That was my reaction in hearing that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its hapless Director General, Mohammed ElBaradei, have been named winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize.
As you'll recall, ElBaradei has, during his tenure, presided over an agency seemingly incapable of dealing with nuclear proliferation. Sure, the IAEA issues periodic warnings to rogue states about developing nuclear arms, and conducts a few inspections here and there, but if you examine its actual record, the agency has done little to curb the expansion of nuclear arsenals. During ElBaradei's tenure, both North Korea and Iran have continued their nuclear development efforts, with only the mildest of protests from the IAEA.
But the IAEA represents an "international effort" to deal with nuclear proliferation, something the Nobel committee strongly endorses. And, giving the prize to the IAEA gives the committee a chance to take another swipe at the Bush Administration, whose counter-proliferation efforts are viewed as unilateral, even "dangerous" by the Nobel judges. Never mind that our unilateral approach actually convinced a rogue state (Libya) to give up its nuclear program. Besides, endorsing the failed efforts of the IAEA allows the committee to engage in one of its favorite activities--taking a shot at Washington. That was a big reason that failed former President (and dictator coddler) Jimmy Carter won the Peace Prize back in 2002 and the UN received the award in 2001. Of course, the committee has also bestowed the Peace Prize on such "luminaries" as Le Duc Tho, Yasser Arafat, Rigoberta Menchu, Mikhail Gorbachev and UN peace-keeping forces.
And we're supposed to take this award seriously?
If sanity ever returns to the selection process, perhaps the Norwegian Nobel Committee (which awards the Peace Prize) will finally recognize institutions that have actually helped advance the cause of peace, namely the U.S. armed forces.