It appears that, as a writer for the interwebs, it is incumbent upon me to comment on President Obama’s Nobel Prize. Everyone, it seems, is ambivalent about his receiving the prize, not least Obama himself. Many people point out that he had just taken office when he was selected. But one of the neat things about being president of the United States is that you can make some pretty big changes pretty quickly. If someone had won the Nobel Peace Prize for ending torture in Zimbabwe or for closing secret prisons in Columbia, no one would complain. These are the kinds of things Obama accomplished, or at least began, as soon as he took office and they were responsibilities that sort of came with the package, since they were issues he ran on. And I can’t help but borrow a certain line of reasoning from Chris Rock: The U.S. isn’t supposed to torture people; the U.S. isn’t supposed to have secret prisons.

One thing about being president that’s not so neat is that you bear responsibility for a wide range of problems. Thus, while most people admit, if sometimes grudgingly, that Obama has done some good things already, they may also point out that he is waging two wars, and that while he is reducing troop levels in Iraq, he is sending more troops to Afghanistan. The easy response is that he didn’t start these wars. The U.S. has a war every ten years or so and the odds are pretty good that anyone elected or reelected president will have a war waiting for him. What’s more, nobody knows what to do about Afghanistan. Is it more befitting a Nobel Laureate to leave Afghanistan to the mercy of the Taliban and Al Qaeda or to protect people who just want to live their lives and take care of their families? Is it more befitting a Nobel Laureate to execute surgical strikes to disrupt Al Qaeda, and possibly kill innocent civilians or to double an occupying force, thus losing more soldiers but protecting more civilians?

No option is unequivocally correct and any option will entail difficulty and pain. But I have great confidence in Obama that he will act not only in the best interest of the U.S. but of humanity as well because he understands that the one depends upon the other. And in that respect, I think the Prize is well deserved.

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