So President Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace prize:
OSLO – President Barack Obama on Friday won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said. “Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world’s attention and given its people hope for a better future,” the committee said.
I must admit that this award surprises me. Yes Obama appears to be committed to reductions in nuclear weapons, and yes that is hugely significant. But on the other hand the Peace Prize does not exactly sit easily with America’s current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In many people’s eyes the Obama administration is indistinguishable from the preceding Bush regime when it comes to the exercising of American military power. Obama supporters who hoped for more are increasingly angry.
High profile anti-war campaigner Cindy Sheehan (who lost a son in Iraq) expresses this sense of betrayal and anger in one of her open letters to Obama:
I know that you are only fulfilling your campaign promises to increase the violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan and I notice that not a significant amount of troops have been withdrawn from Iraq. However, even with your hostile rhetoric and promises to escalate the violence, many people voted for you because they believed you were the peace candidate.
Since the election, you have betrayed the progressive base that gave you victory on many occasions already, but the cause that keeps many of us motivated is the continued carnage in the Middle East. What bothers me even more, especially, is the fact that the so-called anti-war movement has given you a nine-month free pass and thousands of people have died, including hundreds of our own troops.
Since you took office, 125 of our irreplaceable young have been killed in what you called a ‘dumb war’ in Iraq and 223 in what I call the “other dumb war,’ Afghanistan. I have been waiting for a mother of one of those needlessly killed troops to demand a meeting with you to ask you: for ‘What Noble Cause?’ her child was sacrificed. …
Count me among the disappointed. I hoped for more from Obama than a continuation of American wars. I can’t square that with a Peace Prize. He didn’t deserve it.