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"War? Oh yeah, that!"

By       Message Dave Lefcourt     Permalink
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In this country, going to war is the most difficult decision a president (and Congress) has to make. That is the conventional (unofficial) "wisdom" taken (supposedly) by pundits and the people alike.

Maybe we need to revise and reconsider that "wisdom" and substitute the word "was" for "is".

This writer in reading a short passage by Albert R. Hunt [1] where the latter mentioned issues that were being debated and discussed by the candidates running for Congress this November noted, hardly anything was brought up (by Democrat or Republican) relating to war and in particular, the war in Afghanistan.

The economy was the topic most discussed according to Hunt's "Letter from Washington", but not war.

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It is understandable that the economy, being in the current doldrums, would be high on the agenda of issues being discussed, but that war wasn't even being mentioned seemed eerily disquieting to this reader.

Sure the reasons given, high unemployment and few new jobs being created seemed reasonable enough, but NOTHING about war, life and death, the ultimate sacrifice" what was more important than that was the thought coming from this quarter.

One thought, something has changed. Are Americans just war weary? Have we become callous, hardened and removed from the real consequences of war? Is the war so far away, (with "other" peoples' sons and daughters fighting and dying, ours as well as those they fight against) that the reality of war is almost completely out of mind for the rest of us?

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Then the thought occurred that could never have happened during the height of the Viet Nam war. Not with the visual images of the carnage presented to us daily on our television screens. That war was a constant presence with Walter Cronkite reciting the daily casualties of American soldiers killed, the number of enemy killed and counted and the number of days we had been at war there. Everyday was a constant reminder of the presence of war. And that says nothing about the daily demonstrations against the war that were occurring on college campuses all over the country.

Today, it seems war has been all but sanitized by the media. There is no Cronkite (or anybody of his stature) to remind us, no visual images of the war, the casualties and no viewings of flag draped coffins and ceremonies of the dead.

No, it all seems quiet on the home front as far as the war goes. To the average American it's "The war? Oh yeah, that!" seems to be the reply.

So our politicians running for Congress don't bring up the war, in their campaigning, in their debates, in the audiences they come before. Why should they. Nobody cares.

[1] "The Afghanistan Debate Nobody Wants to Have", a "Letter From Washington", by Albert R. Hunt, "The New York Times", October 10, 2010.

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