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War is Not the Answer in the White House

October 9, 2009

There’s not a WINA yard sign on the White House lawn yet, and I’m not holding my breath looking for one.  But I jumped when I heard the news that Obama got the Nobel peace prize.  Actually, I had just buckled my seat belt on a flight to Florida for parents’ weekend at my daughter’s college, so I didn’t jump.  And I didn’t yell to the crowd of (mostly vacation) travelers:  Holy cow! Imagine that!

But I wanted to. Even knowing that Washington pundits and international media and politicos of all stripes will begin the expected feeding frenzy of why him?  why now?  why not (fill in the blank)?  and what’s the message here? (OK, I admit it, some of the commentary will be interesting).

The official notification says that President Obama was awarded the prize for his “extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.” I don’t know if this prize at this time will lead to  any change in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I’m not holding my breath on this one either.

But for me, it’s all about Obama’s April 2009 statement in Prague: “Today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seekthe peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.”

For over 50 years the world has lived with the threat of nuclear warfare.  I’m part of the “duck and cover” generation myself –the little sing-song routine that had us hiding under school desks, thinking we’d be safe from nuclear fallout.  Some of my first “envelope-stuffing” peace activism as a teenager was for Sane/Freeze.  For many of my parents’ generation, working to end nuclear weapons was the cause of their lifetime.

Here at FCNL we’re working hard on ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, one of the practical concrete steps the U.S. can take on that path to a world free of nuclear weapons. There is lots, lots more to do.

But meanwhile, I’m pausing to say Holy Cow!  Imagine That.

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