A Battle Over Ideology

Security personnel stand guard outside the FleetCenter in Boston, Sunday, July 25, 2004. Preparations continue today for the start of the Democratic National Convention which begins on Monday
Weekly commentary by Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

To understand how the terrorists have changed our way of life, come here to Boston. Political conventions have long been a prize cities have sought. But if Boston won first prize, its citizens must wonder what is second. The threat of terrorism hangs over everything here. More than 40 miles of roads and highways will be closed this week. The train station where 25,000 commuters enter the city each day will shut down. Restaurants and businesses are closing. If Congress believes there is any option other than finding a way to improve our intelligence-gathering as the 9-11 Commission has recommended, let them come here to Boston.

Deep in its 600-page report is perhaps the commission's most important conclusion: that this is not a war with terrorists, but a battle over ideology, a battle with a far-flung group so convinced that their system is superior to ours that they are teaching their children to hate us. As David Brooks points out in The New York Times, ideologues are always committed to the battle for as long as it takes. So, too, must we be. Because this battle will require more than military weapons. It will also mean a massive and more complicated effort to show the other side that they are wrong.

We must remember we have won these battles before. Defeating communism took a long time. But we won. We had no choice. Strengthening the barricades makes us safer. But we cannot be secure until we change the minds of the kids being taught to hate us. Is it worth it? Just come to Boston.

By Bob Schieffer