By Cal Colgan | JColgan@flagler.edu
Illustration by Hahau Yisrael
Last month, Barack Obama became the third U.S. president to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee lauded Obama for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”
But unlike the countless followers of the lunatic Glenn Beck who think our 44th president is turning our country into Stalinist Russia, there is a more rational argument to be made against Obama’s recent award.
The Nobel Peace Prize was given to a man who, like a character in a George Orwell novel, kills in the name of peace. And as much as his doublespeak would like to drown out the cries of the victims of the sinister cadre of human rights abusers and war criminals that he supports, anyone with an elementary knowledge of current events knows that Obama’s hands are muddied by the muck his allies have thrown on the peoples of the world.
Obama’s congratulations of Afghan president Hamid Karzai’s reelection at the beginning of this month came along with his stern declaration that Karzai must take “a much more serious effort to eradicate corruption” in the country. Yet Karzai’s very election campaign was mired with fraud, with his main rival, Abdullah Abdullah, dropping out of the race because of doubts that any attempt at a runoff would be free of tampering by Karzai’s campaign officials.
Life for Afghan civilians under Karzai’s rule is so deplorable that women continue to burn themselves to death rather than live under a patriarchal society in which they have no rights.
Democracy activists like Malalai Joya have survived several assassination attempts for speaking out against the Karzai government’s human rights abuses and opium trafficking.
As of this writing, Obama is considering whether to send an additional 40,000 to 60,000 troops to a country that is run by a mirror image of the terrorists and theocracy-supporters that the U.S. military is fighting. More than 1,500 American soldiers have already died in Afghanistan, and countless Afghan civilians have been killed.
But Obama still thinks democracy and peace can be won by assault rifles and depleted uranium.
As much of a dove that the Nobel Committee claims Obama is, within the first month of his presidency, he invaded Pakistan. The U.S. military’s efforts to annihilate the Taliban in Pakistan have resulted in 2 million displaced Pakistani civilians and countless dead. Although Pakistani government officials have chastised the U.S. for violating the country’s sovereignty, Obama will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal of destroying the Taliban — even if it means another military quagmire like Iraq.
The relationship between the Obama administration and Israel raises the question of which country has more influence over the other. In January of this year, the Israeli government bombed the Gaza strip, killing 1400 Palestinians.
A U.N. fact-finding commission on the Gaza conflict headed by Justice Richard Goldstone determined that Israel’s attack on Palestinians were disproportional to the number of Israelis Hamas killed. What’s worse, the report found that the majority of the Palestinians that were killed in the conflict were civilians, including women and children. The Goldstone Report wanted a war crimes investigation of both the Israeli government and Hamas.
But the U.S. Congress called the Goldstone Report “pre-judged” and “one-sided,” and Obama has done nothing to defend the U.N. commission. Obama previously chided Israel on its ruthless pursuit of establishing illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank, saying that Israel must stop all settlement building before negotiations resume between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, recently declared that the Obama administration has reversed its policy, effectively kowtowing to its law-breaking buddy.
You would think Obama would at least try to compensate for his warmongering and support of bloodthirsty and vindictive foreign governments by rolling back the fascistic policies of the Bush administration.
You would be wrong.
Although Congress has recently passed a bill that modifies some of the more draconian tactics the military commissions system uses at Guantanamo Bay like coerced testimony and restrictions on prisoners’ accesses to eyewitnesses, prisoners at Guantanamo are still tried by the military and not by a jury of their peers. During his election campaign, Obama declared the eventual closing of Guantanamo Bay. And yet the American prison in Cuba remains, still holding more than 220 detainees, many of whom were never formerly charged with being “enemy combatants.”
And Big Brother still infringes upon the rights of American citizens with the PATRIOT Act. The Senate recently rejected an amendment to the law that would stop the surveillance of individuals with no links to terrorist groups.
As the Obama administration asked the Senate to continue these measures, it is doubtful that Obama will have any objection to the Federal Government’s trampling on the Bill of Rights.
The Norwegian committee awarded Obama the Nobel Peace Prize in the hope that the award will give him the incentive to promote peace across the globe. But our president’s support of corrupt human rights abusers and war criminal foreign governments, as well as his endorsement of Bush-era policies at home, raise doubts that Obama will be a savior.
But perhaps the scariest aspect of Obama’s so-called “peace” record is that for all of his military bullying, liberals will continue to support him, and conservatives will continue to hope that he becomes more like Bush.
It seems like the conservatives are going to get their wish.