Why Aren’t Any Politicians Talking About the War and Why don’t Voters Care?

“The military is at war and the country is not.” Former US Representative Patrick Murphy

Seven more American Soldiers were killed in Afghanistan when their UH-60 Blackhawk was either shot down or crashed due to other reasons yesterday. 41 were killed in July and 10 last week. But who cares? The news of each incident went across the ticker on the bottom of the cable TV news feed and the obligatory 15 second spot on the headlines of the hour before it is subsumed by the latest political lie-fest or celebrity scandal. Have we no shame?

It seems that nobody really gives a damn about the war in Afghanistan or for that matter anywhere else that the United States and its allies are fighting. I mean really. Think about it.  The war constantly ranks among the lowest of issues that American voters rank as important and it certainly doesn’t seem to register as important among most political candidates unless hey can be photographic hugging a tank so they can show that they support the troops.

From what I see it looks like the only person in the Washington DC political sewer who even thinks about the war is Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. Panetta in frustration said Tuesday:

“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.”

84,000 U.S. Military personnel are currently serving in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of DOD civilians, contractors as well as FBI, CIA, NSA, DHS, and State Department employees are also in harms way. Likewise another 30,000 or so troops from NATO or other coalition allies are risking their lives serving alongside of our personnel.

In July the Army recorded a record number of suicides. We don’t hear about the numbers of wounded because frankly aside from those directly affected and their friends or families most people would just prefer to ignore the war.

But then they can. Liberals have been accused of being anti-military and some are. But even the supposedly conservative God-fearing , military loving and Islam-Facist, Commie bombing Republican Presidential team of Romney-Ryan refuses to acknowledge the war when speaking in front of the World War II era battleship USS Wisconsin in Norfolk. No one of either party seems to have a plan for actually successfully ending the war and all seem to be content to let the war fester. I found that reprehensible. Whatever happened to Ronald Reagan, John Kennedy, Dwight Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman? Oh wait they’re dead.

But there is no real shared sacrifice in this country when it comes to national defense. There is no draft, no taxes have been levied to support the wars and many Defense contractors responsible for producing the weapons of war needed to fight the current war and prepare for future wars seem only to care about their bottom line. Future weapons systems are over-budget, long-delayed and fail to meet the expectations of either the services or the nation. Name the system. The F-22 Raptor, the F-35 Lightening, the Littoral Combat Ship, the Army Future Combat System and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle. All either truncated, delayed or cancelled. Billions of dollars spent and little to show for the expenditure of the nation’s treasure.

I think that national leaders of both parties need to be held responsible. I think that American citizens and political leaders who lamely put bumper stickers on their cars saying “I support the troops” should put up or shut up.

If we are going to keep fighting wars without end let’s at least do it together. Let’s re-start the draft and levee special taxes. Let’s sell war bonds, let’s plant Victory Gardens and donate our scrap metal, plastics and electronics to be recycled to build weapons like we did in World War II. Let’s find new energy sources to better power our weapons systems since no one cares about renewable energy for anything else.

But then let’s not inconvenience anyone, after all the troops all volunteered for this.

I hate to sound cynical but when the military has been at war for going on 11 years and it the lowest priority of voters and politicians then something is terrible askew.

Don’t you think? Or am I just pissing in the wind?


Padre Steve+


Filed under iraq,afghanistan, Military, national security, Political Commentary

8 responses to “Why Aren’t Any Politicians Talking About the War and Why don’t Voters Care?

  1. Peter

    Well said. As a civilian I don’t think of it as a war. Yes I keep hearing it called a war. I think it’s a travesty that we are even over there -it’s unwinnable and when we finally pull out -it will revert back to what it was before we went in. were wasting lives money and resources for reasons that nobody cares about.

    I appreciate your commentary ranging from war history to baseball and look forward to the semi daily commentary -always a great read, thought provoking and insiteful.

  2. John Erickson

    Padre, you’re both right AND pissing in the wind, sadly. The lack of in-depth reporting on news programs has given us the attention span of goldfish (with all apologies to the goldfish out there). 20 years ago, the nightly network broadcasts would do 22-23 minutes of world news. Now, they do about 5 minutes of world, 10 minutes of US news, and the obligatory touchy-feely “warm moment”. And with all due respect to your favourite pastime, I see NO reason for sports on what’s called “World News”. Fer cryin’ out loud, I have more ESPN channels than I do military history ones, and I had to BUY the military ones SPECIFICALLY!
    And Americans don’t like to dwell on things, especially when we’re losing. Heck, the Olympic athletes are old news now, and the Olympics were just last week!
    I really don’t have an answer for you, Padre, and it bugs the heck outta me. The best I can do is keep screaming at people that our soldiers are out there, they are in harm’s way, they are dying, and worse yet, they are killing themselves. And then some troll comes along and claims all soldiers with PTSD are simply bums getting rich off the taxpayers.
    And people wonder why I regard the Canadians so highly. They shut down THE major expressway around Toronto when one of their boys comes home in a box, and people line EVERY overpass all the way along the route!
    Can you imagine people lining every bridge over the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago, and watching as a hearse rolls from O’Hare to Holy Name Cathedral? I can’t, and I was born and grew up there.
    All we can do is keep yelling, and pray that SOMEBODY actually hears, before we go hoarse…..

    • padresteve

      At least when I piss in the humid and rain wind of Eastern North Carolina I don’t notice it when it hits me in the face!

  3. John Erickson

    Padre, you might want to pop over to this blog and look at today’s post:
    It’s the blog of a military wife, speaking today about the military-civilian divide between how folks view the war and the differences (and similarities) between military wives and other wives. Sounds a bit familiar, eh? 😉

  4. Russ Hale

    “No one of either party seems to have a plan for actually successfully ending the war and all seem to be content to let the war fester. I found that reprehensible.” The alarming part of your comment is that most folks would agree with you. Steve, we do not need a plan for successfully ending the war, we need a plan and the fortitude to WIN the war! Too many politicians, especially those with stars on their collars, refuse to commit the required men, methods, and money to win. Indeed, where are the leaders like Generals’ Eisenhower, Bradley, Patton, and MacArthur, Colonel Puller, Admirals’ Nimitz, Burke, Halsey, and Spruance? Oh, now I remember, men like Admiral Fallon and General McChrystal get fired for speaking the “truth to power” that every bleeding liberal and pseudo conservative swears is sooo important and replaced with “yes” men (There’s a reason that General Mattis . I can’t believe some of the crap I’m reading from General Allen, a Marine! It borders on treasonous when the amount of lives cost and money spent thus far is taken into account, for us to simply pull-out and return Afghanistan to the ACC (ass clown circus) led by Karazai, et al. which we know will not last 6 months if/when we leave. Contrary to Peter’s belief above, we can win this war, it is just that the American spirit has become fat, lazy, European, and metrosexual; we are no longer a country or culture of conviction, rather we are a country who has sacrificed our soul on the altar of sports, pornography, entertainment, and the ridiculous idea that the rugged individualism and American exceptionalism espoused by men like George Bush, Ronald Reagan, JFK, Franklin & Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Jackson, etc. is somehow evil and something of which we need to repent. It’s funny, several years ago when the movie “A Few Good Men” came out, I loved how that SOB Nathan Jessup got whacked in the end. Then I went to Afghanistan with grunts, beyond the proverbial (BS) “tip o’ the spear” (You, know, the fobbits who deploy but never go to war, whining because BK ran out of Whoppers for lunch…) to real, no kidding, fix bayonets, kill-or-be-killed, combat. I now pray that God will send us a few more Nathan Jessups, who know what it takes to win a war. Goodnight, Chesty Puller, wherever you are.

    • padresteve


      I am not sure exactly how to take your post. It is obvious that you disagree with me but your tone is frankly angry and abusive not just to me but particularly toward General Allen who has a terrible job.

      I did Iraq on the tip of the spear and I wasn’t a fobbet if you are accusing me of being one. I know what you told me about your Afghanistan experience and the sacrifice made by your Marines and the cost to you and I respect that. However I do disagree with you about policy and the way that you frame your argument. If you believe that the war is “winnable” you need to first define “win” and how the effort in American lives and further cost to the military and the nation fits into any broader strategic context. How do we do it? How do you measure success? A body count, killing every last Pashtun in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Occupying the country with 300,000-500,000 troops for 20 or more years? Capturing the capital? Wait we did that one… perhaps use WMD to kill them more efficiently? If it is possible to win this war how does winning it benefit the nation strategically? It is possible So I simply ask “what does winning mean?”

      As I said if we want to be serious about this or any other war we need to get the nation involved, not just military professionals. We need to expand the military, reinstitute the draft, mandate national service and levy taxes and bonds to pay for it.

      Ronald Reagan pulled out of Lebanon fast when after the Beirut bombing he realized that the cost was not in the national interest. President Eisenhower took almost no time to get an armistice in Korea one he became President and warned bout the dangers of the military-industrial complex and war. Major General Smedley Butler came to the conclusion that war itself was a racket that that many of the actions that he fought in were based on lies. Theodore Roosevelt never involved us in a war, his policy, “speak softly and carry a big stick” was wise, and Nathan Jessup is a fictional character.

      Another American hero, a real hero, Lt Gen. Hal Moore (We were Soldiers, Once and Young) wrote in his book “We are Soldiers Still” of his in 2005 speech at West Point:

      “In a long question-and-answer session following my speech I was asked about Iraq and then Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. In this place-where cadets live by a code that says they never lie, cheat, steal, or quibble-I was bound to speak the truth as I knew it.

      The war in Iraq, I said, is not worth the life of even one American soldier. As for Secretary Rumsfeld, I told them, I never thought I would live long enough to see someone chosen to preside over the Pentagon who made Vietnam-era Defense Secretary Robert McNamara look good by comparison. The cadets sat in stunned silence; their professors were astonished. Some of these cadets would be leading young soldiers in combat in a matter of a few months. They deserved a straight answer.

      The expensive lessons learned in Vietnam have been forgotten and a new generation of young American soldiers and Marines are paying the price today, following the orders of civilian political leaders as they are sworn to do. The soldiers and those who lead them will never fail to do their duty. They never have in our history. This is their burden. But there is another duty, another burden, that rests squarely on the shoulders of the American people. They should, by their vote, always choose a commander in chief who is wise, well read in history, thoughtful, and slow-exceedingly slow-to draw the sword and send young men and women out to fight and die for their country. We should not choose for so powerful an office someone who merely looks good on a television screen, speaks and thinks in sixty-second sound bites, and is adept at raising money for a campaign.

      If we can’t get that part right then there will never be an end to the insanity that is war and the unending suffering that follows in war’s wake-and we must get it right if we are to survive and prosper as free Americans in this land a million Americans gave their lives to protect and defend.”

      Lt General Moore said that of the Bush Administration. Sometimes getting out is better than continuing in a battle of attrition far away from your supply. Ask the Germans at Stalingrad. History shows that the Afghans will never submit to foreign occupation of any kind.

      I love you my friend and brother but cannot agree with your assessment.



  5. Pingback: Padre Steve’s Look Back at 2012: The Year that Was and Still Can Be if You Have Access to Time Travel | Padresteve's World…Musings of a Passionate Moderate

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