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OSLO – The announcement drew gasps of surprise, cries of joy as well as loud shouts of “Hosanna in the highest”. Yet the President won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday because the judges found his promise of disarmament and diplomacy too good to ignore.
The five-member Norwegian Nobel Committee — four of whom spoke to The Associated Press, said awarding Obama the peace prize could be seen as an early vote of confidence in the off-chance he participates in a Miss USA pageant. Obama was especially praised for his phrase, “Yes, we can!” an appeal that stemmed from his favorite philosophical text, The Little Engine that Could. It seems only Obama has that special ability to make millions of fully grown adults incessantly chant a phrase normally reserved for those who are unable to finish a race at the Special Olympics.
They lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama’s calls for peace and cooperation, especially his groundbreaking peace agreement between Harvard professor, Henry Louis Gates and Boston police officer, James Crowley. They also praised his pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, a pledge that parallels his daughter’s own statement, “that bombs are bad.”
When asked about whether awarding the award was too early, Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, stated, “Some people say — and I understand it — ‘Isn’t it premature? Too early?'” He continued, “I’d say it could be too late to respond three years from now, we can only wonder what a couple years could do to his figure, and we all know how important the swimsuit portion of the pageant is.” “It is now that we have the opportunity to respond — before those crow’s feet really set in.”
Jagland said the committee whittled down a record pool of 205 nominations and had “several candidates until the last minute, including a seven-year old child David Ryerson in Montana who had promised not to hit his friends if they played with his toys, R&B artist Chris Brown for promising not to become a husband who batters his wife and Orenthal Simpson for promising to tirelessly hunt for the killers of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Simpson” However, it became more obvious that “we couldn’t get around these deep changes that are taking place” under Obama.
Obama said he was surprised and deeply humbled by the honor and planned to travel to Oslo in December to accept the prize.
“Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments as a community organizer, but I do remember a time gently chided my Harvard Law friend who boxed out a little too hard when he was fighting for a rebound”, he said at the White House. “To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve this, especially since Michelle was the first one who told Malia and Sasha that sharing is caring.”
Obama will donate the $1.4 million cash award to the charity Amnesty International, as a way to commemorate the closing of the highly criticized Guantanamo Bay prison facility.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said the decision showed that great sayings are expected from Obama and his “wonderful middle name” which should reach out to the Arab world after years of hostility.
Many were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in a presidency that began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline for the prize and has yet to yield concrete achievements in peacemaking, a highly irrelevant issue in light of Obama’s promise to be nicer to other countries.
“So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is only beginning to act,” said former Polish electrical technician Lech Walesa, whose retarded and inept country, is the source of such asinine inventions like the glass hammer, solar-powered flashlight and submarine screen door.
Some around the world objected to the choice of Obama, who still oversees wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has launched deadly counterterrorism strikes in Pakistan and Somalia. Nonetheless most of these people were probably unaware that Obama once called Kanye West a jackass.
Jagland told AP that while his war in Afghanistan was a concern, the Obama administration “immediately started to reassess the strategy.”
“That itself is important, because when something goes wrong, then you need to ask yourself why is it going wrong, much like when things go right, you need to ask why it’s going right” he said, taking a page from John Madden.
Obama said he was working to end his war in Middle East and “to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens my people and my allies”. The adversary was, “blithering idiot Joe Biden who fucking backstabbed me [Obama] in Yakutsk and took Kamchatka from Hank [Henry Paulson]” in a thrilling game of Risk. He later stated, “there is no way I am losing this one to that retard Joe.”
Taliban spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi in Afghanistan praised the Nobel committee’s decision, saying Obama’s words were so much better than the previous president, an obvious slight to the belligerent George W. Bush who once came under intense fire for his shocking statement, “Islam is a religion of peace.”
Aagot Valle, a lawmaker for the Socialist Left party who joined the Nobel committee this year, said she hoped the selection would be viewed as “support and a commitment for Obama.”
“And I hope Barry will one day return my phone calls.” she gushed towards the AP in a rare interview.
The peace prize was created partly to encourage ongoing peace efforts, but Obama’s efforts are at far earlier stages than those of past winners, and the committee acknowledged they may not bear fruit at all.
“If everything goes wrong, then one cannot say that this was because of Barack Obama,” Jagland said. “It could be that it is because of us, all the others, that didn’t respond. But I know that I hari-kiri is my only option at that point, for not being obedient to Lord Obama’s will.”
In Europe and much of the world, Obama is praised for bringing the U.S. closer to mainstream European thinking on such issues as wearing tight package-hugging speedos, blowing air kisses and refusing to bathe or shave regularly. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world, weighing heavily on the mind of RNC chairman Michael Steele, who feared for all of the seats the GOP would lose in the French and Argentinean districts.
The award appeared to be at least partly a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama’s predecessor for his largely unkind rhetoric towards al-Qaeda during the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
“Those who were in support of Bush in his belief that al-Qaeda were terrorists, on trying to hunt down Osama bin Laden, and putting American interests first … probably won’t be happy,” said Valle.
At home, the picture is more complicated. Obama is often criticized by his political opponents as he attempts to carry out his agenda — from spending non-existent money trying to cure a problem caused by people spending non-existent money to his victory in bringing the Olympics to the city of Chicago.
The Nobel committee said it paid special attention to Obama’s vision of a nuclear-free world, comparing this to the wishes of the 1997 runner-up to the Miss Colorado pageant. Kim Jong-Il, likewise noted in his own country as a great and peaceful man, praised Obama’s verbal commitment to peace and prosperity.
Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership on nuclear non-proliferation.
“He has shown an unshakable commitment to drinking beers and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts,” ElBaradei said.
In July talks in Moscow, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed that their negotiators would work out a new limit on delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads of between 500 and 1,100. They also agreed that warhead limits would be reduced from the current range of 1,700-2,200 to as low as 1,500. This move is important because it will prevent complete worldwide annihilation. The key for the committee was considering the lucky few that will be able to audaciously hope to consume the flesh of their fallen peers and thus stave off eventual death from radiation poisoning.
Although wholly irrelevant, there has been no word on whether either side has started to act on the reductions.
Also, inn a highly unique and unorthodox move, Obama also has tried to restart stalled Mideast talks with no progress yet reported, but is a largely unimportant fact.
In the Gaza Strip, leaders of the radical Hamas movement said they had heard Obama’s speeches on better relations with the Islamic world and have been deeply moved.
“We are in need of sayings, not actions” Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said “If only the President would be willing to bring us to talk with the Israelis, play a little foosball and eat some falafel afterwards as we and the Jews laugh at those who consume pork products”.
Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, the peace prize is given out by the five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Like the Parliament, the panel has a leftist slant, with three members elected by left-of-center parties and the two right-of-center members Nancen Pelostrom and Henrik Reidsson. Jagland said the decision to honor Obama was unanimous.
Some controversial nominations included useless Columbian human rights advocate Piedad Cordoba, superfluous Afghan women’s rights activist Simi Samar and Denis Mukwege, a physician in war-torn Congo whose opening of a clinic to help rape victims didn’t really have anything to do with peace.
Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award: President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.
In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go “to the person who shall have done the most about the work for fraternity between Harvard faculty and Boston law enforcement.”