Commentary Magazine


Another Slap at Bush — but He Can Take It

The Nobel Committee’s decision to award Barack Obama its Peace Prize is risible and worth mocking – as Richard Cohen does here. It’s also being said that the decision is meant as a slap at President Bush. I’m sure it was – just as the award to Jimmy Carter was — and I have some thoughts about that.

The first is that the Nobel Committee awarded the Peace Prize to Yasir Arafat – the father of modern-day terrorism, the man who waged war against Israel for most of his life, the man whose hands were dripping with the blood of innocent Jews. George W. Bush can live a fulfilled life without being honored by such an organization.

Second, Bush, during his presidency, took the courageous step of sidelining Arafat rather than building a delusional “peace process” around him. It was Bush who spoke out in a forthright fashion about the need for a Palestinian state – but only if the Palestinians made their own inner peace with the Jewish state and gave up terrorism as an instrument of policy.

Third, Bush spent much of his presidency working to liberate the enslaved people of Iraq and Afghanistan and helping Iraq become the only democracy in the Arab world. That effort cost Americans a lot in blood and treasure. His presidency was damaged in the process. But the wars themselves were noble efforts — wars of authentic liberation — and ones that Democrats initially supported before the going got tough and they began to flake off.

The Noble Committee long ago ceased to be a serious entity; this choice merely confirms that judgment. It is a tendentious organization. And the easiest way — not the only way, but the easiest way — for Westerners to win praise and honors from it is to be critical of America and Israel. George W. Bush would never do that; he loves and has defended both nations. Sometimes virtue is its own reward.