Saturday, October 10, 2009


War is Peace

October 9, 2009

Friday, the Nobel Committee announced that President Barack Obama is the recipient of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for"extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples" during his first nine months in office. The Washington Post (WaPo) reports the Committee "singled out for special recognition Obama’s call for a world free of nuclear weapons".

Leave it to the best manufacturers of consent for war like Glenn Kessler at the WaPo to display the farce of this award. He reports this "is a classic case of an aspirational award" as the Committee’s rationale is "an acknowledgement that those efforts have yet to yield results", adding:

Consider the long list of actions that Obama has promised: closing the facility at Guantanamo Bay within a year; achieving Middle East peace; ending the war in Iraq and defeating al Qaeda in Afghanistan; halting Iran’s possible drive to a nuclear weapon; convincing North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Many of these have proven to be very difficult challenges. Obama appears likely to miss the deadline to close Guantanamo. The Middle East peace push is nearly off the rails, with Obama shifting course last month after failing to convince Israel to agree to even a temporary settlement freeze. The North Korea talks have been moribund.

Obama has on his desk a proposal to boost the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan by 40,000 or more, a decision that could extend the fighting there for many years.

"Barack Obama’s campaign may have changed the tone in international diplomacy, and that might have been a good thing," Campaign for Liberty President John Tate said. "However, his actions fail to match his campaign rhetoric. He is ramping up in Afghanistan, expanding the war into Pakistan and his administration is making plans to bomb Iran. At the same time, he has failed to make major troop withdrawals in Iraq, or anywhere else in the world."

The Obama Administration says there is "no option" on the table to end the violent occupation of Afghanistan and no intention of any near-end to the occupation of Iraq with 124,000 U.S. troops there now and the plan to have 50,000 occupying the country after the so-called 'withdrawal’ process is 'achieved’ in August 2010.

Liaqat Baluch, a senior leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a conservative religious party, said: "It’s a joke. How embarrassing for those who awarded it to him because he’s done nothing for peace. What change has he brought in Iraq, the Middle East or Afghanistan?" (Reuters)

In the two wars Mr. Obama has been leading in 2009, 886 civilians were killed in Afghanistan from February to July and 2,629 in Iraq from February to August, Brian Doherty posted at the Reason blog. (h/t: Angela Keaton)

"The Nobel prize for peace? Obama should have won the 'Nobel Prize for escalating violence and killing civilians’," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters–posing as Mr. Pot to the kettle president.

"Obama hasn’t even had time to slaughter that many people," Campaign for Liberty editor-in-chief Anthony Gregory posted at The LRC Blog, with tongue-in-cheek. "He has only killed thousands, maybe tens of thousands, though his mass displacement of people in Pakistan is significant, too. But Woodrow Wilson–that man threw the 20th century into a bloody totalitarian tailspin. It cheapens the prize to give it to an amateur like Obama."

As for the Orwellian-named "peace process" in Palestine-Israel, Mr. Obama has done nothing but enable Israel’s massacre on Gaza earlier this year and expanded colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Mr. Obama’s rhetoric has been nothing different from that of his predecessor, George W. Bush and has not threatened to cut military welfare from the U.S. to Israel–on which Israel is dependent to perform its atrocities.

Constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald blogs at Salon: "He uttered not a peep of opposition to the Israeli massacre of Gazan civilians at the beginning of this year (using American weapons), one which a U.N. investigator just found constituted war crimes and possibly crimes against humanity."

"Unless real and deep-rooted change is made in American policy toward recognizing the rights of the Palestinian people I would think such a prize would be useless," Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas prime minister in the Gaza Strip, told reporters after Friday prayers.

Professor Noam Chomsky wrote back in June:

The plans being executed right now are designed to leave Israel in control of the most valuable land in the West Bank, with Palestinians confined to unviable fragments, all separated from Jerusalem, the traditional center of Palestinian life. The "separation wall" also establishes Israeli control of the West Bank aquifer. Hence Israel will be able to continue to ensure that Palestinians receive one-fourth as much water as Israelis, as the World Bank reported in April, in some cases below minimum recommended levels. In the other part of Palestine, Gaza, regular Israeli bombardment and the cruel siege reduce consumption far below.

Obama continues to support all of these programs, and has even called for substantially increasing military aid to Israel for an unprecedented ten years. It appears, then, that Palestinians may be offered fried chicken, but nothing more. Israel’s forced separation of Gaza from the West Bank since 1991, intensified with U.S. support after a free election in January 2006 came out "the wrong way", has also been studiously ignored in Obama’s "new initiative", thus further undermining prospects for any viable Palestinian state….

If Obama were serious about opposing settlement expansion, he could easily proceed with concrete measures, for example, by reducing U.S. aid by the amount devoted to this purpose. That would hardly be a radical or courageous move. The Bush I administration did so (reducing loan guarantees), but after the Oslo accord in 1993, President Clinton left calculations to the government of Israel. Unsurprisingly, there was "no change in the expenditures flowing to the settlements". The Israeli press reported: "[Prime Minister] Rabin will continue not to dry out the settlements," the report concludes. "And the Americans? They will understand" (Hadashot, Oct. 8; Yair Fidel, Hadashot Supplement, Oct. 29, 1993)….

Obama administration officials informed the press that the Bush I measures are "not under discussion", and that pressures will be "largely symbolic". In short, Obama "understands".

The probable source, Peace Now, which monitors settlement activities, estimates further that the two largest settlements would double in size—Ariel and Ma’aleh Adumim, built mainly during the Oslo years in the salients that subdivide the West Bank into cantons.

Mr. Obama has done nothing more than hypocritically pass a ceremonial resolution at the U.N. Security Council to curb global nuclear proliferation. In fact, the U.S. is expanding its own nuclear production while enabling Israel’s covert proliferation of nuclear weapons and the threat to use them–based on manufactured false allegations–against Iran’s international agency-safeguarded low-enrichment facilities for its nuclear energy program.

Last week, Eli Lake at The Washington Times reported, quoting Administration officials: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obtained President Obama’s guarantee that the White House would continue a 4-decade-old secret deal to allow Israel keep a nuclear arsenal without opening it to international inspections."

Mr. Obama has continued economic warfare against the Iranian people while threatening its expansion and a military strike. These threats are illegal were the U.S. to be compliant with international law–"rules that all nations must follow", as Mr. Obama says.

"Ultimately, he may find on his desk a Pentagon proposal for a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities," Mr. Kessler writes. "Or he may get a call from an Israeli prime minister saying such a strike is imminent…. But is it something a Nobel Peace Prize winner would authorize?"

Mr. Obama has actively covered up the war crimes of the Bush Administration in order to deny setting precedence that would condemn his own crimes. "He’s worked tirelessly to protect his country not only from accountability–but also transparency–for the last eight years of war crimes, almost certainly violating America’s treaty obligations in the process," Mr. Greenwald writes. "And he is currently presiding over an expansion of the legal black hole at Bagram while aggressively demanding the right to abduct people from around the world, ship them there, and then imprison them indefinitely with no rights of any kind."

"Obama has not proven to be exactly a ray of light on questions of human rights and international law," George Washington University law professor Jonathon Turley writes at his blog. "He is now in violation of various international agreements over torture and United Nations officials have denounced the United States for refusing to carry out its duty to prosecute those responsible for the torture program. Yet, the Nobel Committee has chosen this time to award him with the Peace Prize—undermining the importance of the Geneva Conventions."

Justin Raimondo at AntiWar.com writes: "On top of that, you’re pushing through Congress a record military spending bill that keeps the U.S. spending more than the top 45 nations on earth combined on weapons and methods of war."

Mr. Obama doesn’t deserve to be on a list with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, Amnesty International, Carl von Ossietzky, Aung San Suu Kyi and Nelson Mandela. He’s better fit for one with mass murdering tyrants like Shimon Peres, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson and Henry Kissinger. The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize puts the president on a list with all of them.


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