The United States has been fighting a war in Afghanistan for over ten years. Over 2,000 our bravest men and women have died there during that time period. We still have over 60,000 troops on the ground fighting in the land that hosted Al Qaeda’s leadership a decade ago. Even though, President Obama, the current GOP leadership, and a majority of the electorate are hoping and planning for an American withdrawal, we will likely be impacted and still have American troops in the country for years to come.
So is it too hard for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to mention the war at least once in his convention acceptance speech? Vice President Paul Ryan also neglected to discuss the war the night before and when asked yesterday on CBS News about his and Romney’s plan for the Afghan conflict, Mr. Ryan, a bright and thoughtful man, had nothing worthwhile to say.
I have been harsh on our present Commander in Chief for seeming to avoid talking with the American people about a conflict he called a “war of necessity” in 2008 and that still stands. I doubt we will hear the President or his party speak much about the Afghanistan during the upcoming Democratic National Convention. I can predict with a fair amount of confidence that if President Obama mentions the word “Afghanistan” it will be closely followed or preceded by the words “going home,” “drawing down,” and “rebuilding at home.” President Obama’s lack of using the bully pulpit to remind the American why we are still fighting and dying in Afghanistan is a major reason for the drop it the war’s support.
But at least President Obama has not dodged the issue as much as the GOP did during their convention. Heck, the only one to mention Afghanistan on the closing night was Clint Eastwood. The American people deserve to hear what Mitt Romney would do differently or the same in Afghanistan. I understand that for Romney and Obama, talking about Afghanistan does them no favors in the polls. Americans are rightly concerned about their struggles at home and likely do not want to hear either party going on and on about a decade long war far away, but doing just that is a commander in chief’s job. The American people need to hear what you are planning to do with our sons and daughters and our tax dollars.
Even more so, what about the actual troops fighting in Afghanistan right now? What if they gave Romney an hour of their time and listened to his speech and heard nothing about why they are across the globe fighting a determined enemy? What about all those Americans who were now at home, but had previously fought in the Afghan conflict and lost dear friends in the fight? What about those who were at home and knew they could be redeployed back to Afghanistan? The American people, and especially our soldiers fighting the good fight, need to have leaders worth following. Governor Romney, Congressman Ryan and President Obama need to rise to their level of bravery and speak the hard truths.