The difference is that we claim to be a civilized, law abiding country, a beacon of moral standing in the world. Whichever that other country was, doesn't. That is the difference.
The difference is that you do not understand the simple fact that our civility and "goodness" is to be a strength. Not a suicide pact.
People around the world are using our freedom and our laws against us. They were never intended to be rigid unconforming weapons to be used against ourselves.
Wars that are fought on the terms of the enemy are invariably lost. We saw this in Vietnam, and Napolean saw this in Russia, and Xerxes saw this at Thermopylae against Leonidas and Themistocles.
We are in a new era where our enemy knows that we are a country that has a short attention span and we think of ourselves as superior in the moral sense. This is evidenced by your assertion that we are supposed to be a Beacon of moral standing.
To that end yes we are supposed to be moral and that means we do not target innocents and inflict damage that is unnecessary.
There is one thing that has been true ever since we started walking upright. That is that controlling the high ground will aid in the winning of the battle and that you can not win a gun fight with a piece of paper.
You do not seem to understand the depth of committment that our enemy has. Let me give you a perspective that may help.
During our civil rights movement the one thing that proved to be most effective for American Blacks was getting together every Sunday. They received encouragement from each other as well as those who were not as brave as they were. They prayed, they talked, they learned, they received the words of Martin Luther King, JR. In essence it was a sustenance. They did this once a week. Sometimes twice a week (Wednesday nights).
Our enemies do this 5 times a day. Everyday.
In order to win this there needs to be an eradication of those who would preach violence against innocents. There needs to be a complete and total stamping out of those who support them.
This fundamentalism is a bacteria that infects. Ask Cancer Researcher if he only eradicates the bacteria to the point that the patient "Feels better" or does he do his best to wipe it out completely?