War is Peace : WE Must Earn Obama’s Nobel

Image by Nick Bygon / Flickr / Creative Commons.

War is NOT peace: Now it’s up to us

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…

By Harvey Wasserman / The Rag Blog / 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 U.S. cities within hours after Obama officially escalated the war on Afghanistan on December 1.

With them came at least one new global internet campaign — The Peace, Justice and Environment Network — 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.

Obama’s speech has been brilliantly dissected at great length by superb commentators like Norman Solomon (“Mr. President, War is Not Peace”, Commondreams.org); David Swanson (“Obama’s Infomercial for War,” at Portside); David DeGraw (“Obama Far Outdoes Bush in Escalating War,” at Alternet) and many more.

It’s a tragic picture with a very clear message: the peace movement must reconstitute itself with sufficient power to fulfill the Nobel mandate. For those who might have retained residual hope for or illusions about this young president, this must stand as the definitive departure.

We now face triple crises in war, where the president has escalated; health care, where he has refused to discuss single payer and now presides over the gutting of the public option; and the environment, where he has escalated the ultimate destroyer — war — and may soon open the door to its ultimate evil, atomic power.

It’s not enough to wring our hands. It’s time to move on and figure out how to win. Our ideals — from meaningful peace to universal health care to a Solartopian energy economy — are all tangible, essential and winnable.

The ignoble truth is that the man in the White House is not our ally.

So what else is new? Obama’s failures have made it OUR Nobel.

Yes we can!

[Harvey Wasserman’s History of the United States is at www.harveywasserman.com, along with Solartopia! Our Green-Powered Earth. He is Senior Editor of www.freepress.org, where this article also appears.]

The Rag Blog

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7 Responses to War is Peace : WE Must Earn Obama’s Nobel

  1. Dospensentas. I just posted the response below to your comment elsewhere, but did not realize at the time that you had posted it all over the place.

    I’m sorry, but you are way off base here — and way out of line. Your contention is absolutely false: we do not censor responses, even though some readers have asked us to do so.

    You are abusing the privilege of posting comments to Rag Blog articles and I am asking you to own up to your mistake and to delete this comment everywhere else that you have posted it.

    Thank you.


    My response follows.

    Dospesentas: What is your basis for this claim? It is patently untrue. We NEVER remove comments because we disagree with them. What would be the point of having a “comments” section then? We want and encourage spirited discussion. Surely that is obvious to anyone who reads the comments to our articles.

    We do have a stated policy that we will remove comments that include hate speech or personal attacks — but we have rarely deleted a comment even for those reasons.

    The deletion above, you will notice, was made by the author of the comment, not by us. We don’t even moderate comments as many blogs do; when you make a comment it is automatically posted.

    We rarely remove a comment and when we do it is usually because it is spam, often robot-produced advertising, that has no relationship to the content of the article.

  2. I am neither opposed to war or the Military. I am opposed to foreign interventionism. The war in Afghasitan and the brewing proxy war in Colombia are huge mistakes.

  3. masterspork says:

    To be fair, I have been very vocal about my disagreements on this site and my posts have never been deleted to date.

    But as far the Nobel Prize, this was nothing more then a political move. So just becuase he got the award will not 'guilt' him into leaving Afghanistan. Just not going to happen.

  4. Richard says:

    May I offer a possible reason for dos's dilemma. Sometimes I type in the wrong password. When this happens the comments box goes to the top and if I am not careful to make sure the yellow box says my comment will appear in a few seconds then I think I have registered a comment when I haven't. It took a few times to figure it out and was disconcerting after expending all that energy and

  5. masterspork says:

    That happens to me a few times and it gives me a open end error.

  6. I still believe Obama received the peace prize as an ENCOURAGEMENT AND INCENTIVE to focus on living up to on behalf of the USA.

    At least we don’t have the kind of warring and in-fighting like many other countries; I’m glad to be an American.

  7. Fed Up says:

    Well, I’d have to differ.

    We have had plenty of warring, endless war in fact! It never has stopped in all my life: we backed Chaing Kai Chek, invaded Korea, then Vietnam, backed all sorts of bloody regimes from Africa to Latin America, invaded Grenada, Panama, Iraq I, Afghanistan, Iraq II.

    And we’ve had infighting! What was the US Civil War? My great grandfather was in that. What was the slaughter of the Indians after the US Civil War? My Great Grandmother was a Cherokee.

    What were we doing in the 1960s trying to end Jim Crow Apartied and the War in Vietnam if not “infighting”?

    Dead, maimed and traumatized bodies liter the landscape, and we pretend it all never happened, la la la la la.

    I’m a mother, and I observed that everything that happens is recorded in our minds even as we are children, and we see the results acted out, even when we are not aware of the original trauma.

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