Totalitarian ideologies based on atheistic humanism are easier to defeat than this enemy, which finds its motivation in the direct orders it claims to have from Allah. So not only must these terrorists be defeated militarily, they must also be defeated religiously. Moderate Muslims must take the leadership away from the misnterpreters of their faith, if misinterpreters they are.
The president properly warned the American people that this world war will not end soon because the stakes could not be higher. He quoted Osama bin Laden as saying: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq. "The whole world is watching this war." Bin Laden says it will end in "victory and glory or misery and humiliation."
The president wants to make sure the misery and humiliation is theirs, not ours. That will be determined not just by Iraqi and American troops on the ground in Iraq, but by the level and intensity of support at home.
Bin Laden and his co-murderers are making a huge bet of their own. They are wagering that as in Vietnam 30 years ago, Lebanon 20 years ago and Mogadishu 11 years ago, America will lose heart and retreat.
This may not be the war to end all wars, but if it isn't won, it could be the beginning of endless wars in which the United States and the rest of the free world never again know peace.
The president listed the failures of the terrorists. His hope is he will never have to list ours.