Are Terrorist attacks legitimate acts of War?

Is this a legitimate target?

Total War

I believe that we are at war with Terrorists but does that mean that all targets and methods should be on the table?

I think the obvious answer is, no. Why? Because the war is unwinnable and a de-escalation will require tipping the balance of public opinion in favor of the west vs. the terrorists. We win by winning hearts and minds. We tried this before but we could not seem to walk the talk and turned up looking like hypocrites.

Drone Strikes

Do drone strikes bring us closer to peace? Seems unlikely, it might eliminate some critical targets and set back some terrorist plans but it does nothing for the most important task of convincing terrorist sympathizers that we should not be targeted by the terrorists and it provides great propaganda for radicalizing home grown terrorists. A large percentage of drone strikes kill children and even if they don’t the terrorist propaganda machine can claim that they do and we have no way to prove they didn’t.

Not a good way to win hearts and minds. Terrorist groups provide social services, charity and jobs to sympathetic communities under their control and then we bomb them. Who do you think those communities will support.

Do we want to win?

We are fighting these overseas wars like we would be happy if the went on indefinitely. The war in Afghanistan is the longest war in our nation’s history but the American casualties are really quite low. I wonder what is the real strategy? Are we just trying to keep the factions tied up in a never ending internal struggle that depletes there resources so they can’t export their terrorism? In Iraq are we deliberately supporting a sectarian struggle and once we weaken ISIS enough will we back off and let the Sunni faction form some new organization. Would the removal of the Assad regime end the struggle in Syria. Would anything bring the tribal regions of Pakistan under government rule of law and eliminate the ability for terrorist to use that region for recruitment and training.

It is all about the balance of horrors

Until the horrors that terrorists inflict on western democracies exceeds the horrors the western democracies inflict on overseas populations the terrorists will have the upper hand in the battle for hearts and minds.

Can the battle be won by the use of force?

Just ask the Israeli's, all you can get is a tolerable stalemate. Wait maybe a politically strategic on going conflict? The continued use of force is good politics for some parties, politicians, companies……..

Targets and methods are just opportunities for political gain.