Your recent editorial («Beacon dims,» Monday, December 12) in which you state that the «Stars and Stripes… spawns nothing but fear and indignation,» railing against America’s war against Islamic terrorists, perfectly reflects the despair and hypocrisy of Old Europe. While Islamists seek the destruction of the West, Europe dithers, refusing to engage in this war. Old Europe accuses the US of inhuman conduct against terrorists, mocking outrage at reports of aggressive interrogations and secret activities by US forces. What alternative does Europe offer? Oh, stop wailing against the Iraq war – Old Europe’s approach of bribing and trading with Saddam’s regime was not removing the danger. (Come to think of it, Old Europe’s approach of scolding the imams of Iran is not preventing that country from developing nuclear bombs, either.) The gap between Old Europe and the USA will widen over the coming decade, because Old Europe is in decline and retreating, while the USA is growing and winning; maybe that’s why Old Europe is indignant at the Stars and Stripes. SAMMY THOMAS, New York City.