In an extraordinary meeting of the Nobel Prize Commission, US President George W. Bush has been designated the first recipient of a newly-created prize for Catastrophe Management.
Alfred B. Nobel (1833-1896), the Swedish chemist and engineer who invented dynamite, left $9 million in his will to establish the Nobel Prizes, which are awarded annually, without regard to nationality, in six areas (peace, literature, physics,chemistry, physiology or medicine, and economic science) "to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind."
At first glance, it seems odd that the inventor of a powerful explosive would endow a group of awards that includes a peace prize. But Nobel was an industrialist with a conscience. The addition of the Catastrophe Prize, said Commission chair Levi Silliman, is a fitting tribute to a man who "knew how to get things done--fast."
In the citation to be presented to the American president in January, the Commission noted unstinting dedication on Bush's part "not only to the facilitation of Catastrophe through an almost preternatural inability to assess threat levels and take precautions against imminent danger," but also "his clear resolve to extenuate damage and suffering beyond all imagineable parameters following the actual catastrophic events."
The Commission noted with appreciation Bush's indifference to the petitions of 9-11 victims' familes for redress of grievances, his disregard for the lives of innocent civilians in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003, et.seq.) and above all "his apparent mastery of diversionary strategies in the aftermath of Operation Act of God (Hurrican Katrina), described by the Bush administration as "the first real test of the nation's security and disaster preparedness."
"Actually," said Mr Silliman, "Bush deserves much more than this prize can afford. He deserves to be known as The Catastrophe President."
The President had no immediate comment on the award, but First Lady Laura Bush, contacted by phone at a Left Behind Video screening at a local inner city school in Washington, observed. "I'm sure George will just be thrilled with this. He often comments how important it is to work with, you know, other people and I believe if I'm not mistaken this prize was also given to Mother Theresa for her work against birth control?"
The President's Press Secretary, Scott Maclellan said the President would share the $1,000,000 prize with "old friends from Texas."