A very insightful column by The Australian writer Tim Sheridan yesterday raised the point that the war on terror is one is ideology rather than physcial territorial gains.
But the key ingredient is missing in most analysis. The key is ideology. Because most Western intellectuals and commentators are infused with a sort of postmodern moral relativism, they find it exceptionally difficult to come to grips with an absolute and evil ideology.
There is an extreme distaste, especially among academics, for even using terms such as good and evil. Extreme behaviour is much more comfortably dealt with if it is explained away by sociology, or even psychological dysfunction, than if it is a logical outcome of a coherent ideology.
The war on terror is going to be with us for a long time. The underlying challenge is neither religious nor sociological but ideological. Ideologies answer basic human needs - the need to know right from wrong, the need to feel part of a functioning group, the need to feel that life has a purpose.
In the end, you can't beat something with nothing. Whether the West has the ideological strength to respond to a deadly challenge was a question the communists and the Nazis both asked, and al-Qa'ida and its fellow travellers ask it today.
This is where I take a different perspective to the erudite Mr Sheridan. Sadly this war is as much a religous war as it is an ideological one.
The terms good and evil are unequivocal and outside of their use in the realm of rhetoric they are the domain of religion.
Good and evil are not merely words or states of mind they are entities. Our non-religious friends may be disquieted by the notion but it is apparent that our enemy no such qualms.
So while it is necessary and right that we physically fight terrorism in its nest in Afganistan and Iraq, as well as in our backyards (as darling Nicky has said so eloquently just a couple of days ago), the war must also be fought on another front.
So has it really come down to a 'crusade'? Christians against Muslims?
No. Despite the outward manifestation of evil evident in the deaths of more than 100 people this week, for those who are Christian, the theatre of war is where true good and evil resides.
As St Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus (Ephesians Chapter 6 v12):
For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
The evil that is done in the name of the religion of Islam must be stopped. These poor misguided fools believe their eternal reward is endless sex with comely virgins.
Even those who are not at all religious would agree that is ludicrious.
So shouldn't it be time for those who call themselves Christians to do as the Bible says and take the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand?
Those who are practicing evil are not pulling their punches, neither should we.