Simply put, Old Europe's thinking today is that of 1930s, when the Oxford Union voted "under no circumstances [to] fight for King and Country," and British PM Neville Chamberlain believed appeasement should be the policy and "peace in our time" the goalwrites Pete du Pont.
Winston Churchill had the better understanding: "You ask what is our aim? I can answer that in one word, victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival." He was talking of Hitler and Nazi Germany, of course, but without victory there will be no survival against Islamic terrorism either.
Meanwhile, the terrorist network has changed its focus, making the fighting of the war more complex. An al Qaeda planning document found by Norwegian intelligence in 2003 laid out its revised strategy: spectacular attacks like those of 9/11 against the United States need to be supplemented by attacks on European nations so they will withdraw their support of the Afghan and Iraqi military operations in order to increase the burden on the United States.
University of Chicago professor Robert Pape's excellent New York Times piece of July 9th lays out its specifics: attack Britain, Poland, and Spain as the most vulnerable nations. "It is necessary to make the utmost use of the upcoming general election in Spain . . . we think the Spanish government could not tolerate more than two, maximum three, blows . . . then the victory of the Socialist Party is almost secured and the withdrawal of Spanish forces will be in the electoral program." They hoped that would put "huge pressure on the British presence that Tony Blair might not be able to withstand, and hence the domino tiles would fall quickly."
The terrorist strategy may have changed, but the objective remains the same. Al Qaeda understands that in the end the United States is what matters. The United Nations is irresolute and corrupt, and important European nations are indecisive and vulnerable. So drive the United States from the Middle East, establish control of all its nations, and then force the Western European nations to appease and accept an Islamic, theocratic global society.
Combating terrorism is thus the modern version of war--no huge armies, but nevertheless a real war--and winning this war is no less important to global freedom than winning the World War II and the Cold War.