President Obama has defended what he called the idea of ‘just war’ as he accepted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo.
He acknowledged his critics who said it is inappropriate for the honour to go to a leader whose country is involved in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but insisted force can sometimes be morally justified.
“I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problem of war; what I do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work and persistence as those men and women that acted so boldly many decades ago, and it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace. We must begin by acknowledging a hard truth – 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.”
The president recalled a past Nobel winner, Martin Luther King, who said violence never brings permanent peace. But he said he accepted the world as it is, and would not ignore threats to his country.