Well ... those do-gooder Scandinavians have tossed a laurel wreath into the works today--they awarded President Obama the Nobel Prize for Peace. So let me briefly interrupt this series to examine its implications. There are some wonderful ironies. I'll get back to the Afghan/Vietnam saga "post" haste in the next one.
First--and the irony here will be lost on nobody, certainly not, a fortiori, on the brainy Obama--he's been given a PEACE prize while conducting a WAR on several fronts in the Middle East. He's at this very moment considering escalating that war, or not. Did the deliberations in Oslo involve a hidden agenda?--to influence Obama's deliberations in Washington? Otherwise, I'm not sure that the original intent of the award quite fits. In his famous Will, Alfred Nobel--his death-mask is above--designated that the Peace Prize
... be given to the person or society that renders the greatest service to the cause of international fraternity, IN THE SUPPRESSION OR REDUCTION OF STANDING ARMIES, or in the establishment or furtherance of peace congresses.
Umm ... You see the problem ... in capital letters. The official press release from the Nobel Committee avoids the second and third clauses altogether, but rather speaks exclusively and expansively to Obama's commitment to the first one--adding to the "international fraternity" thing, for instance, his work toward nuclear-arms reduction. The Committee could quibble, however, if they wanted to. It's a technicality, but there's no mention in the original about armies of occupation ... only standing ones, and Obama hasn't had to increase the numbers of the Bush forces significantly (yet), in order to fuel his war of aggression in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Notwithstanding, the award-qualifications are cast in "or- clauses" anyway--the Committee would be grammatically free to choose any one, or all. A dicey thing, at best.
Second--there's such a terrible load of historical baggage attached to Alfred and his famous prize. Enough to put Obama's award under an ironically cringe-worthy pall. As we all know, Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. It was designed to "safely" blow up things. And people. To rationalize, the inventor tried throughout his life, laughably in retrospect, to convince people that, well, this was actually humane. The more efficiently you can blow up people--in contrast to the slow, hit-or-miss homicide of firearm or cannonade, I suppose--the more quickly wars would be over, thereby saving lives in the long run. This feeble justification for making millions off his product probably couldn't persuade even Nobel himself. Why else would he leave to the Prizes almost all of those accumulated millions but to assuage his guilt?
What's our President been up to lately? (You saw this coming.) HE'S BEEN BLOWING-UP PEOPLE. With dynamite. Okay, not exactly, but essentially. Nobel laid down the technology for all non-nuclear, "conventional" explosive weaponry--TNT etc.--that followed his innovations. It was Nobel's hellish offspring that blew apart those human beings in the Afghan province of Farah (last post)--not to mention .... Well, enough said. You get the picture.