What others say: Ignoring wars and terrorism

Published: Monday, Nov. 1 2010 12:00 a.m. MDT

The following editorial appeared recently in the Kansas City Star:

In a political season defined by lots of mudslinging, those running for office seem to have forgotten the tens of thousands of Americans face down in real mud, risking their lives by fighting for our country.

There's rarely a word about Afghanistan, or the troops still in Iraq, even from those seeking to head to Washington, D.C., to run our war efforts. Perhaps this is somewhat explainable because these are blisteringly tough economic times, with a much-needed focus on job creation.

Still, the over-the-top trashing of opponents — coming from both sides of the aisle — works against the best interests of the United States.

Take the latest news from Afghanistan: Twice a year, "visitors from Iran" show up in Afghan President Hamid Karzai's office, literally with bags of cash, as much as $1 million at a time.

Karzai's ho-hum reaction: It's just neighborly activity.

The reality is that Iran — no friend of the United States — is buying influence in a country in which American men and women are fighting and dying to try to protect and construct. A serious political discussion needs to take place on our role going forward in Afghanistan, yet voters have no solid way of knowing where their candidates stand.

And what about America's anti-terrorism efforts? Earlier this year, The Washington Post described a bloated, inefficient intelligence community, one in which almost a million people have top secret clearance, all churning out reports to justify their jobs and satisfy political needs, while real intelligence frequently gets lost.

Our most recent terror alert — for Europe — was described as so vague as to be useless by our allies. Refining our anti-terror efforts seems of vital importance but is snowed under by attack ads involving Nancy Pelosi or "Big Oil" interests.

We've done this before. A decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we focused too much on partisan squabbles and missed the growing threat of international terrorism, a much larger danger to all Americans. The world is no safer today than yesterday. Politicians owe America's citizens serious discussions of these important issues.

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