If you are a right wing Republican conservative Yahoo, this letter is NOT for you. If you are a moderate, progressive, liberal, centrist, or anyone associated with the legitimate (i.e., not FOX News) press, this IS for you.


Dear Disgruntled Sisters and Brothers,

Many people are beside themselves, or at least a little annoyed, or in some cases simply bemused, because Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize but he “seems to have not done anything yet.” There are so many misconceptions behind that sentiment that I don’t know where to start.

If you are one of the people who does not like the fact that Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, please consider the following.

Some people say that this was a political act. Well, duh. In fact, double duh. The ultimate goal, and perhaps only noble goal, of politics is to find and support peace, within and between nations. Were you thinking there was some other objective, or that politics, ideally and in its most expansive form, was for something else?

The committee awarded this prize to Obama because of his efforts to enhance international diplomacy, but especially because of his vision to have a nuclear free world and his efforts to achieve this. In so doing, the Oslo committee has endorsed nuclear disarmament and probably moved us substantially towards that goal. Is this a problem for you?

President Obama had engendered a new international political climate. He has brought multilateral diplomacy back from George Bush’s scrap heap as a a viable strategy, and has reemphasized the role of the United Nations and other international institutions. This underscores and gives much needed credibility to the use of dialogue and negotiation to resolve international conflicts. This is a change from previous American policy of unilateral strong-arming, which as so far been singularly ineffective, and even if sometimes effective is over the long term destructive to our position in this world and generally immoral. In just a few moves, over a short amount of time, Obama has reversed (for the better) American foreign policy. Do you not think this is a good thing?

Real nuclear arms control negotiations are finally happening because of Obama’s initiative, with the US playing a salient role. Surely, you must think that is worth something.

For the first time in a decade, the US is seriously involved in the international conversation regarding climate change. Is that a problem for you?

While it is true that every single human rights objective we would like to see met has not yet been addressed, for the first time in years the US is actually positioned to realistically be involved in positive advancement of democracy and human rights, instead of just playing a game to provide cronies of the leadership with more defense contracts. Why does this bother you?

Hardly ever does someone come along, as Obama has done, to capture the world’s attention and give everyone real hope for a better future. If, as an American, you are having a problem understanding why Obama was awarded this international award, then perhaps you should consider the possibility that you do not have the same large scale and international perspective that the Oslo committee has. As an exercise in self appraisal, try this. Of the following individuals, which ones can you identify as to what country they are affiliated with, what they may have done to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (they all were), or what job they had?

Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Albert Lutuli, Albert Schweitzer, Alfonso García Robles, Alfred Hermann Fried, Al Gore, Alva Myrdal, Andrei Dmitrievich Sakharov, Aristide Briand, Arthur Henderson, Auguste Marie François Beernaert, Aung San Suu Kyi, Austen Chamberlain, Bertha von Suttner, Betty Williams, Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Carlos Saavedra Lamas, Carl von Ossietzky, Cecil of Chelwood, Charles Albert Gobat, Charles Gates Dawes, Christian Lous Lange, Cordell Hull, Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld, David Trimble, Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Eisaku Sato, Élie Ducommun, Elie Wiesel, Elihu Root, Emily Greene Balch, Ernesto Teodoro Moneta, Ferdinand Buisson, Frank B. Kellogg, Frederik Willem de Klerk, Fredrik Bajer, Fridtjof Nansen, Friends Service Council, George Catlett Marshall, Georges Pire, Grameen Bank, Gustav Stresemann, Henri La Fontaine, Henry A. Kissinger, Hjalmar Branting, Jane Addams, Jean Henry Dunant, Jimmy Carter, Jody Williams, John Hume, John, Lord Boyd-Orr of Brechin, John Raleigh Mott, Joseph Rotblat, José Ramos-Horta, Kim Dae Jung, Klas Pontus Arnoldson, Kofi Annan, Lars Olof Jonathan (Nathan) Söderblom, League of Red Cross societies, Lech Wałęsa, Lê Ðức Thọ, Léon Jouhaux, Léon Victor Auguste Bourgeois, Lester Bowles Pearson, Linus Carl Pauling, Louis Renault, Ludwig Quidde, Mairead Corrigan, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martti Ahtisaari, Médecins Sans Frontières, Menachem Begin, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, Mohamed ElBaradei, Mother Teresa, Muhammad Yunus, Nelson Mandela, Nicholas Murray Butler, Norman E. Borlaug, Óscar Arias Sánchez, Paul-Henri-Benjamin d’Estournelles de Constant, Philip J. Noel-Baker, Ralph Bunche, René Cassin, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Seán MacBride, Shimon Peres, Shirin Ebadi, Sir Norman Angell (Ralph Lane), Tenzin Gyatso, Theodore Roosevelt, Tobias Michael Carel Asser, Wangari Muta Maathai, William Randal Cremer, Willy Brandt, Woodrow Wilson, Yasser Arafat, Yitzhak Rabin.

Seriously. Read through that list. The people who awarded this prize can explain who each of these individuals is and why they were given the Nobel. Chance are, as a moderately to very well educated American, you can barely identify one in ten of these individuals. So please consider the possibility that you have, as many of us do, too narrow a perspective to be shooting your mouth off about what kind of job the Oslo committee did.

Obama understands that diplomacy is effective only if based on the concept of finding shared values. Compared to George Bush, he not only knows how to lead in this regard, but clearly thinks it actually matters that the US president DOES lead in these matters. The Oslo committee is pretty much with the rest of the world in wanting to recognize this. Is there some reason that you are against this?

Obama in his policies and actions well represents 108 years of tradition by the Oslo Nobel Committee, working to enhance and reward these policies and attitudes. Obama is the world’s leading spokesman for this new international diplomacy. When the Nobel Committee endorsed Obama’s statement that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.” …. why did that not make you feel proud to be an American? For once?

Your Blogger,

Greg

Comments

  1. #1 Mike Dark
    October 9, 2009

    The world: Thank you America! Thanks for Obama, we sure need him!

    America responds: Thanks for what? He hasn’t done anything!

    The world: Addition by subtraction, thank you thank you thank you!

  2. #2 Robert
    October 9, 2009

    “To be honest, I do not feel that [Obama] deserve[s] to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who have been honored by this prize, men and women who’ve inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.”

    Was the person who said this disgruntled, a little annoyed or simply bemused? Why don’t you ask him? His name is Barack Obama.

  3. #3 JohnV
    October 9, 2009

    Nice post Greg.

    I knew 18 names out of 99 on the list but for a few I don’t know the connection to the peace prize. Guess I’ll spend some time reading up on people.

  4. #4 Stephanie Z
    October 9, 2009

    Robert, I think, “Mine! Mine! All mine!” would be more comment-worthy as a reaction from Obama. What did you expect him to say? What have other Peace Prize winners said except that there was work to be done and others whom the prize should recognize?

  5. #5 William9
    October 9, 2009

    This was a prize given for wishful thinking.

    Previous presidential winners actually achieved a major accomplishment. Carter had The Carter Center. Wilson had the League Of Nations. Roosevelt helped end the Russo-Japan war.

    Also, didn’t we just bomb the moon? You call that peace? ;-)

  6. #6 The Science Pundit
    October 9, 2009

    I knew 18 names out of 99 on the list but for a few I don’t know the connection to the peace prize.

    I recognized 24 individuals (not counting Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, etc.) on that list. I knew they were all Nobel Prize winners (Did you know that Pauling is the only one to win it for both Peace and Physics?) except, strangely enough, I didn’t realize that MLK was a NPP winner, and somehow I had managed to forget that Kissinger was.

    Was the person who said this disgruntled, a little annoyed or simply bemused?

    I’ll take modesty for $500. :-P

  7. #7 Mary O'Grady
    October 9, 2009

    Thank you, Greg. You said what needs to be said.

  8. #8 jc woodward
    October 9, 2009

    Sir, your an Ass

  9. #9 Jason Thibeault
    October 9, 2009

    I follow a particular pastor on Twitter who tweeted that Obama was going to give away the prize money to charity — “hopefully to someone that deserves it!!!!”. I replied, “I’m curious — do you feel Henry Kissinger deserved it?” No response as yet.

  10. #10 Zack
    October 9, 2009

    ctrl+f+Afghanistan… zero results.

    ctrl+f+war… zero results after skipping the few “reward” results.

    ctrl+f+Iraq… ctrl+f+Guantanamo… again, nothing.

    Curious.

  11. #11 William9
    October 9, 2009

    The world: Thank you America! Thanks for Obama, we sure need him!

    I voted for him. Do I get a prize? Look, if he accomplished half of what he says he hopes to, I’ll happily applaud a Nobel award for him in a few years.

    He should decline it like Sartre did.

  12. #12 CyberLizard
    October 9, 2009

    Sometimes we americans need a swift kick in the head to get us to see beyond our own little world. I was in the bemused/confused camp, but you put the situation very much in perspective.

    I had really hoped from the beginning that Obama might be the real deal. It’s nice to have my hopes prove true.

  13. #13 Katharine
    October 9, 2009

    I knew 33 names!

  14. #14 katydid13
    October 9, 2009

    I could recognize 24. I’ve hung out in a seminar room named for Frank B. Kellog and a house named after Dag Hammarskjöld.

    I’m annoyed that any public offical has said anything other than “Yes, we are very proud of him.” Even if you think its a little premature having the President of your country win a Nobel Prize should not have a political downside. When the rest of the world honors your president you shut up and smile.

  15. #15 The Science Pundit
    October 9, 2009

    I’m annoyed that any public offical has said anything other than “Yes, we are very proud of him.” Even if you think its a little premature having the President of your country win a Nobel Prize should not have a political downside. When the rest of the world honors your president you shut up and smile.

    Why do Republicans hate America?

  16. #16 Tulse
    October 9, 2009

    Greg, why the rush? Yes, Obama has said some heartwarming things about diplomacy, nuclear disarmament, climate change, and other important international issues, but these aren’t accomplishments, just nice words. Not a single warhead has been dismantled, not a single domestic or international climate change law has been passed, no single major diplomatic endeavour has succeeded (or arguably even been significantly started). If Obama is successful in doing all those things, or even if he makes material gains in those areas, I would have no problem with the Nobel folks giving him the prize in a few years. But at this point, he does not deserve the prize, certainly not more than some others who, though lower profile, have actually accomplished something.

    (In the interest of disclosure, I do have American citizenship, but I also hold a Canadian passport and live now in Canada, so I may not be the audience to whom your remarks are directed.)

  17. #17 RCHughes
    October 9, 2009

    They probably wanted to give it to the US electorate, but didn’t feel we deserved it since we’re the ones that put Bush in in the first place.

  18. #18 ARJ
    October 9, 2009

    I wondered what that pop-pop-pop sound was I heard this morning… musta been the Neo-cons of America bursting blood vessels.

  19. #19 tom coward
    October 9, 2009

    This award must be a stinging rebuke to GW Bush, as well. Imagine how it feels if you do a job for 8 years, then your successor spends 9 months undoing much of what you did, and then wins a major award (woth $1Million to boot!)for his efforts.

  20. #20 Peacenik
    October 9, 2009

    I cannot think of any other person in the world who is presiding/leading not one, but two wars. You know a peace prize is f***ed up when the guy who wages the most wars gets to win it. Somewhere, Russian President Medvedev is kicking himself for not invading Congo.

  21. #21 JohnV
    October 9, 2009

    Is post 20 another invocation of a time traveling Obama?

  22. #22 Mike
    October 9, 2009

    Greg,

    I think I’d put myself in the ‘bemused’ camp on this one. While I find his change of course in foreign policy a desperately needed change for the better, the prize award seems to be on the potential his change implies, rather than results.

    Of the three other US Presidents who have earned this award, two of them got it while still in office. In Wilson’s case he’d been president 6 years. In Roosevelt’s case, he’d been in for five. Carter won his many years after leaving office.

    Obama hasn’t been in a year yet.

    I hope his changes pan out and the world becomes a much better place because of his influence. But I am still a little bemused by the award at this early a stage.

  23. #23 William9
    October 9, 2009

    When the rest of the world honors your president you shut up and smile.

    I will discuss it and express myself on this or any other matter at any time or any place I desire. Capisce?

    Man, nothing baffles me more that the “sit down and shut up” drones. Come and make me, sport. :-P

    Is post 20 another invocation of a time traveling Obama?

    No, that would involve the Nobel Prize in physics. :)

  24. #24 MattXIV
    October 9, 2009

    Imagine how it feels if you do a job for 8 years, then your successor spends 9 months undoing much of what you did

    Let’s see:
    PATRIOT Act – Check
    US troops in Iraq with no clear plan for withdrawl – Check
    US troops in Afghanistan with no clear plan for withdrawl – Check
    Indefinite detention of detanees – Check
    No serious effort to prosecute torturers – Check
    Massive deficits – Check
    Scandinavials kissing the president’s ass – HOPE AND CHANGE!

    I guess Bush would have to imagine what that’s like.

  25. #25 matt
    October 9, 2009

    can’t even read this whole post. it is too long. you are a moron. you should have focused your time on world peace instead of writing this crap.

  26. #26 PeggyOh
    October 9, 2009

    Thanks Greg! Yes, in this chirotic moment, its a call to action for Obama to lead us to a more peaceful world and for all of us to fully participate. Seriously guys, quit being so self-righteous.

  27. #27 WotWot
    October 9, 2009

    (Did you know that Pauling is the only one to win it for both Peace and Physics?)

    Even better is that he is the only person to win two Nobel prizes on his own, (and in two different categories).

  28. #28 katydid13
    October 9, 2009

    William9 are you a public official being interviewed? Then I don’t really care what you say, but I do think it’s just plain tacky to try and make political hay out of it without acknowledging that our president has been granted an honor.

  29. #29 katydid13
    October 9, 2009

    That should have read tacky for a public official to make hay out of it. John McCain came off much better than Michael Steele for instance. This is why we suck at diplomacy because we ignore the wrong thing and get outraged at the wrong things.

  30. #30 qbsmd
    October 9, 2009

    For the science related awards, I though the prize committee typically waited until decades after the discovery in question to make sure it really was significant. I wonder why the peace prize is not held to the same standard since it is even more vulnerable to politicization.

  31. #31 Rob Roach
    October 9, 2009

    Thank you. I was ‘afraid’ to read this, but you’ve done an honorable thing by explaining for the doubters. Me, I Got Hope and won’t stop!

  32. #32 DuWayne
    October 9, 2009

    Sorry Greg, but I am totally with Matt@24 – he has a hell of a lot of shit to actually do, as apposed to move in the direction of, before he even comes close to earning the Nobel peace prize. If we were actually, I don’t know, even seriously discussing getting out of Iraq, Afghanistan and/or Gitmo.

    And before anyone yelps about asshats like Kissinger and Arafat getting it, they didn’t deserve it either. I suppose it really doesn’t matter, as this prize became fairly pointless years ago.

  33. #33 Robert
    October 9, 2009

    I’ve been checking the New York Times archives to see the immediate reactions of previous winners of the Nobel Peace Prize upon being informed.

    What they all seemed to have in common was a strong emotional reaction: joy and happiness, and gratitude that their work was recognized. Jimmy Carter said “I was thrilled.” Martti Ahtisaari was “very pleased and grateful.” Muhammad Yunus said “I am so, so happy.” The Dalai Lama said “I very much appreciate that kind of recognition about my beliefs.” Oscar Arias Sanchez said “I am happy, immeasurably happy, about this news.”

    Theodore Roosevelt said “I am profoundly moved and touched by the signal honor shown me through your body in conferring on me the Nobel Peace Prize. There is no gift I could appreciate more, and I wish it were in my power to fully express my gratitude.”

    Obama wasn’t just being modest. He actually seemed to be a bit annoyed that he was awakened before 6 am and required to come down and talk to the press. Not even a hint of being happy.

    I like Obama. I see no downside to this award. It has to be good for the whole country. All I’m saying is that his reaction was weird, at least so far.

  34. #34 indeNile
    October 9, 2009

    First of all Greg, stop asking us whether we like Obama better than Bush… Who doesn’t? The ugly of rhetorical questions is obvious when you get to repeat yourself eight times. The beauty of rhetorical questions is that none of us have to answer them.

    Second, you missed the argument entirely. The award is given out to people that have ACCOMPLISHED some sort of peace accord…

    So because after eight years of a closed, singled-minded Republican ideology, Obama’s charisma and oratory has given the international community a hard on within the first year. C*ckslap to Bush’s face.

    Honestly, I do believe the new direction our U.S. has taken is a huge step forward, but we’re still at least a decade behind foreign and environmental policy. At least he’s handling it as appropriately as possible. Accepting the award as a ‘call to action’ and giving the $1.4 million to charities.

    I wonder what Bush would have done with $1.4 million….

    Cheers.

  35. #35 Sam N
    October 9, 2009

    @2, Robert

    My impression listening to the speech this morning on NPR is that Obama was bemused.

    I take the point that I am unqualified to judge who truly deserves the nobel peace prize, but I feel like DuWayne and Matt’s point of view sound rather persuasive.

    I am currently under the impression the Nobel was awarded not only for Obama’s current stance regarding international cooperation, but also with the hope of pressuring Obama to follow through in the next few years.

  36. #36 Anne Gilbert
    October 9, 2009

    I was kind of puzzled by Obama’s being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. I’m glad he got it though, even if I wonder why. And I’m also glad he recognizes that, however honored he may be as the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, he knows he’s not quite in the same league as people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Lech Walesa, Desmond Tutu, and others I can’t think of at the moment, who actually got the prize. That he knows this, and has remarked on it, is very, very courageous of him. And for that reason alone, perhaps, he deserves the award.
    Anne G

  37. #37 caia
    October 9, 2009

    Peacenik — It’s not as f***ed up as Kissinger winning it.

  38. #38 brian patrick cork
    October 9, 2009

    Empty words mate.

    Yours is naught but a series of positioning statements. Like everything Obama is associated with, he’s talked about many of the initiatives you discuss in your own post. But, he has yet to actually realize any of them.

    If I’m wrong, please come back with clear example, and link to unbiased date that can support your position.

    Cork

  39. #39 travc
    October 9, 2009

    Nice summary Greg.

    The vast majority of folks complaining don’t seem to know what the Peace Prize actually is. It isn’t about pacifism (though a pacifist could certainly win it). It isn’t really about ‘achievements’ either. It very much is a political statement, and always has been. And it isn’t always to someone who ‘deservers’ it in the balance of their actions (it is often awarded with reference to a specific context).

    Obama probably wouldn’t be my first choice for the Peace Prize, but awarding it to him isn’t insane or some gross debasement of the award. However, if they give the prize in Economics (not official a Nobel) to some damn Efficient Markets Hypothesis fool I’m going to be pissed.

  40. #40 Kammy
    October 9, 2009

    Right the fuck on, Greg. I could hug you. My husband was reading your post and said, “Wow! Greg Laden is saying exactly what you were saying.”

    All day I’ve been so pissed by everyone bashing the President for having been chosen. I expect it from the right, but from the progressives, liberals, Democrats, etc. I’ve been hearing it from. Sheesh. The man cannot win for losing. I’m proud of him and I also appreciate his humility in the face of this honor.

    Thanks for writing it out so well. I owe you a hug next time I see you. :)

  41. #41 Katkinkate
    October 9, 2009

    “This award must be a stinging rebuke to GW Bush, as well. Imagine how it feels if you do a job for 8 years, then your successor spends 9 months undoing much of what you did, and then wins a major award (woth $1Million to boot!)for his efforts.”
    Posted by: tom coward

    That may very well be a big part of their reason, in giving him the prize.

  42. #42 Jeremy
    October 9, 2009

    @ #34

    You are wrong, and this Nobel Prize has been great for demonstrating what an enormous part of the population has no idea about the history of the Nobel Prize.

    The prize is not given out for accomplishments. There is a long history, dating back to the 4th Nobel Peace Prize in 1904 to the Institute for International Law of giving it to people who are attempting to achieve things that the Committee approves of, rather than actually succeeding in those goals. Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, it is very common to give out the Peace prize to people while they are trying to achieve something, rather than after they have achieved it.

    Talking about a lack of accomplishments regarding the Nobel Peace prize is merely demonstrative of an ignorance of the award and its history.

    Thanks Greg for a fantastic and accurate post.

  43. #43 sailor
    October 9, 2009

    “In just a few moves, over a short amount of time, Obama has reversed (for the better) American foreign policy. Do you not think this is a good thing?”

    While I agree with your sentiment, and have no real objection to Obama getting the prize (he has been very gracious in the way he accepted it)I cannot help feeling, with regard to the above statement, that it is a bit like giving a guy a knighthood just because he did not abuse his wife like the last husband did.

  44. #44 JThompson
    October 9, 2009

    @Kammy: If the man hadn’t pissed off a large part of his base by perpetuating the War on Drugs, slapping down gay rights, trying to appease the right wing nutjobs, and not giving much of a damn about civil liberties he’d probably have a lot more support from progressives. No one deserves unquestioning loyalty. You certainly can’t expect liberals to blindly support a centrist, no matter what letter comes after his name or how much better he is than the alternative.

    So yeah, I thought about curing some diseases one time. I even talked about it a lot and tried to talk other people into doing it. Do I get a Nobel for medicine?

  45. #45 Sevesteen
    October 9, 2009

    How many days had Obama been in office when he was nominated?

    I hope he eventually deserves it, but as far as I can tell he got the award for not being George Bush. That’s a good thing, but not all that rare.

  46. #46 Amy
    October 9, 2009

    @IndieNile “Second, you missed the argument entirely. The award is given out to people that have ACCOMPLISHED some sort of peace accord…”
    Since when is getting world leaders to communicate with one another after decades of hatred and violence among them not accomplished? You & the Nobel panel must have very different ideas about what that word means…

    And it wasn’t your award to give, so your rules and interpretation of the award mean jack.

  47. #47 Treppenwitz
    October 10, 2009

    How many days had Obama been in office when he was nominated?

    Eleven. Nominations closed February 1st. To me, that lends a lot of weight to the argument that this is an award for having different rhetoric than Bush.

  48. #48 Opus
    October 10, 2009

    Folks, you’re making far too much of this. Obama was given the Nobel Peace Prize for one simple accomplishment: He, singlehandedly, (well, maybe he had a little help) kept Sarah Palin’s finger off the nuclear trigger.

    That feat alone is worth the prize.

    And the whole world knows it.

  49. #49 NitpickyElf
    October 10, 2009

    When the rest of the world honors your president you shut up and smile.

    Technically, it’s the 6 members of the committee that are honoring him.

    And nobody can legitimately be upset at Obama – it’s the committee’s decision. However, I do think his initial reaction was probably, “Oh shit.” He’s obviously embarrassed by the award so soon.

    Laden’s post sounds like it was written while he was watching Fox News – way too many silly strawmen arguments with 3-inch high opponents that are easily toppled. Winning a debate with the ghost of O’Reilly isn’t something to pound your chest over.

    And the official intent of the Peace Prize is to go to the person who:

    “shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”

    For those who claim that the Peace Prize is just a political statement – the original intent is clearly for *accomplished work* towards peace. I think that’s why people are confused.

    For crying out loud – we all love Obama. You’ve got to create a hell of a lot more strawmen before you can pretend that the entire US being “puzzled” over this award somehow is due to anti-Obama bias.

  50. #50 windy
    October 10, 2009

    When the Nobel Committee endorsed Obama’s statement that “Now is the time for all of us to take our share of responsibility for a global response to global challenges.” …. why did that not make you feel proud to be an American?

    It made me embarrassed to be an European. Is “gullible” in the Norwegian dictionary?

  51. #51 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    Robert [2] do you have a clue as to how much of an ignorant ass your comment makes you sound like? Have you compared what Obama said to what a sampling of other NPP winners have said? Did you not heed my request to expand your contextual knowledge of this event so you sound like less of a moron than you might actually be, given what you’ve said? And if you are who I think you are I know you are not a moron.

    Jeesh…

    Right. What Stephanie said.

    Zack, I apologize for not including in this here post I wrote what you were thinking I should have included. Your ESP rays were not strong enough, I guess.

    RCHughhes[17] That is part of my message, indeed.

    Tulse[16] http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/04/122048.htm

    Mike[22] the reason I put that list up there was to help Americans understand that this is not the US Presidential Accomplishment Award. Also, I took several paragraphs to explain the reasons Obama was given the award. How come that does not matter or enter into your critique?

  52. #52 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    qbsmd [30] You are correct about the Nobel for Chemestry, etc. But, what you describe is not a “standard” but a way of doing things by the Swedish committee that decides the various Nobels.

    What you do not seem to know is that the Nobel Peace Prize recipient is selected by a different group of people, in an entirely different country, using criteria that is not even closely related to the Swedish committee’s prize.

    You see, here’s the thing. You don’t have a clue what you are talking about. Don’t feel bad. Most Americans don’t. A key point of my post and borne out in the comments is that many of those whoa are criticizing Obama getting this award are doing so out of ignorance of what the award even is. This is not the Nobel for Chemistry and it is not the Award to US Presidents for Doing Stuff Americans Want Award.

  53. #53 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    Anne [36] Well said.

    Brian; [38] Aha. Interesting, what you say. Have you read the Nobel Prize committee statement on why Obama won this award, mate?

    Go read that and come back and tell me in what ways I did not represent what the committee stated. If you have an argument, it is with the committee, not with me. Feel free to tell us how what has actually happened differs with what the committee laid out it its statement, and tell us how what the committee tell us in its statement differs with the objective and role of the prize, then tell us how well Obama’s award fits with the overall history and context of the Nobel Peace Prize. Mate.

  54. #54 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    travc[39]: Maybe Obama will also win the Economics Prize for saving the economy!!!

    Kammy[40]: Obviously, we must get lunch soon…

    Tom/Katinkate [41]. Exactly. That is why this is hugely important. A very strong statement has been made here.

    Jeremy[42] Thanks for that additional context. Very nice.

    Sailor [43] I totally agree. But he knighthood I have in mind when I think of your example is being given to some guy in 1635 who declared that he does not actually own his wife and has no right to physically abuse her and that she has the same exact rights as he has. Then some enlightened noble gives him a knight and all the other knights who are busy abusing their wives and stuff see this an go “huh…”

  55. #55 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    JThompson: I would read this very differently. What thinking progressive gets pissy about the Nobel Peace Prize because the guy who got it did not act as quickly as desired on a domestic policy issue? This post is not a call for blind support.

    That’s not actually how we liberals and progressives work. Rather, we think about stuff. Join us. Its rather pleasant.

  56. #56 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    [47]Trepenwitz: YA example of ignorance = getting it wrong. The nominatoins are not sealed and the nominee pulled from a hat. Wikipedia is your friend. Go read about how it works.

    Opus[48]: Someday they will unseal the secret documents leading to this award and we will see if you are correct. You may well be!

    NitpickyElf [49] Laden’s post sounds like it was written while he was watching Fox News

    Ha! My post was written by going systematically through the Oslo Committee’s statement about this particular award and including each item. Why don’t you go and read the actual statement justifying this award, become a bit more edumicated about it, then your opinion might be worth considering further.

    Your quote from Wikipedia is a nice start. Now, again (it is so tiresome to have to repeat the main points of a post to commenter’s who are paying half attention) look at the history of the prize . Tell me how many standing armies MLK shut down, or Kissinger.

    And, you really TOTALLY missed the point about politics. “Only a political statement.” Seriously man, go back and read the post.

    That is all. I’m going to shovel the snow off the walk.

  57. #57 Sterling
    October 10, 2009

    The author of post 42 hit it on the spot to me. The Nobel prize for peace has “never” been awarded solely for “achievements”, it has been awarded for “attempts”. After all if it were actually awarded for “achievements” it would only be needed “one” time and that would the for the person or persons who actually “brought” us World Peace. In that case we would already have it and this discussion would be immaterial. Surely Obama has accomplished little actual peace as of yet, but he has quickly put in place the “means” to a peace, as well as helped unite folks around the world towards that goal. Nelson Mandela for example did not bring peace to S. Africa himself. What he did do though was to act as the catalyst to lower the hate level enough that sane folks could take over the battle on both sides. His refusal to call for “revenge” on his jailers and the ruling White govt. was an example to the others who also suffered. Martin Luther King Jr. did not give the U.S. civil rights. He was only one of many working toward that goal. Like Mandela though he more than any other in his time period managed to unite moral folks behind the movement form all sides. There have been two types of “leaders” throughout history. Those that have led simply by brute force, and those who have led by example. Obama is in the second category because as president he has opened the door to peace, wants to walk through it with him. One might argue whether he was the person “most” deserving of the award, but one cannot truly argue that he is “undeserving” of it.

  58. #58 Matt Penfold
    October 10, 2009

    One of the criteria used in deciding who gets the Nobel Peace Prize is encouragement. In otherwords those who complain Obama has yet to do anything are ignoring the brief the awards committee has been given.

  59. #59 Daveinoc
    October 10, 2009

    Wow. I mean, WOW!
    You, my friend, are a left wing Schmuck.
    You refer to Fox as if it were run by the Taliban. Must be making up for your unusually small penis. Got a lot of anger built up inside you?! You need to bang your head against the wall a few times… that should do the trick.

    Obama’s mama deserves the nobel peace prize more than he.

  60. #60 The Science Pundit
    October 10, 2009

    Wow. I mean, WOW! You, my friend, are a left wing Schmuck. You refer to Fox as if it were run by the Taliban.

    @Daveinoc
    Allow me to reprint Greg’s first paragraph from this post.

    If you are a right wing Republican conservative Yahoo, this letter is NOT for you. If you are a moderate, progressive, liberal, centrist, or anyone associated with the legitimate (i.e., not FOX News) press, this IS for you.

    In other words, this post isn’t for you. Now SHOO!!!

  61. #61 Enoch
    October 10, 2009

    I agree. I assumed Obama would eventually get the prize, was bemused that he did now, and am glad it happened. So bemused -> amused.

  62. #62 john
    October 10, 2009

    February 1st was when these nominations took place. President Obama was inaugurated on January 20th. You’d need to bereft of logic not to see this award as several years premature.

    Too bad science itself has too become politicized and diminished by free market capitalists. Great minds protect ideas and spend less with blind idolatry protecting people. Only independent thinkers can attempt to save us from these two separate wings of the same flightless bird. Doth protest too much.

  63. #63 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    John: A zillion people are nominated for this award. The award process then proceeds for months. Your dates are therefore no more relevant than Obama’s Kenyan Birth Certificate.

    I don’t know what you are talking about, but my science is totally unpolitical.

  64. #64 FredianoB
    October 10, 2009

    It’s time to roll our eyes into the back of our heads, breathe through the soles of our feet, and divine the wisdom of the consciousness of all consciousness.

    You know, like crazed religious zealots, running amok in the new theocracy.

    The Social Scientologists are going to get their very visible public 15 minutes of screwing the pooch. No hiding it, it’s safe, they think, to come out from the crevices and show us their stuff now. And its really, really funny stuff, too.

    This has gone so far beyond ‘joke’ that it has crossed all political barriers. It is like watching a slow motion circus train wreck, complete with clowns.

    Please…don’t stop. We are insatiable for this kind of pure mirth. I never dreamed I’d live to see the day, but, here it is, in all of its precious glory. Perfect.

  65. #65 Matt Penfold
    October 10, 2009

    February 1st was when these nominations took place. President Obama was inaugurated on January 20th. You’d need to bereft of logic not to see this award as several years premature.

    What part of encouragement being a criteria for awarding the prize do you not understand ?

    Like other you think the prize is always awarded for a record of prior achievement. Like others you are simply wrong.

  66. #66 Enoch
    October 10, 2009

    FredianoB, … Huh?

  67. #67 DuWayne
    October 10, 2009

    Daveinoc –

    I don’t agree with Greg and none of the comments here has convinced me to change my mind. I disagree with Obama receiving this award, because I have seen very little in the way of even attempting to resolve a great many problems that our country is embroiled in and while I can appreciate the difference he has made in foreign relations, I don’t see that making up for a complete lack of attempting to get us out of the conflicts in which we’re engaged or Gitmo.

    However. You sir (and I use that term loosly) are a complete and utter asshole, without a single redeeming quality evinced here. You add nothing the least bit constructive to the conversation and are nothing but a pointless little troll. I hope you are impressed with yourself, because certainly no one else is or should be.

  68. #68 john
    October 10, 2009

    In other words, please show me another Nobel Peace Prize winner who was nominated for ten days worth of work. Or are is anyone trying to tell me the way he ran his political campaign, or short tenure as a US Senator makes him worthy?

  69. #69 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    OK, so we are seeing the next major Republican winged monkey form before our very eyes, folks. John: are you reading this off the talking points memo form the RNC or one of its affiliates?

  70. #70 Treppenwitz
    October 10, 2009

    Trepenwitz: YA example of ignorance = getting it wrong. The nominatoins are not sealed and the nominee pulled from a hat. Wikipedia is your friend. Go read about how it works.

    I don’t recall saying anything about the selection process being random, and I don’t know why you found it necessary to attribute such a belief to me.

    I wasn’t entirely correct about the submission deadline, however, as the Nobel Committee may add additional names to the list during their first meeting after the February 1st deadline. What I haven’t yet found is when that meeting took place.

  71. #71 john
    October 10, 2009

    Just like Pres. Obama’s work isn’t (yet) worthy, neither was your ad-hominem to me. The last forty years, or so, have been nothing more than the same deregulations and wars/conflicts with different people. They’re just gotten better at selling these things. I’m merely surprised to see science-minded people so willing to suspend dis/belief, while enforcing conclusions before the experiment has even commenced.

    BTW, next time don’t cast such a wide net with your blog postings, or expect to receive some of the same. Or at least try to defend the somewhat defensible. Have a pleasurable day.

  72. #72 natural cynic
    October 10, 2009

    I still think that the prize was premature, however…

    I’m sure that the prize committee wasn’t sequestered and must have taken into account things after the Feb. 1 date. If not, then then the award was simply for not being GWB. IMHO, he hasn’t changed enough Bush policies to deserve the award. It has to be more for attitude than accomplishment [which can be considered as evidence for receiving the NPP].

    I would be surprised if the economics award would go to a pure free-marketeer. Hasn’t done very well recently, and probably won’t be given to another in the near future. Won’t have long to wait for the next one.

    And Pauling was a Chemistry and Peace Laureate.

    And I recognized 44 of the previous laureates, slightly less that 1/2.

  73. #73 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    But, natural cynic, which of the reasons for giving him the award that I outline in the post did not really happen? So far not one person claiming that Obama has not done anything has addressed even one of these statements on this comment thread.

  74. #74 Oran Kelley
    October 10, 2009

    I really wish the committee hadn’t given the prize to Obama, but the award was conceived of as a tool to advance peace, not just an award for past meritorious service.

    I think the committee may have miscalculated the reception of their announcement, but I think Greg hits it right on the head: they meant to rebuke Bush, encourage Obama, and congratulate Obama on his one truly great accomplishment: winning the election and reversing the trend toward unilateral idiocy in US foreign policy.

  75. #75 DuWayne
    October 10, 2009

    So far not one person claiming that Obama has not done anything has addressed even one of these statements on this comment thread.

    Addressed what exactly? A bunch of rhetoric? So far Obama has done a far better job of proving himself spineless, a liar or both. Why exactly am I supposed to be terribly excited about anything that he says? He has fairly consistently contradicted campaign promises with his actions.

    He may well turn it around and actually follow through with some of what he claims – that would be grand. But as of this moment, I have a hard time getting excited about any “hope” he is trying to spread anywhere, when he has done an exceptional job of dashing hope for change here in the U.S. – unless that change was just supposed to be some minor tweaking here and there. I see nothing more than a common, petty politician, doing what politicians do. Yeah, he’s somewhat better than our last president, but that isn’t exactly a very high bar.

    There is something seriously wrong when the rest of the world can find hope for change from the U.S. president, while U.S. Americans would be pretty hardpressed to find much to be hopeful about from the same man.

    And honestly, if as the Oslo committee seems to be claiming, Obama is managing these marvelous international feats, then our president needs to rethink his bloody priorities. Because there is a whole hell of a lot getting left behind here at home. I am all for improving international relations, but meanwhile we are sitting here with a rising unemployment, nearly as much secrecy as we had with Bush, no restoration of the civil liberties that Bush wiped his ass with, gays still getting booted out of the military, No plans for closing Gitmo in sight, no plans for getting out of Iraq in sight, no plans for getting out of Afghanistan in sight, were still raiding medical cannabis growers in states where it is legal – but hey, his rhetoric looks good to the rest of the world, so fuck the folks back here in the U.S…

  76. #76 DuWayne
    October 10, 2009

    That was, btw, just a partial list of things Obama promised and either outright contradicted himself with his actions or simply ignored.

  77. #77 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    Addressed what exactly? A bunch of rhetoric?

    DuWayne, they gave him the award. They listed thier reasons. You’ve stated that they were wrong, but you refuse to acknowledge or discuss their stated reasons. All you’re really doing is spouting disdain for Obama, which is fine (if misguided) but the argument the Oslo Committee has made stand unrebuked. What’s the point of your commentary other than that you don’t like Obama?

  78. #78 DuWayne
    October 10, 2009

    My point is, I don’t think much that they listed is much more than the empty rhetoric he has engaged in here. And if I am wrong, then we have a president who is apparently far more interested in the rest of the world, than he is in the country that elected him to pull us out of a huge fucking mess.

  79. #79 Richard
    October 10, 2009

    DuWayne, now that Obama has taken a major step towards ending don’t ask don’t tell do you plan to allow him to accept the prize?

  80. #80 AliceB
    October 10, 2009

    There are people who will take any chance to make their own petty or selfish argument, and this is just another such opportunity. Such individuals are not concerned about the damage their own incessant complaining does to the larger causes. They just want to hear their own voices.

    Obama is a breath of fresh air. The Nobel Peace Prize is, as the OP says correctly, a political statement. It is in no way under the sun bad that Obama has received the Nobel Peace Prize. Those who keep complaining about this have their own problems to attend to.

  81. #81 Treppenwitz
    October 10, 2009

    Obama has taken a major step towards ending don’t ask don’t tell

    All I’m seeing in the news is that he has repeated the promises he made during the campaign without indicating when those promises would be fulfilled.

  82. #82 R. Barber
    October 10, 2009

    This is an excellent post. I feel the same way. Thanks.

  83. #83 Don V.
    October 10, 2009

    Eleven African Americans have won the Nobel Prize. Every time there has been this sort of asinine resentment and hatred, and every time that hatred came along with all the usual excuses. How dare the black man win the Nobel Peace Prize.

  84. #84 Treppenwitz
    October 10, 2009

    Eleven African Americans have won the Nobel Prize. Every time there has been this sort of asinine resentment and hatred, and every time that hatred came along with all the usual excuses. How dare the black man win the Nobel Peace Prize.

    You’ve got to be kidding me. You seriously think that racism is behind all the befuddlement expressed in the various ScienceBlogs threads on this issue?

  85. #85 Odin
    October 10, 2009

    I don’t understand how random people can decide their stupid unconsidered opinion is so much more valuable than the considered opinion of a team of people who have worked on this decision for months. I expected Obama to have a high chance to get the Nobel, eventually, and it is a surprise that this is so soon, but the complaining about it at least on this thread is bullshit. Good for him he got it, good for us, good for the things he’s trying to do. The next time Obama chairs a meeting at the UN he’ll be nobel laureate Obama. That can only be a good thing.

  86. #86 Don V.
    October 10, 2009

    Treppenwitz, your certainty is itself highly questionable. What give you that certainty? When I see the usual racist commenter making the same usual racist remarks I think racism as the usual possibility.

  87. #87 DuWayne
    October 10, 2009

    And what step would that be exactly Richard? More empty rhetoric? And for the record, I honestly don’t care that he accepted it or that it was offered – I just don’t see him deserving – not yet at least.

    AliciaB –

    Such individuals are not concerned about the damage their own incessant complaining does to the larger causes.

    Selfish? Are you bloody serious? Since when is it selfish, to expect that a politician might – just might actually do what he was elected to do – what he bloody well promised the U.S. American people he would do?

    Obama is a breath of fresh air.

    Why exactly? Because his lies are particularly grandiose?

    Don V. –

    Every time there has been this sort of asinine resentment and hatred, and every time that hatred came along with all the usual excuses.

    My irritation with our president and his winning this prize have nothing to do with the color of his skin and everything to do with a) he doesn’t deserve it and b) he is a lying politician.

    I would not be nearly so irritated, but my cynicism failed me with Obama and I actually had an expectation that he might not just be entirely full of hot air. His rhetoric was that good and his background that impressive. Not enough to convince me to vote for him, just enough that I truly thought he would actually at least try to live up to his word.

    I accept that there is a slim possibility that he might actually turn it around and do something. Were he to manage to actually make a difference in climate change, nuclear prolif and develop a record of multilateral diplomacy, I would be thrilled to see him receive the Nobel peace prize. But given the amount of lying he has managed thus far, I am not terribly impressed with him getting based on his rhetoric alone.

  88. #88 Elizabeth
    October 10, 2009

    Treppenwitz: Obama has done a bit more than make promises. Get your story straight.

  89. #89 AliceB
    October 10, 2009

    DuWayne, you are being so typically American. Any one of the promises Obama made (well, many of them) would take anyone months to do, and as usual the new president walks into office with a crisis that loomed only half way during the campaign. Your expectations and judgments are absurd. You did not get what you wanted when you wanted it, and now we all have to listen to you whine.

    Or just ignore you, I suppose.

  90. #90 Treppenwitz
    October 10, 2009

    Treppenwitz, your certainty is itself highly questionable. What give you that certainty? When I see the usual racist commenter making the same usual racist remarks I think racism as the usual possibility.

    If you want to call out specific individuals with a post history full of racism, go ahead. I apologize if I’ve misinterpreted your earlier post, but you seemed to be painting with a much broader brush, and I don’t appreciate the implication that my doubts about this award are motivated by racism.

    Treppenwitz: Obama has done a bit more than make promises. Get your story straight.

    What, specifically, has he done regarding DADT?

  91. #91 Elizabeth
    October 10, 2009

    He has had specific conversations with people in the pentagon and there is legislation in the house that he intends to sign. Pay attention.

  92. #92 AliceB
    October 10, 2009

    I hadn’t thought this to be a racist issue.

    Then Don mentioned it and it rang true as a possibility.

    Then I thought, no, probably not this time. Though one must remain aware of the possibility.

  93. #93 Greg Laden
    October 10, 2009

    It is worth noting that more than half of the Americans (or about half, anyway) who have won the NPP were African Americans. That is very important and interesting. I suspect the Norwegians have been trying to send us a message for some time. And, of course, they have sent us a message with Obama’s award, which many of you are simply not getting to your fault.

    But, I don’t agree that the commentary on this thread has been in any way racially motivated. But I’m sure there is plenty out there. Personally, other than hearing about one comment by Limberger, I’ve not paid one bit of attention to the usual right wingers. I’m more concerned with the not very helpful to the greater cause remarks from the left and the center. Obviously.

  94. #94 DuWayne
    October 10, 2009

    AliciaB –

    Any one of the promises Obama made (well, many of them) would take anyone months to do, and as usual the new president walks into office with a crisis that loomed only half way during the campaign.

    First of all, he has had nine months thus far and not a hell of a lot to show for it. Second, he has not only not done a hell of a lot, but has flat out done the opposite of what he promised on several fronts. Not the least being he has not only done absolutely nothing to restore the bill of rights that Bush wiped his ass with or to reverse the secrecy of the Bush admin, he has continued those policies when he has had ample opportunities to change them.

    Your expectations and judgments are absurd.

    How exactly? Why are the feds still raiding medical cannabis sites in states where it is legal? He promised that would stop. How come we have yet to see an inkling of a plan to shut down Gitmo. MI flat out welcomed bringing prisoners that can’t be released to prisons here – we need the jobs. How come we have yet to see an inkling plan for getting out of Iraq – not expecting it to happen over night – but when exactly is that even going to be discussed? Ditto for Afghanistan? How come we have yet to see reversals of the secrecy that he promised would stop? It doesn’t take time or the least effort to keep that promise, yet here we are in the dark. When are we going to see him easing up on those presidential powers he said he was going to? Again, just takes a decision – nothing more. When are we going to see a restoration of our bill of rights? A little more challenging, but that was an important promise? Why didn’t he – the commander in chief of our military, not put a moratorium on booting gays out of the military until a permanent solution could be managed? Instead we have continued to lose gays, many of whom are in areas we have serious shortages in – such as linguistics.

    Why exactly is anyone getting excited about the rhetoric about international relations, when he has lied repeatedly?

  95. #95 Laura
    October 10, 2009

    Good point. I knew only a dozen or so names.

    I’m glad for Obama and I’m glad for the rest of us that he won this.

    Now lets get to work on disarming the nukes.

  96. #96 Treppenwitz
    October 10, 2009

    He has had specific conversations with people in the pentagon and there is legislation in the house that he intends to sign. Pay attention.

    If some actual progress is being made, that’s great news. Would you mind proving a link or two? All I’ve found so far are reports about his speech today and some talk about the possibility of congressional hearings in the next month or two.

    Since it’s hard to gauge tone in text, I’d like to make it clear that I did vote for the guy and do recognize that, despite his shortcomings, he is a significant improvement over the last administration.

  97. #97 nobody
    October 11, 2009

    When Lech Walesa got his Nobel prize in 1983, I was young and I had all those negative thoughts myself. He was nothing more but a puppet, unable to put together a coherent sentence on his own.

    Today I believe to be wiser by over 20 years. It does not matter how much Walesa achieved himself. He was nothing more and nothing less then a symbol of change and hope, much needed at the time in eastern Europe. Same goes for Obama. He is a symbol of change and hope much needed in the world now. So be it.

  98. #98 Roger Jones
    October 11, 2009

    Small thing. IPCC left off the list.

  99. #99 ponderingfool
    October 11, 2009

    Can we be disgruntled about the fact he got the Nobel PEACE Prize while wagging war on foreign soils?

  100. #100 john
    October 11, 2009

    I must be a glutten for punishment.

    Although don’t you find it disturbing that a foreign body is attempting to dramatically influence American National Security. Making the world stronger in our own weakness is not a good comprimise. On an even grander scale, don’t you find it disturbing that the President has only spoken once to an pivotal man like General McChrystal (Commander ISAF and USFOR-A)in his nine months in office, yet Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs etc. have a part of his ear every waking morning?

    Better yet, do you honestly believe that President Obama or President Bush, or anyone in Washington (Republican or Democrat) welds more power and influence than Wall Street? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

    Anything that has touched the free market capital system has been corrupted, and that includes the FDA and big pharma (making the latest health care reform initiative laughable,) the profiteering Washington War Machine etc. And for those who cheapen the debate with race, please don’t forget the color of money is green.

    We need to wake up, examine the big picture; realize, we are being played by both sides. Nothing has changed…. not in this Administration, likely not in the next one either.

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/10092009/watch.html

  101. #101 fbj
    October 11, 2009

    Greg is the preeminent Obama fanboy on science blogs!

  102. #102 Fran Barlow
    October 11, 2009

    I ahve to admit Greg, like a number of the others posting here who are sympathetic to Obama’s ostensible policy agenda I initially had mixed feelings about him getting/accepting this award. It did seem too early — more like a Valentine than anything else. Weren’t there others more deserving of recognition — Aung Sun Syu Kyi for example?

    On reflection though I can see how it might make sense. It does put him on notice to press on, or he’ll be very embarrassed, as a time when it stands to make a difference. Perhaps it will motivate Americans who are on the fence to get behind him, if only to avoid sharing the embarrassment.

    In the end, awards after the fact, though nice, are pretty pointless. People who have done good stuff are remembered but not because of the Nobel Peace Prize. Maybe they should be given to those who are yet to make a difference but might, with the right support.

  103. #103 ecologist
    October 11, 2009

    Here’s a quote from further up the thread:

    “Yes, Obama has said some heartwarming things about diplomacy, nuclear disarmament, climate change, and other important international issues, but these aren’t accomplishments, just nice words”

    There are several like this.
    They are wrong.

    Look, *saying* those things — just saying them, even before checking things off a to-do list — IS AN ACCOMPLISHMENT. Not, maybe, when I say them. But when a world leader says them, at the right times and the right places, they have an impact. When the leader of the most powerful nation in the world says them, they are noteworthy.

    For some reason, Americans have a hard time realizing this. I wonder why.

  104. #104 Greg Laden
    October 11, 2009

    Roger: When I made that list, too quickly, my intention was to delete non-humans. I left a few non-humans on by accident. So the small thing is kinda like a meaningless typo.

    fhj: If you think that, it is only because you have no better argument to make . I supported Clinton in the primaries, and I’ve criticized Obama for the same exact things people are criticizing him for in this thread. The difference between me and those who feel compelled to hate criticize him because he has not done everything on their persona list in 9 months is … well, I’d rather not say.

    Now, I’ve got a relative in ICU all of the sudden so I’m outta here for a while. Play nice, everybody!

  105. #105 moshira
    October 11, 2009

    Congratulations to the USA for Obama´s Nobel Prize!

    I wonder what weighs more in the consciousness of those Americans who cannot see what a great man they have as a president: the loss of the Olympics 2012 or Barack Obama´s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize?

    Sadly, it seems as though the former received a lot more media attention. Let me assure them that outside of the USA it does not taint the image of the USA (or Barack Obama) that the next games will be held in Brazil.

  106. #106 Fia
    October 11, 2009

    Thank you very much for that post. What freaks me out most in the answers is that everybody assumes that Obama (should?) got the prize for what he achieved (or not) as an American president. This America-centric perspective is exactly the problem. He got the price for allowing all of us non-americans to feel hope again. He relived international diplomacy. The world could not care less for American internal affairs when international wars are at stake.
    I am convinced that Oslo was not very much interested in his achievements in U.S. It’s an international price, – not an American price.

  107. #107 stormen_per
    October 11, 2009

    I am genuinely interested: Has any previous president ever had such opposition, even among “his own” as Obama has? As I understood it during Bush, it was unamerican not to support the president. Once Bush was elected, the support for him increased, but with Obama it seems (to me) to be the other way around. Can anyone clarify this for me?

  108. #108 moshira
    October 11, 2009

    Hi Americans,
    you can be proud. You all deserve this Nobel Peace Prize, because it was your vote that made it.

    Fia, I agree fully about this: “…allowing all of us non-americans to feel hope again”. Scepticism aside, we definitely felt this hope here in the Middle East.

    My feeling is, that although Al Gore and the IPCC received a Nobel Prize recently for their efforts in combatting climate change, Barack Obama could equally have been awarded in a few years for pulling the steering wheel over and for making many more good decisions for nature including us humans.

  109. #109 Andreas Johansson
    October 11, 2009

    While I’m underwhelmed with the committee’s choice, I’m completely baffled by those suggesting Obama is undeserving because of his internal policy failures. Short of starting a civil war, how exactly are his internal policies related to world peace?

  110. #110 Greg Laden
    October 11, 2009

    Another aspect worth noting: Obama was not born (in Kenya or elsewhere) the day before he was inaugurated. While he was a senator (which, I know, was not long, but still) one of his big issues was the nuke problem. Then he gets to be president, and he goes to the UN and gets a more meanigful resolution passed against the usual odds, stirs up all kinds of trouble regarding the nukes, and makes the US a player again in the UN. From the NP committee point of view, this is a very big deal, one that even transcends the whinging and moaning of Americans who have not seen everhy single thing they wanted Obama to do (promosed or not) done right away.

    This NPP is not about America, or Obama as president, it’s about the movement they see because of Obama on the nuke disarmament issue.

  111. #111 Oran Kelley
    October 11, 2009

    Hey Duwayne: We elected a president, not a fairy prince and not a king. If you don’t have the patience for politics, go watch something else–like wrestling maybe. But for God’s sake quit whining and do something useful, like electing a Congress that will actually work for your agenda.

    Or maybe not, someone as politically naive as you seem to be can only hurt. Wrestling: that’s the ticket.

  112. #112 DuWayne
    October 11, 2009

    Oran –

    Of course I am so terribly naive – obviously you, oh wise one are not. So enlighten me. When pray tell, can we expect our great leader to keep a single motherfucking campaign promise?

    This isn’t some fucking game to watch. This is our country. A country that went to complete and utter shit. Our president was elected because he told us that he would do certain specific things – things that he has not only not done, but he has done the opposite of.

    So explain to me why exactly I shouldn’t be a little fucking pissed off about it.

  113. #113 john
    October 11, 2009

  114. #114 john
    October 11, 2009

    If anyone still cares, Time magazine seems to have an interesting rebuttal. It seems displaying weakness, not strength, is what starts wars. And I concur.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20091011/us_time/08599192955300

  115. #115 NuclearElf
    October 12, 2009

    Do people actually still care about reducing nuclear weapons? That seems so… 1970-ish. It’s that ideal that we all give lip service to, but nobody actually gives a shit about.

    And Greg’s comments still seem too defensive – as if he has to prove to us how Obama *deserves* this. I think it’s fine to say it’s a political statement, the committee wants to use it as an endorsement/pressure, and leave it at that. Why all the effort to squeeze all sorts of halfway rationales into something that’s obviously forward-looking, not accomplishment based?

    I think the NPP *intended* to have the current public reaction – of puzzlement, and controversy. They want pressure on Obama to fulfill his direction, hence the awkwardly timed award. Why is that so difficult to accept?

  116. #116 Anna
    October 12, 2009

    Hi,

    First of all I really liked your post. Very smart and well-written. But I cannot agree completely though…

    I’m not American myself so I’m not really emotionally involved in the Obama-Nobelgate, but I do observe the international political life. Just two days ago I discussed the Nobel topic with my boyfriend and my statement was that Obama had great potential and SHOULD definitely be awarded the prize in the (near?) future. But not now, just after he’s started his journey. I don’t say he doesn’t really deserve the Nobel prize, but I think that now, just at the begnning, when he’s still working on establishing his position in the world, the prize is a sort of obstacle. Instead of working hard on improving the international situation with all its complicated aspects, he’s collecting prizes. I’m afraid this is how many people can see it. Even though, as I said, I personally like the guy.

  117. #117 E
    October 12, 2009

    For those commenting on the fact that Obama is presiding on two wars on foreign soil, let us not forget who actually started those wars and perpetuated them for the past six years.

    While I am a pacifist and do not agree with war, I understand there is not an easy way to end it either. If Bush couldn’t (or wouldn’t, its debatable) in five years then how do you expect Obama to in nine months. This isn’t the wars of our fathers where it was considered “OK” to go in and bomb the every living shit out of people, but pulling out and leaving them to fix the mess we made is not really feasible either . These things are tricky and are scrutinized by the international community so it’s very important that he takes his time to find the best solution for everyone.

  118. #118 MoM
    October 12, 2009

    @ JC Woodward (8)

    Sir, your an Ass

    To which Mr. Laden answers “My what [is] an ass?” Only morons say “your” when they mean “you’re”

  119. #119 Greg Laden
    October 12, 2009

    To be fare, that is just as likely a slip of the fingers as of the mined.

  120. #120 The Science Pundit
    October 12, 2009

    But Greg, quotes mined are the fare of creationists.

  121. #121 Nasdaq7
    October 13, 2009

    I’m not an American. But I’m educated. I can recognize many of those names. What a shame! America doesn’t deserve its leadership that is my honest view. Leadership needs to be earned. Meritocracy. I love that word.