03/23/2011 08:48 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Notes Irony Between Nobel Peace Prize, Libya (VIDEO)

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador - President Barack Obama says he's aware that he's a Nobel Peace Prize winner who's launching military airstrikes in Libya. But he thinks Americans don't see a contradiction in him wanting to make sure the Libyan people are not, in his words, "butchered because of a dictator who wants to cling to power."

Obama noted the irony in his acceptance speech in 2009. "When I received that award, I specifically said there was an irony because I was already dealing with two wars," he said.

Visiting El Salvador on Tuesday, he told CNN en Espanol that he's accustomed to being both a commander of armed forces and someone who aspires to peace.

"I'm accustomed to this contradiction of being both a commander-in-chief but also somebody who aspires to peace," explained the president. He added that the role the U.S. has assumed in Libya stems from a goal of protecting the people of the African nation from Muammar Gaddafi's military. "We're not invading a country; we are not acting alone ... We are acting under a mandate issued by the U.N. Security Council."

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has criticized Obama for joining the international military effort against Libya's longtime leader, Gaddhafi. Chavez says Obama won a peace prize but is pursuing another war in the mold of Iraq and Afghanistan. The president of Bolivia and a Russian political leader have launched an effort to strip Obama of the honor.


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