Former President Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009. With his presidency in the rear view, we can now see whether or not it was warranted. After the disaster of George W. Bush and the ongoing nightmare of Donald Trump’s Presidency, Obama is now seen as the only truly decent President of recent memory. So did he earn that Nobel? The answer is shocking.
By any rational reading of Obama’s actions as President, he committed a litany of international war crimes.In September 2011, Barack Obama ordered a drone strike that killed a 16 year old US citizen born in Colorado. Abdul Ahrahman was never accused of any crime and was killed without a trial. Months later, a similar drone strike killed another US born child living overseas, unaffiliated with any crime. The mistake these children made was being related Anwar Al-Awlaki-a man who was a propagandist to terrorists but was never linked to any terror attack or plot. President Obama further violated the sovereignty of a number of countries by bombing them without having Congress declare war as required by Article I of the Constitution. Obama then kept US troops longer than 60 days in the 7 different countries he bombed unilaterally, violating the War Powers Act. These acts violate both national and international laws regarding war.
Obama’s persecution of journalists like Julian Assange and Whistleblowers like Edward Snowden are based on the Espionage Act-a 1917 law that was used to lock up political dissidents. The law itself was used against more journalists and whistleblowers under Obama than all other Presidents combined. These two cases were using international pressure and the mere threat of prosecution. Obama went further and actually prosecuted Thomas Drake for exposing overreach at the NSA, Chelsea Manning in 2010 for exposing War crimes committed by the US against journalists and John Kiriakou for exposing US torture in 2012. (A prosecution against Assange was prepared by the Obama DOJ as well, but wasn’t actually pursued until President Trump in 2019)
Obama was repeatedly warned by the highest levels of the DOD that Drone Strikes he ordered would produce 80% civilian casualty rates and did them anyway. The Department of Defense, at the behest of Obama targeted Yemini Houthis compounds and lended military, intelligence and financial support to the Saudi genocide in Yemen. He joked about these facts saying “ it turns out I’m really good at killing people”. All of these acts are in clear violation of the Geneva conventions. Obama even continued to legally justify Bush’s torture program even as he banned it from use in the field.
As came to light from the Snowden leaks of 2013, we now know he oversaw a program that violated the privacy of basically anyone worldwide (including foreign heads of state) oftentimes through warrants issued by a secret completely unaccountable court (if warrants were even sought at all). The court is a meaningless rubber stamp that grants the requests at a rate of literally over 99 percent.
If any other country engaged in these acts, was never held accountable, and even bragged about their crimes, not only would we call their head of state a War Criminal, we would call for regime change and their immediate trial in international criminal court. This will never be the case with US Presidents, because we have exempted ourselves from the UN human rights council and the international criminal court. Why? Because every President of the modern era would have to answer for their crimes against humanity.