How aggressive should the US be in fighting terrorism?

In response to Sen. Jon Kyl's Jan. 31 Opinion piece, "A crisis of courage": If progress in the war on terror seems to be stalled, it could be because the "ship of state" is still tied to the dock. Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes recently told Parade magazine that we are facing a "death cult" that is intolerant of others. I agree. "We've got to aggressively challenge that...." she says, and I certainly agree.

Ms. Hughes's aggressive solution, however, is to "say it's not right to murder those who disagree." So America is going to talk more to people who are taught "Death to America! Death to Israel!" from birth. I'm sure our enemies view us in the same way that Hitler viewed Neville Chamberlain: indecisive, divided, weak, afraid to fight, and ripe for conquest.

Three generations of my family have served in the Air Force, and we accept the risks freely. I worry that my son will be sent into a fight for a half-stepping government that is only playing for a tie, not for a win. I pray that our leaders will quickly find the courage to admit that the time for persuading our enemies is long past. Actions speak louder than words.
J.C. Sartoris
Edwardsville, Ill.

In his Jan. 31 Opinion piece, Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona criticizes the UN for responding weakly to threats from Islamic militants. But his Republican party hasn't tried much to pressure either Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, two main sources of Islamic terrorism. I find this stand very hypocritical. The threat of Islamic militancy is real, but the Republicans do not seem to know how to respond to it. It seems as if some of the biggest messes have been created under their leadership.
Arun Chawla

Don't play into terrorists' media game

The Feb. 2 article, "A foiled plot in Britain may signal chilling tactic," suggests that more jihadi terrorists may try to use beheadings to gain media access. I think the media should stop giving airtime or print space to these heinous criminals. Media organizations should refuse any attempt by terrorist groups to gain publicity, especially at the expense of innocent persons.
Edward Harriger
Pacific Grove, Calif.

Gen-Xers volunteer, too

The article, "Why volunteerism has reached historic high in US," from Jan. 30, credits "older teens, baby boomers, and seniors" with driving volunteerism in the US. This seems like a nice way of saying "everybody but Generation X," my generation.

I believe that Gen-Xers are at least as active in serving communities as the other groups, but their activities tend to remain off the official radar.

For example, public-service start-ups tend to have a high attrition rate. Few survive long enough to get much attention, but nearly every one represents cherished hopes and dreams, and mountains of unsung effort. The people who are often responsible for such start-ups – those in their upper-20s to early-40s – are the ones who weren't mentioned in the article.

In contrast, seniors and boomers may tend to be involved in programs sponsored by government or churches, or in independent groups that have survived long enough to become established and formally recognized. Teens tend to volunteer through schools or because of recommendations from older relatives, often boomers or seniors.
John Voldal
Oakland, Calif.

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