An Uncertain Future

Bush, Learning To Govern

A weekly commentary by CBS News Correspondent Andy Rooney:


Nothing's funny these weeks. I was going to say something about President Bush before he spoke Thursday. After he spoke, what I was going to say seemed wrong. The speech was good. He was good and no one's in the mood to be critical.

He's not Winston Churchill but he has an appealing way of being and he knows we need a leader.

You wonder why anyone smart enough to BE president would want to be President. George W. Bush is getting a college education in how to be president. White House 101 and he's learning.

Last week, we all cheered his go-get'em speech two days after the attack. “There’s an old poster out west as I recall that said, “Wanted Dead Or Alive,” He said.

Well, he didn't sound like an intellectual president. I felt vengeful, too, but I hoped there were other people in government too smart to be driven by vengeance alone.

He threatened to close our enemy's harbors.

Well, not too smart either. Afghanistan is landlocked, it doesn't have a harbor.

Neither does Afghanistan have a building worth as much as one of our bombs would cost to destroy it.

Only one of three of the 25 million people in Afghanistan can read. How can we understand people so different?

One in a hundred owns a car.

They have 10 television sets for every thousand people. We have about a thousand television sets for every ten people.

The Country is smaller than Texas. Do we really want to kill Afghans?

It's convenient for us to lay this all on Osama bin Laden because we'll get him eventually but our enemy is more than one man.

The Taliban, the fundamentalist Muslim ruling partym is the enemy. Its leaders make Jerry Falwell look like an atheist. They tore down the great Buddhist statues because they're intolerant of any other religion.

In August, they arrested 24 people for teaching Christianity.

The 19 men who killed themselves killing 7,000 people didn’t think they were evil. They were religious. They were assuring their entry into heaven by getting in good with Allah. How do you bomb that?

President Bush was careful to be politically correct about Islam in his speech.

"It’s teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah," he said.

The fact is though, a small minority of fundamentalist Muslims are more fanatic about Islam than most fundamentalist Christians are about Christianity.

I hope we aren't about to do more harm to ourselves than the terrorists did to us.

We're massing weapons for an attack without knowing what to attack. We're initiating security measures that will restrict our freedom without making us secure.

If we lose our freedom to move freely, I'm not going anywhere and neither, I'm afraid, is our country.


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  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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