We Can't Do It Alone

GENERIC George W Bush September 11th terror CBS/AP

The administration tells us we're in a worldwide war against terrorism. I believe that. But sometimes I wonder if the administration does. Telling us, for example, to go shopping and get on with our lives after raising the terror threat level may be good, calming politics, but is that the best way to rally support in wartime? And now I read we may send a man back to the moon to improve morale? A trip to the moon in the middle of a war? Surely not.

And if this is a world war, shouldn't we be bringing the rest of the world in to help us fight it? The greatest generation had far greater differences with the Soviet Union than the silly arguments over money that have estranged us from our European allies. Yet they found a way to work with the Soviets to defeat the Nazis.

Other countries refuse to put their troops into harm's way in Iraq because we won't let them have a say in what happens there. And while we argue with them over who gets to sell cement and phone service to the Iraqis, it is our troops that are taking the brunt of the casualties. Now where is the advantage in that?

We cannot remake the world in our image, but what we can do is work with the rest of the civilized world to create conditions that allow all people to find their own paths to freedom and liberty. But logic argues that cannot work unless the rest of the civilized nations join in the effort. America's never been afraid to lead in confronting the Nazis, in rebuilding Europe and Japan after the war. We led, but we were never foolish enough to believe we could do any of it alone.

By Bob Schieffer

Popular on CBS News


Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.