Weekly Standard editor and influential right-wing foreign policy voice Bill Kristol criticized Mitt Romney for ignoring the war in Afghanistan and the military in his speech to the Republican National Convention last night. In a short, scathing piece Kristol put up on the Standard’s website shortly after the speech, the neocon don scolded Romney for not uttering “a word of appreciation” to American troops fighting in Afghanistan:
The United States has some 68,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan. Over two thousand Americans have died in the more than ten years of that war, a war Mitt Romney has supported. Yet in his speech accepting his party’s nomination to be commander in chief, Mitt Romney said not a word about the war in Afghanistan. Nor did he utter a word of appreciation to the troops fighting there, or to those who have fought there. Nor for that matter were there thanks for those who fought in Iraq, another conflict that went unmentioned.
Leave aside the question of the political wisdom of Romney’s silence, and the opportunities it opens up for President Obama next week. What about the civic propriety of a presidential nominee failing even to mention, in his acceptance speech, a war we’re fighting and our young men and women who are fighting it? Has it ever happened that we’ve been at war and a presidential nominee has ignored, in this kind of major and formal speech, the war and our warriors?
Perhaps Romney didn’t mention Afghanistan because he has no plan. Back in July, the then-presumptive GOP presidential nominee had a chance talk about his Afghanistan policy in a major foreign policy speech but Romney offered no specifics, saying his goal would be to withdraw U.S. troops by 2014 — which is exactly what President Obama is going to do. In fact, Romney’s own advisers don’t know what Romney’s Afghanistan policy is.
And maybe Romney ignored the military and veterans in his speech last night because he has no plan to address those issues either. “We haven’t … heard any specific plans yet from Governor Romney or his campaign,” a VFW official said recently.