President Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize (unless someone seriously punked the NYT). This is a stunning development. As a social critic, I am surprised that he could win while continuing many of Bush's antiterrorism-civil liberties policies. Obama is also considering a second troop surge in Afghanistan. Furthermore, he is only in the first-year of his presidency.
I am certain about this: if the Olympics defeat excited his opponents, this development should cause head explosion (and it has).
UPDATE: I am hearing liberals who have problems with Obama winning the prize defending the award on the grounds that it could encourage him to promote peace in Afghanistan. Obama, however, has always portrayed Afghanistan as a righteous war. Also, if the prize committee wants peace in Afghanistan, then Representative Barbara Lee -- the only member of Congress who did not vote to authorize the use of force and who has recently called for a pullout -- seems like a more legitimate candidate.
Here is Lee speaking against the resolution to invade Afghanistan in 2001.
Lee also opposes increasing funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - which would preclude the proposed troop surge in the latter country. She recently spoke about this issue on Democracy Now!:
Now THAT sounds like a commitment to peace.
Update II: The Nobel Prize website quotes the will of Alfred Nobel (the prize founder), which states that the award should go to "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses" (italics added). This language seems to undermine the prospective work theme that has emerged on liberal websites.
UPDATE III: Glenn Greenwald has emerged as another dissenting liberal on this issue: Obama's Nobel Peace Prize. Greenwald describes giving the award to Obama as "painfully and self-evidently ludicrous." Ouch. And my friends think I'm too harsh.
Update IV: New article: Daily Kos Reader: Progressive Criticism of Obama's Nobel Prize = Racism!