Huffpost WorldPost
William Laney Headshot

About Obama's Peace Prize

Posted: Updated:
Print

Ever since the Nobel Peace Prize Committee surprised the world by giving the 2009 award to newly elected U.S. President Barack Obama, the selection has evoked controversy.

Early on, objections were based on the claim that it was too early; that the president had not yet any accomplishment worthy of the honor. But soon, the main objection centered around the president's role as a Commander In Chief who authorized a surge in U.S. military forces in Afghanistan, and was therefore thought to be escalating the war. And now, the possibility of a missile strike on Syria -- even though it would be to prevent the use of chemical weapons -- is being called into question.

The peace prize choice has been vociferously defended by the Norwegians who chose Barack Obama from among a record 205 nominees. The committee has said the selection was an endorsement of Obama's stated policies, and as encouragement for what his "extraordinary efforts" could do.

And the committee's decision is indeed a reflection of Alfred Nobel's thinking when he established the Nobel Peace Prize more than a century ago as a reward for working toward peace.

Throughout his presidency, Barack Obama's "extraordinary efforts" have ended one war, in Iraq, and will soon end another one -- America's longest -- in Afghanistan. He has worked on solutions to volatile situations in Libya and now Syria without putting American boots on the ground. He has kept alive the possibility of peaceful solutions to confrontations with Iran and North Korea. He has proven to be a president intent on ending wars; not starting them.

And his "extraordinary efforts" have accomplished something else. They have kept us safer.

All but forgotten is the first of several bold moves made by Barack Obama that have made at least one place -- the high seas -- safer and more peaceful. In April, 2009 the waters of the Mediterranean and Middle East were home to pirate ships which posed a constant threat to international shipping interests

When the captain of an American cargo ship, Maersk Alabama, was taken hostage, President Obama authorized a daring rescue by U.S. Navy sharpshooters. Before that success, six ships had been seized for ransom by pirates. Since then -- none.

President Obama authorized another, better-remembered military action that rid the world of Osama bin Laden, and he has overseen the decimation of al Qaeda leadership.

Through it all -- as he works for peace, and to keep us safe -- this president continues to endure criticism that he is weak and/or indecisive. Those claims are debunked by the record.

Barack Obama is justifying -- through "extraordinary efforts" -- the faith placed in him by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee.