To the members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, I wish to express my gratitude for having chosen me to receive this most prestigious of awards. Over the past century it has been awarded to people whose spirit, vision, work, and sacrifice have made the world a far better and more hopeful place than had they not existed.But I am here to say, respectfully, that I am not among them. Not yet. While I aspire to help my country and this world achieve the peace and fraternity between nations that the Nobel Committee envisions, I humbly submit that I have thus far done too little in my life as a public servant to deserve this honor. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart and a sober mind that I decline the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.There are indeed many other worthy people on which to bestow this honor. Some, like Gao Zhisheng of China and Kang Cholhwan of North Korea, have provided a picture of courage and vision for a better country that respects human rights. Others, like Bill Gates and former President Bill Clinton, have shown how using the awesome social and financial capital at their disposal can better the lives of millions and bring peace and stability to lands where neither is familiar.I understand why the Nobel Committee chose me as their recipient this year. Over the past twelve months we have been witnessing a sea change in how nations interact to deal with the common threats and problems that face us, from nuclear threat to terrorism to environmental destruction, and I as president of the most powerful country on Earth am seen as one who has been spearheading that change.But the irony of receiving this award at a time when I must mull sending more troops to an already war-weary region is just too great. Granted, this is a responsibility I face because of my predecessor, but his decision to send the forces of the US and its allies to Afghanistan was the right one, even if it may not have been executed as well as some of us would have liked. Indeed, many of the things I am noted for, including reaching out to the Muslim world to effect a more peaceful coexistence, were also done by Mr Bush, who referred to Islam as a religion of peace. Yet I am being credited with promoting hope for a better future when I have done too little on which to base that decision.I respectfully submit that the Nobel Committee has thus been premature in awarding me this prize, for over the rest of my presidency I will be compelled to make individual decisions — including the deployment of troops — that themselves may not seem fitting of a Nobel Peace Laureate, even if in the long run they achieve the goal of stability and prosperity in war-torn lands.It is not clear if the Nobel Committee hoped this reward would nudge my actions away from using military might, or if they are acknowledging that the judicious use of military might in the face of tyranny and violence may sometimes be acceptable. But in either case, I feel it would be imprudent for me to accept this prize based on something I have yet to do in the future.It has been, of course, the nature of the Peace Prize that those who receive it may still be in the process of achieving that for which they have won the award. But there has always been a sufficient amount of time between their most notable acts worthy of recognition and the time when they received that recognition. I cannot say that that is the case with me, which is why I must forgo this accolade.But even as I give up this honor, I am taking up a challenge. After my presidency ends and I re-enter the world as a private citizen, I would like the Nobel Committee to look back at what I've accomplished and consider again, at that later date, if I am deserving of this award. In the aggregate, after the decisions I've made — popular and unpopular — and the actions I've taken and the direction I've led my country and the world, am I still deserving of this prize? I hope the answer is yes, and at that time, I will enthusiastically accept.But for now, I must decline. Thank you.
to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.Okay, I guess that the fraternity part and the promotion of peace congresses part sort of applies to him. Maybe this is actually a way of going back to the prize's roots. But he should be humble enough to recognize that, right now at least, others are more deserving, including his predecessor Bill Clinton, who perhaps should get it along with Bill Gates. Those two — and the organizations and people to whom they are channeling so much money — are doing much in Africa, an entire continent largely ignored by the rest of the world and left to fester.