Obama's peace prize speech explores the ethics of warfare

Echoes of Niebuhr
Nine days after announcing that he would send more troops to Afghanistan and set July 2011 as the start of a gradual withdrawal, President Barak Obama gave a similarly nuanced speech in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize.

Obama condemned religious-inspired violence, so-called holy wars, but also offered a defense of the just-war tradition in the face of “evil” in the world.

In his December 10 acceptance speech in Oslo, the U.S. president said that “given the dizzying pace of globalization, and the cultural leveling of modernity, it should come as no surprise that people fear the loss of what they cherish about their particular identities—their race, their tribe and, perhaps most powerfully, their religion.”

Still, religion had been used “dangerously” to “justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam, and who attacked my country from Afghanistan,” Obama said.


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