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Opinion: National Security Shouldn't Get Lost In This Campaign

The Buck Starts Here

This month, we lost the 2000th American soldier in Afghanistan.

It really has not made headlines.

July was the deadliest month this year – we lost 40 sons and daughters, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.

The war drags on with little note – unless your child, your partner or your parent is stationed on the ground in what is our longest active war or waiting to hear if and when they will be deployed.

It is a reminder that the world is still a very dangerous place.

It is a serious problem that demands serious attention. That, however, seems unlikely. One presidential debate will focus on the issues but outside of a major, and unfortunate, event foreign policy is likely to be forgotten in the 2012 election.

Our economy is on a slow recovery – slower than anyone wants. But the lack of serious discussion about the world we live in is troubling.

Outside of Romney giving the President an F on foreign policy and a speech filled with platitudes and devoid of specifics before his disastrous overseas campaign trip little has been debated about national security.

Paul Ryan sited his vote to send Americans to war as his qualification to be a heartbeat away from being our Commander-in-Chief.

Four years ago there was legitimate questioning of Obama and McCain on issues of national security and foreign policy and there was serious debate.

In 2012 it looks as though this vital topic will be almost entirely ignored.

The thousands that gave their lives and those on the line to serve our country deserve better.

President Obama and Vice President Biden should take a day to address the country and remind us again of the sacrifices that too many families have made.

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan should take a day and talk about what their detailed strategy is for Afghanistan and for dealing with Al Qaeda and likeminded groups around the world.

And both parties should honor those that sacrificed over the last decade because, as a nation, we have not shared that burden.

We borrowed money to fight a war in Afghanistan that suffered from loss of focus and attention from our leaders. As the economy begins to take off we, as a country, should pay towards that debt.

Nothing is less American than expecting a small percentage of American families to bear the entire burden of sacrifice.

I am reminded of being in Washington, DC after September 11, 2001. On the very first workday that followed traffic was backed up as bad a gridlock gets. Cars were not moving as I walked across Pennsylvania Avenue near the Capitol during morning rush hour. But not a single car was honking its horn – it was a moment that I will never forget because while gridlock (especially in our Capitol) is not unusual, the silent patience that accompanied it was unusual.

For a time we were reminded that we Americans are united in our love of country, no matter our differences in philosophies. It is a lesson that should not be lost.

About Bill Buck

Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.


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