From the official transcript of President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech earlier today:

Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves to certain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules, I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend.


First, in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must develop alternatives to violence that are tough enough to actually change behavior — for if we want a lasting peace, then the words of the international community must mean something. Those regimes that break the rules must be held accountable.

Obama responding to a question from George Stephanopoulos on January 11 of this year:

Q: The most popular question on your own website is related to this. On it comes from Bob Fertik of New York City and he asks, ‘Will you appoint a special prosecutor ideally Patrick Fitzgerald to independently investigate the greatest crimes of the Bush administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping.’

OBAMA:We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth. And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices and I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards. … My orientation is going to be moving foward.

Obama said in his speech that "regimes that break the rules must be held accountable", but that clearly applies to every country except the United States. Even when confronted with clear evidence of torture committed by the United States, Obama refuses to call for consequences as he would for any other country, but instead calls for us to "look forward".

Obama can’t have it both ways. Will he give up his commitment to hold other countries accountable, or will he finally call for accountability for those who tortured in the name of the United States? He dares to call the US the "standard bearer" on these issues while our country has made a mockery of those same "quaint" standards he purports to uphold. To make matters even worse, he had the temerity to utter these words on Human Rights Day.

What is the best way for us to show our disgust with this affront to international standards of conduct? I am dumbfounded by Obama’s lack of shame in making such a clearly false claim and am at a loss on how to respond.

Jim White

Jim White

Follow me on Twitter @JimWhiteGNV