Saturday, December 12, 2009

Obama's Nobel Speech a Pathetic Cover-up for U.S. Crimes

Barack Obama's Nobel Prize acceptance speech was lauded by most of his supporters, even though it was one of the most bellicose speeches ever given by a Nobel Peace Prize winner. The irony of awarding the prize to a man who is escalating the war in Afghanistan by tens of thousands of soldiers, and uses unmanned aerial drones to assassinate individuals, irregardless of the known innocents killed in the process, was not lost on some.

Here's David Lindorff at The Smirking Chimp, a site well-known for skewering George W. Bush and his policies for years:
It's not a[s] much of a travesty as when Henry Kissinger, a war criminal of the first order who was an architect of the latter stages of the Indochina War, and was personally responsible for the slaughter of well over a million innocent people, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, while that war was still raging, but the awarding of the latest Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama is travesty enough.

We're talking about a man whose practically first act upon taking office early this year was to escalate the ugly and pointless war in Afghanistan with the addition of some 20,000 troops, and who, even as the Nobel committee was discussing his award, was meeting with his military and political advisors to consider expanding that war even further, both in Afghanistan and across the border into Pakistan....

...under President Obama, Guantanamo's terrorist prison is still in operation and is holding people whom even the government admits are guilty of nothing. Under President Obama, the US has also blocked the Goldstone Report which condemns Israel of war crimes in its recent assault on Gaza. And under Obama, the US military in Afghanistan has continued to slaughter disproportionate numbers of civilians through its wanton use of aerial bombardment, pilotless Predator drones, and antipersonnel weaponry.
Lindorff also noted the failure of the Obama administration to ratify the international anti-landmine treaty. Bill Moyers noticed that too, and wrote an article with Michael Winship looking at the obscenity of giving a "Peace" prize to a man who can't stop a policy that kills thousands each year, many of them children.
The United States has not actively used land mines since the first Gulf War in 1991, but we still possess some 10-15 million of them, making us the third largest stockpiler in the world, behind China and Russia. Like those two countries, we have refused to sign an international agreement banning the manufacture, stockpiling and use of land mines. Since 1987, 156 other nations have signed it, including every country in NATO. Amongst that 156, more than 40 million mines have been destroyed.

Just days before Obama flew to Oslo to make his Nobel Peace Prize speech, an international summit conference was held in Cartagena, Colombia, to review the progress of the treaty. The United States sent representatives and the State Department says our government has begun a comprehensive review of its current policy.

Last year 5,000 people were killed or wounded by land mines, often placed in the ground years before, during wars long since over. They kill or blow away the limbs of a farmer or child as indiscriminately as they do a soldier. But still we refuse to sign, citing security commitments to our friends and allies, such as South Korea, where a million mines fill the demilitarized zone between it and North Korea.
One could write a treatise on the number of lies and sick doctrine enumerated in Obama's speech. But because it was said by a popular Democrat, and not by a Republican -- especially by the Chimp himself, Bush -- it's given a pass.

The fact the United States launched an illegal war in Iraq, killing many tens of thousands, and likely hundreds of thousands, still occupies that country, and in the process tortured an untold number, breaking international laws and covenants willy-nilly... this went unmentioned.

There are plenty of noble sentiments voiced in the speech, talk about dignity, hope, and freedom. But U.S. leaders have spewed such pablum for decades. Talk of a "just peace" in Afghanistan mimics Nixon's appeal for a "just peace" in Vietnam.

Obama (who used the term "just peace" three times in his speech):
This brings me to a second point — the nature of the peace that we seek. For peace is not merely the absence of visible conflict. Only a just peace based upon the inherent rights and dignity of every individual can truly be lasting.
Nixon, in his famous "Silent Majority" speech, Nov. 3, 1969:
It has become clear that the obstacle in negotiating an end to the war is not the President of the United States. It is not the South Vietnamese Government.

The obstacle is the other side's absolute refusal to show the least willingness to join us in seeking a just peace. And it will not do so while it is convinced that all it has to do is to wait for our next concession, and our next concession after that one, until it gets everything it wants.
Obama appeared for one moment to have a seizure of bad conscience, telling the world (emphasis added):
We are fallible. We make mistakes, and fall victim to the temptations of pride, and power, and sometimes evil. Even those of us with the best intentions will at times fail to right the wrongs before us.
Maybe Obama once had good intentions. I believe that he does think he's doing the right thing. But then you twist up your mind and conscience after you've sold yourself to the powers that be, and have worked on their behalf for so long.

No, Obama will not right the wrongs of this world. But he's not even trying any more. Instead, he has become President Huckster, trying to sell the U.S. Democracy brand to foreign and domestic consumers. Standing in the unemployment line, one is not likely to be so willing to buy it this year, fancy Nobel bauble or not. The same for the children of the dead and tortured, who instead will line up to staff the new HQ of the "insurgents", the "terrorists" and disgruntled who just won't settle for the fact that U.S. runs the world, and you'd better listen to what they say, or they will blow you up.

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