Friday, October 9, 2009

Barack Obama Wins the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize

This is not a joke.  Or is it?  Fresh off of being lampooned by SNL as a President who has accomplished two things in office so far, "jack" and "squat," Obama has now won the 2009 Nobel Peace Price for accomplishing jack squat.  He is the third sitting President to win this prize, the others being Woodrow Wilson for creating the failed League of Nations, and Theodore Roosevelt for helping end the Russo-Japanese war.  The Nobel Committee announcement for Obama reads:
Obama has as President created a new climate in international politics. Multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other international institutions can play. Dialogue and negotiations are preferred as instruments for resolving even the most difficult international conflicts. The vision of a world free from nuclear arms has powerfully stimulated disarmament and arms control negotiations. Thanks to Obama's initiative, the USA is now playing a more constructive role in meeting the great climatic challenges the world is confronting. Democracy and human rights are to be strengthened.
What a weird last sentence, indicating more hope than change so far. This selection can also be viewed as more of an international repudiation of the policies of George Bush than a celebration of Obama's achievements.  Rarely has a person with so few tangible accomplishments, other than giving a few speeches, been awarded a prize this prestigious.  Let's hope he has the good sense to turn it down and ask the committee to award the prize to somebody more deserving. But no chance that will happen.

Those Who Were Passed Over in Favor of Obama

Sima Samar, women's rights activist in Afghanistan: "With dogged persistence and at great personal risk, she kept her schools and clinics open in Afghanistan even during the most repressive days of the Taliban regime, whose laws prohibited the education of girls past the age of eight. When the Taliban fell, Samar returned to Kabul and accepted the post of Minister for Women's Affairs."

Ingrid Betancourt: French-Colombian ex-hostage held for six years.

"Dr. Denis Mukwege: Doctor, founder and head of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo. He has dedicated his life to helping Congolese women and girls who are victims of gang rape and brutal sexual violence."

Handicap International and Cluster Munition Coalition: "These organizations are recognized for their consistently serious efforts to clean up cluster bombs, also known as land mines. Innocent civilians are regularly killed worldwide because the unseen bombs explode when stepped upon."

"Hu Jia, a human rights activist and an outspoken critic of the Chinese government, who was sentenced last year to a three-and-a-half-year prison term for 'inciting subversion of state power.'"

"Wei Jingsheng, who spent 17 years in Chinese prisons for urging reforms of China's communist system. He now lives in the United States."

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