Not Satire: Obama to Invoke Aghanistan in His Nobel Speech

On the October morning Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, I informed a friend who hadn't yet heard the news that our greenhorn president was now a Nobel laureate. "I hope it's not for literature," he replied.


The Nobel Prize for Literature would have been a stretch, but in just as many ways -- or more -- so is the Nobel Peace Prize. And the only way I've been able to rationalize the honor, two months later, is by swallowing the committee's explanation that it wasn't so much commending Obama for peace-making accomplishments as it was trying to encourage him to live up to the prize's tenets, by being a more considerate, less bellicose friend to the international community than his predecessor.

Obama was clearly as uncomfortable as the rest of us with the premature honor and so I've often wondered what he would say during his acceptance speech in Oslo. I'd assumed he would probably return to the rhetorical hope-and-change flourishes that bolstered his presidential campaign, because that's safe territory he's honed and owned in the past.

But as it turns out, reality is much more wondrous than my imagination. Timing matters, too, and tomorrow's speech comes just one week after announcing the escalation of war in Afghanistan. As a result, official word is that in his address, Obama plans to frame the war in Afghanistan as part of his wider plan for peace.

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