Rooney Suggests Fault for Terrorism Lies with American Behavior

In his commentary at the end on Sunday's 60 Minutes, the day before the five year mark since 9/11, Andy Rooney noted that “we're trying to protect ourselves with more weapons,” a policy with which he only grudgingly agreed as he lamented, “we have to do it I guess.” Then, however, he suggested the fault for terrorism lies with American behavior, not the murderous ideology of terrorists who want to destroy Western democratic culture: “But might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn't make so many people in the world want to kill us." By that reasoning, during the Cold War should the U.S. have adopted policies meant to appease the Soviets? Rooney delivered his remarks on the season premiere of the program (delayed in the EDT/CDT zones by tennis for nearly a half hour) which gave two of the show's three segments to Katie Couric's piece on World Trade Center first responders who are suffering from the air they inhaled. (Transcript follows)

Video clip (25 secs): Real (700 KB) or Windows Media (800 KB), plus MP3 audio (135 KB)

Rooney's commentary at the end of the September 10 60 Minutes:

“There have been a lot of memorable days in our country's history, but some of them we'd rather forget. September 11th, 2001 is one of those. It isn't a day to celebrate, but it's a day we shouldn't forget, either.

“We need some word other than "holiday" to call some of our memorable days. Pearl Harbor, December 7th 1941 was one of the worst days in our country's history. The day John F. Kennedy was assassinated was a bad day. It was the death of just one man, but JFK was so very American that we all died a little when he died.

“Presidents James Garfield, William McKinley and of course Abraham Lincoln were all assassinated. If you're the President, you must think about them every time you go out in public. I hope we're more careful protecting our President now. The Wall Street stock market crash in 1929 was a different kind of disaster.

“We went into Iraq March 20th, 2003. They won't be closing the banks on March 20th every year to celebrate that. The Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in 1979 might have wiped out our civilization. Most of our disasters have had some natural origin -- floods, too much water. [Over photo of floods] How often have you seen this picture? Hurricanes and tornadoes, too much wind, too much rain. Droughts may be worse, but not so dramatic as hurricanes because they don't happen on just one day.

“The disaster on September 11th wasn't like any of those. It was manmade. Death by design. Some people who hated Americans set out to kill a lot of us and they succeeded. Americans are puzzled over why so many people in the world hate us. We seem so nice to ourselves. They do hate us though. We know that and we're trying to protect ourselves with more weapons. We have to do it I guess, but might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn't make so many people in the world want to kill us.”
CBSNews.com has posted video and text of the commentary titled, “Why 9/11 Was So Different" (which does not exactly match the above since the above is what is actually said on the air.)
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center