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A Nobel for Defeating Cheneyism

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Posted on Oct 15, 2009
White House / Pete Souza

By Joe Conason

Outraged babble and sanctimonious tut-tutting over President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize will pour forth until the very evening he accepts the prize in Oslo, and then for years afterward. His critics are infuriated, they say, because he didn’t earn the prestigious award, or because he didn’t refuse it—or just because those left-wing Norwegians have a lot of nerve. How dare they insult us by bestowing their highest honor on the president of the United States and inviting him to deliver a lecture?

The conservative media machine has nearly seized up, filling hours of airtime, reams of newsprint and zillions of pixels with glowing rage.

A columnist for The Wall Street Journal, usually known for her saccharine sentimentality, calls the award “wicked and ignorant.” A radio talker with an enormous audience says that the Nobel committee “suicide-bombed itself” and declared that he sides with the Taliban and Iran in their disdain for the committee’s choice.

A nutty host on Fox News Channel suggests that the president had delayed escalating the war in Afghanistan in order to win the prize. An even nuttier and far more celebrated Fox News host insists that the Nobel Prize is merely the latest development in a conspiracy by “global interests that have extraordinary power.” (And the Republican National Committee chairman dispatched a quick direct-mail hit, hoping to channel all the anger into cash.)

Following closely behind this flood of bile from the right came the sour emissions of mainstream commentators, who either demand that the president reject the prize or warn that it will hurt more than help.

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Stirred up as the wingnuts seem to be, neither they nor their friends in the media possess much understanding of this little episode. If the hotheads understood how Obama actually did earn the prize, in the minds not only of the Norwegians but presumably most of the world’s inhabitants, their fury might reach nuclear levels.

The five members of the Nobel committee are much too polite to explain their decision in unambiguous terms. All were selected by Norway’s parliament, in accordance with the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will, and are politicians themselves. That could be why they were so impressed by the American president’s single big and undeniable accomplishment last November: He inflicted a clear political defeat on those excitable extremists and their politicians, and removed them from power before they could do any further damage to world peace and security.

He kicked out the neoconservative faction, led by former Vice President Dick Cheney, that prefers armed confrontation to diplomacy—and the world applauded in relief, along with the majority of Americans. Whatever the new president may or may not have done since then, nobody beyond a minority of die-hards would wish the Cheney faction to return.

Stopping John McCain, a neoconservative belligerent, and his dangerously clueless sidekick, Sarah Palin, was a significant achievement—and a close call until the final week or so. That is what Obama did, along with millions of other Americans. It is not a mere aspiration or a hope or a pretty speech.

Will the prize help Obama? For a fair assessment of that issue, it is helpful to know who gave it to him. Conspiracy theorists and smug commentators alike contend that the prize is somehow diminished by a supposed association with the left, always neglecting to note in their own ignorance that such figures as Henry Kissinger were among the recipients back when Norway’s parliament was thoroughly dominated by socialists.

While the committee’s current chairman is indeed a leader of the social democratic Labor Party, two of the members of the committee that voted unanimously to honor Obama are politicians of the right. The deputy chairman is the former leader of Norway’s Young Conservatives, and another member also belongs to a conservative party.

Right and left, the world agrees that Obama is a refreshing change. He is restoring the prestige and admiration squandered by the Bush-Cheney regime, as worldwide surveys have lately proved. The prize is merely a symbol of what has already happened—and what may someday help the president to achieve his most important international objectives.

Joe Conason writes for The New York Observer. To find out more about Conason, visit the Creators Syndicate Web site at www.creators.com.

© 2009 Creators.comthreatening to use the Website to air an internal arguement by writing a disclaimer


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By CommanderWhitehead, October 15, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While it is true, Obama is no Henry Kissinger (yet), the fact is, he’s well on his way.

We had an expression in the military, during our last
unwinnable murderous quagmire, “fighting for peace is like fu*king for virginity”.

We liberated a lot of folks during that one. Nearly three million Vietnamese, and almost sixty thousand Americans were “liberated” from their families and their lives.

God, I can’t stand armchair warriors, who pretend to be progressive humanitarians, like you, Mr. Conason.

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By RdV, October 15, 2009 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Cheneyism was defeated?

  Instead of defeating it and holding Cheney accountable—which would truly make the statement for the record, Obama dismisses it as an unworthy undertaking and proceeds to “look ahead” by following the Bush-Cheney playbook.
  These arguments defending Obama by attacking the Right are becoming increasingly unsustainable.

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LostHills's avatar

By LostHills, October 15, 2009 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

More damage control…..

“You’re either for Obama, or you’re with the the right wingnuts!”

This meme is becoming increasingly strident, as it becomes more and more apparent that it is not working. You can’t give a peace prize to a war maker without being called on it. You can pretend that your emperor is clothed, but the sham is obvious to all objective observers. Most folks are asking, “Where’s the change we were promised?”

When your son comes home in a body bag, it’s not going to make much difference to you whether Cheney sent him to his death or Obama sent him to his death.  If you are a villager in Pakistan whose wife and daughters were just blown up by a drone, you’re not going to congratulate the perpetrator for his new “peace prize.”

This emperor has no clothes on. Stop calling people “right wingers” for pointing that out.

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By RdV, October 15, 2009 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

Give it a rest, Louise, silly dupe.
It ain’t that he hasn’t solved problems- he is a party to continuing and expanding on them.
  Of course, it is true, he has solved the problems for Wall St and he certainly will see to it that everyone will be penalized if they don’t pony up for the insurance cartels.
  Quit compartmentalizing your thinking. With suckers like you believing that change is so insurmountable that it requires a super human feat—one is left to wonder how anything in the history of the world was ever accomplished.

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By zack, October 15, 2009 at 7:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Now war is peace. 1984?

Giving the Nobel Prize to Obama soon after he sends an 10,000+ troops to fight an illegal war in Afghanistan just blows my mind. Under Obama, the war has escalated and spilled over into Pakistan. On a daily basis, civilians are killed by our military using drone missile strikes.

He is another in a long line of war presidents with innocent blood on their hands, and he should be in a jail cell next to Bush for violating the Constitution.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, October 15, 2009 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

Differences in Peace between Cheneyism and Obamaism are immense, aren’t they?

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By Jean Gerard, October 15, 2009 at 7:20 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

THIS JUST IN:  Interplanetary News reports that this morning, in a routine fly-by of the Moon, observers who wish to remain anonymous say they found evidence of a long-expected colony on the dark side.
  People wearing heavy fur coats and caps with ear-muffs were seen moving in and out of craters that have been thought to be ice-locked for millennia.  There is some evidence that these strange beings are Norwegian.  They seem to be building catapults and other equipment for hurling large objects down on earth, preparing for a war fought in the style of the Middle Ages.
  It will take some time to verify observers’ sightings and correlate the conclusions.  Scientists will require at least a month to interpret all the mathematical indicators, but at this point it looks quite possible that President Obama and the Nobel people have been carrying on secret activities aimed at ridding the world of Conservatives.
  A Liberal station on the Moon, well fortified against the slings and arrows of vitriolic criticism from snide commentators on Earth might go a long way toward threatening a worldwide peace undreamed of by previous generations.
  One commentator, who goes by the name of the Sinister Minister, is saying that the end of the world might very well be at hand, if these subversive forces are able to catapult millions of pellets of peace down on us, upsetting our center of depravity.

He said:  “There is every reason to think that such cluster bombs might even eliminate nuclear weapons by a sort of “chemistry of audacity.”

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By Louise, October 15, 2009 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

A Nobel for Defeating Cheneyism. Given to President Obama, welcomed with contempt and degradation by so many who claim they wanted to see that happen.

So, how come Obama hasn’t solved all the problems Bush and Cheney and the conservative crew created? Here’s a better question, how come Obama hasn’t solved ALL the problems in the world? And an even better one, why hasn’t he solved MY problems, and YOURS?

(Will Santa Claus bring me a million dollars for Christmas? He better, I’ve been asking long enough. wink )

Lets run off a little list of all the things that we expect the president to get done, (like right now Mr. President. Right now!) Never mind that only Congress can create law, and only Congress can repeal law. Forget all that. Demand a re-working of the Constitution so President Obama can just fix everything with a stroke of the pen! Then we can truly say the dems are just like the repugnant repubs!

Actually I cant do that list, there isn’t room. Besides, who will read a list that long, unless their particular gripe is at the very top?

So maybe a better way to do this is to simply ask,  what has our free society done today to make sure “Cheneyism” never comes back?

Bitched and moaned?
Scoured the Internet looking for fresh fodder to find fault with?

What has our “progressive” society done today to make sure “Cheneyism” never comes back?

Not a whole lot. Much more fun to fight over what the President hasn’t done!

Lust, anger, greed and absolute power. The Cheney way! The so-called conservative way. And according to them, the Lords way!

Seems there is no shortage of so-called progressive folks who work mightily and with persistent dedication to keep the altered reality of the Cheney way alive and well.

What’s up with that?

Maybe nobody can remember what a free society is. Maybe all the years of Bush dictating law to Congress and a totally controlled majority of obedient repub Congressaurs clicking their heels and saying “yes sir” has clouded our memories. Left us confused, angry and befuddled.

The Cheney world. A world where majority control dictates through the mouthpiece of the White House. Where majority power serves the masters of corporate wealth. Where so-called “presidential powers” supersede the will of the people, the role of the Congress and the Laws of the Constitution. A world of violence, greed and lies, lies, lies. The perfect world of the perfect dictator.

Maybe that’s what was really behind the Nobel.

Maybe because a majority of voters rejected the “conservative” lie, the committee thought the voters were ready to step up and support a single mans efforts to put things right. Maybe they thought we understood it wouldn’t be easy. Maybe they figured we understood the Law of the land and would get behind the Congress, bring the necessary pressure, distance ourselves from the years gone by, when we very nearly lost it all!

I hope their faith isn’t misplaced. I for one see President Obama being honored in anticipation of honest effort and eventual success as a compliment to all of us.

I see this as not a question of whether or not Obama is up to the challenge of a peace prize, but whether or not we the people are up to the challenge of a peace prize.

Are we?

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By sollipsist, October 15, 2009 at 6:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Outrage? Maybe from the predictable pundits and lazy minds who still look at life through a false Left vs. Right dualism.

The rest of us are just disappointed that the award didn’t go to Barack Obama, the man who achieved so much (we’d still love to see that guy!), but to Barack Obama, the man who just happened to be there.

The author said so himself, in less obvious terms. Anyone who had beat the crazy old guy and the dizzy hockey mom would have deserved this award.

We get the President that we deserve, and he gets the prize he deserved. It’s disappointing.

Outrage might be preferable.

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By 45echo, October 15, 2009 at 6:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Conason is naive.  They’ve simply changed the receptionist at the door.  Obama was allowed to “win” only because his poll numbers were so high—but he hasn’t been allowed to make any significant changes.  He won’t even campaign for an honest voting system.  He knows the rules of the game in our milint psyopped pretend democracy.

Don’t forget the military took part in the 2000 electoral fraud with their fraudulent military absentee ballots.  We, like Israel, now have a military government pretending to be a democracy.

If Cheney is really out of power, how come he can go around bragging about having committed felonies (torture related) and not be arrested?

And finally, at least if McCain/Palin had “won” there would be an organized peace movement against the wars.

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By RdV, October 15, 2009 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

“The mind-clogging moronic outrage from the right, and it’s nearly equally idiotic outrage from the left only serves to reinforce the wisdom of what seemed to me to be an odd choice.  IOW, if Rush and Fox hate it, it’s worth a second look as a potentially brilliant decision”

  This is an extremely effective tactic to restrict perceptions to “us vs them” to further the illusion and keep people divided. It obscures the fact that the political class increasingly represents a narrow set of elite interests and the Democrats are actually compromised because they have to differentiate themselves from the Right while competing for the same resources as the Right. The Right has an advantage because they know how inauthentic the Democrats are- The Democrats have to represent themselves as “change” but are exposed as frauds and liars or lesser-evils or weak and it can not be sustained over time despite the criminal excesses of the Right.

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By Ouroborus, October 15, 2009 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

Conason’s thread is interesting in it’s style if not
substance. It’s written for an audience who is not
much affected by the maelstrom going on for most U.S.
citizens. It’s further evidence of the widening gulf
between the majority and the ruling class. I don’t
see how some Norwegian politicians have much
connection with everyday North Americans. I wish I
could find more comfort in knowing the world is a
happier place with Obama as president. North
Americans don’t really need to care much about what
the world thinks (as long as we get “OUR” oil) but I
guess it is better to say please when forcing our
demands on the world at large; at least the part of
the world that has gas and oil.
I don’t think most North Americans much care about
anything but fixing their own country. But, our
government doesn’t seem much interested in fixing the
systemic problems. SNAFU seems to be the operational
byword.

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By RdV, October 15, 2009 at 5:42 am Link to this comment

You strutting Inside-the-Beltway bozos haven’t got a clue about what is going on out here in the real country. Obama’s ratings are in freefall in record time and this view of everything through a partisan lens of us vs them obscures the reality that Obama is a joke that isn’t funny for everyone who isn’t on Wall St or in the Board room. Trying to define it as a posturing partisan parlor game, where all is limited to a Left-Right axis- is a betrayal to the country who voted for Obama anticipating a hopeful change of course and got more of the same and that is why the prize is a joke that isn’t funny.

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By ardee, October 15, 2009 at 4:47 am Link to this comment

The mind-clogging moronic outrage from the right, and it’s nearly equally idiotic outrage from the left only serves to reinforce the wisdom of what seemed to me to be an odd choice.  IOW, if Rush and Fox hate it, it’s worth a second look as a potentially brilliant decision.

That this poster has little patience for the criticism that conflict with his own world view fails to negate the fact that there are some quite valid assertions among those critics.

I do not care a white about the ravings of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk. Obviously their criticism of Barack Obama serves an agenda and not real truth. But that criticism directed from the left, who once worshipped Obama the candidate ( in the main),
has been neither strident nor exaggerated.

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By Jean Gerard, October 15, 2009 at 4:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Well, the sage from Minnesota and Joe Conason have just about done us in, haven’t they? Darn!  We had center stage there for half a minute, though.  Sic transit gloria.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 15, 2009 at 3:51 am Link to this comment

It’s not news to me that the WORLD is relieved that we elected Obama and got rid of the Bush/Cheney “shoot first and negotiate after” crowd of neocon chicken hawks.  That has probably done more to prevent WW III than anything since the Cuban missile crisis was resolved peacefully.

The mind-clogging moronic outrage from the right, and it’s nearly equally idiotic outrage from the left only serves to reinforce the wisdom of what seemed to me to be an odd choice.  IOW, if Rush and Fox hate it, it’s worth a second look as a potentially brilliant decision.

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By Steve E, October 15, 2009 at 3:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama appointed eleven members of the Trilateral Commission to top level and
key positions in his administration within his first ten days in office. Blame it on
the optics. Another 45,000 troops to Afghanistan while he receives his peace
prize. Spare me.

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By ardee, October 15, 2009 at 3:13 am Link to this comment

“Right and left the world agrees” notes Mr. Conason, and I concur. Right and left critique this award.

It seems that Mr. Conason is not immune to the disease of refusing to understand that criticism is a part and parcel of a free society, and in that refusal become as wrong as is the right.

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By Hutch, October 15, 2009 at 2:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think it’s great that our President got the Nobel Peace Prize, however I don’t think he has earned it quite yet.

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