Friday, October 07, 2005

What if they gave a prize for incompetence?

They would have to call it the Nobel Peace Prize.

The blogosphere is a abuzz with negative reaction. I especially agree with the take that this is an attempt at a pre-emptive strike by the prize committee. They seem to be saying, "Gosh, this sure is an important issue and we hope that everyone will listen to ElBaradei." While ignoring what a completely ineffectual job he has done so far. On the other hand, rewarding incompetance and downright malfeasance is something of a pattern for the Nobel committee. Outside the Beltway has a list of past winners so you can judge for yourself.

My Take:

On the issue of covert nuclear weapons programs, ElBaradei is like the broken clock that is right twice a day. It is true that he was correct when he declared that we did not have proof that Iraq was pursuing a nuclear weapons program. But then again he was wrong or significantly late on identifying covert programs in Iran, Libya and Pakistan. If your default position is that nobody has any covert nuclear programs, eventually you will find a country where that is true.

And that brings up the truly insipid nature of this award. Far from promoting peace, ElBaradei and his agency's incompetence actually make a violent resolution much more likely. Consider Iran. If there were an aggressive watchdog organization that was performing regular, thorough inspections and could assure us that they have no nuclear weapons program, then everybody would rest a lot easier. But as it is, ElBaradei just smiles tepidly, shrugs his shoulders and says "Well, we can't prove that they're doing anything wrong." That's not promoting peace. That's bringing us one step closer to the day when we send our own inspectors to Iran.


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