Here in America, we like the news. Our national press generously treats us to salacious details of Prince Harry’s escapade in Las Vegas, or the seemingly endless traffic travails of Lindsay Lohan. We’re at no loss for commentary on Britney Spears’ X-Factor judging style, or endless analysis of LeBron James’ fourth-quarter playing style.
But why is it so hard to discern that, nearly 11 years after 9/11, there’s still a war going on? You know, the war in Afghanistan, which has already lasted longer than World War II and the Civil War combined?
The daily sacrifice being made by American men and women is real and substantial. A friend who has had multiple deployments, and is headed back soon, put it this way to me: “Every day we’re getting another Gold Star mother.”
This past weekend, four Americans were killed in a single attack. It was the third attack in three days, claiming eight lives. Yet on news websites, a dozen stories, mostly involving sports, were featured more prominently. It’s as though, after more than a decade, the press has moved on from a story in which the basic storyline never changes.
And lest this war be cast in partisan terms, let’s remember that it outlasted nearly two terms from one president and the entire term of another. President Obama, who inherited the situation, has for his part presided over this war for nearly four years — about the length of WWII.
When was the last time our federal government articulated what is being done, and to what end? What policy is being served? How will success be determined? Is it attainable? When?
Regardless of the federal government’s failings under two presidents, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men and women who have served and are serving. They deserve as much praise as the political class deserves blame. Many have had multiple deployments, changing the course of their, and their families’, lives. For some, sacrifice has become a way of life. There are Gold Star mothers in every community, including ours. God bless them.
I’d like to hear more about this subject in the presidential campaign. It’s time we recognize there is still a war going on, and that people in our midst are making real sacrifices. And it’s only fitting that our leaders do the same.
Rob Witwer is a former member of the Colorado House of Representatives and co-author of the book “The Blueprint: How Democrats Won Colorado and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care.”