Wartime President Barack Obama accepts Nobel Peace Prize with 'humility'
President Barack Obama was in Olso, Norway, on Thursday to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. (Photo: AP)
President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize with “great humility” on Thursday, as his administration readies to deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan for a war some have denounced as unwinnable.
Obama took pains to acknowledge the incongruity of the situation, focusing his speech on the complexities of war and saying, “I face the world as it is.”
The president flew quickly in and out for the Olso, Norway, award ceremony, and hoped to minimize inevitable scrutiny. The $1.4 million accompanying the Nobel is to go to charity. Key excerpts from his acceptance speech on Thursday:
* “Compared to some of the giants of history who have received this prize — Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela — my accomplishments are slight.”
* “I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed.”
* “War is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence.”
* “We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes.”
* “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.”
* “We can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that — for that is the story of human progress.”