Friday, December 11, 2009

Pretty Words

But consistent?

“No Holy War can ever be a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is no need for restraint - no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or the Red Cross worker, or even a person of one's own faith."
- US President Barack Obama,
Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech 10 December 2009.

"I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world.”
- President Obama, same speech.


Avery said...

Are you perhaps trying to draw a contrast between these two somewhat contradictory exclamations?
If so, I wonder if your expression is based in a belief that evil is inherently counter to the divine Good, that it is used here as MORE than a strong condemnation of actions WITHOUT regard to holy this and holy that. I concede that it's very likely that he is trying to speak to different sections of the theater with different meaning, much like Shakespeare, but is this somewhat obvious political maneuvering so repugnant? Isn't it just a realistic reaction to a very divided country?

ellwort said...

An emphasis on the duality manifest in the constructions "good" and "evil" reflects a belief system that should be protected in the first amendment under the heading freedom of religion. Identifying anything as "good" or "evil" implies one may feel some certainty of what divine will is. And killing people by the truckload based on such a conviction looks a lot like holy war to me.

In word and deed the current president increasingly resembles the former, who you'll remember let slip the term "crusade" in connection with preparing the ill-conceived invasion of already-benighted Afghanistan.

That's what I meant.
- Arch