Outrage!: Bush and Blair Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize
by Gar Smith / The-Edge
August 22, 2003
In February 2002, a right-wing Norwegian politician named Harald Tom Nesvik, nominated George W. Bush and Tony Blair for the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize. As the London Guardian put it, Nesvik believed Bush and Blair deserved the peace prize for their "unswerving willingness to use force." The Guardian was quick to note that the British Prime Minister "has ordered his forces into battle more times than any other postwar British leader" while the Mr. Bush "keeps a scorecard of dead al-Qaida leaders, marking each fatality with an X."
Ultimately, the Nobel prize went to Former US President Jimmy Carter. One committeemember confided that the decision was intended, in part, as a "kick in the knees" to George W. Bush. Note: "a kick in the knees" is the Norwegian version of "a slap in the face." (A strikingly inappropriate phrase to associate with the presentation of a "peace" prize.)
On May 8, 2003, another right-wing Norwegian politician stepped forward to place Blair and Bush in nomination for this year's Nobel Peace Prize. As Parliamentarian Jan Simonsen told Reuters, "Sometime it's necessary to use a small and effective war to prevent a much more dangerous war in the future."
When word of the nomination hit the world's press, an international petition opposing the nominations was posted on the Internet. Within a week, it drew more than 9,000 signatures. By August 8, the signers topped 98,000. To read the petition, go to The Petition Site: www.thePetitionSite.com/takeaction/302184339
Alfred Nobel insisted that the Peace Prize be awarded to someone who has "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."
Certainly, by these standards, the 2003 Peace Prize should be awarded to a different team of world leaders -- France's Jacques Chirac, Germany's Gerhard Schroeder and Russia's Vladimir Putin.
But, with the phrase "a kick in the knees" still in mind, my letter to the Nobel Institute [Drammensveien 19, NO-0255, Oslo, Norway] proposed a more controversial (but still deserving) nominee for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize -- Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein.
Bizarre? Tasteless? Perhaps. But if you can approach the argument with an open mind, here is my letter:
Why Not a Nobel Peace Prize for Saddam Hussein?
Dear Nobel Prize committee:
| Saddam Hussein may have looked like Jesse James but, when push came to shove, he reacted more like Mahatma Gandhi. ©CNN|
I am writing to protest the nomination of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George W. Bush for the Nobel Peace Prize. If anything, these two blokes should receive the Ignoble War Prize for bullying, lying, bribing and pushing their Iraq Invasion into existence.
Even Saddam Hussein would be a better nominee than these two warmongers. Hussein, after all, sustained more than 12 years of punishing bombardment of his cities, water facilities, dams, oil refineries, industrial sites, and palaces without resorting to the use (or even the threat) of weapons of mass destruction.
Hundreds of innocent Iraqi civilians were killed by US/UK bombing raids during the relentless 12-year penetrations of the US-declared "No-fly Zones" inside Iraq's air space. The UN estimates that 500,000 Iraqi children died as a consequence of the destruction of water delivery systems and the privations caused by more than a decade of US-imposed economic sanctions.
There was only one way the Iraqi leader could escape the punishment of sanctions -- he had to disarm completely, in full compliance with UN resolutions.
The Iraqis repeatedly claimed that they had disarmed and that they had abandoned previous programs to acquire chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. It was clear that the Iraqi leader wanted peace as desperately as Blair and Bush wanted war.
Despite his reputation as a thug and murderer, Saddam Hussein became a model for peaceful disarmament. Before the US forced UN weapons inspectors to flee Iraq in 1998, the UN's disarmament teams succeeded in destroying the majority of Iraq's existing chemical, biological and conventional weapons.
In 2002, under threat of US military action, Saddam Hussein opened his country to UN inspections on a level never before offered by any country in history. Saddam agreed to spontaneous, unannounced inspections that included government ministries, military barracks, Republican Guard outposts, and even his own Presidential Palaces.
In addition to allowing unprecedented access to weapons inspectors, Saddam Hussein also agreed to the destruction of his collection of Al-Samoud 2 missiles, even though their definition as a proscribed weapons was quite debatable.
More Background on Saddam as an International Peace-seeker
Iraq: A Threat or a Punching Bag?
In 1991, the first 24-hours of the bombing raids on Iraq destroyed more targets than the 1942-42 bombing offensive in Europe. An estimated 88,500 tons of bombs were dropped. 9,000 homes were destroyed, between 2,500 and 3,500 civilians were killed and $200 billion in damage was done.
On March 3, Iraq signed a cease-fire agreement. A month later, the UN informed Iraq that it would suffer economic sanctions until such time as it fully disarmed. The US and Britain unilaterally claimed the right to fly military missions over two-thirds of Iraq (the northern and southern "No-fly zones")
But even after US and British planes began flying sorties into Iraqi airspace dropping bombs and rockets on ground radar stations, Iraq did not threaten to attack the US or Britain.
On December 16, 1998, President Bill Clinton unleashed Operation Desert Fox - a punishing four-day bombing attack that hit Iraq with more cruise missiles than were fired in the entire 1991 Gulf War. Two weeks later, a second wave of bombers pounded 400 targets in Iraq with least a million pounds of high-tech bombs and missiles. And still, Saddam didn't send terrorists to attack US cities.
In 1996, UNICEF reported that economic sanctions were killing 4,500 Iraqi children every month. And still, Saddam didn't hurl any threats at America's children.
In 1997, UNICEF reported that more than 1.2 million Iraqis - including 750,000 children under five - had died from starvation as a result of the sanctions. And still Saddam didn't threaten to retaliate.
In 1998, the World Health Organization estimated that sanctions were killing 6,000 Iraqi children each month. And still Saddam didn't unleash his rumored fleets of drone aircraft to spray US cities with clouds of Sarin gas or anthrax spores.
For the next four years, US and British planes bombed Iraq relentlessly - once every three days, on average. From December 1998 to June 2000, US and UK warplanes flew more than 336,000 sorties over Iraq. The bombing raids destroyed food warehouses, communications sites and Baghdad's water system, depriving 300,000 residents of clean drinking water. And still Saddam didn't dispatch secret agents to poison America's water supplies.
The Washington Post reported that the first 18 months of the bombing killed at least 300 Iraqis and left more than 800 wounded. And still Saddam didn't order covert sniper squads to rain death inside American cities.
The Pentagon's 12-year siege of Iraq stands as the longest sustained military operation in US history. Not once in all that time did Iraq threaten to attack the US.
Hussein, by repeatedly "turning the other cheek," was practicing the teachings of the prophet Jesus Christ. Hussein, by repeatedly spurning a violent response (which, admittedly would have proven suicidal) invoked the tactics of nonviolent resistance, turning aside every provocation, every insult to national pride and responding with the politics of accommodation.
As the intricate game of cat-and-mouse unfolded, Hussein began to look less like a despot and more like a disciple of Mohandas Gandhi.
Let's Look at the Record
February 23, 1998 -- Iraq informs UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that UN weapons inspectors will be given unlimited access to Iraqi sites.
November 12, 1998 -- Iraq allows UN inspections to resume.
December 16, 1998 -- US warns UN inspectors to leave Iraq in advance of President Clinton's Christmas/Ramadan bombing ("Operation Desert Fox").
August 1, 2002 -- Iraq invites the UN's chief weapons inspector to return to Baghdad.
September 30, 2002 -- Iraqi representatives meet with UN officials in Vienna to arrange for resumption of weapons inspections. The US objects to resumption of the inspections.
October 16, 2002 -- Iraq extends invitation to the UN to reinstitute the weapons inspections.
November 13, 2002 -- Saddam Hussein delivers a letter to UN Secretary-General Annan accepting the UN inspection resolution in full.
November 18, 2002 -- UN weapons inspectors return to Iraq.
December 3, 2002 -- A surprise search is sprung on one of Saddam Hussein's Baghdad palaces. Iraqi government officials cooperate fully with UN weapons inspectors.
December 3, 2002 -- Iraq says it will hand the UN Security Council a report on the status of its weapons programs on December 7, one day ahead of the deadline.
December 7, 2002 -- Baghdad presents the UN with a 12,000-page dossier in response to UN resolution 1441. General Hasam Amin of Iraq's national monitoring directorate says the dossier shows "that Iraq is empty of weapons of mass destruction."
December 7, 2002 -- Saddam Hussein surprises the world by appearing on television to apologize to the Kuwaiti people for 1990 invasion.
December 22, 2002 -- Baghdad invites the CIA to come to Iraq to look for alleged weapons of mass destruction.
February 14, 2003 -- Hans Blix, in his report to the UN Security Council praises the pace of Iraq's disarmament.
February 24, 2003 -- In a three-hour videotaped interview with Dan Rather, Hussein proposed a televised debate between himself and Bush to air differences, resolve tensions and avoid war.
(The interview was not broadcast in the US until March 20. For the full interview, see: http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/iraq/interview.html)
February 28, 2003 -- Hans Blix's interim UN report praises Saddam Hussein's commitment to comply with the UN deadline for the voluntary destruction of Iraq's Samoud 2 missiles.
Yet, in the end, nothing Saddam did would suffice to halt the coalition attack. Even when Hussein acquiesced to each new demand, he was demonized by the western media. In one classic case of Orwellian doublespeak, a US headline proclaimed: "Defiant Saddam Accepts UN Team." In the echo-chambers of the America's corporate-owned media, compliance and defiance had become interchangeable.
Finally, on March 20, the war began -- with a pre-dawn assassination attempt directed against the Iraqi leader.
A Model of International Cooperation?
Saddam Hussein's cooperation with the UN process provided an unprecedented example of how disarmament could be achieved through peaceful means, under the framework of world law.
And what was the Iraqi leader's reward? Despite meeting every demand and weathering each mounting insult to his nation's sovereignty and his own personal dignity, his country was invaded and he was targeted for assassination -- not once, but twice (and a third attempt is ongoing).
Question: What lesson can the world extract from the rubble of Mosul, Basra, and Baghdad?
Answer: In the future, any country suspected of hoarding weapons of mass destruction, will have absolutely NO reason to comply with any inspection process.
Iraq bent over backwards to comply with inspections to avoid a war. In return, its back was broken and its face was rubbed in the sand as the invading army morphed into an army of occupation.
The Bush-Blair Legacy in Afghanistan
In 2001, Bush and Blair staged a massive military attack on Afghanistan, a nonbelligerent country. The repressive Taliban government had offered to hand over Osama bin Laden but they insisted that the US had to first present convincing proof of bin Laden's complicity in the 9-11 attacks. Eventually the Taliban offered to hand bin Laden over to a third-party for a hearing before an international tribunal.
Washington spurned every peace-offer and insisted that there would be "no negotiations." It was clear that a decision had already been made to wage war. Blair stood "shoulder-to-shoulder" with Bush as US and UK warplanes raked Afghanistan with depleted uranium shells, daisy-cutter bombs, 15,000-pound bunkerbusters, and tens of thousands of anti-personnel clusterbombs. By early December 2001, the US air campaign had killed more than 7,000 innocent Afghani civilians -- more than had died in the assault on the World Trade Center.
Nominating these two warlords for a Nobel Peace Prize would denigrate the award and besmirch every worthy recipient who has rightfully earned the committee's recognition.
It is worth noting that there are two side-benefits to nominating Hussein for this award. First, should he win, the world would be able to see whether he is still alive. Second, after he steps forward to accept the award, he can be taken into custody to stand trial before the International Criminal Court.
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