How do you win a war? Do you know where your enemy is? What they look like? Even what they want?
In the past we were sure who we were fighting; whether that be the Boer War, First and Second World Wars and, more recently, Argentina in the Falklands.
The enemy was sort of the same as us.
They wore uniforms or they lined up in normal formations or we met them on a pre-agreed battlefield.
We were clear on what they wanted and we were clear why that was wrong.
Since the 1970s and America’s disastrous incursion into Vietnam there has been a growing trend in enemies throwing away the rule book in conflict.
Gone are the days of brightly polished brass buttons which can be hit by a sniper’s rifle from 1,000 yards – now we live in a time when the enemy play by their rules.
But do we?
The culmination of the points above seems to be in the current incarnation of Islamic State.
We are pitted against a stateless enemy which wears no uniform, looks like everyone else and seems to have a multiplicity of aims.
Yes, IS want to set up a caliphate where they’re ruled by their own twisted version of Islam.
Yes, they want to convert the rest of the world to their way of thinking.
But we all know that’s not going to happen, so why are attacks still happening if there’s no realistic prospect of eventual success?
Over the past few days 43 people were murdered in Beirut when a suicide bomber blew himself up, and as people rushed to the scene to help, a second bomber detonated his device killing scores more.
A further 33 people died in Baghdad on Friday in another attack, while in Paris more than 130 people lost their lives as they watched a band, sat in a cafe or enjoyed a meal in a restaurant.
They didn’t die in vain – their memories will not only shine brightly in the minds of their families and friends but the latest co-ordinated strikes by IS may galvanise the wider word into realising that they need to work together in order to extinguish their evil flame.
The US has been bombing in Syria, so has Russia. It seems one hand isn’t quite sure what the other hand is doing or why.
European nations had been reluctant to get too embroiled in the conflict but after Paris, it seems that simply having a mind of your own is enough to make you a target.
Now we need to understand as a right-thinking world what we want to achieve and understand how we will do that.
Will we get it by bombing campaigns on a disparate enemy which moves bases, centres and forces?
The answer will be plainly not?
Can we end it by negotiation? The answer is never.
IS are a murderous bunch of fanatics who have plumbed old depths of depravity with their barbaric torture and murder of innocents straight from the Middle Ages.
We, as a world, need to get together and begin a long-running campaign against IS. We need to include regimes in the Middle East that may not be immediately comfortable with us.
We need to understand why people support IS and make that disappear.
If we can remove support for IS in some states, destroy them when the military opportunity presents itself and also stop the next generation of psychopaths being delivered then that’s a win.
But make no mistake, it won’t be easy, it won’t be quick and many other innocent people will die in the meantime.
But each of their deaths, as well as being marked with tears, should also be seen as the death of a martyr.
They died because they believed in freedom and the rule of right.
And that is something really worth fighting for.