Let me state this at the outset: I do not think President Obama deserves his Nobel Peace Prize. I believe that awards and honors should be earned by concrete past actions, not vacuous future hopes. But I listened to Obama's acceptance speech anyway.
I was immediately struck by the amount of times the word "war" was used at a gathering honoring peace. The layered irony was, of course, that Obama who had just committed 30,000 troops to Afghanistan and who was receiving the Peace Prize, was the very same person choosing to pepper his speech about peace with the word "war."
For a few minutes I even wondered whether Obama's speech was somehow swapped and this was the speech intended for his West Point audience last week, since in certain sections Obama sounded downright hawkish.
Am I the only person concerned about Obama echoing former President Bush when he said, "I -- like any head of state -- reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation"?
Or how about his twisted, downright baffling logic on "holy wars" when he stated, "They remind us that no Holy War can ever be a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is no need for restraint -- no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or even a person of one's own faith." Did Obama just say that in order to really do justice to fighting a "holy war" you have to annihilate everything in your path -- the pregnant woman, the Red Cross worker, and all? Did he just give the green light to Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and Hamas to go all out? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is he talking about here?
Nevertheless, I'm always one to look for opportunity. So, let's focus on one particular passage of Obama's speech that might provide fertile ground for any future warrants of Obama's Nobel Peace Prize.
President Obama said:
First, in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to change behavior -- for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something. Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable. Sanctions must exact a real price. Intransigence must be met with increased pressure -- and such pressure exists only when the world stands together as one.
Now, I don't know which specific regimes Obama had in mind when he mentioned "exacting a real price" and regimes "being held accountable" but I sure hope the Bush regime makes it to the top of his shortlist.
A Truth Commission would show the world that Americans take the prospect of peace sincerely. That we do not advocate unnecessary, illegal, and wrongful war. And, that if you break the rules and laws of our Constitution, you will be held accountable--regardless of who you are.
Because what better way for Obama to begin his labors of peace on the world stage than by impaneling a Truth Commission to investigate the wrongdoings and illegal actions of the Bush administration regarding their pre-emptive war with Iraq and their post-9/11 torture policies?