To be an American soldier today is to serve a people who find nothing amiss in the prospect of armed conflict without end. Once begun, wars continue, persisting regardless of whether they receive public support. President Obama's insistence to the contrary notwithstanding, this nation is not even remotely "at" war. In explaining his decision to change commanders without changing course in Afghanistan, the president offered this rhetorical flourish: "Americans don't flinch in the face of difficult truths." In fact, when it comes to war, the American people avert their eyes from difficult truths. Largely unaffected by events in Afghanistan and Iraq and preoccupied with problems much closer to home, they have demonstrated a fine ability to tune out war. Soldiers (and their families) are left holding the bag.
Yes! Yes, we live in an America where war is just another federal project, to be debated like school vouchers or drilling in Alaska or what have you. Heard on the radio last night (the BBC, natch) that four Americans got killed in Afghanistan and their deaths make no impact on our daily lives. War is just another thing that we do. It's absurd and horrible, this situation.