Dalai Lama reserves judgment on whether Iraq war was justified
By SCOTT LINDLAW, Associated Press
(Published: September 10, 2003)
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Dalai Lama said Wednesday that the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan may have been 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 people themselves, I think, suffer a lot under their previous regimes," he said. But he was adamant that the United States not lose sight of rebuilding Afghanistan.
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.
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