On Friday the 13th of November, the jihadist, terrorist group known as Islamic State or Daesh, launched almost simultaneous attacks, in multiple areas, in and around Paris France. During the Democratic presidential debate the very next day, two issues specifically came up: Is Daesh/Islamic State gaining strength, and is the fight against them going badly? Two days after the debate, and three days after the attacks in France, the Washington Post ran an article addressing the dilemma the world faces in engaging terrorism in general, and in particular, Islamic extremists like Daesh. French President François Hollande, had addressed the French Parliament on Monday declaring "France is at war." But he also specifically rejected the rhetoric espoused by American politicians such as Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Senator Marco Rubio and, closer to home, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen. "We are not committed to a war of civilizations, because these assassins don't represent any civilization," Hollande said. "We are in a war against terrorism, jihadism, which threatens the whole world." The dilemma is what to call them, what do they call themselves? Are their terror attacks proof of their strength, and proof the fight against them is going badly? How does this all square with reality? In the past, Daesh has made some spectacular gains of land, but recently, some of those spectacular gains of land have been lost. In the larger picture outside of snapshots in time, Daesh does not seem to be expanding it's so-called Caliphate. Not beyond what it currently holds in small areas, inside of a few failed nation states. Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that the Australian PM, Tony Abbott, said he'd be using the term Daesh instead of Isil. Abbott said the name Deash deprives the group of legitimacy. One reality is we know Islamic State hates the name -- Daesh. Another reality is that throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, small numbers of radical extremists have banded together and waged terror campaigns. In each instance, the more spectacular a terrorist attack, the more media exposure it would get. But we know for a fact that the levels of media exposure did not equal any kind of strength. We Americans need only to look at the example of “the Oklahoma City Bomber,” a decorated hero of the Gulf War, one of Nature’s Eagle Scouts, Timothy McVeigh, whom the writer Gore Vidal highlighted in Vanity Fair, to measure media exposure as validity of strength. History and reality judged McVeigh and his cause as weak and pathetic. In the long run he accomplished little but evil. Is the fight against Daesh going badly? By what measure? Do we measure it using a standard based on previous fights against terrorist organizations in the recent pasts of our lifetimes, or do we measure it by some new standard? Both here in the USA and abroad, many on the right would have us all base everything about Daesh, on a new standard of a clash of civilizations. Yet both President Obama, along with François Hollande, the President of France, reject that revisionist thinking. The reality is Daesh represents an extremist ideology, an idea. They do not represent a religion, or a culture, or a civilization. Wisdom says "You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea." - "You can kill terrorists but not the idea of terrorism." The fight they are waging does not appear to be furthering their stated goal, their mission, which is to gain enough adherents to actually install a true Caliphate in areas that are predominately Muslim. I believe the fight against them is not going as badly as many believe. The fight needs expanding to include, how to fight the ideology as well as the extremist elements on the ground. President Obama, President Hollande, and other world leaders have shown great wisdom and strength in how they are approaching thing, whereas failed political candidates and right wing rabble-rousers worldwide have shown cowardliness and no shame in seeking opportunity to use any horrific tragedy for petty, partisan, political gain. Both Presidents follow in the tradition of the calm, steady hand of former President George W Bush, who six days after the September 11, attacks on the United States, went to a Mosque in Washington D.C. and declared "The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war."