Swedish Reporter To Obama: Is Nobel Peace Prize Creating 'Dilemma' When Planning Syria Attack
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Published on Sep 4, 2013
President Barack Obama flew to Sweden on Wednesday for a diplomatic meeting ahead of a two-day G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. Obama held a wide-ranging press conference in Sweden relating to the White House's effort to build support for a strike on Syria in the wake of that government's use of chemical weapons on civilians. One Swedish reporter cornered Obama on the contradictions contained in the fact that a Nobel Peace Prize winner is planning to launch his second war against a sovereign nation.
"I was wondering," the reporter began, "could you describe the dilemma to being a Nobel Peace Prize winner and getting ready to attack Syria?"
The president replied that, when he delivered the speech accepting that award in 2009, he made it clear that the use of force to safeguard peace is sometimes necessary:
"I think I started the speech by saying that compared to previous recipients I was certainly unworthy," Obama began. "But what I also described is the challenge all of us face, when we believe in peace but we confront a world that is full of violence." The question then becomes what are our responsibilities. So, I've made every effort to end the war in Iraq, to wind down the war in Afghanistan, to strengthen our commitment to multilateral action, to promote diplomacy as a solution to problems. The question though, that all of us face — not just me -- our citizens face, just as political leaders, is at what point do we need to confront actions that are violating our common humanity?"
Obama concluded by saying, in the face of the "senseless" deaths occurring in Syria, "the moral thing to do is not to do nothing."
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