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President Obama Nobel Speech

The acceptance speech given by President Obama for his Nobel Peace prize on December 10, 2009.

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U.S. Commander in Chief paints a broad stroke picture

  • Dec 12, 2009
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"Whatever we plan to do tomorrow we should do today and whatever we plan to do today, we should do now."Kabir

I read an old book once called 'The Day that Lincoln Was Shot', can't remember the author but I never forgot one anecdote; that the national newspapers that day hurriedly pulled their nasty editorials and replaced with 'Great Man' copy.

I like most everyone I know, am not convinced about Afghanistan and 'our' role in there, and that hasn't changed. But last night we watched Obama's Nobel speech (in 4 parts on YouTube) after tuning into MacNeil/Lehrer in the car and hearing them speak to the marked absence of early criticism from the various political factions. They spoke about the complexity of the speech and how Obama had quoted MLK's "Isness & Oughtness" (what IS and what we know Ought to be), and how that was way outside the box for a President. They also said that a U.S. President could be no pacifist.

We tuned into the speech late last night and we neither of us felt much like analyzing it when we were through, because there was so much food for thought. I think we took it instead into our night dreams because certainly we both felt stirred up by the reach of it.  

It seemed to me that the Nobel Peace Prize afforded an incumbent U.S. President an unprecedented platform to deliver a deep-reach speech that could feed into the paradigm shift we have perceived or dreamed of in our multi-layered realities.

Foregoing euphemisms, Obama said; make no mistake, young men and women go to war and some will kill.. and some will be killed. And they will get the glory for the same but, he said categorically, there is no glory in war.  

Since President Obama is the Commander in Chief, the facets of military training could conceivably evolve under his watch to better reflect the Worldview he is describing.  Obama's speech brought back full-flood an exquisite tenderness image that spoke straight to my soul from when first I laid eyes on it:

"U.S. Army Sergeant Kornelia Rachwal gives a young Pakistani girl a drink of water as they are airlifted from Muzaffarabad to Islamabad, Pakistan, aboard a U.S. Army CH-47 Chinook helicopter on the 19 October 2005." U.S. Army soldier humanitarian

The speech also made me think of the verse Jean Houston had on her website:

"Thank God our time is now when wrong
Comes up to face us everywhere
Never to leave us till will take
The longest stride of soul folk ever took
Affairs are now soul size
The enterprise is exploration into God.
Where are you making for?
It takes so many thousand years to wake
But will you wake for pity's sake? "

from Christopher Fry,
A Sleep of Prisoners

We, as a culture are cognizant to varying degrees of the under-belly of an occupying force, from the British in Ireland, to the Americans in Iraq and yet we know; that how 'we' (our soldiers) behave is inextricably bound to why We are there and how We hold the Peoples of that place. Bottom line in the words of one of our own local Veterans; "We Are Not Worth More, They Are Not Worth Less"(Thank You Brian):

S. Brian Willson: Air Force combat security officer in Vietnam, Bill Motto Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) "Wage Peace" Post 5888, Santa Cruz, California, and of Veterans for Peace.

I never saw television as a child; I never saw that most famous photograph of the  terrorized Vietnamese girl until I was well into my 20s. But I had my own horrors and I had had a recurring dream as a post London Blitz child that 'help was on the way' ; that suddenly the whole region was swarming with soldiers, but not soldiers to be afraid of; soldier-humanitarians.

Obama's Nobel Speech has stirred in me the potential of emergence of The-World-We-Want by heretofore unimagined means, akin to the story of the World Peace Flame & the Military: 

Military personnel proved to be key to getting seven living flames (lit by prominent peacemakers on five continents of the world) flown across the oceans. High-ranking officers moved mountains, lower in command defied orders, men felt compelled to "guard" the newborn Flame during the long flights from the four corners of the Earth. The story of every Flame's lighting and journey is a triumph in itself; lit, transported, delivered and merged for World Peace. The World Peace Flame acts as a reminder that peace begins with each one of us. The flame serves as a catalyst for a worldwide shift, from thinking about problems to acting out solutions. 

The American Flame

Light A Candle for the World, Light a candle for this Republic

"the greatest experiment in democracy in the history of the world." JL Chestnut

"Today we are faced with the preeminent fact that, if civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships... the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world, at peace."Franklin D. Roosevelt
U.S. Commander in Chief paints a broad stroke picture U.S. Commander in Chief paints a broad stroke picture U.S. Commander in Chief paints a broad stroke picture

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December 12, 2009
Very well written and thought-provoking review. Although I am no fan of this President I will readily concede that this was his finest hour to date. Nice job!
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Quick Tip by . September 22, 2012
The events of the past several days highlight what a farce awarding Obama a Nobel Peace Prize was. Lots of us thought so at the time and events have proven us right.   The man had done absolutely nothing to deserve it at that point and as far as I am concerned has been an extremely divisive figure throughout his Presidency.   
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President Obama accepted his 2009 Nobel Peace prize in person at the Oslo City Hall in Oslo, Norway on December 10, 2009. In a 36-minute speech, reportedly written by Obama and then edited by Jon Favreau and Ben Rhodes, he discussed the tensions between war and peace and the idea of a "just war". The address contained elements of the ideas of Reinhold Niebuhr, someone Obama once described as one of his favorite philosophers.

The speech was generally well received by American pundits on both ends of the political spectrum. Several noted similarities between Obama's message and the rhetoric of President George W. Bush. This was also mentioned by former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, who called it a "very American speech" and wrote that "Obama was recognizing that the great commitments and themes of American foreign policy are durably bipartisan..." A number of prominent Republican politicians publicly praised the speech, including Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. Conservative New York Times columnist Ross Douthat called it an oftentimes impressive speech that was "An extended defense of using realist means in the service of liberal internationalist ends". Columnist Andrew Sullivan distinguished between the Obama and Bush messages, stating that "Obama is far more conservative than his predecessor" in his views on human imperfection, reality, and war; he also linked the speech back to the tragic nature of Obama's line "the ...
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