Oddity of the Nobel

The Nobel Speech:

Today's speech underlines just how odd this whole Peace Prize award to the President really is.

I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who've received this prize Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela -- my accomplishments are slight. And then there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women -- some known, some obscure to all but those they help -- to be far more deserving of this honor than I.

But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the commander-in-chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars.
It's true that he has done little, he states. By comparison with those who have won the prize in the past, he has "slight" accomplishments.

He hasn't sacrificed anything for peace, unlike those beaten or jailed. Others who have are "far more deserving."

And, you know, he's leading two wars, including one he's chosen to double down on in just the last week.

It's abundantly clear that the Nobel Peace Prize committee just tossed out its standards entirely this year. What they were thinking in making this selection is unclear, because none of the markers that would normally point to a candidate are present.

It's always good to hear the President invoke Just War theory, though, and his remarks on Holy Wars are consistent with the doctrine evolved by Michael Walzer (Just and Unjust Wars). As an advocate of Just War theory myself, I agree that we should use it as our guiding principle. Justice in war is a noble thing -- but it's not "peace," and this made for an odd occasion to explore the topic.

No comments: