One Nobel Laureate Blasts Another, And They’re Both Americans – OpEd


There are two US presidents who have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now one of those Nobel laureate leaders is accusing the other, though without naming him, of actions that qualify as war crimes and impeachable crimes against the US Constitution.

Former US President Jimmy Carter won his Nobel Peace Prize in 2002, long after his one term of office as President of the United States, which ran from 1977 to 1981. He won the honor primarily for his efforts to mediate conflicts and to advance democracy and human rights, the Nobel Committee said. It’s understandable that they didn’t say much — with the exception of his role in getting Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat to sign the Camp David Accords — about his time as president, because Carter, a former US Navy officer, wasn’t such a peacenik back then. Think back to his botched effort to invade Iran and rescue the Americans being held by student activists inside the US Embassy in Tehran, or to his arming of the Afghan Mujahadeen to attack and try to bring down the USSR-backed government in Kabul.

President Barack Obama received his Nobel Peace Prize as president before he even had time to do anything significant in office. When the Nobel Committee gave him the award in 2009, during his first year in the White House, they couldn’t even offer a single concrete example of something he had done to actually earn it. Instead they only said that it was “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

If the members of the Nobel Committee thought, by awarding Obama the prize early, they might encourage him to be a peacemaker, they must wish there was a way they could revoke that prize now. Not long after receiving it, President Obama ordered a doubling of the number of US troops in Afghanistan, approved a brutal campaign of aggressive night-raid attacks on alleged Taliban leaders and their supporters, and later approved a secret raid by Navy SEAL commandos inside Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden.

Now Carter, the ex-president who earned his Peace Prize for actual peace activities, is castigating the current president who got his prize based on a “hope” that he would eventually earn it, saying that the Obama administration is “clearly violating” at least 10 of the 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that under Obama and his predecessor, President George W. Bush, the US has been “abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.”

In an article published recently on the opinion page of the New York Times, titled A Cruel and Unusual Record, former President Carter roundly condemned the increasing reliance by the US on armed drone aircraft, which have launched over 265 strikes in Pakistan alone, killing hundreds of innocent people, including women and children. The use of attack drones began under President Bush but has been dramatically expanded, both in number and in the number of countries being attacked, under President and Commander-in-Chief Obama.

But Carter didn’t limit his criticism to the Obama administration’s reliance on drone aircraft. He also blasted the current president for failing to live up to his own promise to close down the prison detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, where captives in the so-called “War” on Terror have been held for years without trial, tortured by such practices as “waterboarding more than 100 times, or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers.”

President Carter noted that half of the 169 people still being held without trial at Guantanamo have already, years ago, been determined by the Pentagon to have been wrongly picked up, and to actually be guilty of nothing. They’ve been “cleared for release,” he notes, and “yet have little prospect of ever obtaining their freedom,” while others have never even been charged.

Carter blasted the current administration too for its domestic actions undermining American citizens’ freedom of speech, and their right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, both of which rights, enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the US Constitution, have been undermined by federal, state and local police and prosecutors, most notably in the crackdown on last fall’s Occupy movement — a crackdown that, it is becoming increasingly clear, was orchestrated by the Obama administration’s Departments of Justice and of Homeland Security.

Carter never names Obama, but it is clear that he is referring directly to the current president and fellow Nobel Peace Laureate, when he writes, “Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended.”

The New York Times earlier wrote, and the White House has confirmed, that President Obama personally approves the assassinations abroad — including assassinations of American citizens like the American-born Anwar al-Awlaki — by drone aircraft and other methods.

Over the years, there has been considerable controversy over the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, particularly when it has been given to political leaders — for example the joint award in 1978 to Begin and Sadat, both of whom had launched wars, and the earlier joint award in 1973 to US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Foreign Minister Le Duc Tho, both of whose negotiating intransigence needlessly extended the Indochina War for months and years at a cost of hundreds of thousands of lives.

But an attack by one Nobel Peace laureate on another is unprecedented and dramatic, particularly given that the two men, Carter and Obama, are from the same country and even belong to the same Democratic Party.

This article was first published at Press TV.

Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. He is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective. Lindorff is a contributor to "Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion" (AK Press) and the author the author of “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press). He can be reached at [email protected]

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