Norwegian Nonsense

Here’s Norway’s Datarock. This is not what I’m talking about:

No, this is what I’m talking about: Barack Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize. As I tweeted upon hearing the news, “Um… I like Obama as much as the next guy. But don’t you have to DO something before winning the Nobel prize”?

Then someone sent me the guidelines for winning the prize, with special attention to this bit (emphasis mine):

“Myth: The prize is awarded to recognize efforts for peace, human rights and democracy only after they have proven successful. More often, the prize is awarded to encourage those who receive it to see the effort through, sometimes at critical moments.”

If this is the case, then I submit that the prize is more-or-less worthless. Now, I know it’s not Obama’s fault that he won it. And I don’t really care what the motivation was for awarding it to him. (Seems that it was likely intended as a slap in the face of Bush II.) What matters to me is that this signals yet another step in the devaluing of what was once the finest honour in the history of the world.

It follows on the heels of wins by Henry Kissinger, hardly a harbinger of peace, and Yasser Arafat, a symbol of violence for many in the world. A truly deserving candidate, like Jimmy Carter who brokered the Camp David Accords, was not given the prize till decades later, and then for a lifetime of labour on behalf of the dispossessed.

As Howard Zinn put it best:

“I was dismayed when I heard Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize. A shock, really, to think that a president carrying on wars in two countries and launching military action in a third country (Pakistan), would be given a peace prize….

“People should not be given a peace prize on the basis of promises they have made (as with Obama, an eloquent maker of promises) but on the basis of actual accomplishments towards ending war. Obama has continued deadly, inhuman military action in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The Nobel Peace Committee should retire, and turn over its huge funds to some international peace organization which is not awed by stardom and rhetoric, and which has some understanding of history.”

Additionally, it appears as if the deadline to submit a nomination is Feb 1st (link stolen from Rondi), which means that the rationale for Obama’s candidacy was based on his many honourable and eloquent promises of new doctrine, new America and new world. However, in the time it took for the Nobel committee to make its decision, surely they could have seen that Obama has, thus far, lacked the ability (I say ability and not desire, for I still believe he wants to do the right thing) to make good on grand promises of peace and progress.

Instead, Obama has increased his military presence in Afghanistan and started actions in Pakistan. He has extended Bush’s campaign of domestic wire tapping. He still has not repatriated terror “suspects” held illegally without charge. He has not reduced military spending. He has reversed his position on the release of all documentation relating to US prisoner abuse. He has not explored fair trade policies that could dramatically reduce global tensions. And while he’s done some nice things, like issuing a friendly video to the Iranian people, he has not made good on his promise to negotiate a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear “crisis”.

And I can’t help but remember his rhetoric during campaign season, that he would seek out “and kill” Osama bin Laden. Not “apprehend” or “bring to justice”, but kill. In my mind, this is not the verbiage of a proper recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, if the prize serves to kick him in the ass and get him to actually make good on his promises of peaceful progress, then I will happily eat my words and bow before the Nobel committee. But until then, colour me skeptical.

In Other News…

To Deonandia regular “Brad Parker”,who wrote, “Droogies cannot survive on tweets alone”, I say, “Dude, I’m trying!”