However, just as after September 11, 2001, blame was laid on so-called "enemy combatants" we must be very careful about calling this an "act of war." Why? Why can't this despicable deed be called "war." The problem involves the historic use of the term. Traditionally, a war has been fought between nations, or at least peoples. No one in his right mind would called ISIS a true nation. They are recognized as such by virtually no one.
Nor is anyone fighting any ethnic group, or religious group. That theory won't hold water.
All this is critical to solving the problem. For no matter how horrible the events of last week, we must be smart, complete, as well as strong in our response. If the response is not of a certain kind we are doomed to an endless escalation of violence. Already, militants are "promising" mayhem in Washington, D.C.
First, are we sure we know who is funding ISIS -- really sure? There have been renegades, ruffians, and marauders before, all of which received funding from outside sources. Think about Afghanistan in the years of the Soviet operation there, for example. If not funded by secret sources, where are these armaments coming from? My past research tells me they often come from weapons captured from western forces one way or another.
Second, where is ISIS getting its psychological wind from? Who is winning the propaganda war in the hearts and minds of the people in that part of the world? We are told, the west is winning. If so, why is this group able to operate with this degree of impunity? Is there more the west can and should be doing to help place the people of that region on more of a level playing field economically?
The world needs U.S. leadership now more than ever. But it must be smart and comprehensive leadership, not revengeful, vindictive, and narrow. Go after the brutes, of course. Bring them to justice. But, in the process, don't plunge the world into some kind of "war," the definition of which is so vague as to defy solution.