswanson.org
David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works for the online (more...)
 

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