We in the West have been coming to wrong conclusions in answering the above questions.
Our “war” confusion is that we aren’t necessarily at war with countries and/or terror groups whose leaders have declared war on us. Thus the Islamic Republic of Iran established in February 1979 by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has avowedly been at war with the West ever since. As a result our policies are constrained by the perception that we are not at war with such adversaries. And so now with Islamic State — IS, ISIS or IL — of whom the Obama administration now says that they are not yet a threat to the homeland.