Bush, Blair nominated for Nobel Prize for Iraq war
A Norwegian parliamentarian nominated U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday, praising them for winning the war in Iraq.
"Sometimes it's necessary to use a small and effective war to prevent a much more dangerous war in the future," Jan Simonsen, a right-wing independent in Norway's parliament, told Reuters.
"If nobody acted then Saddam Hussein could have produced weapons of mass destruction and, in five or 10 years, could have used them against Israel," he said.
An award to Bush and Blair would be a U-turn after the Nobel Committee awarded the 2002 prize to former U.S. President Jimmy Carter last October. At the time, the committee chairman called it a kick in the shins to Bush's Iraq policies as Carter had been calling for a diplomatic solution.
Simonsen said the war had "made it possible to create democracy and respect for human rights in a country which for so many years has been ruled by one of the worst dictators in modern times".
However, Geir Lundestad, the director of the Nobel Institute where the five-member committee meets, said Simonsen's proposal would have to wait for the 2004 award because the deadline for nominations for 2003 passed on February 1.
The secretive five-member committee names the annual winner in mid-October. More than 160 people and organisations have been nominated for the 2003 prize, including Pope John Paul, Irish rock star Bono and Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya.
"I'm not especially optimistic that Bush and Blair will win but I think it's worth a try," Simonsen said. He said he would encourage like-minded parliamentarians in other countries to also nominate Bush and Blair.
Nobel committees have frequently honoured the United Nations instead of unilateral action by member states. The United Nations did not give an explicit mandate for the war amid opposition from countries including France, Germany and Russia.
The 2001 Nobel Peace Prize went to the United Nations and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Thousands of people around the world, including members of national parliaments, professors of history, law and politics and former laureates can make nominations for the prize. The nomination process is secret, but people sometimes publicise their choice.