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What Says ‘Nobel Peace Prize Winner’ like the Escalation of a War?

March 2, 2010


Recently, President Barack Obama was awarded the honors of being the recipient of the internationally renowned Nobel Peace Prize. This announcement not only surprised the world at large but also Obama, who bewilderedly admitted at a press conference shortly after, that he didn’t even realize he was nominated.

Naturally (like all things regarding Obama) this drew swift and vitriolic criticisms from the right wing, fascist arch conservatives and their “ministry of propaganda and disinformation” (Fox News).

Although I find it not only funny but also hypocritical for the war mongering right wing and their minions to questions the validity of Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize when the reality of peace is something that’s completely anathema to them, I do believe that in this matter “righteous criticism” is not only justified but called for from those amongst us who truly believe in universal freedom and peace.

Since taking office, President Obama has been experiencing a major credibility gap between what Candidate Obama promised during the campaign and what President Obama has actually been able to deliver. Progressive minded individuals and those on the left should be revaluating their unwavering support for Obama and asking themselves why hasn’t he done more to bring about a significant change away from the militaristic Bush doctrine and the imperialistic policies that’s deep rooted in American politics.

To date, Obama has failed to shut down the illegal prison/concentration camps at Guantanamo Bay and release prisoners who are being held without reason or cause. Obama was weak and wavering when it came time to demonstrate to the world that no one’s above international law. But because of increased pressure from the Right he was bullied into letting the likes of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales, and (the man who contrived the legal hokum that helped the Bush administration to circumvent both United States and international laws) John Yoo of Berkley University, get away with blatant human rights violations and international war crimes.

But, I believe that the most disappointing of all Obama’s unfulfilled promises are the ones to bring an end to the war in Iraq to work on a viable exit strategy in Afghanistan. These were commendable goals but the reality of the situation is that not only are American armed forces still occupying Iraq (under a false pretext) but due to mounting exhortations from the reactionary right, Obama is now being strongly persuaded to escalate the war in Afghanistan.

Recently the Commander of the occupying forces in Afghanistan, General McChrystal, reported that he’ll need at least 40,000 more troops to complete the conquer and subjugation of Afghanistan. And even though already facing a force of invaders numbering over 100,000, the Afghans have been able to launch a deadly effective offensive against coalition forces.

Also because of political ineptitude, a government rampant with corruption, a blatantly rigged election, and the ever mounting number of civilian casualties due to heavy air bombings, unmanned drone missile attacks, and soldiers firing indiscriminately, the occupying forces find themselves not just fighting a determined Taliban but also an increasing resistance movement of young and poor Afghans who see themselves as not fighting for the Taliban but fighting against imperialist foreign invaders. It appears that this resistance movement is gaining the support of the alienated and oppressed populace. And as history has shown us, once a guerrilla movement gains the support and confidence of the populace there’s little to no chance that the oppressors will succeed in defeating it.

The war of futility in Afghanistan is quickly starting to show resemblance to another one of American’s imperialistic follies: Vietnam. With its weak puppet government controlled by the West, a population that’s growing more and more resistant to Western occupation, and a war with no end that’s now threatening to escalade and even worse, spread to neighbouring Pakistan, you can’t help but draw comparisons.

And so with all this, even Obama’s most adamant supporters must ask themselves, “is he really deserving of a ‘Peace Prize’ while he’s continuing to carry on two wars of conquest and is unwilling to fight for a change to the imperialistic foreign policies of America?” The answer is a clear no.

But Obama’s presidency is still young so maybe there’s still a chance for him to prove he’s more than just talk and that he can actually deliver. But the left and progressives must be aggressive in their message to Obama: that their support isn’t mandatory and that American’s safety must not be made possible by the oppression and subjugation of other nations.

Also Obama’s weakness in accommodating and acquiescing to the reactionary right should stand as a reminder that no matter how hopeful and inspiring the election of Barack Obama was, in American it’s not about the man in the seat of power but “the seat of power” itself. Meaning, it doesn’t matter who the president is, until the people push for complete and true reform of this capitalist/imperialistic government, “The seat of power” will always dictate the politics of the man within it. And so it’s up to the people to redefine our understanding of the brutal war in Afghanistan, that it’s not a war against terrorists but one against the Afghan people.

So for Obama to live up to his Peace Prize he must immediately withdraw American forces from Iraq and reject the request from Gen. McChrystal for more troops in Afghanistan (who fail to distinguish between terrorists and insurgents/resistance). If not, then the only clear difference between Obama and Bush will be the obvious: race. But an oppressor of any colour is still an oppressor. And only time will tell whether Obama will rise to the occasion to challenge and deviate away from the exploitative and militaristic policies of the “governing class” and towards true humanitarianism and universal freedom and peace, but not just for the West but also for the Third World. Or will this new administration be just another case of the same “politics of two arms” as usual? Whatever the case may be, the one thing that is certain is, the struggle continues…

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