I come here with an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.Dec. 10, 2009
Honorees often respond to awards with humility, but rarely is that because humility is politically expedient. Two months after being named the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama delivered a somber acceptance speech in Oslo, directly addressing critics' charge that his surprising victory was yet another example of the tendency to extol Obama for his potential rather than his accomplishments. "I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage," Obama said, noting that he agreed with the assessment that past prize recipients like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela were "far more deserving of this honor than I." He also confronted the apparent dissonance of being honored as a champion of peace while the U.S. remains embroiled in two wars. The speech didn't do much to soothe detractors' ire, although a less conciliatory tone might arguably have exacerbated it even further.
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