Dennis Loo

Sometimes asking for the impossible is the only realistic path

Dennis Loo

Dennis Loo
Los Angeles, California,
December 31
Professor of Sociology
Cal Poly Pomona
Author of Globalization and the Demolition of Society; Co-Editor/Author of Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney, World Can't Wait Steering Committee Member, co-author of "Crimes Are Crimes, No Matter Who Does Them" statement, dog and fruit tree lover. Published poet. Winner of the Alfred R. Lindesmith Award, Project Censored Award and the Nation Magazine's Most Valuable Campaign Award. Punahou and Harvard Honor Graduate. Ph.D. in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz. An archive of close to 500 postings of mine can be found at my blogspot blog, Dennis Loo, link below. I publish regularly at, (link below) and also at OpEd News and sometimes at Counterpunch.

OCTOBER 10, 2009 12:15PM

Obama, the Nobel Prize, and What Peace Means

Rate: 7 Flag
By Cindy Sheehan
I guess to the Nobel Peace Prize Committee it means presiding over the further destruction of the population of three countries that didn’t harm anyone.
I guess it means voting for every war-funding bill while one is a Senator.
I guess it means continuing the use of the obscene and immoral drones.
I guess it means continuing torture and building larger prisons to pre-emptively and indefinitely detain suspected “terrorists.”
I guess it means using the politics of fear to justify your wars. “Afghanistan is a war of necessity.” “There are still people in the world who want to hurt Americans.”
I guess it means increasing your military budget.
I guess it means paying back your donors on Wall Street and in the insurance companies to profoundly harm people in your own country.
I guess it means hiring hostile people like Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, Stanley McChrystal and Petraeus.
I guess it means extending the damaging embargo on Cuba and threatening “crippling economic sanctions” for Iran.
I guess since the committee awarded the prize to Jimmy Carter who gave rise to the Taliban and al Qaeda in Iran giving billions to those who fought against the USSR (talk about Blowback), it tells the people of Afghanistan if you are killed, we will give your killer the Nobel Peace Prize.
Jesus Christ, why didn’t they just give it to George Bush?
The US Peace Movement was put on life support with the election of Democrats. I hope now that we have a president who is just a tool of the war machine AND a Nobel Peace Laureate that it hasn’t put the final nail in the coffin of the Peace Movement.
Peace to us means, not just an absence of war but, an absence of preparing for war.
Peace to us means that innocent people won’t suffer for profit.
I guess to the Establishment: War is Peace.

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Ms. Sheehan needs, in no particular order, an editor, a history teacher, and a psychoanalyst.

What's the point in posting this illiterate rubbish?

Aggressively unrated.
Too bad you can't do a minus for your views, eh Gordon?
Normally I wouldn't comment to a commenter on someone else's blog, but I have to ask you, Gordon, What have you sacrificed for your country? I know what Ms Sheehan did and that gives her credibility to say exactly what she says here. You?
"Flat nosed" bullet points Dennis and each one a bullseye.
Your post could not have been more poignant.
"She graduated with honors from Cerritos College and studied history at UCLA" also lost a son in battle in 2004 -

but I dont want to get into that. In India all the ordinray people like us even rejoiced when Pres O won.
the question in my mind is what has he done internationally, to deserve to share ranks with the likes of Gandhi and Mother Teresa or Bishop Tutu.
I am not particularly good at understanding politics or social trends, but I did follow the news. If his achievements were made more visible it would hve been easier to understand
Where is the debate, where the conversation on OS? Right here.

Right here in the comments. A blog is all very well, but the action is in the comment stream.

I am not convinced that the Peace Prize has to do, in the end, with a summation of life achievement regarding the goal of peace. It seems to have more to do with specific points in a life. Gandhi excepted, perhaps. An example:

Poor Arafat! The kings of the earth trotted the poor fellow out, over and over, to acquiesce in the oppression of his people, and call it peace. Surely he knew the settlements in Palestine were unconscionable, the pretensions of the Israelis hypocrisy. But he appeared at the so called negotiations and signed the documents many times.

Palestinians were left stateless, penned largely in refugee camps, and hemmed in, prevented from free movement by Israeli checkpoints and settler shootings. But he was lauded for his statesmanship.

Within a few years the Israelis trapped him in a building and shelled it for weeks on end. I guess his laudable statesmanship and visionary status as a Peace Prize laureate were insufficient to shield him from the IDF, shelling a building on non-Israeli soil in violation of treaty, with total impunity.

Back in northern Europe, the Peace Prize committee was trying to train both sides the way you train a pigeon. Make a positive move, get a reward. Make a move otherwise, get none. Skinner could tell you how it's done. After a while, the pigeon pulls the little cart or rings the little bells to make the notes of La Marseillaise.

If anyone needs the pigeon treatment, it's Obama. He has already accomplished some significant things, despite the repeated claims of the punditry, especially in the realm of diplomacy. But there are many things he has failed to learn, and we do not yet hear La Marseillaise. Maybe the Prize will do some Skinnerian work, some 'positive reinforcement.'
I hasten to add, that I do not dispute the Nobel Committee's decision. congratulate your President n expect someone wd post showing us his life in perspective, that's all. didn't see it coming, like with some people around us we do.... thts all am saying... trying to understand... Loo, I know what you are saying here... however, you are qualified to do a searching post surely?
Sorry, I retreated to cynicism. Cindy Sheehan has paid all the damn dues necessary. She has earned every plank of the platform she can now stand upon to make these indictments.

Obama, at base, believes in Empire. No President for decades has been otherwise. Hell, most Americans, no matter how much Empire has cost them personally in blighted aspirations and reduced circumstances, believes in American empire, American hegemony over the world at large.

It was the same with the British Empire. That one was very expensive indeed, and impacted British citizens daily, but they supported it all the same, so long as it lasted.

We all, in school, saw the maps in the history books. I refer to the ones with the large colored areas on them:

The Mongol Empire at its greatest extent

The British Empire at its height

The Roman Empire at the time of Augustus Caesar

The Third Reich at its greatest extent

The Assyrian Empire in the time of Hammurabi

Alexander's Conquests

and so on. In each case, one saw a map with a large colored-in zone.

The Mogul Empire in the Reign of Aurungzeb

The Conquests of Tamurlaine

French Colonial Possessions Worldwide

Islamdom in the Age of the Gunpowder Empires

If maps meant anything to you, as a child, you came away from this with the idea that the true measure of greatness in a civilization was the size of the colored-in zone on the map of the world that you could boast.

The texts never mentioned the expense of those empires to the citizens of the home country. But, in fact, overseas empires uniformly cost the home country prohibitively. It's only the land-based empires, like Russia's, which have persisted. America spread to take over large tracts of the Spanish colonial area, and the French one, and still holds onto them, effortlessly, today. We have New Mexico, Arizona, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas and California. Russia has Siberia and so forth. But the overseas empires all fail under their own weight.

Not daunted by history, America has embarked upon an imperialistic course, and an overseas empire, at that. We seem to think that American ideas about what goes on in every far flung station of the world should govern. The military embodies this idea implicitly, and every government of whatever party has endorsed it.

Obama is no different. He wants to continue to punish Cuba, to 'have a presence' in the Middle East, to influence events in central Asia, Haiti, Venezuela, Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, the Philippines, and on and on. Congress and most Americans accept this idea with no cavil or serious question. War is indeed Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ms. Sheehan lost a son to this idea, and can legitimately point it out.
Tim - my theory about Gordon O is that he is actually an invention of a satirist parodying the poses of the far right.

Mal - that brilliance you applaud is Cindy's and I will tell her you said so.

Rolling - perhaps you could explain what you mean more about doing a searching post?

Dave - you are waxing poetic here, my friend! A privilege to host your comments.
Thanks for your comments, Mal, Dave, and Dennis. Cindy Sheehan DID pay her dues . In a sense Obama did deserve the Nobel Prize because he is in very good company with other war criminals like Henry Kissinger, Teddy Roosevelt and Jimmy Carter.
Oops! I forgot to thank BBE. I kind of like the "monkey fingered, reddit riff.
How did all those liberals in San Francisco vote for Nancy Pelosi over Cindy Sheehan?
What's the big deal? It's not like it was the Nobel Prize-Nobel Prize.
My comment to a comment. Twice in one day to the same commentator. Must be a first for me! Dave has it mostly right. I'll lean even further back into my own vaults and state that the POTUS is "all talk and no cock". Rant over...
A local newspaper here in Finland commented it about like this: 'Obama's main achievement concerning the foreign policies has been to expand the Afghanistan war'. The previous Finnish Nobel prize winner Ahtisaari was in the state television news a bit more polite. He said something like this: 'Maybe it was given to Obama to encourage him to do something for the world peace in the future'.

The prize should have given really to Bush. Maybe he would have acted differently, if he got on his first day as the president the Nobel Prize For Peace. We could try. Just elect him again and ask the Norwegians to give him that prize. Or we can just wait. Maybe Obama will now change.
Here is an interesting take on Obama's Nobel Peace prize.

An Unconstitutional Nobel.