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War and peace in Oslo

By Ben Pershing
When President Obama was sworn into office back in January, it's unlikely that his aides circled Dec. 10 on the calendar in hopes that he would spend this day in Oslo picking up a Nobel Peace Prize, an award that has probably spawned more headaches in the White House than pride.

But he won the prize anyway, and now the president and all his men are trying to make the best of a politically awkward situation. Obama arrived in Oslo Thursday morning, and is receiving his award as of this writing. The president led his speech with humility, calling his achievements "slight" compared to those of the many luminaries who had preceded him as winners. "The goal is not to win a popularity contest or to get an award - even one as esteemed as the Nobel Peace Prize," Obama said on his arrival, according to the New York Times. "The goal is to advance American interests, make ourselves a continuing force for good in the world - something that we have been for decades now."

Under the headline, "Wartime US president picks up his peace prize," the Associated Press writes, "Adding fresh irony to the award, Obama announced just days before coming here to formally accept it that he is ordering 30,000 more U.S. troops into war in Afghanistan." Bloomberg adds, "The juxtaposition of war and peace has been on Obama's mind as he prepared his Nobel lecture," and Obama acknowledged that juxtaposition during his speech even as he defended the ongoing military effort in Afghanistan, saying: "I cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people."

Continue reading at Political Browser »

By Ben Pershing  |  December 10, 2009; 8:32 AM ET
Categories:  The Rundown  
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Next: What should Obama do with the Nobel money? Readers respond.


Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize because he is the first black US president.

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | December 10, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

It was a fine speech. Not sure what else Obama is supposed to say to appease the folks who insist that he is somehow responsible for giving himself this award.

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 10, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

A United States President who goes against his supporters and takes a huge personal political risk to send troops to Afghanistan and encourage other countries to do the same is moving toward earning that prize. If we do not stop the Taliban from raping and murdering little girls for simply wanting to go to school, if we do not stop the Taliban from holding the population of Afghanistan hostage to the Taliban's violent extremist dictates, if we do not stop Afghanistan from returning to Taliban control and becoming a safe haven for Al-Qaida again, we cannot claim to be a peace-loving country. High point of the speech: " Evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaida's 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."

Posted by: sam38 | December 10, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

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