Sunday, October 22, 2006

Eisenhower on Terrorism

I don't think President Eisenhower had terrorism in mind when he gave is farewell speech in 1961, but the following paragraphs from his speech could be spoken in the context of our current conflict with jihadi extremism:

"Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt both at home and abroad."

"Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology-global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle-with liberty at stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment."

Please don't take my post to mean we must support the President's current course in Iraq (in other words, I don't want critical comments on Bush). Rather, I'm making the point that the fight of free people against the tyranny of Muslim extremism is similar in some respects to the cold war fight against communism. Defeating terrorism may take decades of diligent and determined struggle. I believe that the real battle will be for the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. If we can support moderate Muslims who also desire peace, just as the United States encouraged free-thinking peoples behind the iron curtain, we can win in time.

Of course, the best way to convince a person to support peace is for them to gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We should pray that the Lord will open the Middle East to missionary work, and until that happens, we must do all we can to share the gospel with our friends and neighbors in free countries.

(To listen to Eisenhower's farewell speech, click here.)


Curtis said...

"I'm making the point that the fight of free people against the tyranny of Muslim extremism is similar in some respects to the cold war fight against communism."

On the other hand, the freedom fighters of the Arab world would definately say they are fighting for their freedom from US corporate domination of their lands and resources. Remember, it was bin Laden that the CIA fostered to fight against the Soviets in Afganistan in the first place. In his mind, he is continuing that fight against a new invader now.

"Of course, the best way to convince a person to support peace is for them to gain a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ."

There are many who have a testimony, or at least claim to have a testimony, who are fighting right now. Of course, a true testimony of Christ would lead to peace as in the case of Ammon preaching to the lamanites. The sentiment among the Nephites was to go up and destroy the lamanites out of the land at the time but Ammon was opposed to that idea, not wanting to damn his lamanite brothers to hell, and went to preach the gospel instead. Nephi and Lehi in Helaman 5 were the same brand of men. They stopped a whole war with their preaching!

"We should pray that the Lord will open the Middle East to missionary work, and until that happens, we must do all we can to share the gospel with our friends and neighbors in free countries."

Amen. Though many countries will not be opened up through peaceful means. In the latter days we will be preaching the gospel in lands opened up by the chaos of war according to Bruce R. McKonkie in his book "The Millenial Messiah."

shiningcity said...

The issue with terrorism today is wrapped up wholly in an extreme ideology that hates modernity and freedom and wishes at any cost to dominate and control. Capitalism and US corporations as a whole and overwhelmingly lift the standard of living in countries they enter. Capitalist nations are also usually democratic nations who value life and wage war only for humanitarian or self-defense reasons. Islamic fascists hate this and are fighting it because they want to enslave.

Another note. It was a good strategic move by the USA to help bin laden/Afganistan just enough so that the Soviets didn't expand. Strategy can be a very good thing. It was in this case. That bad people went on to make bad choices is a reflection on them. We as a nation should not shy away from acting in our best interest.

Fundamental to this entire discussion is the realization that (1) the USA is overall a good nation with good motives and respect for life and liberty; (2) Radical Islamists and other terrorists are in no way morally equivalent to the USA. They do not have a respect for life and their motives are not good.

curtis said...

Your discussion points would work be valid if your assumptions were true from the beginning. However, your assumptions are false and your arguement falls flat. Your assertions that the USA is inherently good and morally head and shoulders above our enemies is pure hogwash.
We have consistently pursued our "national interests" fighting for corporate welfare in opposition to the rights of the people of the nations we have interfered in. I cite Guatemala in the 1950's as a perfect example. In fact, great examples of our blatant disregard for human rights and life, in favor of the rights of corporations to rape and pillage the natural resources of foreign nations, are too many to mention.
But, don't believe my word. Believe the chief architect of our post-WWII foreign policy. George Kennan summed it up pretty well when he said:
"we have about 50% of the world's wealth, but only 6.3% of its population....In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity....To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives....We should cease to talk about vague and...unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."
So, in reality, the first thing we have to understand is how the USA has no moral authority over other entities in the international theatre. Then we will start to see how the terrorism we sponsor is not so different from that we already call terrorism.

TylerD said...

Curtis, not only do your comments lack credibility, but they are way off base for two reasons:

1) That you claim a) Americans are sponsoring terrorism and b) American's actions are comparable to the acts of jihadi extremists automatically discredits you and shows that your arguments are based on emotion, not logic. It boils down to this. Terrorists are willing to kill innocent people including their own to achieve their ends: power and the destruction of freedom. The U.S. seeks only to defeat agressors and only to ensure that people can govern themselves. Individual exceptions don't disprove that rule.

2) You use faulty logic to prove your main point making all you say suspect. You point to the words of one individual who spoke them decades ago to prove that all U.S. foreign policy is driven by a single motive. Keep in mind that President Ronald Reagan rejected the policy espoused by Kennan, "the father of containment." Reagan believed that containment was wrong. Communism (a system that sought to destroy freedom and resulted in millions of dead worldwide) had to be destroyed because we (the U.S.) did not have the right to bargain the lives of others for our own security. Yes, it's true that many U.S. leaders were happy with containment which permitted millions to remain enslaved around the world, but Reagan, supported by all who voted for him, felt differently, and he defeated communism.

You have no clue how fortunate the world is that the good people of the United States believe all people have "unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." If it weren't for inspired leaders and the immense sacrifice of many young Americans to bring peace and freedom to the world, all peoples would be suffering today under the Nazis or the Communists. And if we don't fight terrorism, then some day it too many win, and all will suffer far more than we are today during this struggle.

Curtis said...

“1) That you claim a) Americans are sponsoring terrorism”

That’s exactly the point. We have never been afraid of using terrorism as a tool. We sponsored the Contras in Nicaragua who carried out numerous terrorists attacks against schools, hospitals etc. We sponsored Jose Posada Carriles, the worst terrorist in the hemisphere and have shielded him from extradition to face the penalty of his crime of blowing up a passenger airliner in the 1970’s (this at the same time that Bush was saying that whoever is harboring the terrorists are the same as the terrorists).
We have supported terrorists acts against Cuba since the early 60’s. We supported terrorist acts against Iraq during the 90’s as one of their first interim leaders (I have forgotten his name) was sent in there by the CIA to set off bombs and has reputedly bombed a school bus. We supported various sorts of terrorist activities in Latin America thru the so-called “School of the Americas” where 2/3 of the graduates have gone on to be implicated in human rights abuses (murders, rapes etc.) in nations where a left wing opposition exists.

We have all been taught from the time that we were little that our great nation is good, and we are taught from kindergarten to be patriotic. The attitude you show is ingrained in us from our very beginnings, so I don’t fault you for it. It takes a little thinking outside the box to see what is actually going on here. Once you start to see it, the evidence is overwhelming in proving the point that the US is not all about liberty and justice for all.

“You use faulty logic to prove your main point making all you say suspect.”

Let me give you some logic that you should be able to see as being trustworthy then. Since the beginning we have been involved in deterring democracy around the world and upholding terrible dictators that do massive damage to their population. Why? Because those dictators that rule with an iron fist make their nation a good investment for foreign corporations since the people of the country, who are being hurt by the presence of the greedy corporation, are suppressed and are helpless against the power of their own government which fails to protect them. Guatemala is a great example where the United Fruit Co. in the 50’s did not want to pay taxes due to the democratically elected government down there. They lobbied the US government to overthrow Guatemala’s government and the CIA did exactly that, and a dictatorship was instituted. That government did not make UF pay it’s due taxes and brutally oppressed the people, killing something like 70,000 of it’s own people over the next few decades.
We took away the wildly popular Mossadegh in Iran in the 1950’s in favor of the terrible Shah of Iran, which led to the revolution, the hostage crisis of 1979 and the situation we are in today.
We supported one of the most brutal dictators the world has seen in Suharto in Indonesia, who killed 500,000 to 1 million of his own people in 1965 alone, mostly unarmed, landless peasants, and we provided him with the names of 5000 suspected communists, all of whom were executed. Later, in 1975, Pres. Ford gave Suharto the green light to invade East Timor. The next 2 decades saw 200,000 people killed in East Timor as the US supported Suharto with massive weapons sales and military training.
We overthrew Allende of Chile in the 1970’s, another democratically elected leader, and supported the terrible Pinochet, and thousands died and thousands more were “disappeared.”
We were involved in the coup which overthrew the democratically elected government of Brazil in 1965.
We were in support of the overthrow of Aristide both times, again, a hugely popular leader, in which the aftermath of the coups saw thousands killed by the gangs which overthrew him.
We are currently involved in trying to unseat Chavez of Venezuela, a man who has been consistenly elected in huge landslides in fair voting. We at least had prior knowledge of the coup in 2002 and have consistently given financial support to coup members since then who have not been imprisoned in spite of their involvement in the coup.
We invaded Iraq and deposed the terrible Saddam, but we supported him thru his worst atrocities and even provided equipment and satellite imagery so that he could gas the kurds and the Iranians with his weapons of mass destruction. We are now involved in at least a third of the 601,000 violent deaths that have occurred there. Innocent people or collateral damage. 61% of Iraqis support attacks on US troops. Does that show their gratitude for the blessings of the great fortune we have provided them of “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness?”
There’s much more I could go into, but I hope that you can begin to see that the assumptions we are taught from the time we are little, that the US is morally good etc. are part of the propaganda campaign of the secret combinations (that are only secret because we have been trained not to see them) that exist among us. Gotta run. Take care.

shiningcity said...

Without belaboring this issue, Eisenhower and Reagan were correct in seeing Communism as the enemy. Communism has directly resulted in millions of deaths (a conservative estimate is $50 million). Communist governments kill their own people. In EVERY instance that Communism has been enacted, it has been enacted through force and has caused death, starvation, and massive declines in standards of living.

Now, Eisenhower saw the truth. It is up to us now to see the truth. Radical Islam is our enemy today as Communism was in the 20th century and still is today. We must see our enemy for who it is and not waiver in our resolve. Freedom to live our lives as we choose is at stake. And sadly, many who live under the iron fist of Communism and Islamic fascism don't have voices. They are suffering.

Curtis said...

Your opinion is well noted and your sentiments are appreciated. However, I do believe that the threats from within are monumentally worse than those from outside of our nation. Our policies oversees have brought about our impending demise and even now, it is not too late to reverse our course. I write also to educate those of you who use the term, "Islamic Fascism." It turns out that the term makes no sense... essentially mindless word drool. For an analysis of the term see: