The Keystone Kops of the Norwegian Nobel Committee have delivered the final insult, taken the final step in turning a once-honorable award into a joke, an “I participated” ribbon that is handed out to anybody who wants one. I declare the committee no longer in charge. I declare it retroactively (because I can, it’s my diary), and so now I get to pick the winners for 2009.
Here’s my runners-up. I’ll explain downstream:
Lest you think this was just a staged event to make a touching, poetic beer commercial, I give you these:
These videos, and there are hundreds of them, only show the heroes’ welcome that awaits the warriors. A more appropriate representation might have been various videos of the warriors doing their jobs, in battle, lives at risk. Pulling long shifts, wearing 80 pounds of armor and gear, patrolling hostile areas, in a convoy, sleeping in sand pits. Witnessing the aftermath of carnage of Al Queda on local citizens, dealing death to the forces of evil. THAT is the work that warrants the heroes’ welcomes shown above.
There is still such a thing as heroes. They did not all die at Thermopylae. They also did not die with the Greatest Generation. The Me Generation and Generation X have surprised us all with a veritable horde of young men worthy to have stormed Normandy or Iwo Jima, to have wintered with General Washington and crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night to surprise the British, to have stood with Leonidas, shouting “Molon Labe” and fighting to the last man.
And now the winners. Neither the title nor the text above led you to believe that I had winners. But here they are.
I struggled with how to show this. I thought about a picture of the caskets coming off the airplanes, but the media has made that into such a circus, I did not want to distract from what I’m saying here. Just take this for what it’s worth. The 4,000+ young soldiers who have given the last measure of devotion for their country, most of whom signed up for the military AFTER 9-11, knowing they were signing up during wartime, these are the winners, every year, of my own Nobel Peace Prize.