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War as Peace: Reaction to Obama's Nobel Prize

In an era marked by pre-emptive war, it’s perhaps fitting that Barack Obama has been awarded a pre-emptive Nobel Peace Prize. With less than a year on the job, President Obama was awarded the prestigious award based largely on what might result from his efforts on nuclear weapons and on 'international diplomacy.' The announcement of Obama’s win comes -- pre-emptively -- mere weeks ahead of an expected decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan.

The President’s go to slogan/emotion, HOPE -- propped up by erstwhile progressives and looking more and more like the titular character in the movie Weekend at Bernie’swas cited by the Prize committee, "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."

A number of commentators criticized the committee's choice. Sydney Morning Herald columnist Paul Sheehan ripped the choice, 'Peace prize becomes a travesty.' Naomi Klein, appearing on Democracy Now!, was having none of this 'pay it forward' justification by the Nobel Committee: "I don’t know what kind of political game they’re playing, but I don’t think that the committee has ever been as political as this or as delusional as this, frankly."

Tariq Ali also appeared on DN! to discuss the award: "For all the talk, US soldiers remain in Iraq, and their bases are likely to stay there for some time. And the war in Afghanistan continues unabated, with President Obama actually sending in more troops. More people are being killed, both Afghans and NATO soldiers. The war has been expanded into Pakistan. So this is a sort of odd, though not surprising, choice by the Nobel Prize Committee."

Some notable U.S. progressives were more, well, hopeful. Michael Moore had second thoughts about his initial reaction, arguing, "I think the Nobel committee, in awarding Obama the prize, was also rewarding the fact that something profound had happened in a nation that was founded on racial genocide, built on racist slavery, and held back for a hundred-plus years by vestiges of hateful bigotry (which can still be found on display at teabagger rallies and daily talk radio)."

Urging progressives to "get off Obama's back," Moore ended with a very optimistic prediction: "My prediction for the future? You become the first *two-time* winner of the Nobel Peace Prize! Yeah!"

The Obama Prize is, of course, also being discussed on babble.

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