This morning Barack Obama accepted his Nobel Peace Prize. A link to his speech can be found here.
We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.
I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony years ago: “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: It merely creates new and more complicated ones.” As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. Kings lifes work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there is nothing weak, nothing passive, nothing naive in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.
But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitlers armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaidas leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.
And thus begins his justification for enlarging the war in Afghanistan, while promoting the American right to police the globe as it sees fit. No where in this speech did it mention the history of atrocities that America is responsible for. He found time to praise Regan and Nixon, both of whom engaged in actions that were illegal and horrific. As I read over the speech in its entirety, I once again found myself asking this is the man that represents peace? His speech was all about justifying war.
Obama has openly admitted on several occasions that he does not believe that he deserves this award and I have to agree with him on this assessment. If it was offered to him in the hopes that he would rise to the challenge, his escalation of war has already made that effort mute. Obama is better able to wrap his message is florid prose, however; the message of war and aggression is still quite clear. If the mission of The Nobel Peace Prize is to reward those who battle in the name peace than handing it to Barack Obama completely undermines its purpose.