Obama on peace and war 2009-2013

In his Nobel Lecture in December 2009 Barack Obama put great emphasize on the fact that war might be necessary to meet the threat to human rights from dictators or fanatics. Since then he ordered the killing of Osama Bin Laden in 2011 and excessive use of drone attacks against suspected terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. Addressing the civil war which started in Syria in 2011, Obama in August 2012 stated that the US would interfere if some of the participants used chemical weapons.
In September 2013 Washington claimed that troops loyal to President Assad carried out a poison gas attack which killed over 1,400 people in rebel-held suburbs of Damascus on August 2. Obama warned that the US would use force to punish the regime - if necessary without the support of an UN-resolution.


Below are excerpts from speeches and statements made by Obama on the problem of using force to secure peace:

Obama, Nobel Lecture 2009
We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth: We will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations - acting individually or in concert - will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified.
I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King Jr. said in this same ceremony years ago: "Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: it merely creates new and more complicated ones." As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr. King's life work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there's nothing weak - nothing passive - nothing naïve - in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.
But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. 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. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. 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 reason.
I raise this point, I begin with this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world's sole military superpower.

Obama, Aug. 20, 2012:
We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.

Obama, State of the Union speech, February 13, 2013:
In defence of freedom, we'll remain the anchor of strong alliances from the Americas to Africa; from Europe to Asia. In the Middle East, we will stand with citizens as they demand their universal rights, and support stable transitions to democracy.
We know the process will be messy, and we cannot presume to dictate the course of change in countries like Egypt, but we can - and will - insist on respect for the fundamental rights of all people. We'll keep the pressure on a Syrian regime that has murdered its own people, and support opposition leaders that respect the rights of every Syrian.

White House official, April 25 2013:
We go on to reaffirm that the President has set a clear red line as it relates to the United States that the use of chemical weapons or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups is a red line that is not acceptable to us, nor should it be to the international community. It's precisely because we take this red line so seriously that we believe there is an obligation to fully investigate any and all evidence of chemical weapons use within Syria….
But I think nobody should have any mistake about what our red line is. It is when we firmly establish that there has been chemical weapons use within Syria, that is not acceptable to the United States, nor is the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist organizations. And the people in Syria and the Assad regime should know that the President means what he says when he set that red line. And keep in mind, he is the one who laid down that marker. He' s the one who directed that we provide this information to the public. And he's the one who directed that we do everything we can to further investigate this information so that we can establish in credible, corroborated, factual basis what exactly took place.