I’m intrigued. Tom Friedman wrote a column back in October calling on him to accept the award in the name of the U.S. military — a “peacekeeper’s prize,” as Friedman put it — and while I doubt The One will go quite that far, it sounds like he’s planning something like that. Having Captain Hopenchange take the stage at Oslo and shock the congregation of doves with a tribute to peace through strength would be the most surreal moment of his presidency thus far. And probably the finest.

There’ll be no effort by Barack Obama to disguise or obscure the fact that he’s a war president when he accepts the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Thursday…

The judges said they selected Mr. Obama to honor “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.”

But asked specifically if Mr. Obama will be accepting the Nobel Peace Prize as a war president, spokesman Gibbs was unambiguous. “Exactly,” he stated bluntly. And he will mention Afghanistan in his acceptance speech…

“If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan,” said Mr. Obama [in his speech at West Point]. “I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow.”

He can be expected to argue that the U.S. is escalating in Afghanistan in the cause of peace.

The media’s already starting to grumble that his generals are leading him around by the nose, and Petraeus told Fox News just yesterday that The One finally admitted during their deliberations that the surge in Iraq was a success (not surprising, given that they’re emulating it now for Afghanistan). Imagine the reaction on the left if he goes hawkish during his Nobel speech, of all things. Good lord.

Speaking of Afghanistan, take five minutes and watch the video of Fox News’s scoop tonight about an exit-strategy memo circulating at the Pentagon and within NATO. Most of it is unsurprising — the handover to Afghans will be piecemeal, district by district — but the the timeline is big news: If this plan is adopted, the July 2011 withdrawal will be every bit the token gesture we suspect it is. Then, when you’re done with the clip, read this gripping analysis at CBS of McChrystal’s skills as a general, especially the details on his adaptability as head of America’s hunter-killer teams in Iraq. Quote: “If anyone can pull it off, it’s Stan.” Click the image to watch.

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