WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The Dalai Lama warned about the unintended consequences of violence on Wednesday by referring to the U.S.-led war in Iraq, which slogged on for years after Saddam Hussein was ousted from power.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner's comments come during high tensions in the Middle East as well as the Korean peninsula.
The 77-year-old exiled Buddhist spiritual leader of Tibet spoke to about 8,200 people at the College of William and Mary, with more than 9,600 watching portions of his speech live online, according to school officials. He was invited to speak by the school's student assembly and wore a visor featuring the school's colors throughout his speech, which focused heavily on the need for compassion for others in the world.
He spoke often of needing to show compassion even for those who are considered enemies. The Dalai Lama has long been a critic of the Iraq War and noted that he told former President George W. Bush that he had reservations about his policies, although he "really loved him" and considered him a nice person on the human level.
"His motivation is very good, to bring democracy, to eliminate one simple person _ a dictatorship," he said.
Yet, he said that the very nature of force and violence is that it is unpredictable and that unexpected consequences often happen. In Iraq, violence caused by insurgents remains a problem following the U.S. withdrawal of troops in December.
"We have to find a new way of thinking, a new way of approach when we face (a) problem," he said.
The Dalai Lama is wrapping up a series of speeches in U.S. college communities.
On Thursday, he is scheduled to give a speech on compassionate medical care in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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