To the editor:

September's terrorist attacks demonstrated the absurd, pathetic negligence of national security in our decades-long policy of doing next to nothing about Islamic terrorism.

Islamic terrorist states have been, with impunity, waging war against us for decades, infiltrating cells into America, and acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Our intelligence agencies have been watching them, our special operations forces have been training to eliminate them, but our "leaders" have opted to not destroy these dangerous enemies.

Recently President Bush gave the CIA free hands to kill bin Laden and the news media reported this as "unthinkable to us before Sept. 11." That was precisely the problem. The government's inane responses to terrorist attacks were an official listing of terrorist states, some sanctions, and arresting individual terrorists. Politicians called that a "war on terrorism," yet hardly any terrorists were dropped by our bullets.

This short-range pragmatism evaded the fact that this has always been a war. This policy resulted in our enemies getting stronger and deadlier. Now that terrorists are bold and powerful enough to hit us strategically and kill thousands of Americans, we can no longer evade the reality that this is a war requiring the eradication of all Islamic terrorist states, something we should have done twenty years ago.

Thomas Stelene

Bartonsville, PA