For the last decade, when we have been attacked by a group of jihadists, we have only counter-attacked against the specific jihadists connected to that attack.
It's one reason our government have assiduously tried to identify the group behind each attack.
Was it AQ or AQAP or ISIL or Boko Haram or MILF and so on....
For example, the USG took months and months of FBI investigations in Libya to determine the exact groups or persons connected to the attack on our compound in Benghazi that killed our Ambassador and three others. Then they arrested one terrorist.
After the Hebdo attack, investigators tried to determine if the perps were lone wolves or under the control of a known jihadist group. And, when authorities fail to identify a group controlling a terrorist, then they do not retaliate.
THIS WAS NOT ALWAYS THE CASE.
President Clinton retaliated against the embassy attacks by launching cruise missiles against jihadist locations NOT directly connected to this specific attack, BUT CONNECTED GENERALLY, tangentially - by ideology, shared goals, and communication and articulation.
We should return to this Clinton strategy.
We must stop being concerned with retaliating against the SPECIFIC group tied to a specific attack and instead announce that going forward we will respond to any attack by any islamist or jihadist group anywhere in the West, or against any ally, by a disproportionate counter-attack against any islamist or jihadist group anywhere of our choosing.
For example, an attack by ISIS on our allies in Iraq might be retaliated against with a counter-attack against Boko Haram in Nigeria.
And we can legally do this with our 2001 AUMF which states we can and will attack any ally of Al Qaeda. An ally of Al Qaeda is any group or person or persons actively working to reestablish the caliphate or to establish sharia law where secular law is now in place.
This is a global religious war and we have to fight back globally.
And this need not mean sending troops everywhere if we are willing to counter-attack using missiles and drones against opportune targets.
And we must accept that there will be collateral damage.
This policy would send a message to everyone that it's not safe to be connected to jihadism or to live or work near the jihadist enemy.
The list of targets could be extended to include people and institutions which aid, abet or finance the enemy.
IN OTHER WORDS, if the jihadist enemy anywhere - under any aegis - fails to get the message and attacks us, then the jihadist enemy anywhere will be under threat of attack if not annihilation by drones or missiles.
Eventually they will get the message or they will be erased from the face or the earth.
It's them or us, and I choose us.
Ironically, today a single man - reputedly a pal of Osama bin Laden - was convicted on 4 counts of conspiracy to murder Americans.
His conviction today - 17 years after the attack- and with global islamo-jihadist terror at the highest levels ever - proves just how pointless a law enforcement approach is, and how pointless it is to focus on retaliating against only those directly connected to a particular attack.
When we were attacked by Japan on December 7th 1941 we did not seek to arrest the Japanese pilots or merely declare war against the Japanese air force. We counter-attacked against all of Japan and all of Japan's interests and allies.
So must we do now: when attacked by a jihadist anywhere we must counter-attack against jihadism anywhere.