Just a fraction of what is expanded so obscenely on defense budgets would make the difference in enabling God's children to fill their stomachs, be educated, and given the chance to lead fulfilled and happy lives.-- Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance remarks
This must be a world of democracy and human rights; a world freed from the horrors of poverty, hunger, deprivation, and ignorance, relieved of the threat and the scourge of civil wars and external aggression and unburdened of the great tragedy of millions forced to be refugees.-- Nelson Mandela, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance remarks
In spite of temporary victories, violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problems, it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all.-- Martin Luther King, Jr. Nobel Peace Prize acceptance remarks
As commander-in-chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.-- President Barack Obama's address to the nation two weeks prior to receiving the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
As usual, the president was eloquent in his remarks accepting the peace prize, saying, "Let us reach for the world that ought to be -- that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls."
To which most human beings will say, "yes."
But in practicing an unimaginative realism, the president seems to have forgotten his own campaign slogan: "yes we can." As president, clearly Obama faces a different set of responsibilities than the rest of us, but in this crucial moment he is facing those responsibilities in the same way that each of his predecessors as commanders in chief did.
In falling back into a defense of just war, as the president did in his acceptance, he walks the same tired path that kings and despots and commanders in chief and revolutionaries all have walked; justifying their path for a thousand years in Augustine's unbiblical theory of just war.
In the end, however justified a war may seem, a just war is just war. The institution building that the president proposed is certainly important, but there is no way to peace. Peace is the way.