By: Ronald Kessler
If the Norwegian Nobel Committee thought it was bolstering President Barack Obama’s prestige in the world by awarding him the 2009 Peace Prize, it was wrong.
From the liberal Huffington Post and Daily Kos to the Washington Post and the Times of London, opinion makers have denounced the decision as a joke, spotlighting the fact that to date Obama has only hot air to show for his efforts at world peace.
“Rarely has an award had such an obvious political and partisan intent,” the Times of London said. “It was clearly seen by the Norwegian Nobel Committee as a way of expressing European gratitude for an end to the Bush administration. The prize risks looking preposterous in its claims, patronizing in its intentions, and demeaning in its attempt to build up a man who has barely begun the period in office, let alone achieved any tangible outcome for peace.”
Mark Halperin of Time magazine wrote, “Barack Obama’s critics have long accused him of being a man of ‘just words,’ rather than concrete actions and accomplishments. The stunning decision to award him the Nobel Peace Prize for, basically, his rhetoric, will almost certainly infuriate his detractors in America more than it will delight his supporters.”
“Whatever happened to awarding for deeds actually done?” wrote Michael Russnow, who campaigned for Obama, on the Huffington Post.
The Washington Post editorialized, “It’s an odd Nobel Peace Prize that almost makes you embarrassed for the honoree. In blessing President Obama, the Nobel Committee intended to boost what it called his ‘extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.’ A more suitable time for the prize would have been after those efforts had borne some fruit.”
As suggested by the Times of London, the award to Obama was an obvious slap in the face of President Bush. “This is an award for not being George W. Bush,” Peggy Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal. And what did Bush do to deserve the enmity of the Nobel Committee? He toppled a man who had killed 300,000 people and liberated 50 million people.
Because of Bush, Saddam’s regime no longer inflicts torture on Iraqis by having electric prods attached to their genitals or by giving them acid baths. It no longer drills holes in their ankles and skulls. It no longer leaves them naked in refrigerators for days. It no longer cuts out their tongues and cuts off their ears. Nor does it force Iraqi men to watch gang rapes of their wives and sisters.
Because of Bush, Afghan women can now attend school. They are free to go out in public without being accompanied by a man. They are allowed to hold jobs.
Moreover, because of the $15 billion Bush sent to combat AIDS, deaths in Africa are down dramatically. For that reason, despite claims that America’s moral standing in the world has eroded, Bush’s approval rating in African countries has stood at 80 percent or higher.
Those are real accomplishments worthy of a Nobel Prize. In giving the award to Obama, the Nobel Committee’s effort at burnishing the president’s image backfired by highlighting the fact that he has accomplished nothing beyond delivering oratory.