The expression war on terror is meaningless. Terror is a tactic, it is not a foreign government or political movement. To use the expression a “terrorist group” is equally misleading as the groups which come in all shapes sizes and colors are essentially political and have frequently clearly defined political objectives even if they use terrorism to advance their agenda. In most cases, the groups we call terrorists seek to take over the government of the countries where they operate, replacing groups not dissimilar to themselves who are currently in charge.
Why is what we call something important, whether we use the expression “terrorist” or not? It is important because how you name and define something shapes how you think about it and how you respond to it. It frames the narrative. Instead of bumper sticker definitions, we should instead be asking whether international groups that use terror genuinely threaten either the United States or any vital national interest. If we were to undertake such an analysis, we would quickly learn that frequently the terrorist label is misleading.
The exploitation of fear of terrorism by those in government has led to wars that did not have to be fought. Fear has been the key to the door for expansion of government and government powers and the people in charge in Washington have seized the opportunity. It has also eroded the liberties that have defined us as a nation.