After a 45-year hiatus, Democrats appear to have recovered from Vietnam Syndrome enough to retake the mantle of America’s war party.
They are welcome to it.
The party that marched American troops into Meuse-Argonne, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Inchon and Khe Sanh is back with a vengeance under President Barack Obama, who has taken to overseas war-making like a duck to water.
This must have the Nobel Prize committee scratching its collective head.
Obama, who less than nine months after his inauguration won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” while fostering “a new climate” in international relations, especially in reaching out to the Islamic world, has the U.S. engaged in conflicts in six Muslim nations. Today Mr. Obama has more troops in Afghanistan than when he took office. He has widened the use of drones. (The U.S. now has 8,000 of the unmanned remote control planes.) He involved the U.S. military in an undeclared war in Libya, and waged covert wars in Yemen and Somalia. Perhaps most alarming, he is the first U.S. president to authorize the assassination of an American abroad (the New Mexican born Anwar al-Awlaki).
Overseas belligerency is one thing, but Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder has stated that the president has “under extraordinary circumstances” authority to use drone strikes to kill Americans on U.S. soil. The satirical newspaper The Onion was hardly joking when it headlined a recent article “‘You’re My Best Friend,’ Says Obama To Drone That Appears Outside Bedroom Window Every Night.”
When not drooling over his kill list, the president no doubt is imagining sending American troops to Syria or rattling sabers with the lunatics in Iran and North Korea.
In a 2012 op-ed in the New York Times, Peter Bergen, director of the national security studies program of the New America Foundation, noted that when it came to drone attacks George W. Bush was a piker compared to Obama:
During the Bush administration, there was an American drone attack in Pakistan every 43 days; during the first two years of the Obama administration, there was a drone strike there every four days.… The man who went to Washington as an “antiwar” president was more Teddy Roosevelt than Jimmy Carter.
Obama’s Peace Prize was highly controversial at the time. It was rightly seen as a jab at the Bush Administration and not a reward for anything the rookie president had done. The Nobel committee seemed to acknowledge as much saying it hoped the award would “contribute a little bit for what he is trying to do,” adding that it hoped to assist Obama’s foreign policy efforts. Today Obama’s prize is controversial for the opposite reason. He has grown outrageously trigger happy.
RECENTLY OBAMA’S Liebe zum Krieg occasioned the launch of a petition to revoke his Nobel Peace Prize. After one week, the petition garnered nearly 20,000 signatures out of a goal of 25,000.
At last, an area where liberals and conservatives can agree.
The comments left by the signatories are instructive, and hail from both the left and right. Writes Jack Dunaway of Rio Rica, Arizona: “Peace through superior firepower is not a model that should be endorsed by the Nobel committee. It does not advance world peace. To remain a creditable legitimate institution purporting to advance peace, it is necessary for the committee to reconsider the basis upon which this award was given to President Obama and what will [be] the symbolic meaning of this award in the future.”
“A person with a Nobel Peace Prize shouldn’t be authorizing drone strikes on civilians or the assassination of U.S. citizens without due process,” writes Robert Monroe of Schenectady, New York.
And Robert Van den Broeck of New Brunswick, Canada, asks, “Does the Nobel peace prize mean anything when Mr. Obama has murdered so many innocents with his drones, making him the judge, jury and executioner with a missile strike…?”
Will the man whose drones have killed between 411 to 884 civilians (according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism) see his peace prize pried out of his greedy little hands? Unlikely. According to statute 10 of the Nobel Foundation: “No appeals may be made against the decision of a prize-awarding body with regard to the award of a prize.”
Sure, it’s an exercise in futility. But a little exercise never hurt anyone.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons