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Justifying war with a Peace Nobel Prize
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-12-11 07:58:11
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I have to admit that when I read the phrase “the US must uphold moral standards when waging wars that are necessary and justified,” I felt a bit numb and found difficult to accept in the same phrase the words ‘moral’ and ‘war.’ There is absolutely nothing moral about war and nobody can change my opinion about that, not even Barrack Obama.

When it came the announcement from Norway that Barrack Obama was awarded with the Peace Nobel Prize I was more than happy and I strongly believe that only his appearance in the political stage of the USA was enough to bring the wind of change globally. Barrack Obama with his messages against the war in Iraq, the mistakes in Afghanistan, tortured from wars Africa and Darfur brought hope and made the difference. Enough difference to make a lot to think twice at least for the last two years before acting but when Mr. Obama puts in one phrase the words morality and war then is like justifying war and I’m sorry but there is nothing that can justify this inhuman act.

War should have been the last solution and that after exhausting any other peaceful possibility. If I remember well Barrack Obama had said something similar during his campaign. I’m not going to start with Iraq, the invasion, the occupation, the decay of UN’s dignity and credibility but let’s talk about Afghanistan since it was also the centre of Mr. Obama’s speech.

The situation in Afghanistan is not new and is a result of mistakes from many sides started long time ago but the situation became dramatic after the soviet invasion. The Afghani people had every right to defend their country, their freedom and their independence and they did so against a literally Goliath for an enemy. But since everything is about geopolitics Americans got involved and Bin Laden became the one to represent their interests in Afghanistan, something that seems we forget too often lately. 

The bitter truth is that the Americans didn’t give a damn for the Afghanis, it was all about crippling the big bad Russian bear and they didn’t give a damn to what would happen in the future since they were sure that the barefoot beggars with the camels and the sting missiles had absolutely no chance wining the Russians. Well the barefoot Afghanis didn’t beat the Russians but Russians with all the changes, the end of the USSR, the fall of the empire could not afford any more the Afghani war and they left. The thing is that the Afghani people knew that they were not really important to either of them and that it was all about power games, and please don’t forget the local powers like Pakistan that would like to have a bite of Afghanistan. So the Afghans turned to …faith!

And faith became their salvation. At least the mullahs had stood on their side wherever they came from, it didn’t mater; and they did help them and they did listen to them. And yes Bin Laden was one of them they trusted and accepted. Trust here is a magic word. You see what we are doing today is going there, pointing a gun on their forehead and saying, please trust us we know what’s best for you! And we are complaining after that they don’t thank us! For god’s sake Mr. Obama, you did say all that before becoming president, what happened now? Does this president’s seat have some kind of forgetting chip? Trust is not something you expect, demand, take; trust is something you earn and Bin Laden has managed much better than us in Afghanistan.

So the moral Mr. President is to show this people the way to peace and be sure that they don’t want anything else, they had enough of war. They are so tired of wars that they are ready to ally with the devil especially when this devil carries the Koran. You said yourself Mr. President that not all Taliban are fanatics and most likely most of them joined the Taliban out of desperation and lack of alternative when their country was in danger and probably if you talked with them they would understand. Well dialogue with a machine gun in your arms doesn’t work very well, does it?

And as I said Afghanistan is just an example and by the way before I forget something I suspect you forgot, Afghanistan is not the enemy, Bin Laden is the enemy! Then it comes Iraq and please don’t forget all the promises about Darfur! Let’s hope you are not going to justify any use of arms there as well! And that was about a speech for the Peace Nobel Prize acceptance, about morals and war and about me feeling numb!

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Emanuel Paparella2009-12-11 08:40:13
The address of President Obama as a Nobel Prize recipient is characterized by the Nobel
Committee as a lecture, and that it certainly was: a lecture on war and peace in which he attempted to show that it is not as simple as either or; the subject is more complex than that. Often in human history there is a nexus between the two, and that peace cannot be achieved by appeasement to bullies who have no peace in their heart and mind; that the only “perpetual peace,” as advocated by Kant, is that of the cemetery. It is understandable that some don’t like to be lectured to, but the speech deserves an attentive reading and some serious pondering. What I heard in that “lecture” in no way glorifies war itself.. Here is an excerpt from the speech which ought to dispel such a notion:

“Yet the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions — not just treaties and declarations — that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest — because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other people's children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity. So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. [continued below]

Emanuel Paparella2009-12-11 08:41:03
And yet this truth must coexist with another — that no matter how justified, war promises human tragedy. The soldiers courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, to cause and to comrades in arms. BUT WAR ITSELF IS NEVER GLORIOUS, AND WE MUST NEVER TRUMPET IT AS SUCH.” [Emphasis mine]
It seems to me that the last sentence where President Obama declares that “war itself is never glorious and we must never trumpet it as such, more than confirms the fact that he considers it a means of last resort to be entered into very reluctantly. I fail to see the disagreement here.

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