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.)