Audacity in Norway

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has seen fit to award a peace prize to a man less than a year into elected presidential office in the United States. So what are Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize credentials?

Obama is a man who has yet to shut down a global gulag, who has yet to end the warring in Iraq, who has yet to oversee the return of the elected president of Haiti (deposed by US, Canadian, and French forces), who stands unflinching on the coup d’etat in Honduras, who runs cover for Israeli massacres of Palestinians and Israeli violations of the Geneva Conventions (i.e., supporting war crimes), who seeks to proliferate military bases in Columbia, who has ramped up the killing in Afghanistan, and who has overseen the spillover of war into Pakistan.

Is this the criteria that is deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize?

The Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland 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.”

So Nobel Prizes are being handed out for offering hope? Is this an effort to prod Obama along the road toward a peace-making presidency?

Didn’t Norway reward Yitzhak Shamir, Shimon Peres, and Yasser Arafat Nobel Peace Prizes for giving the hope of peace in historical Palestine? Since then Israel has carried out many slaughters of the indigenous Palestinians. And yes, Palestinians have resisted with violence — sometimes lethal.

Wasn’t US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger co-awarded a 1973 Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating a cease-fire in the US war on Vietnam? Hope was hung around a ceasefire destined to collapse. At least Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho had the integrity to refuse a prize where peace was based on the tokenism of hope.

There are many examples that contradict the notion that Nobel Prizes would spur the US nation toward peace. Yet the leaders of the most warring nation on the planet continue to be rewarded with peace prizes. It defies rationality.

Did Obama offer a mea culpa for US atrocities?

Did Obama seek justice for the perpetrators behind the killing of an estimated 1.3 million Iraqis based upon a concocted casus belli?

To his credit, Obama did something most unusual in acknowledging that the US was behind the 1953 coup d’etat in Iran? Did he offer an apology? Did he offer compensation?

Hoping for peace in a state based on the genocide, dispossession, and marginalization of its Original Peoples, a state whose economy was largely built through slavery, a state built through the expansionism of war with its neighbors, a state built through dominating its hemisphere through self-declared destiny, despite never managing the gumption to apologize for these past grave crimes seems rather dubious.

There are plenty of states deserving of censure. However, when one state with a long history of violence stands supremely powerful and claims itself to be a beacon onto all other states, that is where transformation must first occur in a world whose people long for a just peace.

That will require more than wishful thinking. It will require the audacity to mobilize the masses to a revolution for peace.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.

21 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Ron Harwell said on October 9th, 2009 at 10:41am #

    I am really disgusted about this award. He has no history of peace-making, but he does possess a history of rewarding those for torture and murder, rendition, continued violation of POWs, expansion of wars and violations of human rights, sovereignty violations–This is a man continuing an illegal “war” and all the criminal behavior that goes with it. Peace Prize? An advocate of human rights? Give me a break!!!

  2. b99 said on October 9th, 2009 at 11:03am #

    Ron – You have to consider the company he keeps – Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Henry Kissinger, Elie Wiesel all have won the Nobel Peace Prize. There’s not a good man in the lot.

    Kissenger had to split his with Vietnam’s Le Duc Tho. At least Le had the common sense to turn it down.

  3. rosemarie jackowski said on October 9th, 2009 at 11:40am #

    Simultaneous reports of USA genocide in Diego Garcia was being aired on Democracy Now, while the news of the Nobel Prize was being reported on the major channels. Amazing contrast!

    About Diego Garcia -possibly the longest lasting crimes against humanity in history, and all the while no one noticed. 40 + years and still counting, and still waiting for justice. Shame on the USA. Shame on the UK.

  4. Don Hawkins said on October 9th, 2009 at 12:34pm #

    The anthropologist [3] Lawrence Babb in an article about Sathya Sai Baba asks the question “Who is a saint?”, and responds by saying that in the symbolic infrastructure of some religions, there is the image of a certain extraordinary spiritual king’s “miraculous powers”, and to whom frequently a certain moral presence is attributed. These saintly figures, he asserts, are “the focal points of spiritual force-fields,” exerting “powerful attractive influence on followers but touch the inner lives of others in transforming ways as well.” Wiki

    These saintly figures, he asserts, are “the focal points of spiritual force-fields,” exerting “powerful attractive influence on followers but touch the inner lives of others in transforming ways as well.”

    We see so many in the first part of the twenty first century the prize should have been given to many. The media in the States for there grasp of reality, the bank’s for all there good work. All the policy makers for the great knowledge we now see. Yes the “the focal points of spiritual force-fields,” exerting “powerful attractive influence on followers is nothing short of mind boggling and all done within an out of control system. Kind of noise generators exerting “powerful attractive influence on followers with one goal in mind, THOUGHT CONTROL

  5. kalidas said on October 9th, 2009 at 1:13pm #

    Long past time to put P.T. Barnum’s face on the (.25) dollar bill.
    He’s eating his heart out.

  6. beverly said on October 9th, 2009 at 4:01pm #

    All I can say is WTF?!

    I’m going to start calling Obama the Witch Doctor because his powers to bewitch 9 out 10 people is beyond off the chain. Maybe he had some “dirt” on the Nobel committee members. Or perhaps they fall for an attractive hustler with good communication skills as easily as the average ignorant citizen.

    Did anyone catch BBC’s World Have Your Say today? A caller from Florida said Obama had brought love and prosperity to the nation. Even the Obama suck-up BBC interviewer had to challenge the caller on that whopper. The pundit guests weren’t much better as they should get an award for best bullshit in explaining why Obama was the perfect candidate for the prize.

    Obama more dangerous than Bush and Cheney? Hell, yes. His color, comportment, communication skills, and cunning is allowing him to get over on the public way more than a Republican could ever dream of doing. Pay no mind to the ranting from Cheney and his ilk. Secretly, they are high fiving as Obama is implementing their agenda to a tee.

    Don’t fear Beck, Limbaugh, hard right Republicans, and the teabaggers. Your friendly, politically correct Democratic party is the far more scarier lot.

  7. Don Hawkins said on October 9th, 2009 at 4:15pm #

    The scientists witnessed the dramatic nature of climate change first hand when the original glacier they were studying, Briksdalsbreen Glacier in Norway, shrank significantly during the course of their research.

    Take a look at the picture in 2001 and then in 2007.

  8. denk said on October 9th, 2009 at 5:08pm #

    you couldnt make this one up…

  9. brian said on October 9th, 2009 at 6:11pm #

    Lets think positively:

    No, its not april fools day, but maybe theres bright side to this farce:

    ‘Winning the Nobel Prize for peace, of course, is likely to make it extremely difficult for President Obama to drop any of his new fifteen ton Grand Slam bombs on Iran.’

    We can only hope!

  10. dan e said on October 9th, 2009 at 6:52pm #

    This is it exactly: “Obama more dangerous than Bush and Cheney? Hell, yes. His color, comportment, communication skills, and cunning is allowing him to get over on the public way more than a Republican could ever dream of doing. Pay no mind to the ranting from Cheney and his ilk. Secretly, they are high fiving as Obama is implementing their agenda to a tee.

    Don’t fear Beck, Limbaugh, hard right Republicans, and the teabaggers. Your friendly, politically correct Democratic party is the far more scarier lot.”

    Thank you Beverly!! Well said!

    The scariest are the socalled “Progressive Democrats”, the pseudo-“leftists” like DSA, CPUSA, CCDS, UFPJ, AFL-CIA/Sweenies & Sternies.
    thanks again, Beverly:)

  11. john andrews said on October 9th, 2009 at 11:31pm #

    I’ve just been reading this story on a ‘straight’ news website –, and the quite interesting thing is that nearly all of the dozen or so comments that have been sent appear to think exactly the same as the enlightened readers at DV.

    What a farce.

    Still, it’s given me a good laugh – which isn’t an easy thing for the ‘news’ to do.

  12. john andrews said on October 10th, 2009 at 2:25am #

    Even the London Times, that legendery Whitehouse sycophant, is ridiculing it! It almost starts to make you feel sorry for Obama and wonder what you’ve missed. I mean, sharing the same opinion as the leader writer for The Times???? Mind you, The Times did remind us of that classic line by Tom Lehrer who, when Kissinger was awarded the peace prize in 1973, said that he saw no further need to perform, because the award had made satire obsolete.

    There must be something I’m missing. We know Obama has the same military advisers as Bush had, so does he also have the same diplomatic team too? What were his advisers thinking when that phone call came? Were they all out of the country, or are they just on the Republicans’ payroll?

  13. Max Shields said on October 10th, 2009 at 5:16am #

    brian, et al

    Anyone who caught Charlie Rose last night and saw David Kilcullen and Brian Glyn Williams witnessed what’s really going on in the the “decision making” over Afghanistan escalation. It’s just about a done deal. Obama got a “prize” for not just doing nothing, but for continue and expanding on US wars. Hope?

  14. Michael Kenny said on October 10th, 2009 at 7:31am #

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that the Norwegian Nobel Committee is composed of five politicians, either present or former members of the Norwegian Parliament and Obama has just done something that pleases European politicians: he stopped the Polish missiles. I’m guessing that the Norwegians wanted to “reward” him for that and encourage him to continue down that road, backing off from a confrontation with Russia and Iran, ending the unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and solving the Israel problem, which actually spawned all the others. For reasons of geography, Europe is caught in the middle of all that and would like it all to just go away.

  15. Max Shields said on October 10th, 2009 at 8:20am #

    Basically, this was initially stunning and then it seemed rather nonconsequential to the point of pure “news cycle” gibber-gabber.

    The Nobal Prize for “Peace” has been well documented as faudulent. What the committee was “thinking” is about as important as why you chose cerial over eggs for breakfast.

    It does highlight that Obama continues to provide the talk-no-action mantra that has put him in office along with corporate money; and keeps enough of the (as dan e puts it) pseudo-leftists high fiving.

    You can be assured, and this is important, that there will be an escalation of war in the Middle East, primarily Afghanistan/Pakistan and that that will be the long war. Obama can’t and won’t say no to power. He knows who put him in the WH and who can throw him out (and make him irrelevent). And he won’t cross that line with a show of spine and real action. The rhetoric is ok, it keep the crowds off balance for a while.

    Obama’s trajectory was clear years ago. It isn’t changing. There is no substance behind the hope. There is no “progressive agenda”. There is no “transformative change”. Obama knows the lingo and he knows how to play it. I think with time he will stop believing his own bullshit and we’ll all just want him to funking go away. And he will but not without the bloodshed of many innocent human beings on his hands.

  16. Obstreperous said on October 10th, 2009 at 8:49am #

    I can certainly see how the poser-in-chief is more worthy than:

    Hu Jia: outspoken critic of the Chinese government, 3.5-year prison term for “inciting subversion of state power.”
    Wei Jingsheng: 17 years in Chinese prisons for urging reforms of China’s communist system.
    …among others.

    Not even funny, just sad.

  17. brian said on October 10th, 2009 at 5:26pm #

    yes max
    the hope that it will make it harder for Obama on the instigation israels psychos to bomb Iran…..

  18. denk said on October 10th, 2009 at 7:04pm #

    how do u explain the us catalputing from this

    to this ?

    in a mere six yrs ?

    you gotta ask obama’s mentor, george [“we can do it better”] soros

    the master of stealth technology…
    “So why is he so upset with Bush? The answer is simple. Soros is angry not with Bush’s aims — of extending Pax Americana and making the world safe for global capitalists like himself — but with the crass and blundering way Bush is going about it. By making US ambitions so clear, the Bush gang has committed the cardinal sin of giving the game away. For years, Soros and his NGOs have gone about their work extending the boundaries of the “free world” so skilfully that hardly anyone noticed. Now a Texan redneck and a gang of overzealous neo-cons have blown it.
    Soros knows a better way — armed with a few billion dollars, a handful of NGOs and a nod and a wink from the US State Department, it is perfectly possible to topple foreign governments that are bad for business, seize a country’s assets, and even to get thanked for your benevolence afterwards. Soros has done it.”

    the puppeteers saw it too, “colonisation by stealth”, how to add another colony Without BEING SEEN TO DO SO, they have turned it into an art form now.

  19. THE NOBEL "PEACE IS WAR" PRIZE ... said on October 11th, 2009 at 3:16pm #

    It’s a morbid joke, right???… Barack Obama???… Nobel Peace Prize???…

    The very sad and tragic irony is that — NOT SINCE HENRY KISSINGER was given it in 1973 — the Nobel Peace prize has been given, by the 5-member Nobel peace committee, still high on the Obamalade, to someone who — ON HIS VERY WAY TO HIS NOBEL “PEACE” PRIZE ACCEPTANCE SPEECH — will, between now and then, be sending drones to silently BOMB, from the air, mostly collaterally innocent people every week (in their homes, market places, villages, and even wedding parties), and others trying to defend their country from foreign imperialist military invasion and indefinite occupation — let alone Obama continuing to operate George ‘Dubya’ Bush’s two beyond-the-law, highly remote, secret rendition-torture gulags (Gitmo & Bagram) — Obama who is exanding the technological advancements, types and potential “usability” of U.S. nuclear weapons, while supposedly also being awarded “for his attempts to curb nuclear proliferation” — and Obama who will, upon every request, militarily resupply a racist apartheid state (Israel) with billions of dollars worth of cluster, DIME and phosphorus bombs, no matter how many fleeing families that state will use those TERROR WEAPONS on.

  20. Saturday Night Live! said on October 11th, 2009 at 10:32pm #

    Obama: “I’ve done nothing!”

  21. Mulga Mumblebrain said on October 13th, 2009 at 1:14am #

    denk, I’d bet that the survey of ‘national brands’ (pure moroncy)you linked to is total shite. What, no mention of ‘plucky little Israel’? Iran dead last? Even allowing for the cretinism of much of the public, their credulousness and Alzheimic ability to forget in what direction their bum points, this smells of pure bulldust. There’s nothing that the average Yankee chauvinist loves more than being told how wonderful he is, and how evil is the next country on the hit list. Today Iran, in a few years China or Russia. Just like shelling peas. A certain fraction of the population, higher in the US and at its peak in Israel, lives on hatred and rage. It motivates them, makes them forget their cosmic insignificance, it fills them with ardour to kick a few heads, or fricassee some kids. Just wait until the real hatemongering against Iran starts, and, as the bloodlust rises, there will be Mr Charisma, mournfully intoning, ‘I held out my hand in friendship…’as the bombs begin to rain, and the little children die in the streets.