In your September 26-October 2 edition, you ran a story entitled, "Against Acting on Rage." I would like to address the article with some observations of my own. In his article, the author, Jeff Ignatius, asserts that America, and Americans, have a "haughty and boorish" attitude toward foreign policy. He proffers the idea that our selectivity in the (historical) military engagements that we have participated in, around the world, are somehow wrong. He cites Vietnam, the Gulf War, the Cold War, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Korea, and the war on drugs as examples in his article. It's extremely interesting that he omitted World War II.

He questions previous United States military actions with accusatory rhetoric, stating that "no compelling national interest was served" and that establishing democracy is not worth the "human cost." I wonder how our world would differ today if we had questioned, or balked at, our response to the attack on Pearl Harbor? Would the "human cost" not have been worth our Constitutional Republic and the free peoples of the world?

Since its inception, America has valued freedom and independence, and the human cost has been worth all the effort. It's that very freedom, which men and women have died for, that allows Mr. Ignatius to freely offer his opinion.

Possibly, the zeal that America feels about freedom creates foreign-policy situations that leave something to be desired. But the ideal of freedom is at the heart of every man, woman, and child on earth. Only those who would hold others in bondage fight against freedom.

Mr. Ignatius is exactly correct when he says that the people who were killed in the September 11 attacks came from an estimated 80 different nations. But when he says that the destruction caused was "indiscriminate," he's desperately wrong.

The terrorists were not only methodical and meticulous; they were deliberate. Their targets were discriminate and calculated. Our World Trade Centers represented the best of America and of the world. They were the epicenters of commerce and of trade, located in the largest and most famous city in the United States of America.

Why shouldn't we respond with "God Bless America"? Why shouldn't we be outraged at the attacks on our country and our people? The terrorist attacks were aimed at America. Period. Mr. Ignatius' assertion that the attacks were aimed at people and not a country is simply ludicrous.

I agree that our response to the attacks of September 11 should not be strictly out of anger, nor rage-motivated. But I totally disagree with Mr. Ignatius' recommendation that we simply "cry and seethe ... and nothing more." That would not only cede control to the terrorists; it would seal our doom as a country and as a people.

We live in the greatest country on the face of the earth, the greatest country in the history of the world. America has done more good in the world than any other country in history. Our foreign-aid packages funnel billions of dollars annually into the economies of countries that would cease to exist without us. Stability exists in our world because we exist.

In historical retrospect, dictatorial rule has not survived, nor has it flourished. To believe that, as a nation, our continued prosperity could ever be relegated to pacifistic attitudes and/or behaviors, in the face of direct attack, is to believe that a sit-in or other peaceful protest could assuage the bloodlust that these terrorists have for the United States. Folly comes disguised in many socialistic packages.

Failing to respond with force to the attacks of September 11 would only invite more terrorist attacks on the United States, and other countries, in greater numbers and intensity. I believe the response to-date has been appropriate, calculated, and without rage. Contrary to Mr. Ignatius' contentions, we do have the right and responsibility to defend ourselves.

Thomas W. Sullivan,

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