Friday, October 09, 2009

"you just haven't earned it yet baby" (with video)

Spencer Ackerman, with video (03:31):
Nobel: It’s Not The Achievements Themselves, It’s The Destination---Yes, yes, ha ha he just hasn't earned it yet, has he? And, truly, he hasn't. We have 124,000 troops in Iraq. We are considering an escalation -- another one -- in Afghanistan.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is beginning to heat up to a slow boil again. We probably won't have a real climate bill in time for Copenhagen. The U.S. still has the world's biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons. Guantanamo Bay is in business. But, as I just wrote at the Washington Independent, all that misses the point.

[T]urning it down would be a slap in the face to an international community that is showing, in the most generous way possible, that it wants the U.S. back as a leading component of the global order. The issue is not Barack Obama. It’s what the president represents internationally: a symbol of an America that is willing, once again, to drive the international system forward, together, toward the humane positive-sum goals of peace and disarmament. The fact that Obama hasn’t gotten the planet there misses the point entirely. It’s that he’s beginning, slowly, to take the world again down the path.

There are 120,000 troops in Iraq -- but by the summer of 2010 there will be 55,000; and by December 2011; practically none. There is a consideration of another Afghanistan escalation -- but as part of a measure, if adopted, to bring stability and peace to a region whose volatility threatens millions. (Yes, this isn't so convincing, even to me.) The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is heating up again -- but Obama has taken risk after risk already to address it, and his bigger risks are yet to come. We probably won't have a real climate bill in time for Copenhagen -- but through no fault of Obama's, and he's working to mitigate its consequences. The U.S. still has the world's biggest stockpile of nuclear weapons -- but Obama never promised that he could yield nuclear disarmament overnight. Guantanamo Bay is in business -- but not, insh'allah, for long.
Progressives have a unique responsibility to hold Obama to his own stated vision, and the vision that the Nobel committee honored today. But there is a difference between an incomplete agenda and a counterproductive one. And in truth, the agenda is never complete. The work goes on. But we are on a path. Fired up, ready to go.
Howie P.S.: t.a. barnhart tells us "Why the Nobel Peace Prize makes sense."

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