To have a war against terrorism is to fight a vague class of enemies never knowing if we are winning or when it will end. Terrorism, the use of violence against a population to create fear and forward a political agenda, is a tactic not an ideology or a specific group of people. A war on terror is like seeking a Hammerist to fix a leaky sink. Plumbers, carpenters and electricians all subscribe to Hammerism (they use hammers) but only one group is the right one for the job.
When we have a policy against the terrorists, which ones are we talking about? What impact can a policy have with a poorly defined problem and a vague goal? How do we know if it is working and how do we tell when our mission has been accomplished? This is not semantics it is a sign of confusion or duplicity on the part of our policy makers. Perhaps they are using the threat of violence to scare us into accepting their agenda. That sounds a little like terrorism to me.