‛We were duped,’ says Nobel committee

OSLO (Rooters agency) – The Norwegian committee that selects the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize yesterday apologized publicly for its decision to award the 2009 Prize to US President Barack Obama.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” said a spokesperson for the committee, “but our was really off the wall.”

The five members of the committee, which is appointed by the Norwegian parliament, appeared in sackcloth and ashes at a press conference the Oslo City Hall to lament their decision.

“It seems we were duped by all that hopey-changey stuff the President had used in his election campaign,” said one of the committee members. “If you’re talking about one of the most militaristic governments in the history of the world, a country that spends as much on weapons as the rest of the world combined, then of course ‛change’ can only mean going in the other direction, towards peace and non-violence.

“I guess our hopes got the better of our thinking.” He added, “The same thing must have happened to a lot of American voters – not that that excuses our mistake.”

Asked by a reporter when the committee started to realize that it had gotten things badly wrong, one of the committee members said it was a gradual process that went at a different speed for each of them. “One or two of us began to get doubts as early as the President’s acceptance speech, right here in this building. When he started talking about ‛just wars’ and ‛humanitarian’ war, that was bad enough. But then he went on justifying all of the past US wars – that’s when I said to myself, ‛Oh my God, what have we done?’”

“I have to confess,” said another committee member, “that I tried to overlook that part, clinging to hope by concentrating on his promise to close Guantánamo and forbid torture. I thought that meant he was going to close Guantánamo and forbid torturing. As we know, he didn’t close that prison, where prisoners are being tortured right now, and he refused to prosecute US officials who have openly admitted participating in or ordering torture, so today’s torturers know they won’t be punished either.”

“And then there were the drones in Pakistan and Yemen and who knows where,” said another committee member, “and the dragging out of the war in Iraq and the ‛surge’ in Afghanistan, and then Libya and now Syria. I am so ashamed of being taken in by his empty rhetoric.”

Would the Nobel committee be asking the President to return his Prize, asked a reporter. “Are you kidding?” was the reply. “Drones can go anywhere. After the mistake we’ve made, we don’t want to be a cause of collateral damage to the people of Oslo.”

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