Fighters from the terror group ISIL, which is so atrocious it was kicked out of the Al-Qaida network due to its brutality, just captured Tikrit after recently capturing Mosul. Iraq seems poised to be split into three parts, a Kurdish state in the north, an Iranian puppet in the east, and a salafist terror state in the west - in fact, you could very well argue that is already the case.

In 2007 there were less than 30 terror groups like Al-Qaida, now that number has risen to around 50. In 2007 there were 18-42.000 terror incidents, last year it was 44-105.000. Deaths from terror attacks has risen from around 7.500 in 2007 to almost 18.000 in 2013, and this doesn't even count the Syrians which has been killed by the terrorist actors, ISIL among them, in the civil war there.

Safe to say, the mission hasn't been accomplished and the war on terror has been going badly lately, if not outright lost.

So, any good ideas..?

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Historically, a number of terrorist groups have been defeated. Why is it that this does not apply to Islamic terrorists?

Interesting point. The problem with Islam is that it unites militants worldwide to take up the cause. There are British born Islamists now in Syria/Iraq for example. They were probably persuaded by the ISIS online campaign (youtube etc). How can you fight a war on such pernicious ideas with the ability to spread at the stroke of mouse click? It can be weakened but ultimately seems ineradicable.

I would say that communism was a much greater threat with substantially more, and more widespread, terrorist support.

But as it didn't hit the US homeland, only countries such as Cambodia, India, Peru, Ecuador, Italy, Germany, Congo, Colombia, etc., thus it was quickly forgotten. :)

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham/Syria (ISIS). 

We have a saying that beloved children carry many names. Also, you appear to have the best solution as of yet.

ISIL? On CNN they are called ISIS, which is funny since ISIS is also the name of the fictitious antiterrorism agency in the animated series Archer, where Archer is a charicature of James Bond.

Erect a mile-high wall around the Middle East and Northern Africa then tell them all they'll be having a fun group shower, and then flood the areas with Zyklon gas.

ISIL is one of them, but ISIS is the one currently creating the shitstorm.  They're already losing ground;  they didn't have nearly enough troop strength to keep what they held.

They've got their victory for this engagement.  They've conducted a wildly successful operation, disgraced the Iraqi government & military, and looted a lot of military supplies.  Now I bet they put up some token resistance while they fade back into the woodwork.

First, stop jumping into other countries, flags waving and other, proud, glossy-eye idealism, just causing mass destruction. The slogan "Never forget 911" (3k dead) led to throwing 4k+ troop's lives at Iraq. Hawks whining that we haven't intervened enough in other countries (e.g. Syria) have no clue what outcome is probable by enabling terrorists to defeat the current regime, as bad as the current regime is.

Like Robert says, getting off oil will help. So yeah, it's a long term solution. The most damaging "solutions" so far have been the short term ones. Better intelligence and smart weapons is also a long term solution, for focusing on killing only the few, barbaric fundamentalists. On the other side, long term, provide or enable technology and health services that the population can appreciate more than their terrorist overlords.

There is no short term, silver bullet.

It is probably going to upset a lot of people, but we have to move on from 9-11.  Yes it was an awful day, yes it killed a lot of people.  However, at some point we must move own while treasuring the memories of those killed.

There is no outcry about the killings going on on a daily basis in any number of places in the world.

How about 10 times 3k lives lost in this country yearly in auto accidents?  Where is the outcry about that?   

I am not saying forget 9-11, but we must stop letting it be the justification for all our subsequent actions.

I've said the same thing, and it's not just car accident fatalities that should considered with higher priority. We could have taken those hundreds of billions of dollars spent on the war to significantly improve lives at home.

Never Forget... the thousands of American troops we threw to Iraq, in historically incompetent judgement. And Freedom Isn't Free: It requires that we also set a good example that the world can look up to and respect, and without fear.

Long term? Education to develop critical thinking skills, followed naturally by the slow descent of religion into oblivion and into the dustbin of history.

Definitely.

It's important to define terrorist. Is it just "inflicting terror on a populace"?

How about the attack on the Marines in Beirut in 1983. Hundreds killed. Was this a "terror" attack? Or a military action. Most seem to say it was a terror attack (even though it was a strike against a military force) because it involved suicide bombers.

In the Revolutionary War (US), Americans decided they couldn't possibly win were they to fight the war according to the standards of the day - stand in ranks face to face and fight on command. Instead the Americans hid behind trees, picked off as many as they could then disappeared into the landscape. Were they terrorists? I'm sure the British thought so.

By the middle of the next century, surprise attacks were considered good military practise.

By WW2 both sides decided that, since their enemy's cities were no longer accessible ONLY through their defending army, bombing civilians sitting in their homes was standard practise. I can't think of anything so terrifying. But, at least the soldiers wore uniforms and their equipment was well marked so that you Knew who the bad guys were. They're over there and we're over here. 

In Viet Nam that distinction changed. The enemy could be anywhere. Were the Viet Cong terrorists or freedom fighters?

In response to what politicians call terrorist today, bombing and assassination by unmanned drones is working its way into "acceptable" warfare.

Let's face it. Terrorism, in some form, is now PART of war. It will go away as soon as we outlaw war and political oppression. [not holding breath]

Yes. Early on in this thread, someone defined terrorism as necessarily having the primary goal of causing terror. Either that definition is too narrow or we use the label of "terrorist" too loosely. The attack on the USS Cole could be viewed as simply a military engagement in which a small, mobile, outmatched force attacked a slow, cumbersome (obviously military) target, from their view, in self defense.

Are they terrorists, in Afghanistan for example, when they attack military targets in a war zone? Or are they simply soldiers using the tactics necessary to have a chance against an overwhelming force? (This is a question about terminology, not in any way supporting their side.)

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