If ever there were a phrase that ought to be forgotten, it’s the old trope: "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." Scores of innocent deaths in Nice, France, remind us that terrorists are evil.

Many nations have suffered from "weapons of mass disruption" -- attacks meant not just to produce mass casualties but to maximize confusion, fear and disruption. Belgium, the United States, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey and, now again, France have all experienced shocking, numbing violence. The attacks have become so common, the days themselves are no longer marked as special like 9/11 and 7/7.

What is indisputable is what this campaign of global violence is: terrorism.

That there is no universal legal definition of terrorism is no real obstacle to giving evil a name.  What makes these attacks uniquely heinous and despicable is clear.  Terrorism is the use or threat of violence, for a political purpose, against innocents.

The intentional murder of people who just want to go to the market, or pray, or dance at club, or celebrate Bastille Day is a wanton slaughter of innocents. No ideology, no matter how twisted, no cause, no matter how desperate, can justify such acts. These monsters are not just attacking humans, they are attacking humanity--our humanity.

To not fight a just war against Islamist transnational terrorism is to allow evil to chip away at the sanctity of humanity.

And when people war against humanity, it is our fight to stop them, punish them, finish them.

There is a problem with how the war has been fought the last eight years. Our leaders in Washington redefined the enemy, arguing if the terrorism wasn't aimed at us it wasn't our problem. Many of our allies did likewise. This indifference opened the space for the current wave of transnational terrorism to fester and then explode.

We all found ways to distract ourselves, delude ourselves, convince ourselves that there were more pressing challenges—challenges that just happened to be more familiar, less complicated and more comfortable. After Orlando, for example, it was far easier for the U.S. president to pivot to a pet issue like gun control and hate crimes than battling terrorism.

The free world is long past wake-up calls, red flags, game changers, and new threats. The West is in the middle of a war it doesn't want. And the longer the West watches while the global Islamist insurgency surges on, the more terrorism shifts from an inconceivable, unacceptable horror to the banality of evil.

To not fight a just war against Islamist transnational terrorism is to allow evil to chip away at the sanctity of humanity.

Now the Obama administration will hold a summit of foreign ministers in Washington to discuss battling ISIS. It’s awfully late in the game for that, but this is an administration that has tried to win a war by ignoring it.

That’s not how war works. Whether the blood is running on the streets of Nice or in a club in Orlando, this is war. It’s aimed at us. And we must fight back.    

James Jay Carafano is vice president of foreign and defense policy studies  The Heritage Foundation. Follow him on Twitter @JJCarafano.