Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Obama's speech wins rare praise -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

SHANE MCLEOD: The US President Barack Obama has accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo with an
address that lays out the case justifying war.

He also used the Nobel lecture to answer many European critics of the US, telling them 60 years of
world security had been built on the blood of American citizens.

It was an address well received back home.

From Washington John Shovelan reports.

JOHN SHOVELAN: President Barack Obama went to Oslo to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize and as he did
he reminded his admiring audience he is not one of them.

BARACK OBAMA: I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a
distant land. Some will kill and some will be killed.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Before a crowd dedicated to peace he delivered the peace prize lecture and made a
blunt, pragmatic and moral case for war and the use of American military power.

War was justified in self defence, he said, in aiding an invaded nation, on humanitarian grounds or
when civilians are slaughtered by their own government.

BARACK OBAMA: I understand why war is not popular but I also know this: The belief that peace is
desirable is rarely enough to achieve it.

JOHN SHOVELAN: During the election he was a champion of the anti-war movement because of his
opposition to the war in Iraq. However as commander in chief war is a reality.

BARACK OBAMA: I face the world as it is.

JOHN SHOVELAN: But he stressed the need to fight war according to rules of conduct, rejecting

BARACK OBAMA: I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct
of war.

That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of our strength. That is
why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed. And that is
why I have reaffirmed America's commitment to abide by the Geneva conventions.

We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend.


JOHN SHOVELAN: The speech was as much to his audience at home as to those in the hall in Oslo.

He's often accused of being too compromising, of trying to be on both sides of an issue, like his
announcement just nine days ago that he was sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan but at the
same time setting a date for their withdrawal.

But in Oslo he was unequivocal.

BARACK OBAMA: Evil does exist in the world. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a
call to cynicism, it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of

JOHN SHOVELAN: For the past 10 months his trips abroad have been panned by conservatives and
doubted by independents in the US, many who saw him as too apologetic for America's actions and

No American president can hope to be re-elected if he leaves an impression at home that he's
hesitant or doubtful about whether the US is a positive force in the world.

BARACK OBAMA: 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.

We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of
enlightened self interest.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Even right wing radio's Rush Limbaugh, President Obama's most hostile of critics,
couldn't help but acknowledge the remarks.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: This is a first. This, at least as far as my memory is concerned it's a first. Obama
grudgingly admits that America has done a little good now and then despite our mistakes.

JOHN SHOVELAN: President Obama started his lengthy speech acknowledging the Nobel Prize could have
been premature. His humility earned the praise of the prominent Republican Newt Gingrich.

NEWT GINGRICH: He used it as an occasion to remind people first of all as he said that there is
evil in the world. I mean I think having a liberal President who goes to Oslo on behalf of a peace
prize and then reminds the committee that they would not be free, they wouldn't be able to have a
peace prize without having force, I thought in some ways it's a very historic speech.

JOHN SHOVELAN: The President is only staying in Oslo for 24 hours.

John Shovelan, Washington.