War is peace? How Obama could earn his peace prize

Issue 

One of the infamous "double-speak" slogans of the nightmare totalitarian regime in George Orwell's 1984 was "war is peace". The Nobel jury appears to have based itself on this principle of inverting reality with its decision to grant this year's Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama.

Obama was elected on a groundswell of hope for a break with the hated pro-war policies of his predecessor, George Bush. Yet Obama's administration is overseeing the brutal war on Afghanistan, now into its ninth year with no end in sight.

This is not simply a war that Obama has inherited from Bush — his administration has escalated the bloodshed. Under Obama, more US soldiers have been sent.

Despite most US people now opposing the war, the Obama administration is debating whether to send yet more young men and women to kill and be killed for an imperial adventure.

The war is being increasingly extended into Pakistan, with pilot-less drones bombing Pakistani territory, resulting in many civilian casualties.

The stated justifications for the increasingly unpopular war are increasingly discredited. The brutal fundamentalist warlords of the Taliban have been replaced by a new group of equally brutal fundamentalist warlords.

The claims of "liberation" are ringing hollow with revelations of huge vote rigging in the August presidential election, which was meant to give the occupation a democratic gloss.

Despite much talk about promoting a Middle East peace process, the US continues to arm Israel, enabling it to carry out its ongoing crimes against humanity on the Palestinian people.

In Honduras, the military that is killing and torturing unarmed protesters demanding the return of their elected president is still being trained by the US. Most US government aid to the dictatorship has still not been cut.

The Obama administration is also helping bring South America to the edge of war with the widely condemned plan to increase the number of US military bases in Colombia from two to seven.

Renowned journalist John Pilger points out that, while Obama is scrapping nuclear weapons on Russia's borders, the number of US missile sites in Europe is actually expanding.

Obama has a chance to implement policies worthy of the prize he has been awarded. A president willing to reverse these policies — ending the occupation of Afghanistan, ending arms sales to Israel, ending aid to the Honduran regime, and closing US foreign military bases, combined with genuine nuclear disarmament — would be one truly worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize.