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The Nobel Thing To Do

The Nobel committee is using Jimmy Carter to attack the current president of the United States. The former president should give back the Peace Prize.

12:11 PM, Oct 11, 2002 • By DAVID SKINNER
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SOMEONE TELL Jimmy Carter to give back the Nobel prize. Since the million-dollar Peace Prize was awarded to the former president as an expression of anti-American pique, Carter should politely decline.

Gunnar Berge, chairman of the Nobel committee, said giving the award to Carter "should be interpreted as a criticism of the line that the current administration has taken. . . . It's a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States."

A statement posted on the website of the Carter Center from the former president says "My concept of human rights has grown to include not only the rights to live in peace, but also to adequate health care, shelter, food, and to economic opportunity. I hope this award reflects a universal acceptance and even embrace of this broad-based concept of human rights."

If it were the case that the Nobel committee had indeed awarded Carter the prize as a celebration of his tireless efforts on behalf of human rights and human dignity, there would be nothing to gainsay. And compared to some of the savages who have received the Nobel prize in the past, Carter seems is arguably not a terrible choice. Only it's all too clear the Nobel committee meant the prize to be a publicity shot across the bow of the Bush administration.

It is simply amazing that the Nobel committee would be so bold as to use a former American president to take a shot at the current administration. According to the Washington Post: "The five-member committee made its decision last week after months of secret deliberations as it sought the right message for a world still dazed by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the war on terrorism that followed and concern about a possible U.S. military strike against Iraq."

So, America is attacked on September 11. Thousands die, all sorts of chaos ensues, despite which the American president pulls off an historic show of statesmanship, pulling together an international coalition of partners to support an ultimately successful operation polishing off one of the planet's worst regimes, the Taliban. And now our country is staring eye to eye with another horrible regime, one with an astonishing record of bad behavior and disregard for international norms, human rights, and practically every definition of decency around. And the message the Nobel committee wants to send is "a kick in the leg to all that follow the same line as the United States."

Jimmy Carter is a big baseball fan, so he should know what to do. Like a home-run ball from the opposing team, this award should be thrown back.

David Skinner is an assistant managing editor at The Weekly Standard.