Time magazine features a sensible column titled “Why the Nobel Peace Prize Should Go to Nuclear Weapons,” by David von Drehle. Not only that, it was featured on Yahoo News. Wonders, evidently, never will cease. Von Drehle writes:
President Barack Obama’s Nobel peace surprise was given “primarily for his work on and commitment to nuclear disarmament,” according to Agot Valle, a Norwegian politician who served on the award committee. …
As long as a nukeless world remains wishful thinking and pastoral rhetoric, we’ll be all right. But if the Nobel committee truly cares about peace, they will think a little harder about actually trying to make it a reality. Open a history book and you’ll see what the modern world looks like without nuclear weapons. It is horrible beyond description. …
The truth is that industrial killing was practiced by many nations in the old world without nuclear weapons. Soldiers were gassed and machine-gunned by the hundreds of thousands in the trenches of World War I, when Hitler was just another corporal in the Kaiser’s army. By World War II, countries on both sides of the war used airplanes and artillery to rain death on battlefields as well as cities, until the number killed around the world was so huge the best estimates of the total number lost diverge by some 16 million souls. The dead numbered 62 million, or 78 million – somewhere in there.
So, when last we saw a world without nuclear weapons, human beings were killing each other with such feverish efficiency that they couldn’t keep track of the victims to the nearest 15 million. Over three decades of industrialized war, the planet had averaged around three million dead per year. Why did that stop happening?
Read it all. Von Drehle concludes:
But zero weapons is a terrible idea. As bad as they are, nukes have been instrumental in reversing the long, seemingly inexorable trend in modernity toward deadlier and deadlier conflicts. If the Nobel committee wants someday to honor the force that has done the most over the past 60 years to end industrial-scale war, they will award a peace prize to the bomb.
Time also has a Photoshop gallery titled Obama’s Other Awards. Here he is accepting his Oscar. Don’t laugh: Al Gore got one.