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President Barack Obama accepted the Nobel Peace Prize Thursday morning in Oslo, Norway, amid criticism that he has few accomplishments to justify the award and is a defender of war.
“I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility,” said the president in his acceptance speech. “And yet 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.” (See transcript of speech)
Obama also acknowledged the seeming contradiction in awarding the Peace Prize to someone who is leading a country in two wars, and who recently ordered 30,000 more U.S. troops into battle in Afghanistan.
“The most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the commander-in-chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars,” said Obama. However, the president refused to renounce the war, stating his obligation to protect the U.S.
Obama is the first sitting U.S. president in 90 years and the third ever to win the prize.
(In an October poll, BlackEnterprise.com queried readers about the impact the awarding of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama would have on his policy agenda: 47% said it will move his policy forward; 44% said it will have no impact; and 9% said it will hinder his ability to achieve his policy agenda.)