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Jon Soltz Headshot

The Wasted-Chance Debate Last Night

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I'm not bitter, I'm livid.

I didn't bother watching the debate last night, because I knew what was coming. Each and every time we have our candidates in the same place at the same time, it's one big game of stupid. Flag pins? Tuzla? Who the hell cares? Distractions like this are what got us into Iraq in the first place -- a media unwilling to do the tough reporting or ask the tough questions, and instead getting caught up in the emotion of the moment.

Yesterday a major new report was released by Rand Corporation. It found, according to USA Today:

Roughly one in five U.S. troops is suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an equal number have suffered brain injuries, a new study estimates.

Only about half of them have sought treatment...

Rand described this, rightfully, as a major health crisis among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans.
Where was the question about that? You think that ABC could nix one question about pointless stupidity, and ask the candidates what they would do about this crisis. I know we veterans would have sure appreciated it.

The excuse from pundits stepping up to defend ABC is that, well, we've had 20 debates and we've gone over all the issues, and people don't want to hear it anymore.

Oh really? I don't remember any debate where we talked seriously about when it is proper and not proper to deploy our military. Are we going to continue preemption and nation building? Is there any situation where that might be called for? I haven't heard that question asked in a debate.

Have we talked about the GI Bill in the debates? What other benefits for veterans would they increase or decrease, and by what amounts?

How do they propose, with the budget crunch, to ensure that the Department of Veterans Affairs is fully-funded?

There are, literally, dozens of hours of debate that we have not had on troops' and veterans' issues alone, because no one wants to ask the questions. ABC had a chance to, last night, in what could be the final Democratic debate. They could have run the gamut of issues that haven't been talked about in any debate, but are critically important to Pennsylvania and the nation.

Instead, we're stuck with an hour on pointless games, and no answers. Thanks a lot.

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