Campaign forms to strip Obama of Nobel Prize
You can steal them. You can buy and sell them. But what you can't do is revoke a Nobel Prize, which is rather good news for President Barack Obama considering the campaign now underway to strip him of the bauble.
The Norwegian Nobel committee has a standing rule that it plays for keeps, meaning its recipients never have to fret about losing the prize no matter how reality rubs the shine away.
But that doesn't faze the online activists at RootsAction.org, which gathered up nearly 10,000 signatures overnight for a petition calling for Obama to lose his 2009 Peace Prize on the grounds that the president "has widened the use of drones and other instruments of remote killing in several countries."
Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction, launched the effort Tuesday in incendiary fashion, saying, "If President Obama is to remain as a Nobel Peace Prize winner, then Bernie Madoff may as well be Financial Planner of the Year."
When it was given in 2009, Obama's prize was largely viewed as an unearned home run. A down payment, perhaps, on how the rhetoric of hope and change might eventually play out on the world stage.
Nearly five years later, U.S. pundits are still wondering. Salon.com weighed in on April Fool's Day -- the timing was coincidental, apparently -- with a think-piece titled, Can Obama Earn His Nobel Peace Prize?
Nobel Prizes do move around from time to time. Police in the U.K. are on the hunt for one right now after a prize, awarded in 1934 to Arthur Henderson for his work on international disarmament, vanished during a burglary in Newcastle.
Or you could just buy one. William Faulkner's 1950 Nobel for literature is expected to fetch as much as $500,000 when it comes up for auction in June.
But they are never rescinded despite countless controversies, from German chemist Fritz Haber who developed and deployed chlorine gas during World War I to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and his Israeli counterparts, who shared the 1994 Nobel for peace in the Middle East.
Critics of Obama can take solace in the fact that he is unlikely to enjoy the sudsy fringe benefits of 1922 science winner Neils Bohr, who won not just a Nobel but a house with a pipeline of endless beer courtesy of the Carlsberg brewing company.Mitch Potter is the Star's Washington Bureau Chief, his third foreign posting after previous assignments to London and Jerusalem. Potter led the Star’s coverage of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he won a 2006 National Newspaper Award for his reportage. His dispatches include datelines from 33 countries since 2000. Follow him on Twitter: @MPwrites