Obama collects the Nobel "peace" prize after sending even more troops to Afghanistan

US President Barack Obama has accepted his Nobel Peace Prize, just nine days after sending 33,500 more US troops to prosecute his bloody counter-insurgency war in Afghanistan.

In a speech at the glitzy acceptance ceremony in Oslo Mr Obama insisted that "the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace."

He went on to quote what fellow Nobel peace laureate Dr Martin Luther King observed at the same ceremony in 1964: "Violence never brings permanent peace – it solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones."

But Mr Obama, who won a landslide victory over warmongering Republican presidential candidate John McCain last year on a ticket of "change," went on to regurgitate one of his unpopular predecessor’s favourite soundbites affirming his "right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation."

And he maintained that force "can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war."

In an apparent attempt to goad allied states uneasy about the war in Afghanistan to pledge more troops he insisted that "all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace." Mr Obama then fell back on hoary old World War II comparisons.

He implied that peace negotiations with leading resistance fighters in Afghanistan is a non-starter because "a non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies."

On Wednesday representatives of several dozen US anti-war groups posted an open letter to the Nobel committee expressing regret that Mr Obama had opted to escalate the war "so close upon his receipt of this honour."

The letter called attention to statements made by Dr King upon receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 when he urged people to reject retaliatory violence.

"President Obama has insisted that his troop escalation is a necessary response to dangerous instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan," the groups state, "but we reject the notion that military action will advance the region’s stability or our own national security."

The signatories pledged "to mobilise our constituencies in the spirit of Dr King’s nonviolent and committed example," saying: "His prophetic words will guide us as we assemble in the halls of congress, in local offices of elected representatives and in the streets of our cities and towns protesting every proposal that will continue funding war."

 

December 10, 2009