Ignoring the war

15 Aug

Maybe you might have noticed in all the speeches by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney…

There’s hardly a mention we’re a nation at war.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta pointed that out.

As well he should.

“I realize that there are a lot of other things going on around this country that can draw our attention, from the Olympics, to political campaigns to droughts, to some of the tragedies we’ve seen in communities around the country. I thought it was important to remind the American people that there is a war going on.”

How can two people battling for the commander-in-chief’s job ignore there are 84,000 American troops in Afghanistan today, and 41 were killed last month.

Obama and Romney are ignoring it because the public has tuned it out.

Political candidates say what voters want to hear, and poll after poll suggests that the voters aren’t interested in hearing much about the war in Afghanistan.

On the campaign trail both men generally say nothing about national security, defense, terrorism or the war.

Obama mentions the war in Afghanistan only in passing – to remind voters that he ended combat operations in Iraq and is working to do the same there.

That’s not good enough.

You would hardly know America is still a country at war.

Neither candidate nor political party has much focus on Afghanistan, or on the issues facing our troops.

Simply, the military is at war and the country is not.

While most Americans want the war to be over it’s not a big issue for them.

Polls all show the economy and jobs is at the top of the public’s mind with little concern over defense, foreign policy and terrorism.

That’s the way people are.
We react to something that personally affects us or our family.

Here’s the problem with that –

Afghanistan will play a central and expensive role in American foreign affairs for at least another decade.

Thousands of American troops will probably stay there long after we end our official involvement in two years.

Afghanistan cannot afford to maintain the army and police force the United States has helped build and that means we’ll most likely send some $4 billion per year to that country for the next ten years.
At least.

The changes in the Middle East will affect (and change) this country’s foreign policy for a long time.

But here we are – after 11 years, more than $400 billion and 2,000 troops’ lives, with the American people wanting to focus on issues at home.

Where the candidates are doing the public a disservice is – the issues “over there” will affect he issues “over here” and that will ultimately effect us and our family.

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