The Islamic civil war will continue, and there’s little the U.S. can do about it. That powerlessness was one of the things that made 9/11 so traumatic. That also happens to be what makes terrorism such an effective tactic – the way it manipulates fear and insecurity to warp the actions of its target rather than defeating its target outright on the battlefield. The radical Islamists wielded it particularly well against the United States. The U.S. has been at war for nearly two decades, but there is no battlefield on which the United States can guarantee surrender as it did with Japan, nor a single enemy whose defeat will bring an end to the war. There are, instead, 1.8 billion Muslims in the world trying to figure out what the relationship should be between religion and politics. The U.S. can articulate a position and support those fighting for that vision with either money or military force, but to do that, the U.S. has to realize what the war is about and why it is fighting in the first place, and prioritize its resources accordingly.