Tom Brokaw issues a sharp, brief, op-ed in today's New York Times, urging that some attention be paid to a crisis that's been all but banished from the midterm election conversation:
How about war? The United States is now in its ninth year of fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, the longest wars in American history. Almost 5,000 men and women have been killed. More than 30,000 have been wounded, some so gravely they're returning home to become, effectively, wards of their families and communities.
In those nine years, the United States has spent more than $1 trillion on combat operations and other parts of the war effort, including foreign aid, reconstruction projects, embassy costs and veterans' health care. And the end is not in sight.
So why aren't the wars and their human and economic consequences front and center in this campaign, right up there with jobs and taxes?
Brokaw attributes our overarching economic struggles as the primary reason the Wars in Afghanistan and the Whatever-It-Is-That-50,000-"Non-Combat"-Troops-Are-Doing in Iraq have been pushed to the rear view. We're also a few months away now, from that brief period in time when WikiLeaks prompted much of the traditional media to admit that the "conventional wisdom" was that the War in Afghanistan wasn't going well. That was the groundhog that saw it's shadow and fled back to its hole for as many months of silence as could be mustered.
So, a nation of candidates aren't taking positions on these wars, because a nation of reporters isn't bothering to ask them. And so our long, love affair with War as an Abstract Concept continues, to the despair of the military families mentioned by Brokaw.
The Wars That America Forgot About [New York Times]