"The United States is not at war with an idea...."
I am very sorry to say that an otherwise splendid warrior who would declare this represents a highly disturbing sign that the Jihadi Salafist strategy has achieved a significant goal: blinding our highest officials to the threat Jihadis pose to our freedoms.
If I were Commander-in-Chief for a day, I would assign the General to KP for that statement. I'd then order a homework assignment - that he give me a book report, first, on the stellar "Future Jihad - Terrorist Strategies Against America" by Dr. Walid Phares. I'd also ask for reports on the many excellent seminars presented to CENTCOM, SOCOM; and on the internal analyses and publications made available to US Special Forces and considered as strategic consensus over the past decade. Then, I would require him to explain why the ideas in Chapter 9 of "Future Jihad", and other similar books by experts who testified to the US Congress over several years, do not leap from their pages with clarity on the origins of Boston foot-dragging, or the scrubbed Benghazi Talking Points, or the misdirection of the video patsy, the tentative Department of Defense response to Islamist violence against Americans at an ill-protected Libyan Potemkin Village or the outrage and horror of the machete attack in London this past Wednesday. The ideas on which we should declare war, or at least strategize our confrontation to the ideology of al Qaeda and its allies and supporters, are the six Jihadi strategic ideas. They are economic, ideological, political, intelligence, subversive, and diplomatic.
For context, here is the General's testimony on key points (emphases mine):
"The United States is not at war with an idea, a religion, or a tactic. Instead, we are at war against al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces. The former General Counsel of the Department of Defense, Jeh Johnson, has previously explained publicly the meaning of the phrase "associated force." A group is an associated force, if, first, it is an organized, armed group that has entered the fight alongside al Qaeda; and, second, it is a co-belligerent with al Qaeda in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners. Individuals who are part of this recognized enemy may be lawful military targets.
In applying these principles in this armed conflict, we conduct a careful, fact- intensive assessment to distinguish between, on the one hand, a terrorist who effectively becomes part of al Qaeda, the Taliban, or an associated force by training or co-locating with the group, accepting orders from its leaders, and participating in the group's terrorist plotting; and, on the other hand, the terrorist, who without any direct connection to a member of al Qaeda, embraces extremist ideology found on the internet and self- radicalizes. Both are very dangerous, but the former is part of the congressionally- declared enemy force in a congressionally-authorized armed conflict; the latter, although dangerous, is not part of that enemy force. "