The BUSH DOCTRINE obligates the government to anticipate and counter threats, using all elements of national power, before the threats can do grave damage.
There are hundreds of Terrorist groups: Al-Quida; Hezbollah; Hamas; Mujahedin-e Khalq ; The Muslim Brotherhood; the PLO; Abu Nidal to The United Communist Party of Nepal; the PLO; the list of Terrorist organizations contains hundreds of groups. There is no Central Organization for Terrorists. Note that Islam has different groups within itself, groups that are against each other. It seems difficult to defeat Terrorism because it includes so many ideas that conflict. Within each group there may be some kind lower level cells. Terrorist organizations may or may not be connected to each other or to a greater idea. Most are no danger to America. Some, however, like many based in the Middle East really are at War With America and are plotting every moment to kill Americans. They don’t always reveal themselves. Al Qaeda for example has no “leader” and is opposed by Shia Muslims. Some of the terrorists have been creative and persistent, but also bumbling (overloaded the boat; forgot to bring the gun, didn’t fill the gas tank).
Terrorism, meaning specifically Terrorism Against America needs to be stopped for the safety of Americans. But Terrorism refers to an idea. The idea propels some of it’s believers to kill Americans. How can an idea be stopped? First it has to be understood then condemned as a bad idea. Second, a set of good ideas has to be provided as a choice, Third, the bad ideas must be destroyed. So far, most people would agree. How can people who hold ideas that are dangerous to others be stopped from killing others? The red line is:- when they become dangerous. How can we tell? If they plan an attack they are dangerous; if they participate in the planning of an attack; If they assist those planning an attack; if they aquire things helpful to an attack. If they attempt to acquire such items. If they exhort or encourage an attack.
What should be the response against terrorists in the planning stages? With fair warnings, with clearly stated consequences before any retaliatory activity, in other words, due process requires notice of response. After that, it’s go get them. Arrest if practicle is probably a preferred option but strike first is the rule because no one needs to consent to being a victim. No one need wait for a physical attack before acting. And the responses need to be continued until one side wins.