- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

President Obama says he notes the “irony” of his being a Nobel Peace Prize recipient. No kidding - so does everyone else.

On Tuesday, Mr. Obama addressed rising calls that his Nobel Peace Prize be revoked for his role in the attacks on Libya. Bolivian President Evo Morales, recipient of the 2006 Gadhafi International Prize for Human Rights, asked, “How is it possible that a Nobel Peace Prize winner leads a gang to attack and invade?” Mr. Obama responded that he is “accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander in chief but also someone who aspires to peace.” Part of the president’s problem is that he sees these roles as contradictory. He doesn’t understand that the purpose of military power is to secure peace. This goes a long way to explaining why Mr. Obama has been both a diffident war leader and an ineffective peacemaker.

When Mr. Obama’s prize was announced in October 2009, the general response was disbelief, with a little bit of shock and awe mixed in. Nominations for the award had closed Feb. 1, when the new president had been in office less than two weeks. The prize committee had clearly been suffering from an advanced case of Obamamania. As The Washington Times editorialized at the time, a “lingering sense developed that the noteworthy achievement the committee wanted to recognize was either that Mr. Obama was not George W. Bush, or that he was black. Unless you are Barack Hussein Obama, you generally don’t get awards in life for just showing up.” An embarrassed White House spun the award as a “call to action,” but bombing Libya may not have been what Democrats - or the Nobel committee - had in mind.

The call to action has yet to be heeded. Mr. Obama talks the talk, saying he “cares about peace” and “aspires to peace,” yet he hasn’t done anything to actually bring about peace. All of the grand designs of his first year in office have failed. His outreach to Iran was answered by new vigor in Tehran’s nuclear program and demonstrators being shot down in the streets. His attempts at advancing peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been inconsistent, ad hoc and ineffective. The notion of a “regional peace” involving Afghanistan, Pakistan and India was dead on arrival. Countries in the Mideast are more destabilized than they have been since the modern map of the region was drawn. Mr. Obama loftily praises people in the region trying to “live out their own aspirations,” but he should bear in mind that some of their aspirations include wiping out Israel and bringing terrorism and Shariah law to the United States.

There had been demands to strip Mr. Obama of his unearned peace prize long before the oddly-named Operation Odyssey Dawn in Libya. Left-wing activists have demanded annulling the prize for Mr. Obama since he increased the number of drone strikes in Pakistan, ramped up the war in Afghanistan, authorized the extra-judicial killing of American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki, allegedly had WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning tortured, and - most unforgivably in their eyes - supported Israel. Now, it is premature to judge whether the attack on Libya will bring a rapid peace or, more probably, create a bloody stalemate.

The Washington Times would join the call to divest Mr. Obama of his laureateship if we thought it would make a difference, which it won’t. The problem is with the president himself. Mr. Obama should spend less time conjuring weak rationales for why he thinks he deserves this honor and more time actually earning it. The last two years have demonstrated that the prize does not make the man.

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