To the editor:

On Sunday night President Obama described Islamic State fighters and the San Bernardino killers as having been "radicalized." What does this mean?

In the 1930s, Germans who joined the Nazi party were radicalized. In the 1950s, during the cold war, those few Americans who supported the Soviet Union were radicalized as communists.

It is a misnomer to designate Muslim terrorists as being "radicalized."

Instead, they are very deeply religious. They believe in the written word of the Koran.

For them, Jihad (Holy War) against Infidels (non-Muslims) is their path to Paradise. Extreme, religious Islamists are at war with western civilization. We must fight the Islamic State with greater physical force, or we may lose this war.

No, Mr. President, Islamic State is not merely "thugs and killers." They are educated believers in their Islamic religion and seek to die as martyrs, whilst killing us. The United States and our allies, including moderate Muslim states, must more vigorously fight back to preserve Western Civilization.

Martin Silver, Lenox