The exiled Tibetan leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner said some wars, including the Korean War and World War II, helped "protect the rest of civilization, democracy."
Dali Lama: Iraq War is Justified
Scott Lindlaw, AP, September 10, 2003 11:09 PM
The Dalai Lama said Wednesday that the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan was justified to win a larger peace, but that is it too soon to judge whether the Iraq war was warranted. "I think history will tell," he said in an interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, just after he met with President Bush.
"In principle, I always believe nonviolence is the right thing, and nonviolent method is in the long run more effective," said the Dalai Lama, who after the Sept. 11 attacks had implored Bush to avoid a violent response by the United States.
The exile Tibetan leader, awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, said the Vietnam War increased suffering and was a "failure." But, he said, some wars, including the Korean War and World War II, helped "protect the rest of civilization, democracy." He said he saw a similar result in Afghanistan - "perhaps some kind of liberation."
The Dalai Lama urged Bush, in a letter on Sept. 12, 2001, to "think seriously whether a violent action is the right thing to do and in the greater interest of the nation and people in the long run." Asked whether the Iraq war was just, the Dalai Lama said the situation there is "more complicated" and will take more time before he can judge.
The Dalai Lama said he had briefly raised these concerns to Bush during their meeting in the White House residence. He declined to say what Bush's response was.
The Tibetan Buddhist leader, who is a five-city, 20-day tour of the United States that is timed to coincide with the Sept. 11 anniversary, called on Americans to channel their lingering grief "into a source of strength."
"Big, unthinkable tragedies happen," he said. "Now, instead of keeping that and developing hatred or sense of revenge, instead of that, think long-term. The negative event, try to transform into a source of strength."