Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Just Wars"

Obama's War and Peace

by Ardeshir Ommani
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Washington correspondent Kim Landers noted in her Dec. 10 report: "U.S. President Barack Obama has confronted the paradox of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize while serving as a war president." To Obama and par excellence to the Peace Prize Committee, the peace award and the escalation of the war in Afghanistan were not in contradiction, but rather the peace prize was at the service of war. In fact, Barack Obama is an embodiment of war and peace at the same time, such that peace has to serve the cause of war. In his speech in the Norwegian capital of Oslo, President Obama, like all the U.S. war presidents, claimed that war is not only necessary for establishing peace but that the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and even Pakistan are "Just Wars".


When the Catholic Church or Chairman Mao Tse Tung of China or General Vo Nguyen Giap of Vietnam spoke about "Just Wars", they all provided strict conditions for such a war to take place. Catholicism strongly proposed that the decision of waging a war against a nation must meet certain rigorous conditions of moral legitimacy, and it must satisfy the following criteria, all at the same time:

1) the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation must be lasting, grave and certain;

2) all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

3) the use of arms must not produce evil and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.

It is common knowledge and an ironclad fact that neither Iraq nor Afghanistan has attacked the territory of the United States and 9/11 was the work of a small group of people from Saudi Arabia. Secondly, the peoples of those two countries have not invaded any U.S. territories and thirdly, U.S. aggression in both countries is causing greater disorders than the presence of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. In both China and Vietnam, Chairman Mao and Ho Chi Minh declared the armed resistance to the invading French and U.S. armies as just because they were waging defensive wars of independence and liberation from colonialism and imperialism. For Obama to call the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as "just wars" is the height of hypocrisy and demagogy.

No aggressor and occupying military force, such as the US-NATO armies in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan can justify and moralize its naked crimes against the peoples and institutions of those countries by labeling its barbarous acts of war and oppression as humanitarian and benevolent. The imperialist nature of the U.S. wars in the Middle East and South Asia region is the main reason that Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize speech on December 10 drew praises from such conservative and reactionary warmongers as former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin likened Obama's expansion of war in Afghanistan to the dreams envisioned by the failed President George W. Bush. "I liked what he said," Palin blustered as she announced her exuberance for Obama's speech. "The irony is that President Bush could have delivered the very same speech," said Bradley A. Blakeman, a Republican strategist and CEO of Kent Strategies LLC, who worked in the Bush Administration. And who was this "peace turned war" president really speaking to? The Nobel Committee was assembled in a giant hall packed with European aristocracies of finance capital, including the Norwegian royal family.

In order to press the Europeans to sacrifice more of their youths at the altar of the multinational capitalist corporations who live off the profits gained by their government's obedience to the call for more armaments, more bombs, more tanks and drones, Obama callously said that "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." So that is why even during this most recent world economic recession in the developed countries, the American people, like the serfs in the Middle Ages, must shoulder the economic costs of more than 739 military bases stationed around the world, and the ever-rising price-tag affixed to the current three conflicts in South Asia.

Apparently, Obama never paid attention to the number of bombs that the U.S. dropped on the people of Vietnam, killing three million hard-working and poor people of that country, permanently polluting their once lush green forests and clean rivers and valleys with the residue of radioactive depleted uranium and "agent orange". Not to mention the other millions of innocent workers and farmers in Korea, Laos, and Cambodia who were dragged into that 14-year unjust war against the Vietnamese people. Obama's invocation of the name of a truly great peace leader, Martin Luther King, Jr., assassinated less than a year after he spoke out against the U.S. criminal war in Vietnam and publicly linked the injustices of U.S. foreign policy abroad to the oppression of the African American people at home, is an abuse and exploitation of Martin's name and legacy. Without a doubt, Obama's speech was a rationalization, though pitiful, of escalating the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan by dispatching an additional 30,000 U.S. troops into that country to justify an unjust war.

The award of this year's Nobel Peace Prize to Obama, as a war president, will be encountered with widespread disbelief and one more proof that the so-called peace award is a tool for lending credibility to the imperialists’ wars of aggression at the service of occupation, enslavement and plunder of other nations’ natural resources and markets. In the eyes of the majority of working class and unemployed people around the world, the prize by the Norwegian Noble Committee looks preposterous in its claims, pro-war and domination in its intention and hazardous to the people of Afghanistan and U.S. troops alike.

The pretense of the prize lies in Obama's empty promise to strengthen the dialogue side of diplomacy and foreign policy. In a period less than a year in the White House, he has managed to widen the war in Afghanistan into Pakistan, increasing the number of Afghans and U.S. troop fatalities and casualties, and causing the displacement of more than 2 million Pakistan farmers and villagers, who now barely subsist in miserable refugee camps, all under the umbrella of "just war". To refresh our memories, this is not the first time that the Norwegian Peace Committee, a bastion of self-declared judges of "just wars", has awarded the world war makers with the peace prize, especially when the offender is a close ally of the NATO countries. In the Middle East, the awards to Menachem Begin of Israel in 1978, a former terrorist commander in Palestine, and later in 1994 to Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin are comparable to Obama’s right to receive a peace prize, which in truth is more realistic to be compared with the most contemptible prize of all: the 1973 award to Henry Kissinger who was responsible for a decade of continuous war and bloodshed brought upon the victorious people of Vietnam. In the last four decades, Kissinger has been branded a warmonger and perpetrator of genocide in Cambodia and Vietnam, countries not too far from Afghanistan and Pakistan, and was the "most frequent visitor" to the George W. Bush White House as an unofficial political adviser on Israel and the Middle East—including the invasion and occupation of Iraq. So, as we see, the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize is not always a noble act.

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