Saturday, October 10, 2009

Arafat won a Nobel also

Yasser Arafat also won a Nobel Peace Prize, in 1994, which he shared with Israelis Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. It is interesting to argue whether this was as much a mockery of the prize as the awarding of it to Henry Kissinger. Both men were given the award for stopping their murderous activities, but certainly Kissinger's hands are bloodied with the deaths of many many more people than were Arafat's. Arguably -- and in my personal opinion -- Kissinger, like Robert McNamara, was a major war criminal, who actively waged an illegal and immoral war involving huge civilian casualties, deaths which they tried to keep hidden. Kissinger's Nobel came when he made a peace that was forced on him by the U.S.'s lack of success in the war and the disillusionment of the American people with its prosecution.

If Obama won the Peace prize because he wasn't George Bush, Kissinger won it because he wasn't Adolf Hitler.

Arafat, probably largely because of the small forces at his command, was a minor agent of death in comparison with Kissinger and company. While he, his organization the P.L.O., and its military arm Fatah, claimed to be fighting a battle for the Palestinian people and against official Israeli oppression, their collective tools were as much terrorist as military. "Soft" targets such as schools, buses, and other civilian concentrations were often primary targets. Whatever the considerable justice of the Palestinian cause, these tactics -- probably strategy as well -- were hardly those that are consistent with a Peace prize, even when renounced.

The idea that one should win an award for stopping one's own immoral behavior seems crazy to me.

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