The ideas against which we react are philosophical and religious in nature. In truth, the thinking of a Christian person and a Muslim person are not all that far apart, essentially worshipping the same deity and honoring primarily the same prophets. The differences would hardly seem worthy of killing each other.
The tactic of using terrorism results from the recognition that an outright military invasion would not succeed. That recognition acknowledges that the terrorists are greatly outnumbered, are a minority within a population wherein most people do not share the inflaming feeling that would require extreme action.
We have gone to great lengths to kill a a few 'leaders' of the opposition, bin Laden, al-Zarqawi, al-Awlaki, and others who we can't name. Civilians are among those we kill. We have tortured to death many. We are holding without charges or evidence many in our prison at Guantanamo and the Salt Pit in Afghanistan. It hasn't helped.
Military Programming Law authorizing government agencies to spy on phone, Internet and any other electronic communications in people’s homes and cars, to tap their personal computers, their cell phones and any other digital device, and to target associates of individuals. None of this worked. There was no warning of the attacks.
Paris is historically, politically and culturally a place of freedoms. It is the birthplace of human rights, the beginnings of modern democracy and rationalism. This all seems lost now. The true lessons of the war on terror seem to have gone unnoticed.
It is like we have learned nothing. In response to the attacks, we are going to 'double down'. French president Hollande, at the Bataclan concert hall, scene of the most bloodshed, said, “We are going to lead a war which will be pitiless,”